The Truth About Opera Mobile 10 Memory Usage

Opera Mobile 10 - Acid 3 Test Opera Mobile 10 - GoMo News

It’s been a long wait but Opera Software today released the first Beta of Opera Mobile 10 for Symbian.  Supporting Symbian S30 3rd and 5th edition devices, Opera Mobile 10 is available  free of charge at

I’ve downloaded the new Beta onto my trusty Nokia N95-3, which is  the North America Market version of the original N95, and I am impressed. The first thing I did was run the Acid 3 Test where Opera Mobile scored 100 out of 100 points. On all the real world sites I tried rendering was beautiful and images looked amazingly. Compatibility with difficult sites seems high too. I was able to load the iPhone/Android versions of both iGoogle and Google Reader using Opera Mobile 10. Both displayed and worked perfectly.  That’s a good thing as neither of these sites works properly in  Opera Mini. The Symbian Webkit based browser also has problems with the iPhone iGoogle, although does great with Reader.

Opera Mobile 10 - iGoogle for iPhone Opera Mobile 10 - Google Reader for iPhone

One thing that bothered me was that I’m starting to see reports by users on Twitter complaining of out of memory errors running Opera Mobile 10. And then GoMo News published a piece provocatively titled “Memory problem dogs new Opera Mobile” which reports that even with nothing else running, Opera Mobile  10 on an N95 was unable to open the GoMo News home page or the BBC front page without getting an error.

My own experiences with Opera Mobile 10 on an  N95 where completely different.  Not only was I able to load both the 2.5 MB (why so big?) GoMo News and the 465 KB BBC homepages without error,  I could even load them both at once in separate tabs.  And then I loaded Wikipedia’s gigantic 1.5 MB “USA” article in a third tab, still with no errors. With all three large pages loaded, the browser didn’t even slow  down and was completely usable! Why such completely different results from two  N95s?

I’m pretty sure the difference is that GoMo News is using the original European N95 which shipped with 64 of RAM, of which about 20 MB are free at start up.  My US model N95 has much more RAM, 120 MB total, with 93 MB available to the user at start up.  That’s over four times the available RAM compared with the European model.

To confirm my suspicions I run a little test to see how much memory Opera Mobile uses and how that usage compares with the N95’s built-in Webkit based browser and Opera Mini 5.  The methodology was to power cycle the phone, load one of the browsers, clear the browser cache and check free RAM, then load each page into a separate tab, keeping all the tabs open and checking RAM after each page loaded. Results are summarized below. The first number in each cell is the free RAM in MB’s after loading each page, the second is a running total of how much total RAM each browser is using.  To check RAM usage, I used Phonetinfo, a lightweight free utility that tells you everything about your S60 3rd or 5th edition phone.

Opera Mobile 10 Opera Mobile 10 Turbo Opera Mini 5 Nokia Browser
Browser Only 82/11 82/11 89/4 88/5
GoMo News 56/37 68/25 87/6 71/21
BBC 52/41 63/30 85/8 65/28 *
Wikipedia USA 38/55 56/37 83/10 43/50

* The Nokia Browser was unable to display the BBC homepage, only showing the top header.

It’s pretty obvious why GoMoNews can’t load their own homepage in Opera Mobile. 37 MBs are required with only 20 available.  It looks like the built in browser would have run out of memory on that page too.  I think the GoMo piece should really have been titled “Memory problem dogs old Nokia N95-1” which is not exactly news.  The bottom line is that the new generation of advanced mobile browsers require lots of memory, particularly when loading 2.5 MB desktop pages.  If your Symbian phone doesn’t have at least 40 MB of free RAM at startup, you will likely get memory errors running the Opera Mobile 10 Beta.  3-Lib has a table showing the free RAM for virtually every Symbian phone.  Lots of early S60 3rd edition phones like the N95-1, E65 and N77 are pretty bad with 20 MB or less. Fortunately most recent Symbian phones do have enough RAM for Opera Mobile, though some like the N97 with only 46 MB free, barely do.  If your phone doesn’t have enough memory to run Opera Mobile, may I recomend Opera Mini 5. It has the same user interface and nearly as good rendering as Opera Mobile and it loads pages even faster and uses hardly any RAM.

21 thoughts on “The Truth About Opera Mobile 10 Memory Usage

  1. try changing the opera:config into the cache section. Opera mobile has default value for this which is more than the phone’s installed memory. Just write Opera:config to address bar in opera mobile.

  2. i think the problem in improved ajax dynamic javascript processing in the last opera versions. Dynamic means lots of code from the programmers point of view. It is always means the program must allocate much more memory for variables used by java machine to process scripts. Thats why opera mini needs in small memory to surf. You all talking about a budget mobile devices which was developed with cutted characteristics. So the main and brigt tip of this topic is to look for installed memory and use opera mini if all that you can say after surfing through the opera mobile is one mad word … :)

  3. My e71 has ALWAYS been fine with Opera Mobile 10.00. However on 10.1 and 11, I get very frequent memory problems – even though RAM is sufficient. Like Opera but this is a great pity.

  4. On my Nokia E71, I had no problems with Opera Mobile 10 and Opera Mobile 10.1 Beta 1. However, with the release of the final version of Opera Mobile 10.1, I get frequent memory problems.

    The phone didn’t change and the web sites didn’t get more complex, overnight. There’s something about the final version of Opera Mobile 10.1 that’s not functioning as cleanly as the prior versions.

    • opera 10.1 crashes often in turbo mode on my nokia 5230 but without turbo it runs well …. on opera 10 crashes didnt occur even with turbo mode !!!!

  5. i m using opera 10on nokia x6. After using for some time it shows ‘memory is full.close some items’,though i hv large free memory on my mobile.after that it exits.pls help….

    • The X6 only has 50 MB free RAM at start up making it marginal for running Opera Mobile. Kill all other apps before starting Opera Mobile and don’t open more than one or two tabs to conserve memory.

  6. So, there it is..
    Final Opera Mobile and still crashing memory as hell.. One word, crap..

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  8. Just for fun, I opened the GoMo News website using Opera Mobile 8.65, on a S60v3 device with 15 megs of free RAM. And the browser used 7 MB to load the whole website. I could open similarly heavy websites in other tabs.

    It is important to realize that this is just a *beta*, it’s not the final version. Opera’s added alot of gloss and animation, and that stuff takes up a decent amount of memory. I just hope Opera finds a way to scale this stuff – maybe make it so all the extra overhead stuff can be disabled for lower-mem phones.

    I’d wait till I get the final app. At any rate, the beta really seems neat. And after three years, I’m glad Opera released their product for the Symbian community. This should be appreciated.

  9. i am posting this via opera mini 10 from my e71. In the background: nokia messaging service, mail for exchange and nimbuzz are active. Also, just for the sake of it, i am running opera mobile 10 and the symbian web browser with 2 tabs loaded in both. I think… I have a good phone.

  10. Resolution for this memory issue seems to be to enable opera turbo.

    My guess is that the new opera mobile 10 browser is trying to cache something, while in my phone i had limited space, response from others above seems to indicate some other issue, when pages not going through opera turbo.

    about opera turbo, Sometimes opera turbo can also failed to load a page, but if just refresh it, it should eventually load, my guess is that there are probably millions of people trying to use opera turbo causing a massive load.

    One question, one of my favourite opera mini features is the RSS reader, where is the RSS reader on this new release?

  11. Leo thanks for the additional data point. I suspect that Opera 10 requires more memory on higher resolution touchscreen devices like the 5800.

    Out of curiosity how many tabs did you have open and what URL was loaded in each when you got the out of memory error?

  12. On my 5800, opera 10 gives the same problems with 62 mb free.
    Turning off pictures and using opera server works a bit better, but eventually gives the same memory error.
    If this error can be fixed, it is a great browser.

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  14. First i should congratulate for your evidence-oriented review. Todays browsers, also some applications require high memory. My nokia n73-1(hardly has 16-17mb RAM at start up) can’t run opera 10. I can’t make out the reason why nokia is acting ignorant with N97(and some other new models), their flagship product with so less ram.

  15. Hello Dennis,

    Thanks for taking the pains to clear the air on this, i read some of those alarming reports too, and wondered what was wrong with the installed Opera Mobile 10 on my E90 – I wasn’t getting any out of memory errors or crashes!

    I’ve even had both Opera Mobile and Web running side-by-side, and with several tabs open. No errors.

    Then I read your piece and that made matters clear. The problem is with RAM-challenged phones afterall.


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