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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 Loyal but giving firefox a spin
By Roffles on 8/14/2009 7:04:31 PM , Rating: 3
I've been using Opera for a long long time. The reason I chose Opera over Firefox is simple; I found myself installing, uninstalling, and reinstalling plug-ins over and over again in a huge effort to EQUAL what I was getting from Opera. Sometimes I would have two, three or sometimes more plug-ins to choose from. One plug-in would crash the browser or didn't work smoothly and I would uninstall and try another etcetera etcetera. It became a cumbersome effort and eventually a waste of I gave up on Firefox.

Fast forward to today. I have decided to give Firefox another try because it's been a few years and the browser has obviously advanced significantly since then. Right off the bat I can tell you that my problem with Firefox is still the plug-ins. I know there is a plug-in for everything that equals Opera and more. I'm sure all the poorly designed plug-ins have been weeded out. But the plug-ins are not cohesive. Every plug-in feels like it was coded by someone different and I feel like I'm using a Jekyll and Hyde browser. There is no uniformity. I'll keep tweaking Firefox, but I'm telling you now that I have no idea why Opera has no market share when it gives you everything you want in a small package and it's coded and implemented so nicely.

I am going to spend some serious time getting the correct plug-ins installed and see if my final result is enough to get me to start using Firefox again. This is mainly because a lot of HTTPS websites deny me when I use Opera. And even though it's not Opera's fault, I'm tired of launching IE for those random websites that don't support Opera. But for the record, Opera does it all without any messing around.

By Fritzr on 8/17/2009 11:31:51 PM , Rating: 2
When you hit those HTTPS sites try masking as IE. As long as the site is asking you what browser you are using so they can cut you off if you give the wrong answer, then Opera will work just fine while the website thinks your browser is IE. You can also mask as FF if you hit a website that prefers the Fox :P

To mask press F12 (or select Tools->Quick Preferences)->Edit Site Preferences->select tab Network under Browser Identification choose your costume. You set the URL you are going to lie to under the General tab.

You can also set your reaction to popups on a site specific basis here if you go to a site that requires you to see things in popup windows.

You can "Identify" as Opera/FireFox/Internet Explorer
or you can "Mask" as FireFox or Internet Explorer

as long as the site doesn't use Active X, or other browser specific function, Opera will work quite well and the website will happily add a hit from an FF or IE user to it's browser usage stats :P

This function will reduce the reported market share of Opera since using it causes the stat gatherers to count you as an FF or IE fan, but since your concern is getting past that browser brand filter, that is of little concern :)

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