How can you load web pages faster on a Windows Phone device? Simple: install Opera Mini. This popular mobile browser compresses web pages to give you load times you could only dream of with Internet Explorer.
Features of Opera Mini
Opera Mini has been around for years in different guises. Immensely popular on Symbian and Java feature phones, the pint-sized browser has now arrived on Windows Phone. It's not as advanced as the Android version of Opera Mini but it uses the same server-side page rendering technology to deliver web sites at high speeds.
Most of the browsing features you'd expect from this veteran of mobile browsers are packed into Opera Mini. You get the famous Speed Dial, where you can pin your favorite web sites to give you one-click access whenever you launch the browser. It's a handy tool, and there's space to add lots of shortcuts to web pages.
Like many Windows Phone browsers, Opera Mini supports tabbed browsing. The tabs panel displays thumbnail previews of each page you have open, and you can switch very easily between each. Usefully, there's an option to open pages in a new background tab by long-pressing a link on a page you're reading, so you can carry on reading then go check out the link when you're done.
Other tools include bookmarks, history, a 'find in page' feature, a download manager, and the ability to quickly share any web content with others via Facebook, messaging, email, etc. There's also the ability to save web pages for viewing offline.
Delve into Opera Mini's settings and you'll find some customization options, such as the ability to tweak image quality to ramp up load speeds even more, or even to disable images. You can also toggle text wrapping and single-column view. Opera compresses data so you could browse the Internet faster and in a more efficient way.
Privacy options in Opera Mini are nothing out of the ordinary. You can clear history, passwords and cookies very easily, although there's no private browsing mode in Opera Mini, so you must always remember to clean up yourself.
Back to the old school
The design of the Opera Mini user interface doesn't differ much to the look and feel of previous version of the app for other operating systems: it's neat and compact enough.
Still, Opera Mini is easy to navigate. Besides the quick pull-out toolbar there are in-page options available by long-pressing. You can pinch to zoom, or manually set a zoom level for pages.
Useful for slow connections
Opera Mini really does not add much to the Windows Phone browser. Still, it is a quality alternative that includes some interesting features such as speed dialer, saving pages for offline viewing or data compression.