Opera 11.10 - 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:

    3.9 stars

    out of 31 votes

    • 5 star: 16
    • 4 star: 6
    • 3 star: 3
    • 2 star: 2
    • 1 star: 4
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 31

  • 4.0 stars

    "Opera is breath of fresh air."

    May 17, 2011  |   By timvalen

    Version: Opera 11.10

    Pros

    Lots of productive and useful extras available, I love Dragonfly.

    Cons

    Not open source.

    Summary

    I use different browsers for different reasons, but I always look forward to opening Opera.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "The best, hands down. Period. End of story."

    May 17, 2011  |   By theequestrian

    Version: Opera 11.10

    Pros

    THE fastest. Extremely customizable. Built in popup blocker that actually works. Mouse gestures. Stand alone widgets. Chances of a virus targeting it are about the same as a virus targeting your refrigerator

    Cons

    Cons? What cons? It's not pretty? It doesn't have 1,000 skins available for it? You can't load it up with 50megs worth of needed add ons? (most 'add-ons' in other browsers are 'built ins' in Opera)

    Summary

    I have been using Opera as my primary browser(90%) since 1995. I visit lots of 'questionable' sites. I download fairly indiscriminately. I have NEVER gotten 'malwared' or 'virused' using Opera. That, by itself, is a good reason to use it. While YOU give your wrist a workout going from the page to the back button, I hold down my right mouse button and move the mouse a quarter inch to the left.(Mouse Gestures). It's NOT a pretty browser, I'll give you that. Never has been and probably never will be. I have a pretty desktop, I don't need a pretty browser. The only time I notice how pretty a browser is, is while I'm waiting for a page to load, which with Opera, isn't long. YES, there are pages that will not load, but that is their fault, not Operas. (Opera has the strictest protocols of ANY major browser)
    I work in the Master Control Room of a TV station. The station has Top-of-the-Line Vaio Laptops & a T1 line. We have a lot of downtime and set up an experiment. We set up 5 identical Vaios with Palemoon, Seamonkey, Firefox, GreenBrowser and Opera. All were pre-set with the same que of a dozen websites located all over the globe. Among these were a specific YouTube video and France 24 Livestream. We put them all through their paces. This is how they finished:
    1. Opera (fastest by far)
    2. Palemoon
    3. Seamonkey
    4. Firefox
    5. GreenBrowser
    Why didn't we test IE?. Because IE is as secure as a screen door in a submarine. This is a TV station that sends and receives Terrabytes on a daily basis. We CAN'T afford to get 'virused'. That's why every computer in the place uses Opera. How many virus, malware etc. do you think is targeted at a 2% market share?

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Now That's What I'm Talking About"

    May 16, 2011  |   By EricVonZipper

    Version: Opera 11.10

    Pros

    Light Speed for your PC. Easy to install, easy to learn, easy to navigate with. This browser muscles it's way past hang-up that slow and even crash Firefox and Chrome. Go 100 mph through Google Street View! Just a joy to use.

    Cons

    Won't work with Yahoo Beta Mail (who cares) but will work with regular Yahoo Mail. Says it won't work with Verizon.net but it did.

    Summary

    Give it a test drive, I'm glad Firefox 4 crashed so much since it led me to Opera.

    Updated on Feb 7, 2012

    I've since grown weary of Opera not loading pages properly. It isn't as fast if you have to go in and re-adjust pages that didn't load right. Also, is becoming prone to hacking and mal-ware.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "0123456789"

    May 15, 2011  |   By rolexc

    Version: Opera 11.10

    Pros

    0123456789

    Cons

    0123456789

    Summary

    0123456789

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Opera is a delight !"

    May 12, 2011  |   By TonyBeGoode

    Version: Opera 11.10

    Pros

    Speed, page rendering, customizable if desired, less drain on system resources than some other browsers, and ease of use that's often intuitive with a personality that makes it flat-out fun to use.

    Cons

    Yes, some web pages load slowly or not at all but, as mentioned by another reviewer, this is the fault of the web page and not Operas'.

    Summary

    I admit it: I like browsers and have been using Firefox and Chrome for some time now.Each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses and particular quirks, and what you would call personality and vibe, Opera has it in spades and is one the funnest browsers I have ever used. I dropped it for a while when I had Google Desktop (they conflict) , but didn't use it enough for it to be a fair trade-off and uninstalled it and re-installed what is now v.11 . I have to warn you, if you're on a slow connection, once you've experienced TurboBoost, you'll never want to go back to anything else- I wish every browser had this feature. Which leads me back to Opera's personality - it's pretty obvious they care about their users and it comes through in the browser: it doesn't feel like a browser from a big corporation that's just trying to stay competitive, or collect browsing data, or is developer-oriented, or doesn't care how big a hit it puts on your system - Opera is a browser for the people - at least that's how it feels to me. And with the problems Mozilla has been having with FF4, (a browser should first be stable above all else, guys; it has to do more than just look like Chrome) there is a greater need and potential user base for Opera. It may be a little ahead of it's time, but you'll have a lot of fun catching up. Try it for yourself - it just may be singing your song.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "An innovative browser that is highly under rated"

    May 8, 2011  |   By jtek65

    Version: Opera 11.10

    Pros

    Clean interface, turbo boost, fast loading of browser and web sites, efficient memory management. Plenty of extensions and widgets to expand functionality but not really needed.

    Cons

    Some sites won't load properly but in this day and age that is the fault of the site and not the browser.

    Summary

    I have used Opera off and on for several years. As others have stated it was mainly due to not starting my browsing experiences with Opera. But something always brings me back to it. I have tried every major release and each time use it a little more than before. I have used Mozilla browsers (e.g. Suite, SeaMonkey, Firefox) and find Opera to have the smallest install size and best memory management. Not so much an issue for me now, but in the past it was.
    This one feature may be the ace in the hole. The other day I noticed that web sites were loading very slow. I have two teenagers and have upgraded my internet service speed from low to high. With Firefox and Seamonkey, I would often have to wait until later to surf the web, but I had set Opera's Turbo Boost to automatic and it kicked on and boosted the browser speed by a factor of 4! I was able to surf the web normally with only a slight decrease in normal loading speeds.
    A program called SpeedyFox allows you do something similar with Firefox, but you have to exit Firefox, run the program, and then open Firefox again. With Opera, the speed boost was on the fly and a tab opened to let me know it was activated.
    I had uninstalled Opera but am reinstalling again. I have been and will continue to support Mozilla in anyway I can but Firefox 4 I do not like - the interface mainly. I do not when a good browser conforms to what it thinks users want without consulting them first. Opera listens to their users and the changes that are seen are typically minimal on the surface.
    A good review of several browsers is at TopTenReviews.com. Opera is number 4 on the list. I agree with them - Opera can be used as your primary browser or an alternative. For me, it is getting the title of primary for now. Everything works well together in this browser.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Conflicts with Maxthon browser"

    May 8, 2011  |   By rareflorida

    Version: Opera 11.10

    Pros

    I like it.

    Cons

    You can find a rare site that don't support it, so another browsers is always needed. Don't match it with Maxthon.

    Summary

    I use at minimum two browsers but at this time Maxthon and Opera are not compatible. Maxthon may be faster, but I some sites would not render and that may have been due to the conflict. I know Opera started acting weird after installing Maxthon. Kept Opera because I'm comfortable with it.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "I used to be a firefox fan..."

    May 5, 2011  |   By Tietken

    Version: Opera 11.10

    Pros

    Everything! More customizable than firefox. Great extensions and widgets can be downloaded. Can be voice-controlled. Mouse gestures.

    Cons

    Yahoo mail won't accept it but its not opera's fault. Yahoo, fix it!!!

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Opera needs a 'backup' browser"

    May 4, 2011  |   By noetaadia

    Version: Opera 11.10

    Pros

    There must be something about Opera's intuitive interface or its simple, subtle uniqueness that draws me back to this application, despite one flaw.

    Cons

    Certain pages will not load, let you log in, change preferences, etc.

    Summary

    My bottom line is Opera needs a 'backup' browser. My only complaint is that specific sites won't load-- such as Gmail. Its inconvenient to switch to another browser or create an alternate email address. I'm sure there are ways to tweak it (I believe its something with cookies), though I am not sure how much longer I will put up with loading another browser every time Opera has a compatibility issue with a web page.

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

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  • 5.0 stars

    "internet browser"

    May 3, 2011  |   By missfit111

    Version: Opera 11.10

    Pros

    very adequate for internet stuff, light and fast with a brand new features, got to have it on your PC

    Cons

    i cant say it has been easy to install sum plugins which are not as diverse as they should

    Reply to this review

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Results 1-10 of 31

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