Multiplatform(!) review: Opera Mobile 10 beta released!

I’ve thoroughly tested the brand new Opera Mobile 10 beta on all the supported mobile phone platforms (Windows Mobile Professional / Standard and Symbian S60). In general, apart from some problems, I liked what I saw – particularly on Symbian and the touchscreen version of Windows Mobile.

The browser is available for download HERE for both operating systems. For Windows Mobile, a unified download (for both subtypes) is provided.

1. Windows Mobile

Also see the XDA-Devs discussion, which starts on THIS page.

1.1 Touchscreen devices

I’ve installed it on the HP iPAQ 210 and found it great. Sure, it lacks some features (for example, the excellent dynamic zooming & text reflowing features of some (not all!) of the 9.50/9.70 builds and the (hacked) Flash Lite support), but, on the whole, I was more than happy with it. It doesn’t load much faster than the older version (9 seconds as opposed to 10) and, as has already been pointed out, lacks some of the goodies; however, it’s a pleasure to use.

Unfortunately, it (still) doesn’t support Opera Link, one of the best features of Opera Mini and the desktop Opera browser. (One of the reasons I’ve completely switched to using Opera on the desktop.)

Also see THIS demo for more info.

1.2 Non-touchscreen (Microsoft Smartphone) devices

1. Unfortunately, the two hotkeys are in no way supported on any of the tested Smartphones (on the s710, including the ones on the hardware keyboard). Therefore, a cursor emulator is needed to access even the menu at the bottom and almost everything. In-page scrolling and, on the Quick access page (default one and the one that comes up when you open a new tab), switching between the address input field, the Google field and the main surface area works OK. (Hotkeys are supported just great on Symbian S60.)
2. There are no button scrolling shortcuts, as opposed to the SP version of 8.65 (the last Opera Mobile version to have a dedicated MS Smartphone version – see my MS Smartphone Web Browser Bible HERE).
3. While you can’t use the hotkeys in fullscreen mode, with SPHelper, you can still access the two buttons in the lower right and left corners. (Hotkey-based scrolling – 2/4/6/8 – works just great on Symbian S60.)

176*220 (old) MS Smartphones running the official WM5 (tested on the HTC s310 (Oxygen)): excellent (tested running from memory card) program / page load time; responsive. Landscape mode isn’t supported – as opposed to the s710.

HTC s710 Vox (320*240 newer Smartphone running the official WM6): running great. However, multi-function keys on the hardware keyboard don’t work (always the numeric values are inserted) – to enter them, you need to use either the on-screen keyboard (which, BTW, is rendered properly even on a 176*220 Smartphone in Portrait mode) or the numeric keypad.

All in all, until the hotkey bug is fixed (operating the browser with SPHelper is really painful), you will want to stick with either the old 8.65 version or Opera Mini. (This, again, only stands for the non-touchscreen-enabled MS Smartphone platform, NOT the touchscreen-based one!)

2. Symbian S60

It’s nice to see Opera to return to Symbian, which they have seemed to have completely neglected in the last few years.

I’ve tested OM10 on the Nokia N95 on firmware version 30 and found it excellent. It has very quick program / page loading; OK multitabs (albeit, after opening two – large, about 600k+ - Wiki pages, when minimizing Opera mobile, it was immediately terminated from memory, showing Opera indeed took up quite a bit of RAM memory. This was expected – if you need multitab supporting up to 30 pages open at the same time, your only choice is Opera Mini.)

Basically, it’s as easy to use as Opera Mini 4.2 and has a lot of additional goodies – for example, text copy/paste is supported and works, unlike in 4.2. (Note that the text copy/paste in the current beta of Opera Mini 5.0 works just fine on Symbian.)

The only problem I found was the lack of support for Flash Lite 3 – to access Flash Lite content, you’ll still need to use the built-in Nokia Web browser instead. (Nevertheless, you will want to use it was a last resort to play back, say, YouTube videos. Dedicated YouTube players are far better at playing back videos – no stuttering, unlike when using Flash Lite.)

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