Opera 10: It’s Final. And Worth Trying

By  |  Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 2:10 am

Opera LogoOpera 10, the newest version of the browser that’s arguably the most venerable one going, is now available in its final version. It’s very much the product I reviewed in beta version back in June. The most striking new feature is Turbo mode, which uses the same technology as the company’s Opera Mini phone browser to compress Web pages and thereby speed up browsing on dial-up and other sluggish connections. It’s noticeably zippier than standard mode, although its crunched-down images are pretty darn grainy. The tradeoff isn’t worth it if you’re completely gruntled with the speed of your Net connection, but I think I’ll keep it on hand for the next time I’m on an unbearably slow public Wi-Fi network.

Other major new stuff includes tweaks to Tabs (they can incorporate thumbnail previews) and Opera’s speed-dial screen, which provides one-click access to your favorite sites. As usual, one of the most notable things about Opera is its sheer volume of features–it incorporates an e-mail app and a BitTorrent client, as well as its own widget engine. Oh, and the browser has a nicely minimalist new look that’s an improvement on its formerly busy-looking self.

This “final” version of Opera 10 isn’t complete: It lacks Unite, the interesting-but-controversial new feature that embeds a Web server in the browser. ¬†Unite’s still a separate Opera Labs feature; if it catches on with developers, it’ll be a bigger deal than any of Opera 10’s other new features.

I’ve been using and enjoying Opera 10 over the past few hours; the OS X version is running smoothly on Snow Leopard, but the browser’s also available for Windows and Linux. (I’ve encountered one odd, minor bump: When I try to edit a Google Docs document, I get a view-only version–but it includes a link to a fully-editable one.)

As much as I’m enjoying the current Browser Wars 2.0, I think that switching browsers is an act best done by folks who are basically dissatisfied with the browser they’ve currently got. Every browser is capable of handling typical browsing tasks, and they all do them in basically similar fashion. But if you’re in the mood to try something new, give Opera 10 a whirl–especially if you’re still on dial-up. (According to Google Analytics, only slightly under two percent of you are currently running Opera, which leaves an awful lot of you who might like it if you tried it.)

Opera 10

 
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5 Comments For This Post

  1. DaveZatz Says:

    I’ve been using Firefox since it was Firebird, pre 1.0. Other than bogging down under multiple tabs, it does well enough. I probably would have switch to Safari if it natively allowed me to force new windows to open into tabs. No idea why that’s not included. Opera’s pretty cool for mouse gestures and the built in torrent client.

  2. ediedi Says:

    Who needs yet another browser?
    Nevertheless, I gave the mac version a try out of curiosity.
    It’s noticeably slower than safari, even on text-only type blog pages. Also, i find it visually cluttered, borderline ugly, not very well integrated into the OSX GUI, and it has annoying popups and useless information being displayed.
    Maybe on PC it fits better, for now i’ll stick with safari.

  3. DaveZatz Says:

    Forgot to mention… On the Mac, unlike Safari, Opera has a full screen “kiosk” mode. Ideal for those of us on 13″ screens.

  4. Mason Says:

    Always was a huge fan of Opera years ago on the PC, until it eventually got very bloated and ran slow on my machines.

    VERY zippy my MBP, though, feels like it renders faster than Safari, even. Anyone else notice a few pages not looking quite right compared to Safari/FF?

  5. Julie Tyra Says:

    This is great! Finally, I was really waiting for this to happen.

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