Review: Opera Browser BETA For Android [WebKit Engine]
The Chrome web browser has never faced any competition from other browsers till date. Most of us who operates in Android normally use Chrome for our daily web browsing.
It’s fast, great user interface and has frequent updates that makes the whole browsing experience a good one. Chrome has become one sort of monopoly for the browsers out there.
You must be wondering, who might compete with Chrome here?
From my personal experience in PC web browsing, I loathe Opera browser. Ever since I downloaded the new Opera browser to my Nexus 7, I have fallen in love with it and really wish to see this version in the PC.
Why do I love it? Keep reading
In this year’s Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona, Opera launched a new Android browser which uses the WebKit rendering engine instead of their own Presto engine. The WebKit engine is used both by Chrome and AOSP browser, so you can guess how the browser will feel like already.
As this version is in Beta mode, I was expecting it to crash or freeze. I am sure once the full version is out, all these bug problems will be addressed.
Once you start the browser, the history, speed dial and the discover tabs are placed side by side on the home screen.
Whichever page you like, hit the plus button that’s placed beside the address bar to add it in the speed dial. This isn’t any unique feature as we have the same thing in Chrome too.
What sets Opera different from Chrome is the new Discover tab. The discover tab is simply a collection of all the latest top news occurring around the world from different websites. Be it related to Arts, Business, Entertainment, Food, Technology and many more. You have the option to select any category you like and will be seeing it next time you open the browser again. If any article attracts your eyes, you can read the initial paragraphs and then if you find it worth reading, you have the option to read the full article in the respective website.
Check the images below to have a preview of how the web browser would look once you start it up.
Firstly what are the differences between Opera and Chrome?
From the looks of the browser, developers in Opera wanted to keep the address bar as thin as possible so that users can have a better look on any web page they visit. With the address bar taking up most of the top space, there’s only two buttons beside it. One for the tabs and the other for options.
At a time, we browse more than 10 websites having lots of tabs opened in the background. Even if we don’t need it, we still keep it open for later use. In Chrome, all the tabs are displayed at the top no matter how many tabs you have opened. In Opera, its quite different. The button beside the address bar enables you to open a tab while showing you the list of tabs, placed in a row, that you have opened earlier which you have to swipe right or left to get the desired one.
To some, this might be a hassle but I think with this certain feature you will be able to concentrate more on the current page that you are in. Now if you are a constant switcher, it might get a bit tiresome. For Chrome, you already have a list of tabs displayed above the address bar and all you need to do is swipe around to search the one you need, provided that you have a lot of tabs opened. If you have only 3 or 4 tabs, its becomes much easier to just select the tab at once.
For Opera, even if you have only two tabs opened, you would still have to go to a different page and select the tab you want. However, the whole process in choosing your tabs is done in a very elegant way which might become boring after you constantly use it.
The images below show you the tabs in both landscape and portrait mode.
The portrait view of the tabs is much more better than the landscape mode. Opera needs to work more on the landscape view as it doesn’t look attractive as it does in the portrait view. The main reason of doing this is actually giving you a preview of how the page would look like while in different positions.
If you have a low speed internet connection or maybe want to browse faster than the average speed, this is a feature you will love. Once it’s activated it downloads very few images and graphics making sure the webpage is shown within a millisecond. For those who already have 4G or 3G connections, this option is meaningless. But for those living in countries where they are running on 2G, these option is a great one.
To show you how it looks and how much data it saves, here’s a test of it. I chose ‘The Verge” as the test subject mainly because of its great design theme. As you can see on the third picture, it shows it has saved 77% of data which means, it has downloaded only 5.5MB of the total 24MB.
Impressive feature indeed!
Comparing how a webpage looks in Chrome and Opera.
For the experiment here, I used CNET as the test subject. There isn’t much differences as you can see in the pictures below. If you use Opera, you will be seeing 5% more of the whole page without scrolling than that you would have in Chrome.
The final decision lies on you.
To me, it seems pretty much the same in some points. If I need a hell lot of tabs, I would choose Chrome otherwise I would go for Opera straight.
If I really need to browse at a time when the WiFi connection isn’t as good as it should be, such as the one in my university, I would definitely choose Opera and activate the Off-Road Mode to surf the web and get the job done quickly!
On an important note, if you want to download it, do expect to get unnatural crashes as it’s still in the BETA mode.