Opera 11.50 - 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:

    4.5 stars

    out of 46 votes

    • 5 star: 37
    • 4 star: 1
    • 3 star: 4
    • 2 star: 2
    • 1 star: 2
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 46

  • 5.0 stars

    "Nice! Very Nice!"

    August 30, 2011  |   By babafet

    Version: Opera 11.50

    Pros

    I just love it is faster than Chrome!

    Cons

    None at all! Nice looking browser well put together!

    Summary

    Best of the best here! WOW!

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (3) (0)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Opera 11.5 and this is the best browser for me."

    August 29, 2011  |   By BlackFamous

    Version: Opera 11.50

    Pros

    None for me

    Cons

    Absolutely fantastic with speed and cutting edge add-ons.. i simple love it.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (3) (0)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Opera still amazing browser"

    August 27, 2011  |   By jtek65

    Version: Opera 11.50

    Pros

    Small download and install size, light on resource usage, highly adaptable interface and web page customization, turbo mode, voice recognition, and much much more...

    Cons

    Opera can have issues displaying some web sites - issue with web site, not browser. User agent mapping needs to be more intuitive. Mail and contact component need drastic feature improvements in my opinion.

    Summary

    I wrote a long review when version 11.10 was released and I am still convinced that Opera is till a top browser choice. I try not to compare with other browsers as experience has shown that browsers are liked or disliked based on how each of us surfs the web. People ask me all the time what browser to use - my reply is always the same... Download them, try them and use the one that fits your browsing needs the best. Opera continues to be a highly customizable and functional browser that can accommodate many different browsing styles from one package.

    I am a web designer and have always found Opera to render pages correctly as long as web standards are used. Pages that do not render correctly in Opera are mainly due to "sloppy" coding or using browser specific code. With HTML5 this should be more of an non-issue. I was unable to log into my school portal with Opera - only supported IE and Firefox. I told Opera to use Firefox as its user agent when logging into this site and had no further issues.

    The only thing I feel is lacking in Opera is its mail and contact components. Too basic and cumbersome importing facilities that often mess up the data if you are not careful with field matching. Thankfully, Opera does allow you to point to an external mail client (e.g. Thunderbird, Outlook) and will integrate smoothly with your choice. Still, if you are going to add these components to your browser, they need to be usable and at least comparable feature wise.

    Regardless - Opera is a good choice for daily browsing needs and is by far one of the best browsers when it comes to developers listening to its users. Be sure to give this browser a couple weeks of use as there are so many features to explore, you won't know if you like it with only a couple hours or day of use.

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

    Was this review helpful? (4) (0)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Loving this!"

    August 27, 2011  |   By cpegg2011

    Version: Opera 11.50

    Pros

    When i been trying this build and seems it alot faster and smooth!
    It alot better than google chrome and firefox right now!

    Cons

    none found here

    Summary

    believe me this one is less buggy than firefox and google chrome!

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Blue-screened by Win7-64 PC on install"

    August 26, 2011  |   By Spartan2121

    Version: Opera 11.50

    Pros

    No clue. Didn't get far enough

    Cons

    Couldn't install

    Reply to this review Read replies (2)

    Was this review helpful? (0) (7)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Ok where is the editors choice on here?"

    August 26, 2011  |   By Imapcguru111

    Version: Opera 11.50

    Pros

    Well just about everything!

    Cons

    None that I can think of at all.

    Summary

    Get it you'll be happy! Better than Chrome, Firefox and IE combine!!!

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

    Was this review helpful? (4) (0)

  • 5.0 stars

    "OMG! OMG! How beautiful!!!"

    August 25, 2011  |   By GeeksRus1

    Version: Opera 11.50

    Pros

    Wow 1. faster than Google Chrome. 2. They do not keep track of you browsing like Firefox, IE9, or Google Chrome. 3. You can block "referrer"! 4. Looks awesome 5. Tons innovations 6. Love it!!!!!

    Cons

    None I call it the Firefox and Google Chrome killer hahahaha!

    Summary

    If you care about some hacker getting all your information Google has stored on you when you read your email, brows the net ect. Or you are sick of Firefox promising a heavenly browser but delivering hell like a politician. Then you found the best browser. I would also check SRware Iron browser if you must have Chrome (minus the snooping on your business of course). Get Opera and you will not be sorry!

    Reply to this review Read replies (3)

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  • 5.0 stars

    "The bomb (in a good way) of browsers!"

    August 23, 2011  |   By wingweaver

    Version: Opera 11.50

    Pros

    Not enough room to list them all

    Cons

    It really isn't a reflection of the browser it is a reflection of certain web sites that are not compatible

    Summary

    This is the best browser around. I have always thought so having been an opera user for a long time but this version just smacks down the rest. I just wish certain websites would wake up and be compatible with it. Saving grace is that you can disguise Opera as either Firefox or IE with a click of a button. Luv ya Opera!

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

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  • 5.0 stars

    "I like this one!"

    August 22, 2011  |   By janai_

    Version: Opera 11.50

    Pros

    very good program!!

    Cons

    very very good!!

    Summary

    very fast !!!

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (5) (1)

  • 3.0 stars

    "Needs Programming Help"

    August 22, 2011  |   By starman1695

    Version: Opera 11.50

    Pros

    Speed Dial

    Cons

    Need to use Turbo to access links in Twitter

    Summary

    This could really be a great browser if they would just fix the problems. It's a pain in the ass to have to click on Turbo when you want to use a link and then have to turn it off when you want to see images. Also, it's the only browser that crashes daily and asks me to install programs that are already installed on my PC.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (1) (6)

Results 1-10 of 46

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