Opera 10 Browser Review: 6 cool features that make it stand out

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Opera, one of the oldest names in the browser world, has just released its latest version. There must be something that enabled Opera to survive for so long. And looking at its track record, it’s only natural for users to expect something special with this version 10.

Being an Opera long-time fan (back to the days of Netscape vs. IE), I’m also curious about what goodies Opera 10 has to offer. So I gave Opera 10 – Mac version for me – a test drive, and here is my Opera browser review with several nice features that I like.

Speed Dial those pages

The first thing that users will notice is the “speed dial” page which will always be shown every time a new blank page is opened. The idea is that users will be able to access their favorite pages using these pre-configured “dial-pad”. Something like “Top Sites” in Safari.

opera browser review

There are nine default boxes, click an empty one to add a web page and click on an assigned one to go directly to that page.

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Users can configure how many dial-pad boxes they want – from 4 (2 x 2) to 25 (5 x 5), what background image to show, or whether they want to hide or show speed dial.

opera browser review

What makes this feature special is the ability to synchronize these speed dial boxes to other Operas in other places, even under different OSes and different devices.

Link with Opera Link

The synchronization process discussed above is done using a feature called Opera Link. Using this service, users can synchronize Speed Dial, Bookmarks, Personal Bar, Typed History, Notes, and Searches.

opera 10 review

But before using it, users should sign up first for an Opera account.

opera 10 browser

I think this synchronization feature could be Opera’s strongest selling point because of the existence of Opera Mini. As one of the leaders in mobile browsers, Opera Mini could “persuade” its users to try the desktop version just to have all of their data synchronized between devices.

Playing with Panels

Opera has a customized side panel which can be opened by clicking the “Panels” button next to tabs.

give me information on the browser opera

Users can fill in the panels with useful tools like Bookmarks, Widgets, Notes and History, by going to Tools –> Appearance menu

review of opera 10 browser

and then choosing the Panels tab.

opera web browser reviews

Mail and Chat

Opera has an email client built-in the browser. Even though some users might prefer a stand-alone client, others would likely embrace the idea of Mail-Browser integration.

The first step of using this client is creating an account.

opera web browser reviews

Beside email, there are other kinds of account that could be set, such as Newsgroups and IRC chat. (I wonder whether anybody still use these two classics and I also wonder why Opera included them).

opera web browser reviews

Peeking through tabs

This one is a simple feature which I think is very useful. Users can peek into the background tabs just by hovering the mouse above the tab.

opera browser reviews

Turbo-charge the browsing experience

Opera 10 has another unique feature called Opera Turbo. Opera claims that this feature is able to boost the Internet bandwidth speed on slow connections by using Opera proxy servers to compress data and image traffic before they reach the browser.

To enable the feature, just click on the Opera Turbo’s teeny-weeny button on the bottom-left corner of the window.

opera browser reviews

Users should customize the turbo setting first before using it. There are three settings available: Automatic, On and Off.

opera browser reviews

Those with slow internet connections will be grateful for this free service provided by Opera as there are many similar services out there that charge high monthly fees for more or less the same features.

Surely, there are many more features in Opera 10 such as mouse gestures and widget support (similar to addons for Firefox), but for now, I’ll limit myself to these favorite features of mine.

And if you think you still need a little bit “nudge” to try Opera, please look at the CPU usage comparison between Opera and our favorite Firefox. (Those are dynamic numbers which always change slightly from time to time, but you get the picture, right?)

free opera browser

One more thing, for this Opera browser review I used Opera for Mac, but I assume the features would be the same under different OS. Opera 10 is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, QNX, OS/2 and BeOS.

Do you use Opera? Which features do you like? Share your thoughts and opinion in the comments section below.

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Comments (104)
  • revboy

    After 20 years of computing, I have never felt inclined to get into the programming side of things, but as far as sheer usage (KISS, keep it simple and sweet)
    I have pretty well checked them all out !
    So to put it simply Opera’s philosophy does it all for me !
    LOVE IT.

  • neville griffiths

    To Jeffry Thurana,

    Thanx for your clear and concise review, I am an Opera 10 fan, and to cap it off I enjoyed your phylosophical stance at the end,

    best regards,

    neville.
    (you fool you block you worst than senseless thing, [not you but me !])

  • Alex

    Great review, to decide whether to install Opera 10, have used opera as default for 3-4 yrs, I like it very much but 6 mths ago moved back to FFox 3.5, reason being about 10pc of websites I visit not loading properly. This spoils continuity when I have several tabs open, then having to use FF to view another site. This lack of continuity wasted time often losing track of which browser has which sites open.
    The FFox 3.5 version has greatly improved speed now, only using 4 extensions, so is now my default. But I do prefer Opera for its flexable interface and usability. Its just that it wastes my time when sites don’t load properly. Yes this is the website code not Opera’s fault.
    Opera 10 has an email client but I will always use Pegasus. BitTorrent I hardly need, Turbo sounds good but it renders compressed images badly and some sites not at all, have a fast connection so not needed. Networking files between friends ? I don’t think so, they will be busy at the time so a memory stick or CD usually an email link so they can work in their own time.
    As my new OS (XP) installation is blindingly fast and loading in 13 seconds, I am limiting overwieght programs like Acrobat, all things Microsoft, Nero etc, I am beginning to think maybe not install Opera. Jury is out at the moment.

  • KKW

    I’ve tried Chrome too. But I uninstalled it within 10 minutes. It’s just way too simple feature wise.

  • Smokeless Cigarettes

    How would this compare to Google Chrome? Anyone had experience with both?

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.