Harry McCracken says Opera 10, just released today, is worth trying. After just a few minutes of working on the road, I’m inclined to agree. I grabbed the download for my MacBook, but you can install the new browser on Windows or Linux as well. Since I’m on a marginal EVDO connection right now — downloads are topping out around 600kbps — I immediately checked out the new Opera Turbo function. This speeds up browsing just like it does for Opera’s mobile browsers — it compresses the data on Opera’s servers before you see it on your computer.
I used the new Screen Recording feature of Snow Leopard’s QuickTime Player to show the speed difference on my current connection. In the video — no audio since I’m at a noisy Starbucks — I simply open up the jkOnTheRun home page in both Safari 4 and Opera 10. I have Opera Turbo turned on, although you can also disable it or have it kick in whenever Opera automatically thinks you need a boost. This isn’t meant to be a definitive browser comparison, but more to give you an idea of what Opera Turbo can do. Images suffer from the compression, but that’s a small price to pay for a speed boost.
I’ll have to kick the tires much more before I decide to move to Opera on a more regular basis, but Turbo offers a definite advantage for mobile device users. When we’re home, we tend to have faster or more stable connections to the web. On the road, we have to deal with signal variances and over-saturated airwaves — in places like that, Opera Turbo offers a huge boost.