Way back in 2009, when I had just acquired my first “true” mobile phone – the Nokia Xpress Music 5130c-2 – I was among the happiest people on earth.
I was using MTN then and internet bundle was much of an issue as it was pretty much expensive.
That Nokia phone, and those of it’s kind, are what we now refer to as “feature phones”. Yes, It lacked a mind to be smart.
The phone also runs on Java and any application that had to be installed had to be a java application.
We used to browse through the then-popular waptrick.com just to find some useful applications or games to download and play.
Opera Mini browser during those days was my best browser and I remember personally installing and recommending it for a lot of people.
We used Opera mini for basically everything – News, Facebook, wallpaper search and the likes.
On a feature phone like the Xpress Music, Opera Mini was the best because it loaded pages very fast in a city where 3G access was very limited even on MTN at the time.
Opera mini also did not use a lot of data bundle and this made it a browser favourite for a lot of people. Honestly, I can’t think of any other browser around the time that posed any threat to Opera Mini – maybe UC Browser.
Fast Forward to 2020, where the standard is a smartphone with at least 4G internet access and huge data plans.
Is Opera Mini really useful now? My answer – NO!
When I had my first true smartphone – the Samsung Galaxy S4, Opera Mini browser was one of the first applications I downloaded from the then Android Store.
After all, I had a relationship with the browser that has had my back for all these years. However, with each passing day, I became more and more disappointed in the application – it had not changed much.
All Opera Mini knew was speed, sacrificing other very relevant functionalities.
It’s very surprising that a lot of Ghanaians still use the Opera Mini Browser
Opera Mini remains one of the most popular browsers in Ghana. In fact, just last month, over 30% of the visits to Mfidie.com came from the browser.
But why don’t I like it anymore?
Opera mini also makes copying text from a website a nasty experience. The text is not wrapped effectively and if you do copy from within the browser and paste elsewhere, you would spend a lot of time “editing” the text to look just right.
Opera mini essentially limits the functionalities of websites and may even make a perfectly good looking website look so dumb.
Personally, as a publisher, Opera Mini is fast becoming a nemesis. I rely heavily on Google Ads and Opera Mini by default blocks every kind of Google Ad.
The browser is so aggressive at blocking ads that even image ads are sometimes caught. If 30% of my visitors are not seeing my ads, that’s huge. I take solace in the fact that all these people reading on Mfidie.com still get all the information they need.
Mfidie.com currently has a publishing agreement with Opera Mini’s sister app – Opera News, where our own Ads are blocked by default, and Opera places their ads, but revenue is shared. Maybe Opera can look at implementing that inside of Opera Mini.
And for everyday internet surfers, if you are using Opera Mini, you are definitely using it because of one or both of these reasons – speed and data savings.
I stopped using Opera Mini because a fast browser that does not deliver quality does not quite make the cut for me.
I discovered an old acquaintance – UC Browser. This browser delivered almost the same speed as Opera Mini as well as better functionality. I was able to do almost all that I wanted to do on any website of my choice.
Again, I think Opera Mini is not for your smartphone – we’ve moved past that level.
There’s a reason why there is a real Opera Browser on the Play Store (without the mini).
Maybe look at your browser choices. After all, if you have been able to stay in a relationship with Opera Mini, then you can love almost any other browser.
What do you think of Opera Mini? Do you still use it? Leave a comment below.
The first version of this article was published in 2017.