Following the success of its browser made for the iPad, Opera has launched the iPhone version of its Coast browser. You can download the app now for free to enjoy what Opera calls the mobile Web experience you deserve. Spoiler alert: as with its predecessor, the browser still doesn't offer tabs.
Opera mostly removed buttons in Coast, in favor of swipes for navigation. While you can open as many websites as you want in their own tiles, you won't be able to open links in separate tabs.
Opera's iPhone offering is as pretty as the larger iPad version, with beautiful backgrounds and real estate devoted to page content. The only buttons throughout Coast are a speed-dial key that brings you back to the home page and a thumbnails icon on the lower right to pull up all open sites.
Gestures have replaced most of the typical functions on the app. Swipe down from the home page to search the web, refresh a page by dragging it down and long tap the background of the speed dial to change it.
We were most impressed by Coast's syncing ability. As long as you're signed into iCloud on your iPhone and iPad, your Web history is synced across the devices almost instantly. We watched as the thumbnail for Typepad.com popped up in the iPad's recent sites folder just as we left the page on the iPhone. We also like not having to set up a whole other account just to set up sync.
Other cool Coast features include an intuitive search tool that suggests keywords and thumbnails as you type. Each time you open the search page, Opera also displays a series of popular and suggested sites so you can discover new content.
A behind-the-scenes security engine checks out the certificates and reputation of a site before assigning each page a safety rating. You can see each site's rating and summary by swiping down on its preview thumbnail in open pages.
While the large thumbnails on Coast's home page look pretty on iPads, they looked somewhat crowded on the iPhone's small screen. On the whole, however, Coast is a handsome, basic app for the general browser, but power users may still hanker for tabs.
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