Michael Goodman emailed me last night about Opera Mini 4. I’d tried it previously but never really gave it a proper work-out. The new version, which is available either from OperaMini.com on your PC or mini.opera.com on your phone, runs on the Java client available on most phones. If you don’t have a Java client, there’s various ways to get one.
Once installed Opera Mini 4 uses a proxy system to have your requested pages compressed. It then pushes this down to your phone to save time and money on your phone bill. Services like onspeed do something similar and will compress images, text, Flash and animated GIF’s to speed up your browsing experience. So, how would Opera Mini 4 compare to the pre-installed Internet Explorer browser on your phone? IE loads pages without compression and, if you haven’t cached the page previously, it’ll grab absolutely everything direct from the originating server.
Time is always important when you’re on the move. Sure, there’s mobile-optimized sites and search engines which magically transform results into mobile-viewable pages, but when you’re browsing directly speed is key. If you’re anything like me you’ll be trying to open one particular link before the page has finished loading. Sometimes though this just isn’t possible on Pocket Internet Explorer, and you have to wait for the page to complete before that all-important link moves into the right place for you to click.
To do my head-to-head I cleared the cache on both browsers and loaded up coolsmartphone.com. Using GPRS (yes, GPRS) on T-Mobile UK I timed how long it would take to completely finish loading the main page. Then I looked at how easy it was to move around that page before loading up a link I wanted to see. The difference was pretty shocking, and it drove me to drink. ;) I only hope there’ll be a web-accelerator option (like the Google one) in Pocket Internet Explorer soon. Click on for the video !
I’m going to carry on with the testing to see whether updates to websites show instantly etc..