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Opera's third beta of its 10.0 browser brings more speed improvements, better thumbnail previews, and more.  (Source: NeoWin)
Beta is mostly solid with a few rough edges

Over the last few years Opera, a veteran player in the browser industry, has been turning heads by delivering increasingly user-friendly products.  While such praise is typically lavished on Firefox, Opera's Speed Dial and synchronization features help set it apart.  In fact, the president of Futuremark, Oliver Baltuch, admits that while Opera isn't the fastest browser, he finds it the most pleasant to use for his personal use.

With Opera's first two betas of its upcoming 10.0 browser, it came a long ways to closing the speed gap between it and Chrome/Safari.  In the popular SunSpider benchmark, though, the third Opera beta still lags behind Firefox 3.5.  Nonetheless, the third beta does offer noticeable speed increases, as well as new customizations.

The exciting thumbnail preview feature, similar to Aero Peek in Windows 7 and a canceled feature of Firefox 3.5, is now customizable and can appear to the right or left and on the top or bottom of the screen.  The browser's crash logger has been improved, as has the turbo mode, a feature which uses Opera's servers to compress data for faster browsing.

The new beta also features improved language support -- 38 languages are now supported.  Other popular features present in the other betas return, including inline spell checking, an integrated email client, and a web feed reader.  The browser also scores a perfect 100 on the challenging Acid3 test, thanks to its strong standards support.

Still, the browser does have its rough edges.  Security is rather poor, though much of Microsoft's protections (such as anti-phishing, and detecting malicious URLs) typically are not needed by more web savvy users (though you can't always count on your friends, family, or a significant other being as knowledgeable). 

Furthermore, some pages that have been designed around the Firefox/IE 8 duopoly may have minor quirks.  For example, dynamically resizing Office-like windows in blogs sometimes experience an odd glitch where they get stuck in an infinite downscroll when the typed text hits the bottom of the box (triggering a resize in Firefox).  Again, this probably isn't the fault of Opera or its rendering engine (Presto), but rather is an unfortunate inevitability of being a smaller player in the browser market.

Nonetheless, Opera 10.0 beta 3 seems a sign of good things to come.  With Opera a leading player in the smartphone browser market, and currently on the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DSi, the company appears to be moving in the right direction.  And for experienced users, the new beta, like the last couple, is definitely worth taking for a ride.



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Opera 10 - gets better by the release
By Belard on 8/14/2009 8:49:10 AM , Rating: 2
Nothing to exciting.

The GUI buttons are tweaked again... all for the better. IMHO.

The Home button, a major fix - visually. Its like sticking a Windows98 icon on Windows7. Or the sore looking Windows95 Drive usage pie-chart that hasn't changed, is still in Windows7. Even my cell phone has a modern 3-D like pie-chart more advanced than what is in windows 7.

Anyways. This is one of my first test with BETA 3 hopefully I'll find the last bit of bugs gone... Nope, not quite. Still having problems with the text field (like this one) in which if you have text on the line below, you can't see it until you hit the Enter key.

:(




RE: Opera 10 - gets better by the release
By TheMan876 on 8/14/2009 11:04:11 AM , Rating: 2
I love @ Opera and can't stop using it because i've gotten so used to the mouse gestures. Yes, I have a couple of gesture addons for Firefox, but they don't work the same.

My only problem with Opera is that I have to run Firefox to get a lot sites to work. I can't log into my Sprint account with Opera, Facebook doesn't always work right, Google Maps can be a little quirky. Why does it have so many problems if it has the best standards compatability?


RE: Opera 10 - gets better by the release
By omnicronx on 8/14/2009 11:48:06 AM , Rating: 2
I like the speed of Opera, but there is a learning curve. The basics are easy, but many other things are not. Once you learn how to use it, it is definately a nice browser, but I still can't figure out (don't even know if you can) how to pin RSS feeds to the personal bar.

Without that I won't even think about switching browsers regardless of how fast it is. Importing my FF bookmarks was a complete pain too. FF and IE do it automatically upon start (there is absolutely no excuse for this not being the first step when you first launch the browser), I had to export my FF favorites to html and import them manually to get it to work, even then it put them in a stupid folder format which I had to fix right after. Even worse is it did not import my Opera 9 favorites, and while I know this is still beta, CMON, this is basic stuff here!

And they wonder why new users don't migrate to Opera! Its definitely not a nice experience, and for most people, if they find something they cannot do in the first few minutes they will immediately switch back. So regardless of the bunch of extra features Opera has, unless they can match current features in other browsers they will never gain considerable share.


RE: Opera 10 - gets better by the release
By William Gaatjes on 8/14/2009 11:53:12 AM , Rating: 2
As you mentioned, it is still a beta.


RE: Opera 10 - gets better by the release
By omnicronx on 8/14/2009 12:06:10 PM , Rating: 2
The problems the poster above is experiencing is probably a direct result of this project still being in beta (refined JS engine will always have kinks to work out), but if the features I named are not in Beta 3, they probably won't make it into the final revision either.

(not to mention I don't think you can do these things in 9.* either)


RE: Opera 10 - gets better by the release
By Belard on 8/14/2009 6:27:25 PM , Rating: 3
I think its not all that difficult...

FF saves book marks IN HTML.

And in a multi-user environment, it gives the user which bookmarks the user wants to import.

Oh well..


By omnicronx on 8/14/2009 7:39:52 PM , Rating: 3
Hey i had no problem exporting my bookmarks to html and manually importing them in Opera, but that really was not my point.its not a very user friendly way for someone to migrate from browser to browser.

I'm just sitting here trying to contemplate how a browser with 2% marketshare, in which their market really does not consist of new users but users migrating from other browsers does not have an import tool on first boot! IE8 does it for Firefox, and Firefox does it for IE, why on earth isnt Opera doing exactly the same thing?

I really hope this changes in the final version, but for some reason I doubt it will..


RE: Opera 10 - gets better by the release
By erple2 on 8/17/2009 3:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
Firefox since 3.x no longer saves your bookmarks as html (though they are manually exportable into an html file). They're now stored as a sqlite mini-database. It apparently solves a problem that I don't (but other people might) have. I think it has to do with if you have a significant number (I have about 50-100 and didn't notice any problems) of bookmarks/history items to scan through and display.

I believe that it has to do with the "awesome bar" integration.


By Crank the Planet on 8/17/2009 6:56:48 PM , Rating: 2
FF has been nothing but an Opera copy cat for years. Only in the last year or so have they started to innovate for themselves. I used IE back in the day- left it for Netscape because of security and I liked the interface. I stayed with them for a couple of years then heard about Opera. It was everything I wanted in a browser and more. I've been using Opera for 9 years now. It's been the best and still is. Everything is all included and it just works. It used to have the speed crown and still runs with the best of them. It is usually the most secure of all of them. Bugs are fixed most of the time before you know there is any- which I can't say for any other. I like how you can customize the whole interface from what buttons you want to see and which ones you don't to skins to everything. It's had that capability for what 5-6 years now? Most people don't like change but this one was definitely for the better.

As far as popularity- Why did Nintendo choose it above all the others? Because the rest (suck!) can't do what Opera can in such a small footprint. Do you see Chrome on Cell Phones? No. Do you see Safari on Cell Phones? Only on Apple (they have their own issues). IE? Netscape?

Get real people. Get a real browser.


By vikramsbox on 8/14/2009 8:52:25 PM , Rating: 2
Customize the Opera navigation toolbar- there is an option that lets Opera identify itself as IE/FF at the click of a button. This really works, I've tried it out on many sites that otherwise won't run on Opera's default mode.


By Staples on 8/14/2009 10:49:55 PM , Rating: 2
Sprint stiffs the browser. If it sees Opera, it assumes you are using it on a phone. If you disguise it as IE, it will work just fine. Been using Opera for many years and it works on 95% or more sites that I visit.

Like the browser but I do not like the politics of the company.


RE: Opera 10 - gets better by the release
By eddieroolz on 8/16/2009 2:38:02 AM , Rating: 2
I was a major Opera hater for a long time. They brought all the misery to Microsoft about Internet Explorer in Windows, and I vowed never to use any of their products.

However, I actually tried them and all the other browsers out at one point, because I was going to reformat anyway. I had IE8, Firefox 3.5, Safari, Chrome and Opera 10.0b2 on my Windows 7.

When I reformatted, I reinstalled Firefox 3.5, IE8 and Opera 10.0b2 back on. Why? It's definitely a nice browser. Fast and very rich on features, not like Chrome. And I've never had hangs with Opera, which is a complete difference from Chrome, which froze on Facebook, the first site I went to with that browser. Wouldn't scroll for the life of it. Opera kept working nicely and never caused any troubles.

The only quirk I have is the non-industry standard keyboard controls. Shift+Ctrl+Click to open a new tab in the background is definitely not a standard control. I also do not appreciate the amount of space the UI is hogging with its extra-thick tab bar and irremovable File...Edit..menu things. Firefox has an extension that lets me remove it, and IE8 lets me hide it.

But in the end, Opera was one of the browsers I kept after the reinstall. Chrome? Safari? Pheh, no way.


RE: Opera 10 - gets better by the release
By WTFzilla on 8/17/2009 12:20:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"extra-thick tab bar and irremovable File...Edit..menu things"


Um, the tab bar is as slim as any other browser, and the main menu has been removable for ages. In fact, there's an option to remove it in the File menu!


By Fritzr on 8/17/2009 7:53:07 PM , Rating: 2
Currently using Opera 9.51

Main Menu (File, Edit, View...) and the title bar are not removable. All other toolbars including the open tabs display are optional. All bars can be resized for easier reading make them bigger, to gain screen space make them smaller. Click Tools->Appearance->Skins Then set Icon Size to your desired value.

On the separate bookmark import issue Opera 9.51 has several browser specific import options.

May have changed in 10, but 9.51 can import Netscape/Firefox bookmarks. Click File->Import and Export->{Bookmark type to import/export}


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