Proxy-based data compressing mobile phone web browser Opera Mini received a major overhaul.
The start page now shows nine bookmarks ("speed dials") as big squares with page previews. "My Opera," "BBC News," and "Wikipedia" came out of the box and I couldn't find a way to delete or edit them, which leaves only 6 bookmarks on the start screen to play with.
When you select "menu" you don't get the normal menu that every other mobile phone program displays, but a horizontal menu bar with a shortcut to the home screen, back/forward/reload buttons, an exit key, and a dropdown menu to go to your bookmarks, settings, etc. This may work on a computer screen with a mouse, but it gets annoying real quick on phones with a classic keypad.
Opera Mini 5 comes with tabbed browsing, but changing tabs requires a trip to the menu, because in normal page view the cursor gets stuck just below the tab bar.
There's no T9 predictive text in Opera Mini 5. Copy/paste works, but to make it work in the URL entry and search box you have to dig deep down into the settings menu and switch "inline editing" off.
Google comes as the default search engine. I couldn't find a way to change it, but maybe custom search engines come in a later version? Opera Mini 5 has a password manager, and if you click into the settings screen you'll find a submenu called "privacy" to delete passwords, cookies, and other information that you don't want to fall into the wrong hands.
You can select and copy text from web pages in Opera Mini and feed it into a Google or Wikipedia search. You can't paste copied text into other appications (Notes, text editors, etc.) directly, but there's a workaround for that: if you paste the text into an Opera Mini Google or Wikipedia search box and copy it again (this time from the search box), you can paste it into other programs.
Opera Mini 5 crashed occasionally on my phones, but maybe the program gets more stable as testing continues. Bookmark synchronisation and file download should be added later as well.
The beta test version of Opera Mini 5 installs separately from the old version, so you can test the beta edition without overwriting your old version of Opera Mini. That's a good thing, because version 5 is not ready to replace Opera Mini 4 yet.
• Opera Mini 5 beta test version
• the old Opera Mini
Thursday, 17 September 2009