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Review: Opera Mobile 9.7 Beta for Windows Mobile

Opera released the public beta of Opera Mobile 9.7 recently, and i have been using it since day one, so it’s time for a round up. This review will emphasize on the differences between the previous versions and the most recent 9.7 build. For more in-depth information about all general features of Opera Mobile check out my Opera Mobile 9.5 review.

The first thing i noticed after browsing to my blog with Opera Mobile 9.7 was that the zoomed-out view shows the content already adjusted to the mobile devices width. This wasn’t the case for the Opera Mobile 9.5 builds. So you will now see the whole website, but the content (text) width is being shown compacted. I don’t really like this, because it doesn’t make any sense to use the manual zoom option, if the content is already fixed to the standard zoomed-in view and doesn’t adapt to the current zoom level as it did on Opera Mobile 9.5.

Opera Mobile 9.7 fullscreen
Opera Mobile 9.7 fullscreen

But unlike the official Opera Mobile 9.5 beta build, i didn’t get any ram shortage message yet. On the official 9.5 beta i got a message prompting me to close a tab due to ram shortage very often, now this issue seems to be gone.

The UI hasn’t changed at all as you can see on the following screenshots. It is still the grey colored user interface we know from the previous version.

Opera Mobile 9.7
Opera Mobile 9.7

You can access the page options menu by tapping and holding on the screen. The menu provides the same options as before: back, reload, add to bookmarks, landscape mode, zoom and so on.

Opera Mobile 9.7 page options
Opera Mobile 9.7 page options

Sadly you still need to access this submenu to use the manual zoom, so there isĀ  no comeback for the magnifier icon from old 9.5 builds.

Opera Mobile 9.7 zoom
Opera Mobile 9.7 zoom

The main menu is also the same as before, the only real difference can be found within the settings.

Opera Mobile 97 menu
Opera Mobile 97 menu

The biggest change on Opera Mobile 9.7 is the option to activate a new feature called “opera turbo”, which will preprocess all the data from websites through the opera servers first. That way the mobile device will need to process a much smaller version of the website, since the data has been compacted by the Opera servers. This feature is great when you open heavy pages like ign.com, because you can browse much faster. Despite not being a completely new concept, since this feature was already used for Opera Mini and other browsers like Skyfire, it’s the first time Opera Mobile is utilizing this method.

Opera Mobile 9.7 options
Opera Mobile 9.7 options

And even though the “opera turbo” option is still in beta phase, it works quite nicely. Browsing heavy pages is much more comfortable than before, but you can see very clearly how the pictures resolution has been scaled down. So i would prefer the possibility to define for which pages the turbo option should be utilized, instead of just activating or deactivating it universally. Furthermore i’m using the magnifier button from an older Opera Mobile 9.5 build very often, so i’m not going to switch to 9.7 beta completely. But I’m still using it for browsing big pages though. Generally Opera Mobile 9.7 beta is definetly more stable and better than the official 9.5 beta, so i can recommend it to any Windows Mobile user searching for a great mobile browser which can compete with the best browsers on any mobile platform out there.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

You can find the download on the official Opera Mobile 9.7 page. Also make sure to check out my Skyfire review and Iris browser review for more Windows Mobile browser alternatives.