Opera 10: Faster and New Features

After 3 months in pre-release status, the final release of Opera 10 is now available. Opera is a very stable browser with a long history. It was also the first to introduce tabbed browsing, an idea now used in all modern browsers. Opera invented Speed Dial, which is now used in Google Chrome and Safari 4. The Opera Browser is also very multi-platform with versions even for Nintendo DS and Wii.

The first thing you would notice in Opera 10 is the new default theme. You can drag the tab bar down to show thumbnails of pages.

Opera Speed Dial

Opera has a new default theme and resizable thumbnail tabs

You can also customize the speed dial with a background and choose how many thumbnails to show.

Opera Speed Dial Options. You can choose the layout, background, or hide the speed dial completely.

Opera Speed Dial Options. You can choose the layout, background, or hide the speed dial completely.

The main feature focus of Opera 10 is the introduction of the new Opera Turbo. According to Opera, Turbo would make the browser run up to eight times faster when it is on a suffering or slow network connection.

Opera Turbo is a server-side optimization and compression technology that speeds up data transfer and reduces the amount of data that needs to be downloaded in order to view the page by up to 80%. Among other means, the compression is achieved by image down-sampling therefore some level of distortion in graphics may occur.

You can have Opera automatically turn on Turbo when it detects a slow connection.

Opera Turbo Settings

Opera Turbo Settings

With Opera 10, you can control where the tab bar should be. It can be placed on the top (regular), left, right, or bottom of the window. Simply right click to see the options and drag the gray line to resize.

Opera Tab Placement

Opera tabs can be placed on any side of the window

As usual, Opera has a built in mail client which works nicely as an alternative to others like Outlook. You can also add widgets that float around giving useful information. Theme are also available. However, there is no extension system nor are there any plans to ever implement it.

With Opera Link, you can synchronize your bookmarks, speed dial, personal bar, notes, typed browser history, and custom searches online with a My Opera account.

Opera 10.0 also passes the Acid3 Web Standards Test.

Opera Acid 3

Opera passes Acid 3

Speed

The Web is constantly growing and web pages and applications are becoming more and more complex. The speed of browsers these days are becoming extremely important and all browser developers are always working to improve their rendering engine and browser speed. I used Celtic Kane’s JavaScript Browser Benchmark Test. For each browser, I ran the test 10 times and found an average. Please note that results are relative to your system. Factors like CPU and RAM affect the results. My system stats for both OS was 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 3 GB of RAM. All browser cache, history, downloads, etc.. were cleared prior to running tests. Internet Explorer and Firefox were running without add-ons (though this probably shouldn’t affect the results anyway).

Windows 7 Ultimate Release Candidate (Lower is Better)

JavaScript Benchmark Results for Windows 7. Lower is Better.

JavaScript Benchmark Results for Windows 7. Lower is Better.

Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 (Lower is Better)

JavaScript Benchmark Results for Windows Vista. Lower is Better.

JavaScript Benchmark Results for Windows Vista. Lower is Better.

On both Windows 7 and Windows Vista, Opera 10 was slightly faster than Opera 9.6. Compared to the other browsers, Opera appears to be faster than Firefox and Internet Explorer on my systems. The test shows that on Windows 7, Safari was slower than Opera on Windows 7 but was blazing fast on Windows Vista scoring first place. Keep in the mind that the above test results are relative to my own system only. Each system will receive different results depending on system specifications.

Opera also features a built in BitTorrent client, which is handy, though it doesn’t offer as many features as a standalone client.

Some thing I found a bit awkward about Opera is the random Ask Search on the Speed Dial by default. After all, the default search on Opera is Google. This existed in older versions too. It can be changed under Search in the Preferences (Edit a Search engine and click Details). To add a new search engine, right click on a search form and click Create Search. Opera does not support OpenSearch (like Firefox and Internet Explorer). A feature that holds people back from switching to Opera is its lack of an extension system, though it does have an interesting widget system.

Opera 10.0 Rating:

Performance: 4.5
Features: 4.7
Ease of Use: 4
Value for Money: 5
Appearance: 4.5
Overall: 4.5

Opera, despite having less than 1 percent of the market share, is an excellent browser that I urge everyone to try. It contains a browser, an email client, as well as a BitTorrent client. Its free and supports a very wide range of platforms. The latest version adds a line of new features to what is already a feature rich browser.

Learn more and download Opera here

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By
Brian is the co-founder of TechAirlines. He is a developer currently focusing on mobile and web development. He is currently a sophomore at Stony Brook University, majoring in Computer Science.

  • http://www.reikitech.com ReikiTech

    Yes i found it was buggy also, the pages here load really slowly. I suppose it happens sometimes with servers

  • http://www.murder-meals.co.uk Murder Mystery

    Seems to be very user friendly. But Opera is really slow, ill try the new version