Opera Mobile 9.5 Beta Review - Opera Mobile 9.5 Beta Review


Those lucky enough to own smartphones with VGA screens, such as the one on the Touch Diamond, will be able to read a lot of the text in fully zoomed out mode. Navigating around pages is just as good as it is on the iPhone, though this will inevitably depend on the processing power of your phone. A flick of the finger sees pages scroll smoothly up, down, left and right, and continues once your finger leaves the screen, slowing gradually to a stop.

One disappointment here is that Opera Mobile 9.5 doesn’t build in by default direct and finer adjustments of the zoom level. On the iPhone you simply pinch your fingers one way or the other. But, as with the Touch Diamond, there’s clearly some way of working with Opera’s API to add this sort of feature through hardware controls.

Another big change to Opera Mobile 9.5 is its user interface. Previously a fiddly affair only usable with a stylus or buttons, 9.5 is now equipped with a fully finger-friendly interface that makes intelligent use of the, typically small, smartphone screens it’s designed to run on.

Its most important feature is that it runs in full screen mode automatically. The only control you see on screen while browsing, in fact, is a small, transparent tab in the bottom right hand corner. Tap this with a finger or thumb and up pops a series of shortcuts along the bottom of the screen, accompanied by an address bar at the top.

The shortcut buttons – which enable you to quickly access Back, Favourites, Tabs, Home and a pop-up menu – are also finger-friendly. Likewise, the address bar is intelligently designed: tap it once and a Google search box pops up immediately below it, ready for search terms to be entered.

Other features, such as the History and Tabs, are just as intuitive to use and are again accessible without recourse to the button panel or stylus. In fact the whole browser is a doddle to use with your fingers – only the advanced settings screen is remotely fiddly.

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