Testing Report Between Opera Mini 5.0, UC Browser 7.2 and Bolt 2.1

This review is just based on July 2010 situation, when Opera Mini 5.0 final and BOLT 2.1 are released, UC Browser (UCWEB) version 7.2 is officially released as well. All this comparison is based on my own experience. The purpose is to introduce you the alternative choice for mobile internet surfing

Scale used (points)

1. Feature is missing.
2. Feature exists but implementation is poor.
3. Implementation of the feature is adequate.
4. Feature is well implemented, aka it’s good.
5. Implementation of the feature is excellent

OS Supported

  • Bolt 2p
  • Opera Mini 4p
  • UC Browser 3p

Bolt is a Java ME based mobile browser, its rendering and processing is restricted by the Java MIDP 2, especially in Symbian and WM OS. Except Java based version, Opera mini could support Blackberry/Windows mobile/Android. To UC Browser, exclude the generic Java version, the dedicated Symbian/Blackberry/Windows mobile/iPhone/Android version is all available

But is it too much and complex for the user to download? Whatever, more choice is better.

Speed and traffic cost

  • Bolt 4p
  • Opera Mini 4.5p
  • UC Browser 5p
article3-1.jpg

Opera mini and UC browser is based on proxy server-to-client architecture, the speed and traffic cost is much better than Bolt.
With the same architecture, it seems that the UC browser compressed more than Opera mini, But the high speed and less traffic UC gained is at cost of page quality loss.
Please see the rendering comparison below. At least, according to the speed and traffic volume tested , UC browser is the winner.

Bookmarks favorites

  • Bolt 5p
  • Opera Mini 4p
  • UC Browser 4p

Here are only assessed the simplicity and efficiency how bookmarks can be arranged on client side, not the possible synchronizations tools.

article3-2.jpg

Image 1: Bolt has bookmarks tab on start page. Opera Mini has speed dials and bookmarks are accessed via menu. UC Browser has separate bookmarks tab on start page.

Managing bookmarks on Bolt 2 is quite simple. Bookmarks are displayed on start page for easy access. Folders can be used, and what is best is the possibility to arrange bookmarks and folders. Therefore it is actually possible to do the same as on Opera Mini: show few “speed dials” at first and then all the rest in folders. Access is easy thanks to #0 key shortcut.

Bookmark folders are finally implemented on Opera Mini 5 as well. However, bookmarks and folders can’t be arranged, but they are in alphabetical order. Access to bookmarks is under menu, so several steps (clicks or finger moves) have to be taken to use bookmarks. User can however, create nine speed dials on start page. Unfortunately only small thumb nail images are displayed for speed dials. In case you have two exactly similar speed dials for the same Web site, you can only rely on your memory to distinguish them. Using speed dials and bookmarks are made simple and easy especially for touch screen phones, but this turns into disadvantage on non-touch screen devices.

Using bookmarks on UC Browser 7.2 is somewhat similar as on Bolt 2. Bookmarks can be rearranged and organized into folders. Access to bookmarks is almost just as simple as on Bolt. The bookmark can be synchronized and backup both from/to local mobile phone and server. You could share your bookmark both by SMS and Bluetooth.

Cookie and password manager

  • Bolt 5p
  • Opera Mini 5p
  • UC Browser 5p

Saving passwords and using cookies is possible on Bolt 2. Keeping passwords saved is very useful since some sites just does not seem to keep login cookies saved. All private information can be cleared at once.

Opera Mini 5 gives possibility to save passwords and keep the cookies, just like Bolt 2. There’s separate settings to clear passwords and cookies.

There’s no password manager on UC Browser 7.2 but cookies are saved. There is a option to clear the cookies as well

Download and upload manager

  • Bolt 3p
  • Opera Mini 4p
  • UC Browser 5p

Downloading and uploading works somewhat fine on Bolt 2. No special or highlights in Bolt

Downloading and uploading files on Opera Mini 5 works as well. Currently there is some server issues because uploading fails sometimes, and it has to be started again.

Some People keep on claiming UC Browser has the best file manager on J2ME browsers. According to my experience this time, it is much better than the others.
Fast speed, resume broken downloads, maximum 9 concurrent download tasks, maximum 3 downloading tasks, manually default download folder setting, and etc…
All files downloaded even deleted are remembered in download manager, so once you re-download it again, the system will remind you so that you could save your time and traffic.

Select, copy and paste text

  • Bolt 3p
  • Opera Mini 4p
  • UC Browser 4p

Select, copy and paste text works adequately on Bolt 2. Personally I find the Bolt’s “select box” cumbersome and inaccurate.

In Opera Mini 5, complete new and improved tools to select, copy and paste text were introduced. Selecting text works almost as it does on desktop browsers. You can select and copy almost anything, and paste it exactly where you like using inline mode. Only reason why I did not give full 5 points is lack of possibility to copy link URL.

I like very much is the possibility to copy link URL. This makes it possible to copy URL without need to open the page, but what is even more important is the possibility to copy URL addresses of PDF and other closed source format files. The copied content is stored in mobile clipboard rather than browser clipboard which can allow you to send the content by SMS or Bluetooth.

Settings preferences

  • Bolt 3p
  • Opera Mini 5p
  • UC Browser 4p

There are adequate selection of preferences on Bolt 2. Worth to mention is possibility to install fonts. Personally I find no use for it but I admit it can help making the UI more usable with proper choice of font used.

Opera Mini is full of useful settings. For some strange reason part of them are located on so called power user settings page.

There are plenty of preferences on UC Browser 7.2. Worth to mention are possibilities to change the shortcuts and choose the night theme (useful at night time).

Rendering

  • Bolt 4p
  • Opera Mini 5p
  • UC Browser 3.5p

Page rendering aka way how pages are displayed is very delicate issue and certainly a matter of personal tastes. All the comments here are certainly just my own opinions but when it comes to rendering, it’s important to remind the reader about this.

Bolt 2 continues showing Web pages as true as possible. This approach has it’s advantages. For example many pages and features that just does not work on any other J2ME browser works on Bolt, and looks just the same as on desktop browsers. For example here at MyOpera I can easily access all features of my photo albums. I can edit and sort photos etc. There’s also rather interesting split screen view available on Bolt, which is useful sometimes. However, I personally like Opera Mini’s zoom more.

article3-3.jpg

Image 2: Links to album details and to sort MyOpera photos displayed on Bolt and UC Browser, but for some reason these links are missing on Opera Mini.

In case of Opera Mini 5, I must confess being just so used to the way it renders the pages. I don’t care if pages are not always showed exactly as they are on PC browsers. Usability is the most important issue for me and if the Web site provides a page that looks nice and is easy to use, then I really don’t care if mobile site is different than users on PC can see. Many Web sites have finally started to understand how important it is to offer all the same features for all users, no matter what device they use. It is perfectly acceptable to give different content for mobile phone users, but it just should never be something less or limited compared to desktop browsers. Opera Mini 5 shows pages as I want to see them and that’s all I have to care.

Rendering on UC Browser is not so good as opera mini. But I still have to say it’s adequate, because at least they tried to offer a sort of desktop view. Their default setting is page view which is more fit able for the mobile with small-sized screen. In desktop view, many pages I use just looks not so good as opera mini. But on normal mode many pages are much better.

Save page

  • Bolt 3p
  • Opera Mini 3p
  • UC Browser 4p

Save page works just fine on Bolt 2 and it’s easy to access saved pages on start page.

Save page feature works fine also on Opera Mini 5. It’s easy to save pages and open them via menu. On Opera Mini 4.2 I liked the possibility to show few of the saved pages on start page. This is no longer possible on Opera Mini 5 but the lack of this feature is a question of start page features.

Except the saved URL page as opera mini and bolt, UC Browser 7.2 has an option to save the page as txt format which could save the mobile memory and easier to extract the content you like. Then you can easily copy to your word document or send SMS to your friends. After all, the content is more important than the URL, isn’t it?

Conclusion and summary

  • Bolt 3.55p
  • Opera Mini 4.27p
  • UC Browser 4.22p

From the point perspective, Opera mini is the most function-Rich browser with
most users around the world, and actually it is!
But its leading position is facing the challenge from new mobile browser players such as Bolt and UC browser. Especially for UC browser, comparing with its 7.2.0 version, more function and optimization is deployed in version 7.2.2.Bolt is good as well. But not good enough. As a java based mobile browser, the function they provided is enough for the java supported feature phone. But not for the smartphone with high processing ability and more memory. Bolt should consider how to satisfy these customers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *