Opera Mini changes its tune

Opera has released a radical new beta of its mobile phone browser.

Opera Mini changes its tune

Previous versions of the Opera Mini browser were able to display full web pages on even the most basic of handsets by stripping out bandwidth-hogging Flash animation, resizing images and formatting text for the small screen.

The new version takes an entirely different tack. It now displays a small image of the full web page and, with a new onscreen cursor, prompts users to click on the parts of the page they want to be magnified.

In our brief tests with a Nokia N73 handset, this made websites hard to read at a glance, as even the main headlines on the PC Pro or BBC websites were unreadable, making it difficult to decide which parts of the page you wish to zoom in on.

Other new features for version 4 include “power scrolling” – using the phone’s keypad to navigate around the page – and support for CSS.

The new phone browser is based on the same core engine that will be used in the full Opera 9.5 and the browser that appears on the Nintendo Wii, both of which offer much greater screen space than the mobile. A fact not lost on some of the early testers of Opera Mini 4. “Should have been better. Why not tabs, image caching, etc? We don’t just want the PC look,” moans one reader on the Opera Mini blog. Other testers are more complimentary.

You can download the beta version by clicking here.

Click here to read our original review of the Opera Mini.

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