Opera has always been totally underrated.
Blazing fast and lacking some major problems found with other browsers (in comparison, Firefox is incredibly sluggish), Opera has some loyal fans- many of whom use Opera Mini on Blackberry. Regular old non-mini Opera has a few features that might deter the internet-habitual, like the strange behaviors of the tab bar and the frustrating but easily disabled tab-thumbnail feature. (Does anyone like this? Anyone at all?)
So I was pathetically excited to give Opera a spin on my iPhone. The built-in Safari browser is okay- it’s never been bad but neither has it seemed very intuitive, and it feels clumsy at times. In the short time I’ve surfed around on the iPhone’s Opera Mini, it seems to be a bit smoother and easier to organize than Safari. Instead of having to tap the screen three to five times to shift between pages, a simple back gesture gets you back and forth more fluidly. Pages seem quicker to load and there were no instances of accidentally opening a new page. (Something that frequently occurs when using iPhone Safari and then I want to smash my phone.)
It won’t be perfect out of the box, and there are a few areas where Safari will have an edge. Zooming is a bit prickly for now, and images don’t seem to be as easily viewed or managed on Opera vs. Safari. But it’s only been out for less than 24 hours, and there’s time to catch up and see if Opera will put a significant dent in Safari’s iPhone dominance. Most people are content to use what God or Steve Jobs gave them and won’t venture past that, but Opera for iPhone is definitely worth a test drive if Safari hasn’t completely been cutting it for you.