Opera 11.11 - 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.

What's new in Opera 11?

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.

New features in first Opera 11 beta (screenshots)

1-2 of 8
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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:

    3.7 stars

    out of 34 votes

    • 5 star: 11
    • 4 star: 11
    • 3 star: 5
    • 2 star: 4
    • 1 star: 3
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 34

  • 2.0 stars

    "Not bad. A few irritating bugs."

    June 26, 2011  |   By stephen

    Version: Opera 11.11

    Pros

    Fast and easy to use.

    Cons

    Cannot remember my passwords and Facebook chat screen too large and uncontrolable.

    Summary

    Had to go back to Internet Explorer. Opera could not remember the password to my home page.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (1) (4)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Like A WHOLE Lot"

    June 25, 2011  |   By rebride

    Version: Opera 11.11

    Pros

    Simple to use. Opening new tab(s) a breeze. Speed Dial awesome. Good for small screens (and Big). Very Customizable. Can apply many different looks (skins). Turbo Mode. Bookmarks (Favorites) easy to do.

    Cons

    The cons I would have mentioned no longer exist. On some skins 'fit to width' is buggy.

    Summary

    I have been using since Chrome first came out. Tried Chrome and Firefox and settled on Opera. Especially liked ease of getting in and out of tabs It was ahead of the game on many innovations especially minimality. Downloaded to My wife's computer and ten minutes after trying I heard her say, " Wow this is much easier" (of course she was using IE 7). She does a lot of work at home thru UCSF's servers and VIP. No problem. Try it you might like it. Especially if you are older and WISER.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Very good interface"

    June 25, 2011  |   By tanyi2000

    Version: Opera 11.11

    Pros

    Very fast browser, even faster than internet explorer

    Cons

    Some websites don't work with the opera browser. The front page of certain websites looks like everything has been jumbled together

    Summary

    With constant improvement, it will one become the number one browser

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

    Was this review helpful? (1) (0)

  • 1.0 stars

    "Completely pointless."

    June 25, 2011  |   By spartain

    Version: Opera 11.11

    Pros

    Free
    It works (more or less)

    Cons

    It's nothing special.
    It doesn't support Socks Proxy Servers.
    Occassional incorrect layout.

    Summary

    Opera is pointless because it adds nothing that other major browsers like Firefox, IE v9, Avant, etc. However, the most glaringly absent feature is that it STILL does not support Socks proxy servers, which is not only pathetic, but indicates that the Opera developers are just lazy, which is also why it still fails to reproduce some web pages correctly. These developers really need to spend less time eating and more time creating a decent product. TOTAL POINTLESS FAIL.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Good Browser but one recommendation"

    June 24, 2011  |   By TylorW1

    Version: Opera 11.11

    Pros

    Very good Browser

    Cons

    Few, most would be compatibility with some websites.

    Summary

    Best browser I've used however I recommend going to opera.com and download it from the official site. The one of Cnet by some reviews seems to be bugged at best.

    Reply to this review

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  • 1.0 stars

    "No thank you!!"

    June 21, 2011  |   By mrg73

    Version: Opera 11.11

    Pros

    None that i can think of.

    Cons

    Flash Player works horrible on a lot of websites. I keep getting a message that says another instance of Opera is still in the process of shutting down. It is a very unstable browser that sometimes doesn't even pull up pages correctly as well.

    Summary

    This is the worst browser I have ever used with Broadband. I am getting ready to uninstall it and use my IE 9 and Chrome. They are the best combo to have right now...especially if you have a brand new PC.

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

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  • 3.0 stars

    "My new favorite browser"

    June 21, 2011  |   By colinh25

    Version: Opera 11.11

    Pros

    light. doesn't hang like Chrome, not bloated like Firefox.

    Cons

    could better faster and handle FB games better.

    Summary

    it's a good browser!!!!.

    Updated on Jun 24, 2011

    *******could be faster and handle FB games better*******

    Reply to this review

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  • 3.0 stars

    "IT makes my system slow."

    June 20, 2011  |   By zenblue1

    Version: Opera 11.11

    Pros

    very pretty with alot of stuff.

    Cons

    Crash,crash and more crash's.

    Summary

    It will at some point be awesome.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Great browser"

    June 20, 2011  |   By justice99

    Version: Opera 11.11

    Pros

    Fast, simple, and easy to use. I recommend using it.

    Cons

    It still has some compatibility issue on a few websites.

    Reply to this review

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  • 2.0 stars

    "so-so browser"

    June 19, 2011  |   By krasoffski

    Version: Opera 11.11

    Pros

    Fast, modern and all inclusive. Many people installed it and does not worry about email clients and another software.

    Cons

    What about ntlm2 autetification? It does not work sinc eight version and it does not work in ten version. Too mach superfluous functionality.

    Summary

    This browser suitable for old people (i think). They like that all software in opera are included for serfing in the internet. Such as mail, adblock, download manager and etc. Just install the browser and it is all!
    But I don't like it because opera does not connect through proxy server with ntlm2 on my work. And I like pure browser and then I tune it for myself.
    P.S. Sorry for my English. :-P

    Reply to this review

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Results 1-10 of 34

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