App Review: Opera Browser Beta for Android

With the advent of Smartphones, surfing the Internet through the phone has become very common. There are various Browsers available for Android Smartphones- Google Chrome, UC Browser, Dolphin, Opera, etc. Among these, Opera is very popular choice among the users. Opera is known to be an extremely fast browser with a minimal data usage which makes it a very convenient option.

Opera has now decided to go the next level. It has integrated the WebKit technology into the new mobile app – Opera Browser Beta. WebKit is a layout engine software designed to allow web browsers to render web pages. WebKit is already being used in the Apple Safari and Google Chrome browsers and Opera has decided to follow suit.

Opera logo

A detailed insight into the Opera Browser Beta app is given below.

Features :

Opera has brought little changes to the UI of this browser. Opera Browser Beta has a new start-up screen. On opening the app, three tabs will be seen – Speed Dial, History and Discover. Speed Dial is the place where all the favorite links and the shortcuts are placed. It is very similar to the bookmarks feature that is seen in other browsers. To the left of Speed Dial is the History tab. It stores and displays the recent links that have been visited by the user. And finally, there is Discover tab on the right of Speed Dial. Discover is a complete News Reader integrated into the browser. Select the location and get the latest news from that location. There are also various categories to choose from – Arts, Business, Sports, Travel, Entertainment, etc.

Opera “O” icon is present on the top right of the screen. Tapping it gives access to the menu which displays a list of options and also shows the amount of Data you have saved while using the Off Road mode [read more about Off Road mode below]

In the Menu, “Save for offline” option is visible. This is a very interesting feature which lets you surf the saved pages even when you are offline.

Off-Road Mode is another feature in the Opera Browser Beta. It can be used to increase the browsing speed and minimize the data usage in the places where the data connection is weak. Turning on the Off-Road mode puts a thin red bar at the top of the browser to indicate it is on. When in Off Road mode, the Browser actually acts like the Opera Mini Browser and Compresses all the data routing it via its proprietary servers. Thus, using the Off-Road Mode on mobile data improves the browsing speed and gives a better performance.

Opera Browser Beta has the Opera Link feature in the Settings. It lets you sync your Speed Dial, History and browsing data between your phone, tablet and desktop Opera clients. It is also found in the Google Chrome Browser. The Opera Link is only useful if you use the Opera browser on multiple devices.

The Settings Menu allows us to configure the options like Downloading High Resolution images, Cookies, Cache and History Management.

Performance :

As the Opera Browser Beta name suggests, it is still in the beta stages and undergoing development. However it is quite stable for a beta. It can be used for daily purposes.

The WebKit technology makes sure that the rendering of the web pages is better and it will fit properly into your device. It gives a snappier performance than the older Opera Browsers. The pages load faster! Scrolling the pages is much smoother. Pinch-to-zoom and tap-to-zoom work properly without any issues.

There are some cases in which the App stops responding on devices with less than 512 MB RAM. This is not surprising considering the beta stage of this app. Additionally, the RAM usage of Opera Browser Beta is high!

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of Opera Browser Beta.

Pros:

  • Faster with the WebKit technology
  • Better looking UI
  • Opera Link
  • Off-Road Mode

Cons:

  • Heavy RAM usage
  • Occasional non-responsiveness

Conclusion :

Opera Browser Beta is a very good App and has the potential to be far more better! It certainly does not come close to the Google Chrome though. But since Google Chrome is only compatible with Android 4.0 and above, Opera Beta Browser can stamp its authority on the Gingerbread OS and the versions before it.

Also, the Off Road mode gives it an edge over all the major Smartphone browsers when it comes to surfing with 2G Data speeds.

Opera Browser Beta is available on the Google Play Store for free. Download it from here. We give a strong 3.5 / 5 rating!