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
3.5. Nonetheless, the third beta does offer noticeable
speed increases, as well as new customizations.
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
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).
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.