Opera mobile browser recently released an update that includes support for Honeycomb tablets. I was very excited to try out the Opera browser as I had good experience with it on my phone. This is the only browser to fully support tablets besides the stock Android browser. You can also use Firefox and Dolphin but they are in beta as of the moment. Let’s find out what the Opera mobile browser can do.
At the top you have buttons for the setting menu along with the usual forward, back, and refresh button. You have the tabs button just before the address bar. Clicking on it brings down a horizontal box that shows your pages with the option of adding a tab or closing tabs through a large X button. This is a vast improvement over the stock browser that renders tabs in the same style as chrome browser on the PC. It’s annoyingly difficult to touch the little “+” or “x” for the tabs on the stock browser. A touchscreen tablet is a different experience then a mouse oriented PC or notebook and I don’t understand why this isn’t obvious. Bookmarks can be accessed through the menu button along with options to share with your favorite social sites.
There is no doubt that the Opera mobile browser loads pages in blazing speed. I found it to be noticeably faster than my stock browser on the Galaxy Tab. Pinch to zoom is rendered seamlessly without any lags. Overall the browser looks crisp and clean. But there are more than a few shortcoming. I found that many pages do not load with the whole width of the page. You have the options of zooming the page but that defeats the purpose of tablet screen optimization. The browser also slows then when accessing the tabs menu, address bar, or the Google search bar.
The handling of flash is an important factor is any browser. In Opera you have the options of turning flash off, on, or on demand. The on demand gives you the best of both world so that pages can load faster yet you can still play any flash videos by clicking on it. As is the case with most mobile browsing, I found the flash videos to be hit or miss depending on the page. But I can’t really blame Opera as this is a general flash video issue on all mobile devices.
Overall the Opera mobile browser speed is excellent but operationally too slow. The fact that all pages don’t load optimized to the width of the tablet is really a killer for me and the reason it won’t yet replace my stock browser. I think this is a good start for Opera but I look forward to future improvement.
This app is not compatible with the Kindle Fire.