Review: Save on data charges with fast and functional Opera Mini

Load pages faster with this lightweight version of the popular "other" browser.

Opera Mini reduces your data charges by using less data than other Android browsers and downloading compressed Web pages from Opera's servers. Opera Mini is a pared-down arrangement of Opera, with a smaller footprint than the full mobile version of Opera. But true to the Opera tradition, it somehow delivers a stable, full-featured Web experience with fewer resources than the competition. Also like the others, Opera Mini is free but displays some ads.

Opera Mini's Home tab is highly functional, with customizable news feeds appearing under My News, a social networks log-on feature, and a long list of categorized bookmarks above a neat toolbar that expands to a keyboard-like selection of links and options such as History, Downloads, Settings, and Help when you tap the "Start" button. Opera Mini quickly loaded Web pages from bookmarks and e-mail links. Although Opera Mini's layout is slimmed down, it displays full Web pages and browses and navigates as fast as the other Android Web browsers we've tried. Faster even, when using Opera Mini's Speed Dial tab, which lets you save and load frequently visited pages for minimal data transfer. The page displayed seven common sites, but it's easy to add and remove sites by pressing "Manage."

Opera lovers will be thrilled to add this "light" edition of their favorite browser to their Android devices. Those not familiar with the browser's various versions will still appreciate all that Opera Mini has to offer.

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