Opera Mini – Awesome, yet fundamentally broken.

Opera Mini for the iPhone is great.  It’s fast, supports tabbed browsing, saves your passwords, and has an intelligent and lightening-quick interface.  It will breath fresh air into your slow and dated iPhone (at least when it comes to the browsing experience).  Just imagine a world of scrolling freely as fast as you want without getting that stupid gray-checker-pattern that has to re-render that portion of the webpage.  Brilliant… right?

Well… there is a problem.  Webpages are completely unreadable when zoomed out to page-width view.  The rendering engine is actually horrible from this view.  But that’s ok, nobody reads zoomed out anyway right?  You just give it a little pinch to zoom in just a bit… WHOAH HOLY MOLY SLOW DOWN COWBOY, all of the sudden it’s FULL ZOOM right on that small paragraph there.  Hmmm, maybe it was an anomaly.  Let’s just pinch out a bit.. BOOM, back to blurry-cam satellite orbit view.  WTF?  Essentially, you have these two viewing options:

View from space

No, your browser is not messed up, it really looks like that.  Stop rubbing your eyes!  And here we have the alternative viewing option:

Super Zoom
Super Zoom

Yikes.  Sure, there are other bugs:  Html rendering is poor for many sites, tapping the top of the screen does not scroll-to-top, and there are HUGE JavaScript problems that render ajax-based dynamic pages useless – but this is by far the most apparent elephant in the room.

Dear Opera… Other apps use a gradual, granular pinch-to-zoom, which allows you to slowly zoom in or out on your area of interest.  Why can’t you?  Please fix this before you have people throwing up on their iPhones, and throwing out your otherwise wonderful app.

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