Now that Apple has given the green light for OperaMini to be a free download in the App Store, everyone has been installing the browser on his/her iPhone. As we recently reported
, because the Opera browser is said to be 2.5 times faster than mobile Safari, over 1 million copies have been installed after the first 72 hours. And while the download might be allowing iPhone users to surf the web faster, tests show that sites do not render as well as they do on the iPhone's native browser. The problem could be with each browser's rendering engine. Mobile Safari uses WebKit while Opera uses its home grown Presto. If you look at the pictures below of the New York Times on Safari (bottom) and Opera Mini (top), you can easily see the difference in rendering between the two. This happens because of the way certain features are stripped from web sites as they pass through Opera's proxy server in the name of saving time. The result is faster browsing, but poorer rendering.
TheAcid3 test is a test done to compare how well browsers stack up against each other side by side. A "100" is a perfect score and the best result from a series of cellphone browsers belongs to mobile Safari which scored a 100 despite some rendering flaws. Opera Mini scored a 74. The Google browser on Android 2.0 scored a 93. So while Opera Mini for the iPhone might be quicker than mobile Safari, what you are gaining in time you might be losing in the quality of the downloads. Has anyone noticed major differences between the two mobile browsers?Apple iPhone 3GS Specifications
Opera Mini on top, mobile Safari on bottom