Editors' Note: The "Download Now" link directs you to the iTunes App Store, where you must continue the download process. You must have iTunes installed in order to open the link, and you must have an active iTunes account to download the application. This download may not be available in some countries.
Opera Mini looks like your average iPhone Web browser, but it's the details behind the scenes that may have it replacing the default Safari browser on your iPhone.
Unlike Safari and other iPhone browsers created using the WebKit standard, Opera Mini 5 for iPhone is what's called a proxy browser. It sends Web page requests to Opera's servers, which then compress the Web page before sending it back to the phone, resulting in an often faster way to distribute Web content.
Like Opera Mini on other mobile platforms, the browser sports an attractive, icon-rich dark theme. The home page features "Speed Dial," a feature that lets you choose nine quick links for getting to favorite sites. As with Safari, tabbed browsing is on board, but Opera adds a splash of style with the tab bar that lets you easily slide your finger over thumbnail images to swap tabs.
Other useful features include a password manager, find-in-page, and bookmarks you can sync--along with your Speed Dial and typed browser history--with Opera on your desktop. You can also view saved pages, select text, save images, and download. Unlike Opera Mini on other mobile platforms, the iPhone version picks up where you left off from a previous session.
Though there's much to like (the speed in particular--it often blows the pants off Safari), Opera Mini for iPhone lacks multitouch support; there's no pinch-and-zoom, but you can zoom in and out by touching your finger to the screen. Since it's a proxy rather than fully functional Web browser, it doesn't recognize Wi-Fi sign-in screens. We had to open Safari to authenticate before using Opera Mini. We'd like to be able to copy hyperlinks (not just open them in new tabs), and we'll add on our usual complaint about the separate search and address bars. Overall, however, Opera Mini's browser experience is a welcome alternative, and one we'd readily recommend to most iPhone users.
Compress data by up to 90% before sending it to your iPhone, so page-loads are lightning fast. Opera Mini is a breeze to use, and can synchronize data between your phone and computer. Speed Dial gets you to your favorite Web sites with a single tap. An address field with auto-completion means you type less. Tabs allow for multitasking with several Web pages. Bookmarks can be easily managed and accessed.