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Review: Opera Web Browser
Review of Opera Browser
Remember the Web Browser wars between Netscape and Internet Explorer? When mighty Microsoft crushed Netscape to take a 90% share of the web browser market? Well, maybe the war isn't over yet!
the Opera Browser ... has been raising some eyebrows and gaining in popularity
Recently, the Opera browser from Opera Software in Oslo has been raising some eyebrows and gaining in popularity. And if you ask me, for good reason. It's being marketed as 'Simply the best Internet Experience', and I believe that, in this case, the marketing is not hollow hype.
But marketing is clearly important to Opera software, as the first thing that you notice when you start using the Opera browser is an ever-changing advertising banner on the toolbar at the top right of the window. This is an unwelcome feature of the free version, but I suppose they have to make their money somehow. If, like me, you find the advertising sufficiently annoying you can pay a registration fee to remove it.
...pages are loaded and rendered much more quickly than with any other browser I've used
The second thing that hits you when you start using the Opera browser is how fast it is. It is simply very quick. I'm not sure how they do it, but pages are loaded and rendered much more quickly than with any other browser I've used. In percentage terms, you probably get a bigger gain if you've got a modem connection, but if you've got a broadband internet connection it simply rips along!
You can easily change the appearance of the Opera browser - there are plenty of downloadable skins, including ones that mimic the appearance of Netscape and Internet Explorer. There are other great features, like full-screen and tabbed browsing, as well as small-screen rendering (to mimic the appearance on a PDA) and a fast zoom.
Another neat idea is the introduction of mouse gestures (which, by the way, are switched off by default). The gestures enable you to control browsing with small, localised movements of the mouse instead of always having to move the cursor to the toolbar to press a button. For example, holding down the right mouse button and moving it to the left is the same as hitting the 'Back' button.
The Opera browser also integrates an email client and (usenet) news reader, called M2. I like the way this presents your email in a number of different views, as this can make it much quicker to pinpoint the information you are looking for. It also allows you to set filters and identifies spam. Another feature is that you can associate an image with each of your email contacts, which is not only fun, it can also help you to more easily recognise unusual and unsolicited emails.
... I have been mightily impressed by the Opera browser...
In conclusion, I have been mightily impressed by the Opera browser and have set it as my default web browser. It might not have all the bells and whistles of the major web browsers, but it's got some unique features of its own too. If I were to sum it up in one word, I'd say 'slick'!
This review was based on Opera 7.20, running under Windows XP.
Click to download Opera Browser for Windows