Opera Mobile 9.7 beta tops iPhone's Safari, fellow Smartphone Expert says

OK, this isn't exactly a fair fight, but forget about that for a minute. To the average user it probably doesn't matter whether your browser is being rendered through a proxy, security and privacy implications be damned.

So casting that difference aside, our own resident Nokia Expert and regular ZDNet contributor Matt Miller set forth to test the beta version of Opera 9.7 against a number of other phones, including the T-Mobile G1, iPhone 3G, Nokia N97, Nokia 5800, Nokia N85 (hey, we told you he's a Nokia Expert) and iPhone 3GS. For the WinMo side, Matt was rocking Opera Mobile 9.7 on a Pharos Traveler 137.

And what did he find? In straight page-loading tests, Opera Mobile 9.7 won. Read his full findings here. Matt's also keen on the rendering.

Opera gets it right with Opera Mobile and is much smarter about optimizing your display size and resolution. The custom HTC builds of Opera Mobile even allow several custom zoom levels where the text always fits on the display just right. There is still work for Apple to do in the browser, but they definitely have the loading speed down pat.

Browser wars are a favorite pastime of smartphone nerds (Exhibit A, Exhibit B) and there are a ton of variables to take into account (not to mention one's own patience level). But if it's good enough for Matt, it's good enough for us. If you've got a touchscreen device, head on over to Opera and try out the 9.7 beta for yourself.


Reader comments

Opera Mobile 9.7 beta tops iPhone's Safari, fellow Smartphone Expert says


ehh I dunno bout this. Of course its faster its using a proxy so its not a fair fight to the other devices.

But Ive used WM for years and used Opera from the old 8.x up to 9.5 and now a 3GS and feel Safari is still a superior browser in terms of page rendering and the overall experience to the user.

I think there is some validity to this, unfair as it may be.

I am a iphone and a treo pro user.

I was blown away by how good Opera 9.7 beta is. Safari still may have a slight edge but I almost actually prefer Opera Mobile 9.7 on my pro, because I can one hand it easier, and it loads just as as well as Safari. Page renders look great, and even on Windows Mobile, it runs pretty fast.

Safari might still have a slight edge, but Opera 9.7 is by, far, the best version of mobile out. Opera mini is great too, if you want really speedy fast speeds.

we shall see, we've heard this story before. Every new browser was supposed to be a Safari killer and didnt make the cut in the end. I'll believe it when I see it in the final version and if it isnt half-baked like 9.5 was and then given up on.

Yeah, except Opera was around ages before Safari and did all sorts of mobile browser magic long before. Opera is the browser Safari is measured up against. The market leader.

Ummm, as far as I know Opera Mobile does not natively use a proxy, its a standard browser and only comes pre-installed on handsets in Gamma build although I appreciate we're talking about the beta here which is available.

There is a turbo mode in 9.7, which can be enabled to make use of a proxy and reduce image resolutions etc. but generally as a browser it doesn't unless you request that this is enabled.

Opera Mini however is a proxy browser which is freely available to download.

Having just come off a week with the iPhone I'm not sure how much better Safari is than even Opera Mobile 9.5. When using it one-handed can't tell you how many times I clicked a link when trying to zoom in by double tapping. Have you ever tried to zoom by pinching while carrying a briefcase?

Glad you started it with not a fair fight,

for a start its being tested on an original iphone 3g, if you put it up against a similar specced device it would probably be close if not slower imho.

opera for all its wonder is still not even close to safari

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