Well it finally arrived. When I returned from work today, the Opera DS Browser was sitting on my doorstep. I thought I document the set up process, and my initial thoughts on the software. I didn’t know what to expect from the browser as I’d heard mixed reviews. The lack of Flash/PDF/Sound et al didn’t put me off. There were reports of slow loading time, but all I wanted was to be able browse the Internet at a moment’s notice. The way I saw it was a mobile browser for £25, which isn’t bad!
As the browser was a Japanese Import, I knew that the majority of it would be in Japanese, so armed with this handy guide from Opera
, I set about getting started.
I put in the cartridge, additional RAM cart that comes with the browser, and turned on the DS Lite. I was greeted with this screen.
Great – all’s well so far. It sees the browser, and the “DS Option Pak” as it put it. I touched the icon, and the program booted up. It was at this stage that it got complicated. As my default language on the DS is English, I was hoping that it would automatically translate everything into English. I was stupidly mistaken, and from this point on, there was a lot of guess work. The browser asked me to set up a few details. The first being this:
I have no idea what all these options mean, so I just left it on the first one, and clicked OK. I’m hoping that one wasn’t “Destroy the Planet”, or “Wipe you DS settings and make sure that it doesn’t ever work again”. It didn’t blow my DS up, however, and I was passed to the next screen.
Using my Sherlock Holmesesque powers of deduction, I took the letters GMT to have something to do with the time, so I set it accordingly. The next screen, however, was not so friendly.
I have no idea what these text boxes had to do with anything, so I left them blank and clicked OK. I was then taken to my DS WiFi settings screen. The connections were fine as I had set them up previously. If I hadn’t however, (and in particular if I’d never done it before) I would have been very stuck as the WiFi settings screen was in Japanese.
But all went well, and it loaded up the home page.
The buttons on the bottom of the screen are pretty self explanatory. They can be seen more clearly on this screen, and are explained on the Opera page I mentioned above:
I first went to www.google.co.uk using the URL button. Input is easy using the touch screen keyboard as you would for Pictochat. As you can see the first thing I noticed was the site was in Japanese. It’s no a big problem, as one click and you can view the site in English. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that some sites will set themselves to Japanese by default.
I then tried a forum site, and it found it fine, and loaded it up. As you can see the bottom screen shows the whole page, and the top screen shows the close up of the square in the bottom screen – you can move this square using the stylus.
You can flip the two screens over so that you can input text on the bottom screen. Here you can see the entry system.
My blog loaded up fine
As did Gmail (note again it defaulted to Japanese)
Once I logged in, however, it reverted to English (apologies for the quality of the pictures from this point on – the light changed…ahem)
BBC Sport was fine. There is a delay for loading up pictures, and it makes the whole page jerky until fully loaded. You can, however turn the pictures off with a click of a button, and this speeds up the whole process.
I then started exploring some of the features. I managed to save some favourites
And the handwriting recognition works as well as I thought it would – if you’ve played Brain Training, you’ll know what to expect! It is fine, apart from one or two characters. My terrible handwriting probably doesn’t help!
The settings button is just a minefield – I took one look and ran. I’m sure there will be a site soon with a guide. Or at least I hope so!
And that’s about it. I’m actually very impressed. The sites are clear and crisp, and it’s a smooth browsing experience. If you buy it expecting PC load speeds and functionality, you will be disappointed. It is a mobile PC at best, and should be viewed as one. There are many specialist sites out there for mobile devices (such as Google Mobile
), and the DS browser should be used to browse these.
I'll report more when I've had more time with the browser.