If you have a PocketPC or Smartphone and you don't care for Internet Explorer, you have two solid choices for a web browser from Opera: Opera Mobile and Opera Mini. But which is the right one for you?
Opera Mobile is designed for PocketPCs, smartphones and PDAs. It is a strong browser with plenty of features and supports secure websites. Opera Mini is a Java browser designed for cell phones without access to a full browser, and isn't the best choice for secure websites, but it does have some advantages over Opera Mobile, and some users prefer it.
Opera Mobile Advantages
Good User Interface. Opera Mobile makes navigating the web easy with an interface which features standards from desktop browsers like buttons for going back one site or forward one site and a refresh button, though I wouldn't mind seeing the refresh button replaced with a favorites button. Favorites are accessed through the action menu which also allows you to bookmark a page, go to your home page, and go to the top of the current page.
Page Zoom. While viewing a page, you can use the menu to zoom into a page up to 200% or zoom out until the page is 25% of its original size, which is enough that most pages will fit as much content on your mobile screen as they would on your desktop screen, though text becomes unreadable at that size.
Multiple Windows. Tired of only being able to see one web page at a time on your mobile device? Opera Mobile will allow you to open multiple windows, so you can flip back and forth between pages.
Security. Opera Mobile supports secured webpages, whereas Opera Mini isn't the best browser for secured sites. The high memory version of Opera Mini will support encrypted pages, but because all websites are loaded through the Opera servers, the page will be decrypted and then re-encrypted. Opera Mini will load encrypted pages, but they will be decrypted.
Opera Mini Advantages:
Performance. Opera Mini works by sending a request to the Opera Servers which, in turn, download the page, compress it, and send it back to the browser. Because the pages are being compressed before they are transmitted, this can lead to increased performance, which makes some web pages load faster than on other web browsers.
Mobile Tuning. Along with compressing the pages, the Opera Servers also optimize them for display on mobile screens. This means that some pages will look better on the Opera Mini browser than on the Opera Mobile or other full-fledged web browsers.
Touch Zooming. The Opera Mobile browser has options with zooming, but the Opera Mini has a better interface. While Mini only has two phases, regular and zoomed in, you are able to toggle between them with a light tap on the screen, which makes it much easier to use.
Opera Mobile or Opera Mini?
Ultimately, the choice comes down to preference. If you go to secured sites on a regular basis, or really like the ability to open multiple windows in your browser, Opera Mobile might be the best choice. On the other hand, Opera Mini's easy zooming features makes browsing non-mobile websites a breeze. So, if you don't need the multiple windows and don't go to many secured websites, Opera Mini might be better for you.
Finally, like many others, you can decide not to choose at all. Many people like having both the Opera Mobile and Opera Mini browsers installed on their mobile device. Simply put, Opera Mobile is good for doing some tasks, while Opera Mini is good for others, so the best of both worlds is to install both.