Opera 11.0 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Opera

CNET Editors' review

The bottom line: Extensions, highly competitive page-load times, cutting edge features, and strong support for "future Web" technologies make Opera 11 one of the best browsers available.

Review:
The second-oldest browser currently in use, Opera debuted way back in 1995 and has recently undergone a major overhaul. No longer the quirky choice of enthusiasts, Opera has developed into a robust, full-featured suite of browsing tools.

Opera covers the basics with tabbed browsing, mouse-over previews, a customizable search bar, advanced bookmarking tools, and simple integration with e-mail and chat clients. Mouse-gesture support, keyboard shortcuts, and drag-and-drop functionality round out the essentials.

Installation
Installing Opera is a fast and short process, taking less than two minutes. Many of Opera's built-in features require creating a MyOpera account, but the browser will only prompt you to do so when you use them for the first time--it's not required to browse.

Tap the "Options" button on the first install screen to reveal configuration tweaks. Besides changing the browser's default language and install path, you can also install for just the currently-signed on user, or choose to install Opera directly to an external device. It's a great, simple way to create a portable version of Opera for a USB key.

Interface
Opera's interface keeps the same look that debuted in Opera 10.50, with a condensed menu button in the upper left corner, tabs on top, and a translucent status bar on the bottom that hosts buttons to reveal Opera's Panels, and to activate Link, Unite, and Turbo. The bottom right corner of the status bar sports a dedicated zoom button.

Buttons on the navigation bar have been condensed, and are now the same height as the location bar. This gives the interface a polished look, and minimizes the amount of space that the bar takes up. The search box, located in its default space to the right of the location bar, can be removed. That and further interface customizations can be made by right-clicking on the navigation bar and selecting customize.

Extension buttons appear to the right of the search box, as they do in Google Chrome, while a recycle bin for quickly re-opening recently closed tabs lives on the right side of the tab bar.

The influence of the radical interface changes that Google Chrome introduced in 2008 can be seen here, from the tabs on top to the extension icons, yet Opera's personality does still come through enough to have a different vibe and feel from Chrome.

Features and support
The five major browsers have been liberally borrowing features and innovations from each other for years, yet Opera has developed a reputation for showcasing some of the more interesting browser developments first.

Opera 11 introduces tab stacks, a tab grouping mechanism similar in concept to Firefox 4's Panorama, but completely based in the tab bar. To use it, drag one tab on top of another. The bottom tab will disappear, and an arrow will appear to the right of the tab. Click it to reveal the stack, and drag a tab off the stack to separate it. Where Panorama's global viewpoint makes it easy to see all your tab groups, Opera's tab stacking feels much smoother and more intuitive.

Tab stacks are a tab-grouping mechanism similar in concept to Firefox's Panorama, but completely based in the tab bar. To use it, drag one tab on top of another. The bottom tab will disappear, and an arrow will appear to the right of the tab. Click it and the tabs in the stack will slide out to one side. To break up a stack, drag a tab off the stack. Mouse over the stack to see previews for all the tabs in the stack.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

As noted earlier, extensions have finally come to Opera in version 11. Opera uses a lightweight extension framework based in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to minimize the processor hit that add-ons can incur. If you're familiar with the extension networks in the WebKit-based Chrome and Safari, you'll be very comfortable with how Opera handles its add-ons. It's interesting to note that Opera sees extensions as singing in harmony with their existing Widgets framework, saying that widgets are basically stand-alone Web-based applications, while extensions are for changing the user experience in-browser.

A third big change is the introduction of on-demand plug-ins. This is a feature that has been on the periphery of user awareness for a while, but it's about to go big as it provides much more control to users over page security and page load times. It's great for people who are rightly worried about unpatched Flash and QuickTime security exploits, or just want sites to load faster. Go to Preferences, Advanced, then Content to toggle it.

Another change comes to the security badge system, which marks sites as "verified safe". Click on the gray "Web" globe icon to the left of the URL bar to check a site's status. Getting information returned was quick on most sites, although it was a bit slow for others. The badges are colored yellow for "secure", green for "trusted", and blue for when you're running Opera's Turbo mode, another excellent feature that's designed for assisting people surfing on slower connections. The Turbo badge will also display estimated data savings. You can turn on Turbo using the button in the status bar at the bottom left of the browser.

Opera's site badges also include a useful reporting mechanism, so it's easy to report a site as fraudulent or malicious.

With plug-ins disabled, click the "play" triangle and the plug-in content--in this case, Flash video--will start playing.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

There have been some smaller tweaks to the browser, too. Pinning a tab will now jump it to the left of the tab bar, as is done in other browsers. The personal bar has been replaced, too, by a bookmarks bar, both pulling the browser into parity with the competition and making bookmarks accessible with one click.

Opera's extras push it to among the top of the class. Opera's desktop widgets can appear anywhere, and Opera Unite and its deep feature set for file sharing and streaming is now available to Mac users. Quick Find has improved the search tool, allowing for full text searching from the address field, the history panel, and opera:historysearch. We're also fans of the inline spell checker that supports 51 languages, and the recent addition of the auto-updater. Unlike Chrome's automatic updates, Opera plays nice with its users and gives you several choices as to how to implement auto-updating, including disabling it.

There's Growl and multitouch trackpad support on Macs, support for some HTML5 including next-generation video and audio codec WebM, geolocation compatibility, Web Workers, App Cache, and Web fonts. The Web Open Font Format (WOFF), which Opera co-sponsored, hasn't yet been added, although Opera expects it will be soon. Meanwhile, Opera Link enables Bookmarks, the Personal bar, Speed Dial, and Notes synchronization across all other Opera instances, including the iPhone's Opera Mini. Opera's availability on multiple mobile and desktop platforms makes it uniquely appealing as a one-stop browser shop.

One of Opera's lesser-known features is its integrated mail client. It's a reasonable alternative to Outlook, offering many similar features. It can handle importing mailbox files from Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Netscape, and Eudora, supports POP3 and IMAP, and quickly synced with Gmail when we added our account.

There are other features in Opera, including tab previews, newsgroups support, a built-in session manager, and a fantastic array of customizations that rivals Firefox. Of all the browsers out there, Opera ships with a massive feature set and is an excellent choice for users who want something fast and robust right out of the box.

Performance
Opera some big performance improvements in this version, and they appear to bear out. In addition to helping some pages load up to 30 percent faster simple by toggling the plug-ins, as described in the features section above, the browser's performance in general has been improved. Opera says that Opera 11 is 15 to 20 percent faster than Opera 10.63, and that the browser size on disk has been reduced by almost one-third.

Full benchmarks will be added here as they are completed, but preliminary results indicate that Opera 11's page-load times remain comparable to Google Chrome's on publicly-available benchmark tests like Google's V8, WebKit's SunSpider 0.9.1, Mozilla's Kraken, and Futuremark's Peacekeeper.

Conclusion
Opera is in firm grip of the 5th-place slot in the race to be the world's most-used browser. It doesn't have the backing of a major corporation like Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome, or Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and it lacks the massive developer's community of Mozilla's Firefox. What it does have, and these are recent developments to be sure, are a fantastic combination of speed and built-in services.

Opera undoubtedly has what it takes to unseat even the biggest-name browsers. You just need to hear it sing.

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    4.3 stars

    out of 3,812 votes

    • 5 star: 2499
    • 4 star: 563
    • 3 star: 316
    • 2 star: 165
    • 1 star: 269
  • Current version:

    4.1 stars

    out of 58 votes

    • 5 star: 35
    • 4 star: 8
    • 3 star: 6
    • 2 star: 4
    • 1 star: 5
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 58

  • 5.0 stars

    "Impressive browser!"

    January 27, 2011  |   By El Cacique

    Version: Opera 11.0

    Pros

    Fastest browser ever. No more crashes. Downloads can be resumed with ease.

    Cons

    none so far, except a few pages are not compatible

    Summary

    I remember trying previous versions of Opera for many years, just to end up uninstalling it due to performance and compatibility issues. However, with version 10, the Opera browser reinvented itself to be a polished, solid performer among browsers. Opera 11 has become 100% stable and as of yet, I have not experienced any crashes with it. I only encountered 2 websites that did not load but that is not Opera's fault. I now find myself using Opera 95% of the time compared to my use of IE.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "The best and the only browser I use"

    January 26, 2011  |   By adrianbrowns

    Version: Opera 11.0

    Pros

    This version is the best one yet, I'm becoming addicted to the mouse gestures plus I'm glad they finally decided to add the extensions feature. Tab stacking has its use as well, just getting used to it. Looking forward to what they come up with next.

    Cons

    no major issues for me

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  • 4.0 stars

    "very useful"

    January 25, 2011  |   By cinbwar

    Version: Opera 11.0

    Pros

    very useful

    Cons

    none that I can see

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Un-installion virus"

    January 21, 2011  |   By simp2005

    Version: Opera 11.0

    Pros

    my Panda Cloud Anti-virus 1.3 found a dangerous operation when uninstalling the program from my computer.

    Cons

    Idk what cons is great bout this thing i mean if it contains a bad operation that anti-virus had to block the operation for what ever opera was doing when i was uninstalling the browser

    Summary

    bottom line don't get it cause my anti-virus picked up on the problem when uninstalling the browser not my favorite browser i would stick with Firefox, Google Chrome or even safari on windows.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Good but slow"

    January 18, 2011  |   By kswami10

    Version: Opera 11.0

    Pros

    Good Brouser. But compare mozilla Brouser -slow. opera utility option is best.

    Cons

    Everything is the best but speed is common Brouser.

    Summary

    I use for opera but mozilla brouser is safe. I mean compaire the mozilla.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Fast, slim, slender browser with lots of extras"

    January 17, 2011  |   By adorbius

    Version: Opera 11.0

    Pros

    Often ahead of the other browsers

    Cons

    Should be used much more widely. Too few people know about it.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Amazing with very few complaints"

    January 17, 2011  |   By mat306

    Version: Opera 11.0

    Pros

    simple to use, extremely fast, tons of side programs/applications, more than enough personalization and add-ons

    Cons

    won't work with some websites and their browser add-ons, not compatible with the Blackboard Learning System platform

    Summary

    Simply put, Opera has the capacity and promise to be the best browser available. But first, let me explain how I came to this conclusion:

    I have always been a loyal IE user. It has always been compatible with all web-based programs, strong against the junk out there even though this slowed the program down. When Chrome first finished its Beta stage, I decided to go ahead and try the new and more streamlined browser. Chrome was faster, but was not compatible with everything. Unfortunately, when I used IE for those things, Chrome had significantly slowed IE down and after a while Chrome began to slow my entire laptop, even itself. I deleted Chrome and my laptop started working better. A few years later, thanks to my sister and my friend who puts together his own computers and software, I put the most recent version of Chrome at the time on my new laptop. It was better than before, but still hadn't reached what I considered a high enough standard, but was getting closer. This same friend also liked Firefox when it was new and said it had great potential, but I thought it was better not to try.

    I am a college student who uses the internet for much more than entertainment and networking. We use multiple online databases for research and use web-integrated software for many of our courses. So, naturally, I needed a fast and powerful web browser. When you live in the honors college dorms, you hear and join in plenty of debates about computer software and the internet. I eventually got tired of hearing my friends argue about the different browsers and decided to do some research and testing.

    Now, I may not be a programmer nor a computer engineer, but I have learned enough on my own and from my computer genius friend to understand the concepts of how computers operate and how to get it to work the way I want it to. To decide on which to use, I played around with the IE and IE-64bit installed on my laptop and did the same to the others I downloaded.

    These are the browsers I tried: IE, IE-64bit (had to stop using because Adobe doesn't have a full 64bit FlashPlayer yet), Chrome, Firefox, Safari (also gave up on this one because as most of already know, it is terrible), and Opera.

    Results:
    1) Opera and Chrome are the fastest, but as an overall rule, Opera would load pages equally as fast or faster than Chrome. Firefox and IE came next, depending on the website. Again though, Firefox compares speed to IE as Opera does to Chrome. Safari, as if it needed to be tested, was the slowest.
    2) IE can be manipulated to function as you want it to but offers very little personalization. Chrome offers plenty of personalization, but you don't get much choice on how it operates. Firefox and Opera each have a pretty good fusion of the two, however, Opera seemed to allow for more function control and was a somewhat more aesthetically pleasing.
    3) Compatibility is the only complaint for Opera. Toolbars such as Google and StumbleUpon are only compatible with a few, not including Safari and Opera. Though this is not much of a problem for me, others might find it troublesome. What became a problem was the Blackboard Learning System and the like. However, most of its functions work on Opera, but only IE, the more current versions Firefox, and one or two versions of Safari are fully compatible with it, so it is not as much of a let down for Opera as I thought.

    Overall, Opera is sleek, easy to use, and offers personalization like Chrome without loosing the functional control, power, and protection of IE. Not to mention having to worry about the legal and privacy controversy Google has gotten into. Opera and Firefox are my recommendations, that is, until Opera is finally updated to a more compatible version. But since Opera is just not fully compatible with Blackboard, I'm going to continue using it for what I can and keep both installed.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Did not download right"

    January 10, 2011  |   By richard1160

    Version: Opera 11.0

    Pros

    Did not download right

    Cons

    Did not download right

    Summary

    Did not download right, I uninstalled it

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Simply the Best Internet Experience"

    January 8, 2011  |   By eehsun

    Version: Opera 11.0

    Pros

    Superb speed
    Handy email client
    Best speeddial implementation amongst all browsers
    (note that Opera is the inventor of this)
    Tab Stacking
    Excellent mouse gestures support
    Some tab features that are unique to Opera: minimize tab, restore tab,etc

    Cons

    None that I can think of.

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  • 2.0 stars

    "My PC kept crashing"

    January 8, 2011  |   By insatiable60

    Version: Opera 11.0

    Pros

    It looks nice but it's not compatible with MSN games or DUELL games

    Cons

    javascript errors

    Reply to this review

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Results 1-10 of 58

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