How to optimize web browsing with E71? Opera Mini, Skyfire, or native?

Excluding Internet tablets the E71 has one of the biggest screens present at the moment in Nokia’s devices portfolio. In combination with a landscape screen mode, it should implicate it as a good web browsing tool. Is it so? I’ve decided to check three web browsers available for E71 at present. I’m going to compare a native Nokia browser, Opera Mini and Skyfire 0.6 available in beta testing stage. The test will be simple. I’ll try to display two popular web pages (WordPress.com and YouTube.com). plus one more – optimized for mobile devices (m.digg.com). I will take into consideration definitely subjective browsing comfort, any instability experiences, and browser’s speed. All three browsers installed on my phone will be using wireless connection (WLAN) and 1 Mbps DSL line.

YouTube on SkyFireLet’s start with newest available tool – Skyfire. The tool is available in version 0.6, but it has already been announced that E71 will be one of devices supporting next release 0.8. Skyfire 0.6 crashed my phone right after the first start, but I gave it a second chance. Skyfire loads pages quite fast, which means less than 5 seconds, and automatically displays a whole page in one window. It makes the page illegible, but we can easily locate a part interesting for us. All you need to do then is to locate magnifying frame above area you’re interested in. Skyfire displays a given page after a quick process of focusing, so it looks funny, like setting a focus in a camera before taking a picture. Both WordPress and YouTube were displayed correctly. The biggest advantage of Skyfire is that the browser supports Flash. Yes, it means it can playback videos on YouTube. Unfortunately, it is not possible to display videos in PC full screen mode; you can only magnify the part of page with a player. The video and audio playback works smoothly, but it happened that the browser simply closed itself a few times. Skyfire seems not to recognize pages optimized for mobile devices, so by default mobile version of Digg will be displayed as a standard page. It makes you use magnifying here, too. OK, so we have a good browser, finally supporting Flash, but still not stable and not supporting mobile pages intuitively.

YouTube in OperaMiniNow it’s time for Opera Mini. This browser, likewise Skyfire, is not a real browser actually. It uses a proxy provided by the Opera Company to optimize the amount of data transmission and a time of display. It means every time you input an URL the page is squeezed by Opera proxy server and then downloaded by your phone. There is a full version of Opera but currently for the S60 devices its version is older (8.65) than for UIQ and Windows Mobile. Before Opera 9.5 will be available for E71, too, Opera suggests using the Mini version. So I did as suggested. What was the result? In case of displaying WordPress and YouTube it’s OK. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support Flash, so you couldn’t watch video files. What’s cool is that Opera Mini presents m.digg.com correctly, I mean as optimized for small displays, but you need to uncheck small screens option before. Opera has some problems with displaying some more complex CSS and sometimes the loading process takes even several seconds. I can imagine it could be even longer with mobile data transmission. We know the cons so what are the pros? Opera Mini is very stable and it offers extra services like managing your bookmarks using you web profile at opera.com. It is very useful, especially, if you often change devices.

WordPress in Nokia browserNow it’s time for a native Nokia browser. I’ll start with the fact that it perfectly deals with mobile pages. It also works fine displaying WordPress but by default it will only show you an upper left area of the page. You need to press 8 key to get the page miniature and navigate to an interesting area. I was using Nokia’s browser for a long time and I have observed only few crashes. Nokia browser supports Flash Lite 3.0, so YouTube movies are working fine. It is even possible to display videos in full screen mode. Regarding bookmarks management, the native browser can easily synchronize your bookmarks with your Internet Explorer directory using Nokia PC Suite. You may say it’s not very important. I think it does matter.

OK, so who is the winner? If you expect Flash player, and single exits won’t bother you, stay with a native browser or try Skyfire. I’m sure version 0.8 available soon will make you (and me 🙂 even happier. If you are interested in the stability, you don’t have a flat rate (so you care about data transfer) Opera Mini is just for you. Easy bookmarks management is for free 😉 I’m sure the mature version of Opera 9.5 will be interesting as well. If you like starting your browser automatically by pressing 0 key, stay with the native browser. I personally stay with all of them, until we will get a definite winner in this category.

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25 Responses to “How to optimize web browsing with E71? Opera Mini, Skyfire, or native?”


  1. 1 Sue Massey November 4, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  2. 2 NEd TAn November 4, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    i am sure the native browser supports flash. it is the main reason why i bought it and i am using it.. it has flash lite 3 support. and youtube the full version works perfectly, not to mention other flash video websites as well.

  3. 3 Dexter November 4, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    You’re right NEd TAn, thanks! Corrected version above 🙂

  4. 4 Dawid Lorenz November 4, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Flash support in native browser caused many issues in my case (for example when loading a site with lots of Flash-ads), since I’ve disabled loading Flash components, native browser works excellent and is my browser of choice (although I also have Opera Mini installed).

  5. 5 pshangov November 4, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    I use the native browser for mobile-optimized sites, and fire up Opera Mini with mobile view on when I know I am going to be reading content that is difficult to display on a phone. One big problem I have with the native browser, however, is that navigating backwards reloads the previous page (Opera Mini pulls it immediately from the cache). This is both annoyingly slower and consumes more data. Other than that I’ve been pretty happy with Nokia’s browser.

  6. 6 Martijn November 4, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    I can’t wait for the full Opera Mobile 9.5. Not only do I prefer the navigation to that of the native browser, the engine is really nice too. I’ve used Opera on my WM Smartphone and I can’t wait to revisit it on my Symbian. The 8.65 just doesn’t cut it, unfortunately.

  7. 7 Georg November 4, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    I prefer Opera Mini on my device. I.e. on my way to university by subway I got no wifi connection. Thus Opera Mini is much faster and saves a lot of traffic.

    “One big problem I have with the native browser, however, is that navigating backwards reloads the previous page (Opera Mini pulls it immediately from the cache).” (pshangov)

    Absolutely right and I don´t understand why the native browser can´t load pages from cash. The native browser is to slow for me.

  8. 8 hary November 7, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    I just check what is Skyfire. I visited http://silkworth.net/browser_os/basic.html using skyfire and it show the OS and browse It is like remote desktop actually or VNC.

    Skyfire computer is Windows XP, N.T 5.2, it is Vista. With Firefox 2.0.0.16…etc..etc. Check yourself.

    Now, the issue about security breach. If you are using Skyfire, whatever you are typing , they can see too !

    Hary

  9. 9 Dexter November 7, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Hary,

    Very good point. Actually those potential security issues, which you are talking about were also valid sometime ago for Opera Mini as the solution is very similar. I read some example that people were logging into Gmail account and they were seeing some other users accounts.
    Definitely this kind of proxy solutions are not as save the real browser.

  10. 10 Alejandro Alemán November 8, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    One of the reasons I bought my E71 it’s the flash support in the browser. But whenever I go to a site with youtube content embeded in it, the Nokia native browser only displays a white square. Am I doing something wrong?

  11. 12 IncidentFlux November 15, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Native is the safest but pretty useless on the codec support front. As long no banking privacy related activity takes place on proxing remote rendering browsers, its all good.

    We need a fully functional mobile web browser on par with Opera for desktop.

  12. 13 Artextatgag November 18, 2008 at 3:46 am

    As welcome as flowers in May 🙂

  13. 14 Jovan November 21, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Hi, i have question to ask you people, since it seems like you know a lot about that; i have nokia e71 and tried to download some softwares for my ps from some hotspot i was in, and automacically native browser is trying do istall it on my phone, no way to save it on phone memoru and later to install it on pc. Do you know the way to do that on nokia e71, that means to save it and not to try to install it, when it sais it is not supported.
    Thanx Jovan

  14. 15 Eduardo December 16, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    How can you copy/ paste text in the native browser?

  15. 16 mark February 10, 2009 at 12:52 am

    I’ve tried all three and concur with you comments. How can I change Opera-Mini to be the default. When I click in links in email it loads the page from the native browser. I would also like to paste addresses into the address bar.

    Good review.

  16. 17 F6survivor March 9, 2009 at 9:23 am

    I’m about to buy my e71. Just wanted to know if video calling is functional and how to watch online youtube videos if i’m in tanzania, africa.

  17. 18 F6survivor March 9, 2009 at 9:30 am

    I want 2 download games too. Is e71 a s60v3, s60v3rd, or.. ?

  18. 19 Asfaq Tapia March 29, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    I think when Opera Mobile is available for the E71 and other Symbian FP1 and 2 based devices, it’ll turn out to be a game changer.

    With the coming of Fennec, it’ll be an all out war on the mobile browser space soon and companies that provide the best browsing speed coupled with security and synchronization features with other internet enabled devices will win the long race.

    Interesting, times these!

  19. 20 Mohamed ElGohary May 23, 2009 at 11:56 am

    You can disable the proxy in OperaMini by changing the connection type from socket to HTTP, this way the connection is directly to server. So if you are on Wifi or unlimited (or large) data plan you should consider changing the connection, esp when browsing mobile optimized websites.

  20. 21 Jops May 26, 2009 at 3:56 am

    Hi, I know it’s a bit late. But it’s just now that I been searching for a better browser for my e71.

    I’m fine with the native browser, however, I cannot set a proxy server (if the network i am connecting too has one) on the native browser. I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this.

    Is the browser my problem? Or does the s60 3rd edition does not have any support for proxy servers?

    Thank you.

    Jops

  21. 22 epl June 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    thanks for your review! It helps me to decide which browser to use.i’ve been juggling the 3 of them as well.

  22. 23 Simona November 12, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Hello, i have done the same conclusions as you have made.
    I also tested the browser BOLT (both normal and lite version) but it works very very slowly compared to nokia and Opera browsers.
    One point: i would use Opera for general web browsing and nokia browser for flash and video streaming, BUT when you have opera installed you cannot watch streaming video in the nokia browser (i.e. megaupload and similar).In fact you got the warning message of upgrading to the next Flash version plugin, not the play button you always get when connecting to video streaming sites using megaupload and similar players.
    When you uninstall Opera, the Nokia browser is working properly again offering video streaming functionality.
    Can anybody suggest how this incompatibility can be solved?

  23. 24 Gus February 4, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I’m in Costa Rica, I have a nokia E71 (3G), I tried to access a website URL: https://webaccess.pg.com/dana-na/auth/url_default/welcome.cgi, it has SSL Secured(128 bit), after I enter my credentials (username, and PIN+Token) it gets into a loop and keeps asking for my credentials and doesn’t log me in. Other public internet sites work fine. I tried connecting to my Wi-Fi at home, intranet sites work fine but the website mentioned above gives me the same problem.

    I will appreciate your assistance.

  24. 25 Sam February 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    With the native browser I am receiving a constant web connection time out after only browsing a few minutes. I’m hopeful there will be some kind of update that will address this issue. I don’t have this issue with Opera Mobile. Now if I could only change the default browser.


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