Opera has pushed out an updated version of the Opera Mini web browser for Google Android. Opera Mini 5.1 features stability improvements as well as a handful of improvements over Opera Mini 5 beta that you might actually notice, including:

  • You can now set Opera Mobile as the default web browser.
  • Full screen mode now actually uses the whole screen.
  • The browser now has better page layout on Android handsets with large screens.
  • There’s better kinetic scrolling action.
  • There’s support for 96 languages.
  • The browser will save your session if the app is automatically killed in the background, and will restore your session if you open the again app within 60 minutes.
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Opera Mini’s main selling point is that it uses server-side compression to speed up page load times, especially over slow network connections. Basically when you enter a URL, a request is sent to Opera’s servers, and if they can speed things up by compressing some data before sending it to your phone, they’ll do that.

I also really like the way Opera Mini handles browser tabs by showing you thumbnails at the bottom of your screen when you press a button. The browser also supports pinch or double tap to zoom, storing bookmarks and passwords, and most of the other features you’d expect from a modern web browser.

On the other hand, there are a few limitations. Some web sites, such as Gmail don’t look as good in Opera Mini as in the default Android web browser. And there are only two zoom levels: in and out. You can’t keep zooming as you can with other mobile browsers.

Opera Mini 5.1 is available as a free download from the Android Market.

You can check out a demo video after the break.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...

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