Is browsing on your wrist a worthwhile experience? Opera will help Samsung Gear S users find out

The cool thing about Samsung’s Gear S smartwatch is that, unlike its rivals, it is itself a phone, rather than a dumb companion device to a smartphone. So, why not stick a browser in it?

That seems to be the logic behind a new port of [company]Opera[/company] Mini to the Tizen-based Gear S. Yes, you’ll be able to browse the web on a 2-inch, wrist-worn screen. Would you want to, though? As an Opera spokeswoman pointed out to me, when Opera Mini first launched eight years ago, it was quite common to use it on mobile phones with screens that small.

“At that time, you could browse, move up and down link by link with the number pad on the
phone. I believe there are still people using these 2-inch basic phones to access the web,” she said. “Now this smartwatch has the 2-inch screen but with more powerful computing power. It has Opera Mini 7.5, the same version some users currently have on Opera Mini for Android. People can easily do the browsing with fingers since this is designed for touch-based devices.”

I’d imagine that the teeny-tiny Opera Mini experience is only really useful for checking up on bookmarked sites on the browser’s Speed Dial menu. You can type on the device but it’s not ideally suited to the task.

Reading could also be annoying. There’s a reason that the Financial Times’ fastFT app for the Gear S is based on the Spritz reading app — it saves the user from needing to constantly squint. Oh, and the constant use of cellular data will probably make short work of the watch’s battery.

That said, I’d need to get hands-on with Opera Mini on the Gear S before passing definitive judgement. At the very least, it’s nice to have the option of browsing on the smartwatch, particularly if its built-in SIM slot allows users to leave their larger-screened devices at home.