Opera for Android beta launched

Written by Edward Chester

March 5, 2013 | 09:30

Companies: #opera

Opera has just unveiled a beta version of its new Opera for Android web browser, touting its fast rendering, speed dial quick links and off-road mode.

Set to take on Google's own Chrome browser, the new browser centres around its homepage which features three columns that you can swipe left and right between. The left most is the familiar history while central is Speed Dial and to the right is Discover.

Speed Dial is a place to store bookmarks to your favourite sites, which are laid out in a grid pattern and can be combined into folders just like apps.

As for Discover, its yet another variation on these news feed apps that present curated content in a stylised column of pictures. It does go a step further than many such offerings though as it also caches the first couple of paragraphs of the article saving having to download the whole lot.

Also key is the new Off-road mode which when engaged, like Opera mini, routes page requests through Opera's servers where they're compressed before being delivered to your device.

Other features of the new browser include tabbed browsing, a combined search and address bar and an offline mode for saving whole webpages for reading later.

Currently the new beta is only available for phones, not tablets.

We tried the new browser and were rather impressed, finding the Off-road mode was quickly was reporting savings of around 80% in data usage. Meanwhile the Speed Dial and Discover features proved surprisingly useful as they combine the whole experience into one very speedy and intuitive interface. However, we would've preferred to see the address bar at the bottom of the page and the address bar and search bars to not be combined.

You can let us know your thoughts by downloading Opera browser beta from the Android Play Store.
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