If you are still locked into an expensive cell phone contract with Verizon, AT&T or Sprint you know the pains of most likely being capped at 2GB and then either paying overage charges or being restricted and throttled to extremely slow speeds. That is where the Opera Max app comes in that can save you up to 50% of data usage with certain other apps. If you are not someone who is using a lot of data on your cellphone, I high recommend to head over and take a look at my review for Ting Mobile to start saving some money on your cellphone bill as soon as possible. And even if you are using Ting or another prepaid service, Opera Max can still save you either on your bill or towards your data cap depending on your service provider.
The basic concept behind Opera Max is that it will reduce ALL data that you use while on a mobile network by compressing it, sometimes reducing your data usage up to 50% on certain apps. The mobile Opera browser and more recently the mobile Google Chrome browser started to compress data, but that is only while using that particular application. Opera Max will work for using Facebook, watching YouTube videos and basically anything you do on your phone.
You will have to connect to the Opera Max VPN in order for it to work, and then that’s basically it. You can monitor the data usage and savings from inside the app, which is cool to see just how much you are saving. You can also see exactly when apps are using data and how much, so it also shows if you have unnecessary usage from an app that might be using a lot of data.
I noticed around 50% savings when watching any kind of videos whether it was on YouTube or other sites, and much smaller savings with other apps. I’m averaging around 10% savings which isn’t bad at all. You have to figure if you can get 200 extra MB out of 2GB that’s well worth it, and if you are paying for what you use you will take any savings you can get! You will notice slightly lower image and video quality on some websites, but you can always temporarily disable it if you need high quality. The quality change was barely noticeable for me and did not really affect my experience.
The application states that it “won’t touch any sensitive data and stays away from encrypted information, like your bank’s app or your secure email.” They also state that they aren’t storing any data when they are compressing your unencrypted data, although I would have to say that some anonymous usage data must be getting sold (they have to make money somehow). I’m pretty sure Google is already doing that with my information though, so I’m fine with using the application. If I do anything secure I just disable to application to be extra sure, but for anyone really concerned with their privacy just remember that it is going through a 3rd party when using this app – whether anyone is looking at it or not.
The application does need to be “recharged” every 7 days, which right now is just tapping the little battery picture and it will instantly give you 7 more days worth of savings. The only negative I really had with this app was how annoying the reminder is when you are not using the application, as it pops up in front of everything you are using telling you to recharge and doesn’t just go to the notification bar. I thought that I had disabled notifications for this app, but that pop-up seemed to override that setting. If it was just a simple notification I probably wouldn’t have a problem.
My Opera Max review is definitely favorable, as for now the application is completely free and most likely will eventually just be supported by advertisements or a very small monthly fee (I believe they were throwing around $1). It does exactly what it says it will do: save on data usage over the cell network and it does that very well for a ride range of apps. I haven’t really noticed any slowdowns when loading things with Opera Max and it’s really simple to use. You just activate the app, give the VPN permission and then let it run. The app is very “set it and forget it” and extremely easy to use. When you connect to WiFi the VPN will stay active but will not compress any data, it will work like normal. If you are looking for data savings as well as savings on your wireless bill I would recommend to give Opera Max a download and try it out.