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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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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 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
"extra-thick tab bar and irremovable 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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