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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 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.

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton

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