The makers of the popular Opera browser have been busy making their browser quick, stable, and silky smooth. Lately they have included some huge changes that are sure to make things interesting in the Android browser wars. Today Opera has updated both versions and are available in the Android Market. Huge improvements such as hardware acceleration make Opera Mobile extremely smooth. We have some hands-on with the Motorola Xoom below.
For those that don't know, Opera offers two versions of it's popular browser. Opera Mini and Opera Mobile, both have been updated today in the market. Opera Mini is more for devices on slow data networks, or those with limited data usage available. I used it on my G1. The Mini version compressed webpages on Opera's servers and sends it to the user, saving about 10 times the data usage, as well as speeds up browsing load times substantially. For stronger and more powerful devices, or users on Wifi I'd highly recommend the Opera Mobile version as it is a full out browser.
Opera Mini was updated to version 6.0 and it brought things like Pinch to Zoom, improved panning and zooming, a optimized UI for tablets and more. Sadly mini does not have or use Adobe Flash. The Mobile version however does have flash. Opera Mobile has been updated to version 11 and it has all the updates the mini version got and more like support for Flash 10.2, tablet UI improvements, Pinch to Zoom is very smooth now, with hardware acceleration being a big update as well. I've loaded Opera Mobile up on my Motorola Xoom and took a few screenshots of how well it works. Showing tabbed browsing, settings, flash settings, tile view and more. Check them out after the video below.
Now it's time for the few I've taken on my Xoom. I will mention it runs extremely smooth, the tabbed browsing is very nice and swaps to the page with a sleek animation. Overall it is a keeper so far.
The start screen is very simple and outlines a few options and features of Opera Mobile
Then it starts and goes to the tiles screen with all your bookmarks conveniently ready to touch and go.
Immediately I removed Facebook, and replaced them with the best sites ever, AndroidCommunity and SlashGear (you all should too). Can't forget Google or the market though.
The tabbed browsing really impressed me on the Xoom, it was animated and extremely fast. When touching one tab it slides around and on top of the other page. Very neat and nicely done Opera.
Next we have the bookmarks, downloads, help and settings tab in the top left corner. Everything is super easy to access and simple. No one should be confused while using this browser. They have added some great features such as Opera Turbo witch will make even the Mobile version compress pages to speed things up when wifi signal is weak or are using a pay per data plan. This can be toggled on/off as well as other settings all in the settings menu.
here is just a picture to show you that not only is Flash and hardware acceleration present, but seems to work great and has options of it's own. You can choose to have Flash 10.2 fully working and on every single site you open, you can choose the Click-to-Play feature (On Demand) where flash content will only load when you want it to, I use that setting myself. Last you can completely disable flash if you feel the need.
Lastly I have a small clip of the Motorola Xoom running Opera Mobile v11 for those that want to see it in live action.
In closing I am pretty impressed with the overall smooth and snappy performance. Everything ran very silky smooth, settings were simple and easy to find and change. All the settings and browser tags opened and closed with animations. Some of the larger issues I've had in the past with Opera were completely gone like a checkerboard screen when scrolling to fast or while zooming in and out. Now pinch to zoom is extremely smooth, comparable to the stock Android browser if not better, scrolling was extremely fast and stable, no stuttering or checkerboards here either. I'll need to give it a little more time for a full judgment. I'll be using this for my day to day browser for the next few days and I'll see how it goes and report back. Go and get it in the market now and see for yourself. Feel free to comment below on what you think of Opera Mobile/Mini, Thanks for reading.