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.
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.
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