Opera Mini for Apple iPad hands-on

Short of a high-speed data connection or long on roaming charges? Got an iPad? Opera has something up its sleeve for you
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We called it in our MWC rumours, but now we've seen it in the flesh. Opera Mini for iPad is in Apple's App Store holding pattern, following up its breakthrough on to the iPhone last year. So, any good?

In short, it's what you'd expect if you've used Opera Mini for iPhone. Pages are rendered on Opera's servers before being dispatched to your device at the correct screen resolution. That saves your tablet's comparatively small processor the bother and saves on data – handy if you're being stitched up by data roaming charges or finding a 3G signal elusive.

That all sounds idyllic, but we found some of the rendering lacking. If you just need the information, you'll be fine, and many sites render perfectly. But eye-candy heavy sites like find fault with Opera's speedily-produced renders.

Opera Mini's UI will be familiar to iOS users. That is to say it's slick, intuitive and easy to prod at even with a fairly clumsy finger. Some of the text input is a bit sticky, but this is a first attempt and it's nothing early adopters of Opera's iPad browser won't be able to overlook.

Opera tells us the stock Android Market browser should work with Honeycomb when the first Android 3.0 tablets hit the market, and says it'll be quick to fix any unforeseen bugs in the transition.

First impressions, then, are good. It doesn't compete with Apple or Google's native browsers, but if you're short on time, short on data or seething at the communications section of your travel expenses, Opera Mini looks well worth a punt. Pending Apple's approval, that is...