While Symbian Web Browser is great for enjoying the best of the internet on your Nokia smartphone, Opera has recently released the latest version of its Opera Mobile web browser for Symbian handsets. Providing an alternative option for Symbian internet browsing, we’ve taken a look at Opera Mobile 11.1 to see if it’s any good and whether it offers enough for you to want to make it your main Symbian smartphone web browser.
Once installed on your Nokia Symbian smartphone, Opera Mobile 11.1 gives you a brief run-down of its latest features, while you accept a rather lengthy usage agreement. With that out of the way, you’re quickly greeted by Opera Mobile’s icon-based Speed Dial interface, letting you quickly start adding your favourite bookmarks for instant access to your favourite sites.
Adding a site to Speed Dial is easy in Opera Mobile 11.1. All you have to do is tap any one of the blank icons and you can then either manually enter the URL of the site you want to bookmark, or you can choose it from a list of your recent browsing history. Once a bookmark is added, the blank icon then turns into a live icon of the selected website, updating content automatically and letting you tap to access your favourite sites right from the home screen.
Once you have opened a web page, the clean interface of Opera Mobile 11.1 makes it very easy to browse around. The top of the screen features the standard URL bar and Search bar, which defaults to Google, but also features Amazon, eBay and Wikipedia, among others. At the bottom of the screen, you have the usual Back, Forward, Refresh and Tabs buttons, along with a button for accessing Opera Mobile 11.1’s more advanced features.
As with Speed Dial, these features are accessed via a clear and colourful icon-based interface. Among the features on offer are options to bookmark a page, send a page to a friend via message or Bluetooth, find selected text on the current page, or access Opera Mobile 11.1’s in-depth settings. Settings that are available include defining the default page zoom percentage, choosing to view Opera in a full-screen mode and customising your privacy settings.
When you want to open a new page, while keeping the existing page running in the background, the Tabs button at the bottom of the screen lets you do so. Pressing the button let’s you open as many new tabs as you like, which are then displayed in a carousel of live thumbnail icons, updated automatically to show the contents of the websites within. Scrolling through the icons wasn’t quite as smooth as we’d have liked but the interface works well enough.
Recognising the bandwidth limitations of most mobile phone contracts, Opera Mobile 11.1 lets you keep firmly within your limits by compressing web pages when required. By activating the built-in Opera Turbo option in the browser’s main settings, incoming web data is compressed by up to eighty per cent, letting you enjoy your favourite sites without quickly blowing through your monthly download limit. Strangely, we found that it had little effect on how quickly Opera loaded web pages, but we’re more than happy with how much data it could save us over the course of a month. And if you want to save even more data, then it’s easy to disable image loading in Opera Mobile 11.1.
If you have multiple mobile devices, along with a home PC, then you’re also sure to like Opera Mobile 11.1’s Opera Link feature. Letting you synchronise your bookmarks, Speed Dial favourites and even your online passwords between any devices running an Opera browser, it makes a great way to keep all your devices up to date. The whole process is quick and easy and means that, should you add a bookmark on your Symbian smartphone, for example, the bookmark will be added to your home PC next time you get online.
Of course the most important part of any mobile web browser is its usability and how quickly it loads web pages; thankfully Opera Mobile 11.1 succeeds at both. All web pages we tested loaded as quickly as you’d hope on both a 3G and Wi-Fi connection and the overall interface is both easy to navigate and smooth to respond. Double tapping on a page lets you instantly zoom in or out for a full-screen or up-close view and you can use two fingers to pinch the screen for even finer control over the amount of zoom you want to implement.
Opera Mobile 11.1 provides a fast and suitably feature-packed third-party browser for your Nokia Symbian smartphone and is well worth a try alongside your existing Symbian Web Browser. With its great Speed Dial and Opera Turbo features, you may quickly find it becomes your preferred smartphone web browser.
Opera 11.1 for Symbian smartphones is available for download now. To try the update for yourself on your Nokia Symbian phone you can either visit http://m.opera.com directly from your phone or browse to http://www.opera.com/mobile/download/pc/ from your home PC.
Will you be trying Opera Mobile 11.1 on your Nokia Symbian smartphone; are you more than happy with using Symbian Web Browser; or do you have another favourite internet browser that you’d like to tell us about? Why not let us know in the Comments section below?