• Visually Appealing
• Packed with Features
• Simple to Use
• Occasional compatibility issues
• Missing popular add-ons of other browsers
Opera is feature packed and competes with the top browsers in almost every category, but compatibility and popularity issues keep it from contending with the best. The compatibility issues are decreasing by the day, but Opera needs to find a way to get to the next level.
The setup was super quick and easy. In our installation, it only took 20 seconds from the moment it finished downloading to be up on the screen and ready to use. It does not require a reboot after installation.
At first glance, you can't help but notice Opera's simple, yet attractive interface. Opera does not ask to import bookmarks from other web browsers on first use, but it does have the feature within in it's menu. Whether your browser crashes or not, Opera saves all of your tabs for your next session upon closing.
Tab browsing - It has the look of basic tab browsing sitting at the top of the browser. Click the plus sign next to your current tab and it opens a new one displaying your Speed Dial, which is a pretty page with thumbnails of your favorite sites.
One neat feature is the ability to stack tabs. Drag one tab over another and the two tabs group into one. Some other tab features include cloning tabs, tear-out tabs, and the ability to move the tabs to the left, right, or bottom.
Search box - Opera features a search box in the top right corner which allows you to change the default search engine with two clicks of the mouse. It has auto complete options underneath the bar while typing. The address bar can also be used for searching.
Private browsing - Private browsing allows you to surf the web without leaving any trace of where you visited. When a private tab is closed, all cache items, cookies, logins, and browsing history are deleted.
History – A basic list of folders with time frames contains all sites visited. Specific activity or all history can be deleted easily. It also keeps track of download history.
Favorites – Favorites, which are called Bookmarks in Opera, are very simple and convenient. You can bookmark a page by either right clicking on the page and clicking “Bookmark Page” in the menu, or you can simply click the star in the address bar. The Bookmarks are in panel where you can make folders or just have a big list of bookmarks.
Opera is fast. The start-up time is exceptionally fast, even when it has a high number of tabs to load. It's page loading speed competes with the best. Opera sports a turbo mode for slow connections which compresses data to shorten page load time.
Phishing and Malware protection - Opera checks a list of known malware and phishing sites, and will warn you if you are vising one. There will also be a security badge to the left of the address bar telling you if a site is trusted, secure, web, or fraud. The fact that Opera isn't a popular browser makes it less likely to be a target from malware.
Pop-up blocker – Every time a site tries to pop-up and ad, Opera will block it and let you know in the bottom right corner.
Add-ons – The types of add-ons Opera offers are Extensions, Widgets, Skins, and a feature called Opera Unite. Development for both widgets and Opera Unite has stopped so more focus can be put toward Opera Extensions. Widgets and Unite are expected to removed completely in late 2012.
Extensions are neat features that can be added to your web browsing experience. The sky is the limit with these. This is a very useful and fun feature. It is similar to Firefox add-ons and Google Chrome apps.
Widgets are apps that run outside of the web browser. A variety of useful games and apps can be downloaded and used instantly. Opera Unite is a unique feature that is pretty much a social network built into your web browser. You can share photos and music from your PC library and chat with other members.
Developer tools – Incorporated right into the browser is a full development and debugging tool called Dragonfly. No download or setup necessary. It has everything you would come to expect and more.
Email client – This is an awesome feature which is an email client built right into the web browser. You can setup multiple emails into one convenient place. Just put in your email address and password and it does the rest.
Device synchronization – Opera Link is a handy feature that allows synchronization of Bookmarks, Notes, Passwords, and notes across any device with Opera installed.
Torrent downloader – With BitTorrent built in, Opera has the ability to downloaded torrents without the use of a separate application.
Video & audio HTML 5 support – Opera is HTML 5 compliant and can handle it well.
Ease of use
The browser is clearly made to simplify everything as much as possible, and it succeeds. There are minimal menus, and everything is easy to find. It has a handy zoom bar in the right corner which is a simple click and drag to zoom in and out.
Two other nice features is the ability to highlight text and have it translated, looked up in a dictionary or encyclopedia, or even have it spoken out loud to you. Also, Opera features the ability to use mouse gestures to perform certain functions within the browser. Even with all of the extensive features, Opera succeeds in giving users a simple experience.
Help & support
Opera has a huge list of help and support topics. You can browse or search specifically what you are looking for. If you're still having problems, there is a community forum where you can ask exactly what you are looking for.
While Opera has everything wanted in a browser and more, some compatibility issues keep it from competing with the best. If Opera can fix those issues and continue to offer unique features, it could one day compete with the best.
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