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Is Opera Mini the Fastest Mobile Browser for Android? [Mobile Browser Shootout]

Nowadays people don’t carry a laptop everywhere they go but they do carry their Smartphones. The main reason for this change in trend is that they can still remain connected by accessing Internet on their smartphones. Internet has became an integral part of our day to day life and most of us can’t even imagine to spend 1 day without internet.

Browsing internet on our mobile phones can become a nightmare if you are using an outdated and slow browser. A mobile browser or often called as minibrowser is a web browser specially designed for mobiles. These browsers are optimized to display the web content more effectively on the smaller screens present on Mobile devices. But all mobile browsers are not equally good, some of them offer amazing browsing experience while others just make our browsing experience worst.

opera mini

Opera Mini is considered to be the fastest mobile browser available for smartphones and claims to provide the best browsing experience in case you are on slower data connection(2G). Today we would be comparing various mobile browsers with Opera Mini and see is Opera Mini really the best mobile browser in terms of speed. We would only be comparing the Opera Mini with other mobile browsers which are available for the Android platform. So lets just check out which one would be best mobile browser if you are on 2G and want to surf the net on your Android Smartphone.

Opera Mini

First of all lets have a look at the Opera Mini features. It is one of the oldest browser available for the Android mobile platform. It comes with a unique data compression capability which can reduce the size of a web page by up to 90% thereby saving your money on a limited data pack.

In case of Opera Mini there is a proxy server present between your mobile phone and the website. When you try to open any url the requests go via the Proxy server. On receiving the response from the Website the proxy server compresses the web page and then send it on your mobile. This makes the site to load faster on your device and also saves data usage. But compressing stuff also has its disadvantages like limited support for HTML5, flash and video content.

Test Time

Today we would be testing the loading time of various famous websites by using different mobile browsers on an Android smartphone. We would be comparing the Android Stock Browser, Opera Mini, Firefox, Chrome, Skyfire and Dolphin browser. We have installed the above mentioned browsers on the same Android device (Galaxy Note 2) and while running tests for a particular browser there would be no tasks/apps running in the background. After testing for 1 browser we would restart the device and then start testing the next browser.

So here are the results of the loading time test performed on various mobile browsers (all time is in seconds):

  imdb.com
bbc.co.uk
listthemout.com
Yahoo.com Average
Android Stock Browser
12.50 28.77 12.92 14.95  17.28
Opera Mini
5.73 8.03  10.85  10.89 8.87
Firefox  16.78 25.42 10.72 23.44 19.09
Chrome  9.67 25.66 8.20  17.73  15.31
Skyfire  17.68  26.62  14.76 12.87  17.98
Dolphin 14.58 28.53 11.13 19.11  18.33

Above tests has very shocking results. We expected the Opera Mini to be fast but not so fast. The reason for this is the data compression being used by Opera Mini which makes it 2-3 times faster than other browsers in some cases. But everything you get comes for a cost. We browsed desktop version of the sites on each mobile browser but Opera Mini did not render the page as it was.

The image slider present on bbc.co.uk was also not working on opera mini. If you try to access the second image of the slider on Opera Mini a page load occurs thereby indicating that those images were not loaded but in case of other browsers every image of the slider loads on the first request made to the server and hence have more loading time.

While browsing the sites on other mobile browsers one thing which we noticed was that these browsers loaded the web page almost fully even though the progress stayed at 90%. We guess there were few footer scripts which were being loaded at the end of page. In case of Opera Mini these scripts are removed while rendering the page thereby providing a faster browsing experience but degrading the quality of the webpage like distorting the image slider.

Same was the case with other sites which were browsed on these browsers except the listthemout.com. It did not have any special scripts, sliders or other things which could be removed or compressed while rendering the page. Therefore the loading time of this site was nearly the same on all mobile browsers.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly Opera Mini is the fastest mobile browser available for the Android Smartphone. You should definitely go for it if you can wait too much for a web page to open or you are using a pay as you go data pack where you want to keep your data usage minimum. But if you are looking for a mobile browser which is fast but at the same time does not degrade the quality of web page like distorting the image slider you should go for Chrome.

Article by

Akshay is a Tech Enthusiast who loves to write about Technology and Gadgets. He is very passionate about blogging and has been blogging since 2009. You can follow him on twitter @akshayable.

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