Opera Mini for iPhone: Everyone Raving About It Except for Me

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Opera Mini on an iPhone rendering MobileContentToday

Against all odds (or so I thought), the

Opera Mini Web browser 5.0

is available for the iPhone in the iTunes App Store (free app). It appears to be getting rave reviews from the tech blogging community. And, user reviews in the App store are phenomenal. It has a 4.5 star average user rating (out of a possible 5) with 1057 ratings submitted. 768 of those are 5-star ratings while 145 gave it 4-stars. I’m having a hard time understanding these ratings based on my tests, however. Here’s what I found:

– It takes a long time to start up on my iPhone 3G. Safari appears nearly instantly ready for browsing
– Its option to turn off mobile viewing option should, I thought, set the browser type to fool web servers in to providing desktop views of a website. But, this did not happen
– It did not render some mobile sites correctly. This site is one of them. You can see that it truncated the banner header and subject lines in the screenshot above. Safari mobile does not have this problem as can be seen in the screenshot below

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Safari mobile on an iPhone rendering MobileContentToday

– Opera Mini also appears to block ads. I suppose this is popular with a lot of people. But, the fact is that web ads pay the bills for a lot of sites (including this one).
– The default font appears somewhat aliased and more difficult to read (blurry) compared to Safari mobile.

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Opera Mini on an iPhone rendering USAToday.com

It took a while for me to find a site that did not recognized Opera Mini as a mobile browser. However, USAToday.com displayed its desktop version as you can see in the screenshot above. It did a good job of zooming in to text areas. I can accept someone arguing that it does a better job of that particular task than Safari mobile. However, my current mobile browsing gold standard is the Android OS 2.1 browser. And, I think it remains my gold standard.