Apple iPhone users have a choice of mobile web browsers following the approval of the Opera Mini browser in the iTunes App Store.
Opera submitted its browser to Apple in March 2010, and commentators suggested that Apple might not approve a rival browser that competes with its mobile Safari browser. The Safari browser is standard on iPhone, iPod Touch and the recently launched iPad.
According to Opera, its ‘Mini’ browser has more than 50 million users worldwide. Part of the popularity of Opera Mini can be attributed to its browsing speed and page loading times. This is achieved by compressing the web page data, by up to 90%, and sending it in large chunks of data across the mobile data network.
Find the best mobile phones for browsing the web in our mobile phone reviews.
Opera Mini vs. Safari
Opera Mini offers some features that Safari lacks. These include tabbed browsing and the ability to save web pages for offline viewing. There’s also ‘Speed Dial’ that brings up a grid of nine chosen thumbnail links to web pages for quick selection, when you start the Opera App.
Opera Link is an interesting addition, as it synchronises your bookmarks, saved searches, notes and Speed Dial sites with Opera’s servers – storing your browsing preferences in the Cloud. This could be appealing for consumers who use Opera on their desktop PC or laptop as well as on their iPhone.
Which? tech expert Al Warman commented: ‘Some web pages render (display) slightly differently in Opera compared to Safari, but many users are unlikely to find this a significant issue.
For users on slower 2G or patchy 3G connections, the potential speed increases from switching to Opera on the iPhone could be appealing, considering that Opera Mini is a free download.’
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