Is Opera Mini’s Data Compression Good Enough to Switch?

Mihir Patkar 11-09-2015

Opera, the “always the bridesmaid” of Internet browsers, was one of the first good mobile browsers Optimize Your Mobile Browsing With The Opera Mini Browser Read More . It has since been overtaken by the likes of Dolphin, Chrome and Firefox, but it still has a respectable following, especially on older phones. If you’re on an older Android, the new Opera Mini is optimized for aging hardware and software.


Also, of all the Internet browsers, Opera has always focused on one aspect more than others: data savings. The desktop version’s Turbo Mode Five Irresistable Reasons Why You Should Take Opera 11 For A Serious Spin In truth, Opera 11 is an absolutely amazing browser. If you take Opera as a “secondary” browser and only use it now and then, you may just fall in love with it. Here are some... Read More crunched data so well, it only made sense to bring it to mobiles. The latest Opera Mini for Android takes it to the next level with two modes: High Compression and Extreme Compression.

Can Opera actually mount a comeback with this new browser? Let’s find out.

Saving You Mobile Data Costs

One of the complaints people had with Opera Mini’s old data compression technique was that it messed with how webpages are supposed to look. You still got the gist of the page, but missing and distorted elements made it an unpleasant experience.

To fix that, Opera Mini now has a new High Compression mode. In this mode, the browser will crunch the webpage at its server and push through a lighter version to your phone.

However, it won’t be too aggressive about the crunching, so as to retain the original page as well as possible. So for example, an image might be compressed 3 Fast, Clean, & Efficient Online Image Optimizers To Shrink Your Images As a blogger and a normal guy who is running out of space on his hard drive, I am always on the lookout for a good image compression program. Thanks to the plethora of image... Read More , but you will still see the full image.



For the more traditional Opera Mini savings, you’ll need to use the Extreme Compression mode. “This mode is perfect for those of you on expensive data plans or unreliable connections,” Opera says.

It will aggressively crunch the page. You can also customize how much you want to compress in images, feeds (part of the new tab page, where Opera serves up stories you might be interested in), text size, connection type, and more—only the image customization is available in High Compression mode.

How Well Does Compression Work?

To test Opera Mini’s new compression, I tried loading a few MakeUseOf pages on both modes, as well as Chrome’s Reduced Data mode 4 Ways to Reduce Your Mobile Internet Data Usage with Android Apps You can reduce your mobile data usage without doing anything differently on your Android device -- just use these apps! Read More . I went in the same sequence, and cleared the cache before each attempt.


I also ran data monitoring tool Onavo Count to ensure the reported data was matching up with what my device was saying. Here’s what I found:


As you can see, the original size and final size differed wildly. Checking Onavo Count, I found that:

  • Extreme Compression mode exaggerated slightly, but was still significantly less than others, clocking in at 1.1 MB
  • High Compression mode was perfectly accurate, receiving 5 MB as stated
  • Google Chrome also exaggerated slightly, clocking 2.8 MB

How to Choose Compression Modes

Based on this, the new High Compression mode doesn’t make much sense, if you ask me. You are better off using Google Chrome with Reduced Data than that.


However, if you are on a spotty Internet connection or a limited data plan, then the Extreme Compression mode is fantastic. Yes, sometimes the pages aren’t loaded perfectly, but that’s a small price to pay until you get to a Wi-Fi zone. Plus, in emergencies, you can always switch to High Compression.


Opera Mini has made is easier than ever to choose or switch the compression mode.

  1. At the bottom of your browser, you’ll see an “O” opera icon.
  2. Tap that and you will see your current “Savings Mode”
  3. Tap the Savings Mode to be taken to a screen that lets you choose High or Extreme with a tap.
  4. In this screen, you can also customize the compression options, and check how much data has been saved by Opera Mini so far.

What Else Is Good in the New Opera Mini?

Apart from the compression, the new Opera Mini for Android works with Android 2.3 upwards and has other cool features, as you can see in the video above. You get:


Do Data Savings Matter to You?

While Opera’s new compression modes are great, the question remains, how important are they? Are you vigilant about your mobile data consumption, and does it matter enough to make you want to switch to Opera Mini?

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  1. Anonymous
    September 12, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Have you tried Opera Mobile browser? It uses the Turbo mode to compress data and increase speed during slow networks. I've tried Opera Mini and the reason why the data compression is so high was due to Javascript being disabled, that's why I switched to Opera. However the browser has some flaws: can't add search engines, page save don't work well, and sometimes crashes while displaying a trying to loader longer pages (less often than Chrome).

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 12, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Yup, I've used Opera Mobile too :)

      • Anonymous
        November 10, 2015 at 7:14 pm

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        I am looking for someone that will share a patented software that increases internet speed by 7x allowing people in rural countries the availability to have smart phones. It also decreases bandwidth by 50% android and ios apps available. This is a very HUGE problem that we have found the solution for. 98% reduction in compression. This is ALSO applicable to video compression. We are 6x better than blueray and skyfire our best competitor. Let me know if this is something you are interested in. We are a start up with a couple large accounts.

        Kalib Loy
        Squash Compression