As this Opera 8.5 review took awhile to put together, I might as well post it here as well. I’ve been an Opera user since v6 after being fed up with reinstalling Mozilla and its extensions. Firefox has a lot going for it these days, but it still doesn’t feel as nimble as Opera to me, and the default install still doesn’t cut it feature-wise, so I always have to go dig for extensions that invariably muck the install up. To be fair, there’s plenty about Opera that could annoy/confuse some users so I try to cover both sides.
- Undo (ctrl-z) opens closed tabs (since Opera was opened!) with full history. This is the handiest feature.
- Close Opera and restart where you left off with all tabs loaded (or don’t, it’s up to you). If Opera crashes? Just reopen, everything’s there.
- Advanced features power users expect, like mouse gestures and the two above, Just Work out-of-the-box without worrying about extensions. Search the web for how many FF users have had to uninstall, manually scrub their registries and Program Files, reinstall and redownload all their extensions. I suffered through lots of this with every Gecko product before sticking w/ Opera.
- Install new versions over the old ones, or start fresh in a new folder and run em side-by-side. It Just Works.
- Super customizable with the best skinning in the business. 1) click skin (it shows what your browser will look like with all your menus/toolbars instantly) 2) keep it or don’t.
- Dead simple panel usability. It’s just a bookmark in a frame, put anything in there. I have my TaDa list in front of me every time Opera opens.
- Instant print preview with fit-to-page. IE users are used to neither..
- Notes is the perfect web researh tool. Copy page text to a note (it remembers the URL) then add your own text. Double-click the note to return to the page.
- Lesser target for evil than FF and IE. Of course, no ActiveX.
- Great download manager that remembers source URLs.
- Helpful forums and users
- Now free and ad-free :)
- It can’t install advanced 3rd-party extensions that dig into the chrome, etc (though bookmarklets may do the job).
- Non-savvy web users used to IE may be overwhelmed or disable cookies/JS/images/CSS and forget how to re-enable them. If dad is used to clicking "the blue e", FF may save you some tech support calls.
- Some sites needlessly hide features from/block it. Savvy users can usually get around these and Opera handles everything fine, but others might find it very frustrating.
- Older versions lacked full AJAX support (used in Gmail). This fact contributes to the problem above.
- Embedded Quicktime and RealPlayer plug-ins sometimes are a pain to get working, and may still fail if the site used incompatible HTML.
- Opera’s error-correction is a bit different than IE and FF, so sites made by amateurs that "made it work in IE and FF" may render differently.
- Like any highly customizable app, Opera gives you the power to really mess it up (though it can always be fixed).
- Lacks IE/FF’s in-browser rich text editing interface, though these are mostly common in CMS’s.
- Like all non-IE browsers, lacks ability to verify signed executables you open off the web (though signed doesn’t necessarily imply safe).