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Opera Mini 5 beta: The fat lady sings

Chances are that if you have a mobile phone that’s not an iPhone, then your phone can run Java, and if it can run Java, then you can run Opera Mini. Opera claims that Opera Mini is the world’s favourite mobile web browser and with over 20 million users worldwide currently using version 4.2 of Mini, it’s got a point. The beta of Opera Mini 5 has just been released, so we decided to road test it on a Nokia E71.

One of the main features of Opera Mini 5 is tabbed browsing, a feature absent from 4.2. You hit menu to add new tabs – a blue plus symbol sits in the top right corner and you click on this to open up a new tab. Hitting menu also allows you to quickly move between new tabs once you have more than one open.

Accessing the Menu also brings up the usual ‘back’, ‘forward’ and ‘refresh’ commands which are otherwise hidden out of sight when you’re browsing — this is a sensible idea as it makes for a much less cluttered browsing experience.

The main page features something Opera calls ‘speed dial’ which is a little three by three grid you can assign shortcuts to – BBC News and Wikipedia come already installed. You can then add shortcuts to other sites by selecting ‘assign’ and entering the URL. That said, we found that we couldn’t get shortcuts to Facebook and Twitter to work on our E71 — we’re chalking this up to the fact that the software is still in beta stages.

Despite not being able to get shortcuts to work properly, our first impressions of Opera Mini 5 are positive. We look forwards to checking this out on a touchscreen device and the release of the final version. You can try it out for yourself for free by visiting on your phone.