For a video demo of Opera Mobile 11 for Windows in action, check out my GBM shortcut. For my impressions of how well it works on a slate like the TEGA v2, read on. Opera Mobile 11 may be the best cross-platform tablet web browser around.
I won’t rehash all the stuff I discussed in the other shortcut review. Suffice to say, Opera Mobile 11 offers a highly fluid web browsing experience, but offers none of the usual functionality associated with the Windows platform. I normally use a lot of pen and touch shortcuts while web surfing, but that’s due mostly to having so much of my job on the web, both here and at my day job. For web browsing geared more towards consumption, OM11 is quite amazing. I found it offers even more when used on a smaller Windows slate like the TEGA v2.
Zoom and rotation
Screen rotation is an essential element of the slate experience with automatic rotation via accelerometer now the norm. One problem with this on Windows tablets is that window contents don’t necessarily resize when the window changes shape. To make things fit, manual zoom via pinch gesture is required and it’s not the smoothest system.
OM11, however, fits web pages to screen width automatically. Its fluid zoom capability and rapid page loading makes switching between portrait and landscape modes on the TEGA v2 an effortless experience. For the first time, I feel like there’s a big piece of that iPad dazzle on a Windows slate.
Switching between windows
One drawback to OM11 on Windows is that it does not offer a windowed interface. It launches in fullscreen and stays that way. On my T900, other than going to the keyboard, the only way to switch between windows is to close OM11. It closes and launches quickly enough that this isn’t a terrible inconvenience. However, the TEGA v2 offers a better solution.
The hardware “home” button on the TEGA v2 triggers the show desktop command in Windows. This does minimize all windows, so switching to another application requires going to the taskbar each time, but it isn’t much different from quick app-switching dock on an iPad. Really insightful of Hugo to include this functionality. I think every Windows slate should have a show desktop hardware button.
Enormous on-screen keyboard
The on-screen keyboard in OM11 looks almost comically large on my T900, but it’s a lot more reasonable on the smaller TEGA v2. Thumb typing is still a bit of a stretch in landscape mode, while the keys are too narrow for my fat thumbs in portrait, but typing with one hand has proven quite easy.
As I stated in my general review of OM11 for Windows, it suffers from a lack of Windows functionality, which limits it to casual, mostly non-productive usage. No plug-ins means you won’t be watching Hulu or Netflix through it either. However, there are plenty of other web browsers available on Windows for those types of usage.
On a small slate, doing the type of web surfing you associate with an iPad, Opera Mobile 11 for Windows really shines. Rapid loading and resizing really emphasize the benefit of automatic screen rotation, while the show desktop button to easily switch applications makes the experience that much more enjoyable. This software with this slate is an excellent pairing. I’ll be sticking with Firefox on my convertible T900, but Opera Mobile 11 is now my go-to browser on my slate TEGA v2.
Remember to check out my video shortcut for my experience with Opera Mobile 11 on a Fujitsu Lifebook T900 convertible Tablet PC. For more web browsing on Windows tablets, check out my shortcut on Firefox customized for touch and Warner’s look at Chrome.