So, if you still use Microsoft XP you would been flapping about a bit of late wandering what was going to happen to your internet experience now Microsoft have no intention of supporting XP any more. Its 14-years-old and they have had enough writing new code and patches to stop constant virus attacks and want us all to upgrade to new Windows products and so dumped us. It's a shame as it's a lovely operating system and does everything you need for the average computer user. It's kind of like driving a classic car and harder and harder to get the spare parts. One third of the world's computer users still use XP. 5% still use Windows 98! But fear not, a quick google and all is not as bad as it seems and no real need to go out and buy Windows 7 or 8 just yet. Browsers like Google Chrome and Opera have decided to help us all out and supply vital XP patches and updates for the next year or so, in Chrome's case for the next three years, a good PR opportunity for Google to get one over on Microsoft. You will have to check your anti virus protection though as Microsoft Essentials, what I was using, wont be encouraging people to stay on their now obsolete operating system by supplying regular patches. I took internet advice and moved quickly to Avast free virus protection, they, too, offering XP security for the foreseeable future. The Internet Explorer browser is also going to go unsupported on XP and so XP users will have to dump it. It's pretty crap and slow anyway with XP and so most of you may have already. Don't let your local computer shop talk you into expensive upgrades. An old boy I know was changed 80 pounds just to put Avast and Chrome on His XP run laptop, both free downloads online.I have chosen Opera as my new browser, the worlds fourth most popular with over 300,000 million user's world wide. It's basic and simple design borrows its look and usability from the others and as Google's default browser shares some of their technology. It's like the Torro Rosso Grand Prix car is to the Red Bull team. Its front page is similar to Chrome in that its lists your most popular websites listed in big squares icons/thumbnails and they speed you through to where you left off if you click on them, in some cases quite literally still logged in and on the same website. It's not big on security as far as cookies go. Make sure you logged off from your last bank account or porn site or the wife and kids may know what you have been up to if they share the laptop or PC.The search engine is all but Google and it has tabs and a search bar on top. ?Discover' is there front page Bing like set up with news and sport whilst ?Stash' stores your last websites visited in a stack formation. Again, hide that porn folks! It has some decent built in malware and phishing protection and a very popular mobile phone version of the browser. Opera is the only commercial web browser available for the Nintendo DS, DSi and Wii gaming systems. Also, some television set-top boxes as well as TV-sets use Opera to render HTML-based interactive content. Opera is a player because it has linked up with Google at just the right time. It will run with operating systems OSX, Linux and FreeBSD. The zoom is pretty cool as it works on webpage's. So far the experience has been with XP and no viruses getting through other than adware from shopping and certain opinion sites. It does have website compatibility issues as some sites that don't think Opera is big enough to handshake with compared to Chrome and Internet Explorer but I haven't had that many problems with that. It seems pretty solid in all aspects of browsing and may actually be able to download something on dooyoo one day without the 404. But that would be asking too much of any browser.
Now i'm not going to pretend to be some technological expert when it comes to web browsing, so this is quite literally going to mean idiots guide to the browser 'Opera'.
I first stubbled upon Opera when I was having internet troubles in my room. I feared and had been convinced that it was my browser that would be blocking access (see told you, no computer expert here) and so i changed between internet explorer, Mozilla firefox and Opera. I had previously used the first two on other peoples computers and in various colleges/schools. But this was my first time using Opera and quite frankly, i don't know how i got on without it.
I have been using it for around 2 months now and the improvement it has made to my browsing expierence is exceptional.
The speed of which the web pages are brought up are exceptional and depending on your connection will take a fraction of a second.
There are 4 really useful features which i think make this browser stand out from the rest.
1) When typing in a web address, if the website is recognised and used frequently, then opera will complete the entry, meaning all you have to do from here is hit enter. It's as simple as that.
2) Turbo. This is a really handy feature for anyone with a slower connection (also handy if wifi signal is weak). What it does is reduce the page. Reduces the size and quality of the page, meaning it loads faster. However for sites such as youtube and images, this is not so good. But if you are just after websites containing text, then it is perfect for quick browsing. It can be turned on and off by a handy little button in the corner.
3) And this i feel is super handy. If you are on a website that requires login details, i.e. Facebook or DOOYOO!! Then there is a button at the top of the screen. It shows the symbol of a key. You can use this is you have saved a password on the computer before. So rather than re-type it, simply click this button, and it logs in as the user that has been saved previously.
4) When typing on a website, such as writing a review on dooyoo, the browser spell checks the content. This i think is an American spell checker, and so is not always 100% relevant to the UK users, however is a very handy feature is you are writing in a hurry and do not have time to go back and read through it all; or copy and paste into word to check.
However, as Opera is still relativley new to the game, some applications on some websites may not recognise it and therefore some features of that site may not work. My university community site for example does not want to accept it.
With most standard phone browsers, it feels as if the phone makers' aim was to try to squash the internet down into something that wouldn't hurt their lovely babies - and remove half of your browsing options in the process. Not so with Opera Mini, the Opera mobile phone browser, which has clearly been designed to put the whole internet at your fingertips while on the go.
This is especially easy: simply go to m.opera.com on your bundled browser and the website will recognise your phone and offer you a tailor-made browser compatible with that handset. The neatness of this is that you only download the data you need.
Do bear in mind that on most smartphones, the installation will only be completed after a reboot - this can take some minutes, so it's best to do something completely different for about 5 minutes and then come back to it, rather than hover eagerly over your phone with mounting levels of frustration.
As mentioned above, this is a far better experience. Having most recently used the Blackberry standard browser, I occasionally found fault with it in that it would not be able to show some of the flashier elements of the internet. While this didn't affect bread and butter browsing, nonetheless it served as a constant reminder that mobile browsing wasn't meant to be fun.
Opera Mini changes that. It gives a home-screen with graphics of your favourite internet pages and a google search bar, much like the new tab view in Google Chrome. Also, it has a clever zoom function, which, like the iPhone, will zoom to fit an article's text on the screen. Gone are the days of zooming in only to find that the last three words on a line are chopped off, then zooming out and trying to read miniscule text!
Best of all, though, it even has tabbed browsing! While your phone gets a bit grumpy and slow if you have too many open and it isn't quite as simple to flick from one tab to another as on as full-fat computer, this is a giant leap forward for mobile browsing.
Scope for improvement
The browser comes with an array of shortcut options, but with the Blackberry trackball, it would be useful to have a key shortcut to move the page view up, down, left and right.
Finally, and this may just be me, but I have had to reinstall the browser once as it decided at one pointnot to recognise down movement on the trackball.
Currently I have a Samsung Jet mobile phone and I found that trying to use the inbuilt web browser on that was near on impossible when you wanted to view pages in full mode rather than mobi. Reading through various forums on the web expressing similar disappointments, I finally came across the Opera website and decided to give it a try. Now using Opera Mini Ver 5.1 and all I can say is - 'WOW'!!!
First off, you get the 9 speed dial buttons on the first screen which you can assign to any web page you want. Click any of those and the web page loads quickly - even in full page view mode. When the page loads, what you initially get is a big screen overview of the page, but a quick tap on the screen and Opera zooms in to that point. Scrolling around is also very easy and fast. You also have a cut, copy and paste utility embodied in the software.
Playing around in the settings menus and you have a fair bit of allowable customisation to achieve. Picture quality can be improved (but it will slow down the browser), along with text size etc. You can also set it to give you a full screen mode where it auto hides the menu bars.
Overall, I can't really fault it, other than to suggest that it would be nice to have a few more speed dial buttons on the opening screen. But to me, it is one of the best 3rd party browsers on the web for my phone.
I made the switch to Opera some time back from Firefox (which I still use on occasion) for the sole reason of being different, and I found it to be much better in a lot of ways to other leading browsers.
One of the features I like the most about the browser, and which was pretty much one of the selling points, was the "speed dial" option which you can set your home page to. What it is is a set of pages, set out in a grid, of your choosing. So I picked the pages that I check the most, as well as the ones that update the most frequently. You can choose between six settings - from having a 2x2 square up to a 5x5, as well as pick your own theme and background image. I saw the feature on Safari as well, but it seemed to only be your most frequently visisted pages, instead of ones of your choosing.
Opera was one of the first browsers to be really customisable, and I really liked that. It meant that you could change a lot about it to suit your own needs. Recently a lot of the more popular browsers have done that, but I think Opera's is the best.
There are a few problems with the browser, though, and most of them have to do with it being slightly less well-known than Firefox or Internet Explorer. This means that there are a few pages which don't work quite as well and aren't really suited for the browser. For the most part, it's great, but there is definitely room for improvement when it comes to adapting for some web pages.
It's almost entirely the small things that alter your views on a web browser - after all, they all pretty much do the same thing so it comes down to the features available. A few examples of little things: loading a particularly large image on Opera is annoying as Opera doesn't do that cool resize thing that Firefox does, and while Opera doesn't have as many add-ons as Firefox, it does seem to be improving a lot more.
It does come down to small things, and in a few ways Opera does fail, but I think it comes out victorious in look, customisability and user-friendliness.
I'm not that big on technology and not that computer savvy so please don't expect a technical analysis here. You're not going to get one. If you want one, there are plenty on this site that offer good technical comparisons, even if you don't really know what their talking about. I'm going to come at this as a layman.
I have been through a number of web browsers in the past and have listened to advice. I was initially recommended Internet Explorer but found that it began to not load pages properly and have numerous 'page not found' messages despite the fact that the webpage existed and was fine. Then Firefox which worked better but now has issues with some e-mail sites such as hotmail and gmail. So, bored of listening, I wnet maverick and picked one myself. That one was Opera. Nice title I thought. Indeed, not a great criteria for selection but I had nothing else to go on.
So, is it good and does it work better than the others. Well, no. The same problems seem to persist. It does seem to use less memory which is good and helps things run faster but I have found it's flaws are somewhere between those I experienced with both Explorer and Firefox.
There are still inexplicable 'error' messages on webpages that exist which I can't fathom. Sometimes it doesn't load e-mail sites properly especially not gmail where it gets stuck redirecting or sometimes just freezes outright. I have also found that it crashes on some sites such as cashback sites which is incredibly frustrating. I have found the regularity of these instances is now increasing too.
So, is there a browser that actually works well? If there is, I haven't found it, but I'm still looking.
I was first introduced to this browser a number of years ago, by a friend who always likes to test software like this out. I instantly took to it because of the way it manages the internet pages and the features that it possesses.
It's easy to grasp and simple to understand. It's downloadable from operas website and the installation process is basic and straightforward. Once you've downloaded, that's pretty much all you'll ever need to do as it self manages itself and looks for the latest updates and keeps itself to the latest version. The space required on the hard drive is minimal and the amount of processing power and memory it takes up while it's running is the same.
One of the benefits is that it does tabbed browsing. Not so unusual now that every internet browser possesses this capability but I do remember it having it years ahead of any other one which can only mean they are more experienced in this field. It is however more advanced in two areas where I haven't seen this really enacted on any other competitor. The first is with downloads: All of your downloads are managed from one tab, and not in any kind of separate window so you can just click on it and see what process your file is on and then navigate away from it. The other is images. Say, for example you click on a set of ten images, to save you going back to the page and clicking the next; Opera seems to recognise this and lets you scroll through each one. This is fantastic and is in no other browser I've used. You can also manage your tabs and move them across to the order that you want.
In terms of reliability, I can't fault it. I think it's seldom crashed on me and when it has, it's usually been the fault of another program. Even when it has crashed and I've reopened it, it's given me the option of starting off where it left so it reloads all of the pages and it's as if it was never closed anyway. When you close routinely though, you can also start when you left off.
It also has its own start page whereby you can put all of your favourite sites on this, allowing you quick access to where you want to go. Effectively, you have a dozen start pages instead of one.
There is one fault I've experienced with it though and is not something I've able to overcome, which is that it really doesn't handle streaming tube videos (YouTube, for example) very well at all. I often find getting it into full screen is a real hassle and it's at that point when I seriously contemplate using a rival browser.
That said though, It's free and it's an incredibly powerful piece of software. It also works across a range of other platforms such as a version for your mobile phone and the Nintendo Wii, and with these you can really see where it keeps its consistency. It's also free so the worst thing that happens is, you give it a go and you don't like it and then revert back to your old browser.
My advice is, give it a try, you really have nothing to loose and everything to gain.
Being a specialist in website design and Internet technologies at Uni, I often have 5 or 6 browsers on my PC at any one time to test my websites under these different browsers. The Opera browser has been around for some time and at its peak was better than Firefox, that there is no doubt about. However, over the years as more names enter into the 'browser wars' Opera has slipped down the ladder in terms of speed and efficiency and has slipped so far, that it is almost as slow as Internet Explorer which is very slow indeed.
It is not that Opera haven't made breakthroughs or increased the speed of their browser, it's the fact that their rivals are simply one step ahead of them.
One of the main features of Opera is its speed dial screen which allows you to enter 9 of your favourite websites that you can click and be directly linked to. At one time, this was unique to Opera however now many browsers (particularly Chrome which is near identical) have a feature such as this. Opera, like Safari, also contains widgets. These are little applications that can be run to perform certain tasks or provide some momentary entertainment. However, I must admit that Opera's widgets are pretty poor in comparison to those of the Safari browser.
One bonus of the Opera browser is that there are numerous themes available both from the Opera website and third party sources. However, this is Opera's only saving grace.
This would have been a great browser if it was released much earlier however, Opera browsers now seem dated in comparison to their competition.
A few years ago I'd heard of the Opera browser, and whilst Firefox was crashing and hogging both the RAM and the CPU power it was time to have a look at this now browser. Originally released in 1996 by the cleverly named Opera Software Company the browser was one of the earliest on the market but it wasn't until around 2003 that I'd heard of it. Originally as an arm of Telenor, a large Telecom company in Scandinavia.
The browser was originally just for the Microsoft operating system and operated on a trailware basis, which a few years later turned into a multi format system that was paid by adverts. In more recent times the project has had funding from Google. With the release of the Wii and DS consoles Opera was released as a browser for both (though neither are free) which has seen a much wider usage of the browser than ever before. As well as this the brilliant Opera Mini version of the device has been made free and available for download on most recent phones that totally changes the mobile internet experience.
So there's the history how about the product?
Well the current version I'm using is 9.64 (which appears to be the newest version released) and as a browser was actually the first thing I downloaded on to my laptop due to previous experience with the past versions of the browser. As a result it has often found it's self as the primary browser and it's nuances have been cleverly picked up and started to be used almost by second nature.
Like many of the rivals the desktop version of the browser features tabs, like Chrome, Firefox and new versions of internet explorer. Which is now a must in any browser (though this isn't on the mobile version of the browser) and unlike Chromes tabbed browsing theirs never been any accidental window making that's seen tabs becoming windows by accident. This means the browser runs as 1 task and still has the ability to drag tabs into their own windows and close them efficiently (again something Chrome fails to do).
The speed is important in all browsers and although it may not be as quick as chrome to load up a page (a rough test to load Google on my internet gave a 3 second Chrome time and a 3.6 for Opera), it is almost unnoticeable over the long run and makes such little difference that you won't really care much. In fact the Opera over the long term is much faster as you don't need to close it every time you close a couple of tabs (the browser keeps the tasks running and so it still uses up the computers power in both CPU and RAM).
As with firefox and internet explorer the ability to save book marks is a key feature, yet something I found even better was dragging the tabs into e part between all the tool bars and the tab bars. No longer do the book marks need to be found through the tool bars, then are just a click away and open in the active tab almost immediately. This may have been added to newer versions of firefox, though I've not used a newer version on a decent laptop in quite a while so this is something I'm not aware of using.
Gestures are another key part of the Opera experience, the way you use the mouse and the mouse buttons now effects the way you can browse. Although there's going to be more than the 3 I use on my laptop (hold left + click right is "next", hold right + click left is "back" and click right + click left is "scroll") I find these hugely useful especially for using on sites like BBC or wikipedia where browsing backwards and forwards is something that is done on a regular basis. Again this is time saving as opposed to anything important, but saving any time is always a good thing.
The final time saving trick is the wand (there is similar features on other browsers) that stores all your passwords for any particular site (so if you use multiple login ins for emails or forums they can all be stored). This means you can login into sites with a click of 2 buttons (the wand followed by the login account) as opposed to typing in your user name and then the password.
So what are the problems with it?
Well it's not perfect, far from it, it seems to refuse to open some sites properly and others just cause it to crash immediately. Closing the browser instantly and allowing you to open it with out needing to close the task via the task manager. This has been a problem for me on gamefaqs.com and a certain site with naked ladies on. This may appear like a huge problem, but as I know which sites cause it to crash, there's no real problem there, just a matter of avoiding them.
Other sites don't totally work correctly with it (most notably for myself is Betfair.com) which are usable but not at 100%. This has often been a big problem when it comes to Microsoft based sites, Hotmail at one point wouldn't load properly on the browser (this seems to have been fixed) whilst some job websites are totally unusable on either this or Chrome. Thankfully leaving i.e. on the computer just for this has been a slight saving grace of i.e.
The browser is the most complete so far, despite it's rather large flaws they are easy enough to avoid if you think about things in advance. It's not difficult to run a back up browser for the naked ladies when needed or for gambling and gaming sites. As Opera doesn't overload either the RAM or the CPU this is a wonderfully swift browser that's not system heavy despite the ability to have a hefty amount of tabs running at once.
Before I found Google Chrome I had escaped from the dominant King of Browsers Microsoft Internet Explorer to Firefox and then Opera. Like I said in my Chrome review I had been with Microsoft for years as I didn't know there were competitors or how safe and reliable they were to use. Opera was recommended to me by a techno savvy person as explorer kept crashing on me on both my Vista and xp computer and me and Firefox didn't seem to get along.
** Opera and getting it**
When I first heard of Opera I did think it was a silly name and kept reminding me of music and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Theatre Production which gets me singing the theme to it. But as it was recommended by people in the know I thought I would give it a go.
I googled Opera and was able to get straight into the page to opt to download. Opera has an oversized O and is red in logo and design. When you hit their page there is a clear green button to allow you to download the web browser (9.64 version) for windows.
It also operates as a browser for other devices like my current Samsung mobile phone. They also offer other products like Opera mail but I haven't tried that yet. Once you go through the download procedure it is pretty speedy and you get a big red O as a shortcut on the desktop to be able to access the browser. It gives you the option to make it your default browser.
I put Opera as my default but kept firefox and explorer as backups due to my vista problems!. When you open up Opera it has a distinct look to it and looks quite simplistic and classic. Across the top are the usual options for file, edit, view, bookmarks, widgets, tools and help. Underneath this you have a tab type bar where you have a homepage which can be made a speed dial page of your favourite 9 web pages.
My newest web browser of Chrome has a similar option to this and perhaps got the idea from opera. I love this idea of 9 mini snap shots of my favourite pages to click into. It is easy to right click next to the tab to open up a new page of speed dials or click the speed dial to open the page up automatically. Underneath this is the web entry box if you know the direct web address. Like the other browsers it will predict what you might be typing to speed up your search process. Underneath this are the buttons for fast forward and rewind, home and refresh and a small Google box too. You also get an ask jeeves box on the speed dial too. Down the left hand side which are hide able are little icons for bookmarks, widgets, notes, history and transfers for quick access.
**What is different**
Like Chrome which has followed the mini snap shots are good. The layout is clear and simple and it has a magic wand option to save passwords for your favourite sites which I did use but not for financial ones. I love the magic wand concept of clicking the golden wand and like magic you enter your sites! It is like being Harry Potter or a Wizard and swish swash the secret page opens!
I actually wondered what on earth a widget was as sounded like midget to me. Worked out though that widgets are interesting little devices like games, clocks, crosswords etc that you can add and are classed as fun and little useful devices. I haven't really used this function though. I used the bookmarks regularly though to add favourites. The transfer option is a record of documents you have downloaded via attachments which is also used in Chrome and Firefox.
Opera was easy to download and easy to set up my speed dials. I have found it to be fast in loading pages but not as fast as Chrome which outstrips it. It does predict quickly though what you might write in the address bar. I loved my speed dials and magic wand option too.
The reason I fell out of favour with Opera was that it kept crashing and conflicting with Vista and I would have to shut down the laptop to get it to open up again properly. As I have a lap top it tends to be on a lot and I am not as good at shutting down preferring to hibernate it more. This was therefore a bugbear when it kept crashing and meaning I had to go back to Firefox and Explorer which were a lot slower and more unreliable. I think this is a good web browser and reliable and safe and speedy but the flaw in it that if it does not respond you have to restart and that happened too many times. I have since moved to Chrome as my default browser and rarely dip into Opera now as chrome is far better. This is not entirely Operas fault though and is Vista which is known for its gremlins!
I would rate it 4 stars as I think my computer and my patience lost it with opera but I think it is still better than Firefox and Explorer. If I didn't have Chrome I would use Opera as my default but now it is relegated to second due to me now using chrome which is still going strong for me. In fact I need to go back to my Chrome review and upgrade it to 5 stars instead. As for Opera on my phone that has been a fabulous and easy reliable browser too!
As I said before one browser is not the best or perfect for everyone's uses and tastes so keep those options open and have a few back up browsers! If Vista had not been a pain and I had not heard of Chrome then I might have stuck with this browser as it is pretty good overall!
I have never been particularly enamoured with the Internet Explorer, and even in the old days of Internet on Windows 3.1 (honestly!) I was much more of a Netscape girl.
Nowadays the main contenders (in the PC+Windows market, anyway) are clearly IE and Firefox (the amazing raise of the Firefox is one hopeful story for all those that doubt whether the better will ever oust the worse - it shows that if it's free and easily available, it probably, eventually, will). Chrome is raising fast, but Opera keeps trailing at around 2% - and it's a pity as it's my favourite browser by far.
I will not give you a long run of features and specs, because I am not an IT person and I can't make such professional judgements, but as a user I love Opera, mostly because it has very natural, user friendly interface. I find it extremely easy to operate intuitively (and have always done - this is what drew me to Opera in the first place, no need to manuals or trailing through Help files) which is ideal for a person who browses and interacts with a lot of websites. It is also supposedly very safe (partially because it's less common so it's not so worthwhile to try to hack).
The biggest advantages of Opera over Firefox (I will not compare to IE as it's not even worth considering) are in my opining as follows:
1) It's FAST. For some reason the pages load and the search results display noticeably quicker in Opera.
2) A brilliant wand feature which means that you can save your login data which works at a click of the mouse from a drop-down menu, so you don't need to type even the first letter(s) of your user name in to get the saved details. Faster, neater and easier than Firefox).
3) It is the only browser as far as I know that has "duplicate" feature. If you right click a tab you can choose to "duplicate" it, meaning exactly that - its exact copy (including the trail of pages leading to it) will appear in a new tab. I find I use this feature all the time when browsing.
4) It gives you a choice to open pages in background tabs when you right click the link or jump straight to the newly opened tab. Firefox doesn't have this choice every time, you have to set it up in options.
5) It has a brilliant "personals" function which makes it extremely quickly to complete any web forms (let's say registrations at websites, competition entries and similar). This form has several fields with places for name, address, phone numbers and emails, but you can really use the fields in any way you want. It will automatically assume that what's entered in the email field is your email if you for example attempt to log in using a wand into a site for which you actually have not saved a password, but normally it has an auto-fill function which means that when filling in a form you only need to type in the first letter of the word, and ANY fields from "Personals" that start with that letter will appear. It's flexible and really easy to use.
6) It has a fantastic feature called "Notes". This opens in a separate tab and allows you to type in whatever you want (text only). It gets saved automatically. But Opera also has "copy to Notes" function in its Edit menu, meaning that if you want a piece of text from anything you are reading saved for later, you can just copy it to notes instead of copying to clipboard, pasting somewhere else and saving the file. This is one keystroke or one right-click operation and anything copied to Notes stays there unless you delete it.
Even better, anything from Notes can be inserted in any Web form, either using a right-click menu of the mouse; a list of all Personals and Notes appears also when you press the scroll-down key while in a web-form field. This is really good for any longer (or shorter) text that you want to use regularly but perhaps not as often as Personals.
My Notes are filled with stock phrases and standard lines for my articles, I have most of my customer numbers for web shops I use there, quite a few telephone numbers and addresses too; as well as a number of paragraphs from on-line materials that I found worth preserving.
7) You can really easily customise all toolbars. You can add links to the toolbars by just dragging the tabs onto them, you can format them to display just the icon, icon and text or just text, you can use all toolbars, not just one designated Bookmarks bar, and everything that you place on the toolbars gets saved in Bookmarks, but when you delete it from the toolbar it doesn't get automatically deleted from the Bookmarks. I even have a toolbar with my most frequently used icons that pops out when I click on the address filed in the address bar - very quick and handy.
8) Any changes of preferences or settings are easily done, easy to locate in a very intuitive way and easy to control and customise.
There is lots more to Opera than that, including a nifty embedded email system which I don't use but used to) as well as multiple widgets (which I have not used so far either, but have heard good things about). The above were just my specific favourite points.
However, Opera has also (as most good things) noticeable disadvantages
1) The biggest (and to be honest, the only serious one for me) is that as Opera is a distinctly minority pursuit, many websites don't work in it or work in a limited way. It's not Opera's fault, but it means that I still use Firefox as frequently as Opera (in fact I normally have both up and running at the same time).
The major sites that I use very frequently that don't work in Opera or don't operate fully include:
*Google Mail - real disaster here as I use it all the time.
*Some aspects of eBay including many of their drop-down menus, some sort functions, PayPal payments (the PayPal site works grand, so it's eBay's glitch) and the embedded photo upload function.
*Some minor aspects of Amazon.
*Tesco.com (which doesn't work very well in Firefox either and thus is the only reason I ever open IE).
2) The way the Bookmark management screen works is long-winded and - surprisingly for Opera - not very intuitive
3) Some versions used to crash every so often. Te one I have now (9.64) doesn't, but you never know for the future.
I wouldn't be without my Opera. It's fast, intuitive and has functions (without a need for any special add-ons) that make my life on-line significantly easier. I wish all sites I use regularly supported it (take notice, Google!).
Opera is another great web browser which is sadly under-used by the hordes of Internet Explorer users (people who don't know and better).
Opera is very much at the forefront of web browser technology and is responsible for a lot of the new features that are replicated in other browsers. Common features such as tabbed browsing which Opera invented first are now available in all other modern browsers.
Likewise Google Chrome's idea of showing you your most-visited sites is directly taken from Opera's nifty Speed Dial feature.
For general browsing, Opera is a great program to use - I particularly like the way it handles passwords (one advantage over Firefox). Opera will store your passwords for certain sites as a drop-down list whereas Firefox will ask you to type them in - this makes it much easier for me to access sites such as 123 Reg, where I have multiple accounts.
I personally use Firefox as my main web browser and not Opera. Why do I do this? Well, although I like Opera it's just not as customisable for me as Firefox is. There's certain Firefox extensions that help me out in my job as a web developer and these just aren't available in Opera.
Opera is a very popular web browser available which is available for several platforms including Windows PC, Linux or even mobile phones.
In this review, I will discuss mainly the windows PC version of opera (although I've used the Linux version and it is not substantially different).
Opera is an all in one web browser which boasts incredible web surfing speeds, low amounts of security flaws (lower than IE or Firefox for instance), and high flexibility and integration.
Currently, Opera is in version 9.62 and releases updates frequently and approximately one major release per year.
In the most recent version of Opera, Opera software have included in their product, multiple tab surfing (available since opera 6.0 I think), an integrated E-mail client, an integrated Chat client, widgets (which can be downloaded from opera's website), a torrent client, and several other bonuses which can make this software almost a universal Swiss army knife of web browsing. Most of these sub applications are quite complete and can substitute well known applications such as outlook, bittorent or Mirc.
The aforementioned E-mail client, for instance, is compatible with most third party e-mail clients such as Thunderbird and Outlook express, allowing users to automatically import contacts and settings from other clients and is compatible with both POP3 and IMAP E-mail accounts. The E-mail client's user interface is very intuitive and is not much different from what most users are used to with other clients.
The IRC client is simple and configuring the several options is very easy. The other chatters in the IRC channel are presented on the right hand side of the screen and the conversation is center screen (similar to Mirc for instance). Nonetheless, Opera's IRC client is not as powerful as some alternatives since it is not possible to change text colors or other parameters.
The widgets are very nice and useful. Many can be found even from inside Opera's own widget search option. Nonetheless, an easier way to hide the widgets when they are not in use would provide an added value to the application.
Adding to the above, Opera also includes a handy pop up blocker which works very well (at least I do not tend to get many pop ups), mouse gestures (by simply clicking the right mouse button while in opera and dragging the mouse to the left, the back page option is activated for instance) and a speed dial option which presents your favorite 9 web sites when the application starts or when a new tab is opened.
Opera also allows the user to change the skin (for those of you who like to customize your applications), the location of the several panels and even to simulate Internet Explorer or Firefox when visiting certain web pages. This allows Opera to display correctly some pages that otherwise couldn't be displayed correctly.
Overall, it is definitely my favorite browser. The only negative aspect I can point out is the memory usage of opera. Nonetheless, if we consider that I am running at once a web browser, torrent client, E-mail client and Mirc application, the memory usage is not that high (currently 128MBs of ram are being used by Opera).
I used to be a hard-core believer in IE (5-6) for most of my internet browsing years. In fact, for a good part of that time, I was not even aware there were other browsers out there. The popularity of Firefox caught my attention somewhere down the line and I started to use that as well, but the good user experience and familiarity I had with IE found me always getting drawn back to it. That was until about a year and a half ago a friend of mine suggested I try out Opera, and it was love at first sight!
Note, the version I am reviewing here is 9.61 (Help -> About Opera get's you to where the version is shown)
***What I liked about it***
This was a feature I really found useful and I could say one of the main reasons I decided to switch to Opera almost full time. As a casual web user there are a few sites that I visit about 80% of the time, such as dooyoo, my yahoo and gmail accounts and of course google.com! I'm sure this is true for most other web-users as well. The Speed Dial allows you to save up to 9 of these pages in a cool panel sort of view that come up every time you open a new tab. So you can either click on one of the thumb-nail views showing the web-site you want to go to, or type in the URL in the address bar if it's another site.
Retains Settings saved in IE:
So I don't need to start saving all my favorites web-sites again from the beginning! It made the transition from IE to Opera really smooth and pain-free.
Easy to create new browser tabs:
Since my switch to Opera was from IE 6, which did not support tabbed browsing, and the only other browser I had used that supports tabbing was Mozilla (which I found the procedure for creating a new tab to be a bit cumbersome in terms of the number of clicks required, and I am accustomed to having many browser windows open at a time), I found it very easy to add and use a new browser tab.
The browser has a nice sleek appearance, and does not take too much real-estate for menus, address-bar, toolbars etc... by default. I also found the black navigation panel quite appealing to the eye.
***What I did not like about it***
After I installed a new version of it recently, it simply refused to open, and kept giving me an error. This was a complete turn-off and I gave up after a while. I was able to later on do some searching on the error and fix the problem by re-naming the file in installs itself in to under the Program Files directory of my computer, but this might not be the best way of fixing this problem in case you get it. By the time however, I had switched to using a different browser.
A few sites are still not supported:
I have encountered a negligible few under this category, but that's not to say there aren't any.
Overall, as mentioned in the title, I think this is a great web-browser for the casual internet user. By "casual internet user" I am not referring to the amount of internet usage, but more so the number of web-browser utilities that are taken advantage of. Therefore, even someone who is online 24 hours a day could still be a casual internet user.
The browser has a pleasing appearance, works reliably and provides the optimal features you would require for day-to-day browsing. However, if you're up to it, I would certainly recommend you try out the other browsers out there for yourself and decide what the best fit for you is.
Opera was my very first alternative we browser had been introduced to it by a work colleague a while ago.Opera is from Norway any is available on Mac,various versions of linux and windows.Opera is also available on mobile phones though have not used the mobile version.
Out of firefox,internet explorer I have found opera to be the most stable.firefox seems to crash alot on web sites with a lot of lash content and I usually use opera for those web sites.
In terms of speed of opening web pages the latest version of opera 9.6 is still not as fast as firefox.
Opera has something called widgets which is equivalent of firefox addons.Recently I tried some of the widgets.There is a cool widget that allows you to translate languages from french to english or any other language it uses google's translation tools.
Opera was also the first to intoduce RSS which sends news straight to your browser.
Opera was also the first to introduce tabbed browsing.
Opera also can open torrent files but I have yet to have it work for me maybe I will ty it again with the current version of opera 9.6.
If it weren't for the slow browsing of pages I would use opera everyday.
The one thing opera can do that firefox can't is export bookmarks.though with a addon called febe you can.
I like to be able to backup my bookmarks without a plugin thats why I like opera's ablity to export bookmarks.They do have an option where you can signup to an account an synchronize all your bookmarks for backup purposes.