Opera Mini was reviewed on TamsPalm a few times before(Opera Mini 4 Beta 1, Opera Mini 2). All these tests were done on HiRes+ – devices with a broadband connection…which isn’t exactly where Opera Mini is intended to be used. This review takes Opera Mini 4 beta 2 for a whirl on T-Mobile’s GPRS network with a Treo 680…can it still stack up?

At startup, Opera Mini shows a page combining information about the new release and the EULA – it needs to be accepted before the program can be used:

0a Opera Mini 4 Beta 2   the review 0b Opera Mini 4 Beta 2   the review

Opera Mini’s “start site” was overhauled a bit – you can now choose a variety of search engines. Adding your own search engines is said to be possible too – but it didn’t quite work on the Treo 680:
1a Opera Mini 4 Beta 2   the review 1b Opera Mini 4 Beta 2   the review

The number 1 feature added to this version of Opera Mini is a “reflow mode” that displays the web page in a single column that fits on screen exactly. This mode works very well – people who like reflow modes will be very happy:
2a Opera Mini 4 Beta 2   the review

The rendering engine and regular browsing mode didn’t change much from beta 1(tested here) – the zoom is now animated. However, accessing AdSense no longer works:
3a Opera Mini 4 Beta 2   the review

Also, the shoutbox is not rendered properly anymore:
4a Opera Mini 4 Beta 2   the review

Speed-wise, the program is more-less on par with Blazer. However, it looks like the program reconnects to the proxy every time a new page is requested…this process takes a lot of time on T-Mobile(but is more reliable than Blazer’s connection process). If the program would stay connected to the proxy all the time, it could probably be much faster:
5a Opera Mini 4 Beta 2   the review
5b Opera Mini 4 Beta 2   the review
5c Opera Mini 4 Beta 2   the review

Scrolling across pages with the 5way navigator and the mouse is very annoying – you either scroll too wide or too little. Using the 2,4,6 and 8 keys works better on a Treo. Scrolling itself is very smooth – the issues with the 5way nav truly are a pity..

Overall, accessing the internet via GPRS/EDGE is one of the very few areas where a proxy-based browser can truly excel over classic web browsers that do all the rendering on-device. And indeed, Opera Mini 4 does a great job displaying pages. However, in everyday use, the scrolling and connection issues make using the program less comfortable than it could be.

If Opera manages to get the last issues resolved(and the rendering engine fixed), this will be the best browser for Treos. As it is now, it is more-less on par with Blazer…

Related posts:

  1. Opera Mini 4.2 – beta out
  2. Opera 4 Mini for Palm OS- the review
  3. Opera Mini 4 Beta 2 released
  4. Opera Mini 4.1 beta – a quick look at the changes
  5. Opera Mini 2 works in HiRes+ on Palm Tungsten T3

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