Opera 11.51 - 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 36 votes

    • 5 star: 18
    • 4 star: 7
    • 3 star: 5
    • 2 star: 2
    • 1 star: 4
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 36

  • 5.0 stars

    "The best innovative browser ever!"

    October 19, 2011  |   By Axection

    Version: Opera 11.51

    Pros

    - Online bookmark
    - Still powerful with 20 tabs open
    - Sleek and polished browser design
    - Fast, reliable, secure (+Private tab!)
    - Easy Configuration (opera:config, Ctrl+F12, Shift+F12)
    - The first browser with built-in mouse gestures
    - First browser with cloud computing (Opera Unite)
    - First browser with turbo technology (Opera Turbo)
    - Extension (Now will as powerful as Firefox)
    - Browser with built in mail client (Opera Mail)
    - HTML5+CSS3 (compatible)
    - Still kicking after more than 15 years.
    - Easy to use tab management (stack, pin)
    - "Recently closed tab" feature

    Cons

    - HTML5 script compatibility is too low (even could not use drag and drop script in Mediafire)
    - Sometimes may cause crash in vBulletin
    - Takes much memory on load (but stable in after)
    - Javascript seems to be bugged while other browsers do it successfully.
    - There are very little plugins available for Opera (comparing to IE and Firefox)
    - Opera Mail got failed to log in hotmail account with strong password (using symbol chars)
    - Password manager sometimes doing something stupid that also stores Captcha code.

    Summary

    In some ways, Opera is a bit weaker than other browser (especially about memory consumption), but the best thing is no browsers have such many features like Opera. Even, Firefox sync has launched for some times after Opera Link. Opera gives so many features that users could use. Unfortunately, many people does not understand what is that for and seems they just need simple browsing (social networking and then done - close)

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Opera remains a different animal...through the years."

    October 13, 2011  |   By TencU

    Version: Opera 11.51

    Pros

    Great flexibility and the old Opera mega-suit: integration of browser and POP3 email. Always loved their logo.
    Very short fix time against browser threats compared with much longer vulnerability at other browsers including IE and Chrome. Opera should be applauded for this. It's critical, and as much as I like Chrome, Google has been derelict, in my opinion, on fixing their browser vulnerabilities. Not Opera though, they're on it.

    Cons

    I've moved to web based mail to avoid machine death taking out un-backed email archives, so having POP3 integration with the browser is not the attractive feature it used to be.

    Bookmark importation is either not easily possible in Opera 11.51 from Chrome/IE9 or it is stupidly obscure. Many people writing in the forums, are citing bookmark disappearance and synchronizing issues as continuing problems. A browser of the maturity of Opera, especially one that has pioneered many features now embraced by IE, should have reliability issues looped by now. Lack of reliability was why left it many years ago.

    Summary

    I really want to like Opera again, but find it difficult to handle intuitive tasks such as importing bookmarks from either Chrome or IE9. I had used Opera and promoted it amongst my friends for years through many previous versions, but left it four or five years ago, when it began weird behavior and labored under my large email demands.

    Astonishingly, when I installed 11.51 on a recently purchased machine, Opera showed up on my new machine with numerous of my old bookmarks (creepy!) even though the computer I used five years ago when I stopped Opera, has been long dead. So Opera corporate must have stored my bookmarks. Hmmmm.

    Out of kindness to an old "friend" I gave 11.51 three stars, but do not put much stock in the star rating as I am unlikely to start using 11.51 much..........except for one very important attraction. The feature I cited in "pros", namely the short fix time Opera applies to patching vulnerabilities.

    So who knows......I will look more deeply into Opera.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "seems fast in downloading data."

    October 12, 2011  |   By vgsystem

    Version: Opera 11.51

    Pros

    It has a clean interface, not too many ads.

    Cons

    Keeps on upgrading, seems a taker of our precious time.

    Summary

    Please don't upgrade so often.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Not good at all crashed 10 minutes using it"

    October 7, 2011  |   By jaymans

    Version: Opera 11.51

    Pros

    NONE ONCE SO EVER

    Cons

    thought it was good till 10 minutes using it was crashing 5 times and problems from the get go I unistalled fast :( :(

    Summary

    Apple Safari 5.1 best broswer even better then firefox or Google chrome which both started crashing way to often Safari 5.1 has DEP disruption evolution protections if you visit a site thats unsafe it closes logs reports and prevents any damage to your computer very nice feature :) :) LOVE IT

    Reply to this review Read replies (4)

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  • 1.0 stars

    "It would not run on my computer."

    October 6, 2011  |   By zoomie666

    Version: Opera 11.51

    Pros

    None that I could see unfortunately.

    Cons

    As soon as I attempted to open Opera, the computer went to a blue screen. Running Windows 7, 64 bit.

    Summary

    I removed the program. I see other comments on their forums that this is not a one time one computer occurrence.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "good to use personal"

    October 5, 2011  |   By sha3sust

    Version: Opera 11.51

    Pros

    need some impovement on security

    Cons

    It does very well, not a large foot print like Google, butit is faster than goole.

    Summary

    coppetent and moderate one

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Fantastic best move ever switching from Chrome"

    October 4, 2011  |   By stve1090

    Version: Opera 11.51

    Pros

    Very fast with a great interface. Mouse Gestures & Speed Dial work so much better than Firefox's extensions,
    Love the integrated Mail & Notes.

    Cons

    some pages don't work well in Opera, not many & if I right click the page there is an open with option to open the page in another browser .

    Summary

    Absolutely chock full of fantastic features , you can even add extensions like in Firefox , personally I've only added a couple as the default install has everything I need . When I used Firefox I used to run about 50 extensions Opera has most of those by default & better quality as well. :)

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Great and fast browser, but has a few issues"

    October 4, 2011  |   By Stinger15

    Version: Opera 11.51

    Pros

    -Love the speed dial to allow quick and easy navigations to the sites you use most
    -Fast surfing and fast performance in every aspect
    -Places pop-ups (non-ad) in the tab list, but still seperates the window

    Cons

    Has html/javascript problems. Doesn't support a lot of photobucket's javascript. It also displays some pages like eBay item listing pages wrong.

    Summary

    Great browser. But nothing beats the ability to display correctly like IE. I've been using Opera for about 3 days now, and the fact that I still have to open IE to view certain pages correctly, or interact with javascript correctly, just makes this browser obsolete. Fix these issues and I'll gladly use this browser.

    Updated on Oct 5, 2011

    Thanks for the information. But, I tried to mask websites as IE and Firefox, but no difference. I tried the Fit to Width option, but it just made things even worse on eBay.

    Reply to this review Read replies (3)

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Opera has replaced Firefox as my main browser"

    September 30, 2011  |   By zeitfliesst

    Version: Opera 11.51

    Pros

    -Everything is snappier than Firefox
    -Doesn't hog memory
    -Tab stacking is useful for grouping related tabs

    Cons

    -Only around 1000 addons, but the number is slowly increasing

    Summary

    Firefox (or actually Pale Moon which is based on Firefox) used to be my browser of choice, but since version 4 or so, memory usage skyrocketed and the response time for every action (tabs opening, closing, browser closing, etc.) increased dramatically. I've been using Opera since then, and have had no problems whatsoever regarding memory or response time. Everything is snappy and tabs open and close in an instant as it should. Although I miss some Firefox addons such as BarTab, Tree Style Tab, etc. I am not looking back, since Firefox 7 still had the same memory problems when I tried it.

    Reply to this review Read replies (2)

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Great Alternative To IE8 On XP"

    September 25, 2011  |   By seventhragnarok

    Version: Opera 11.51

    Pros

    QUITE fast. Lots of lovely features. Customizable and informative (I love the 'elements' display). A great compliment to having Firefox as a browser.

    Cons

    None, so far.

    Summary

    Being on XP, I wanted to get a browser that would be equivalent to IE, since IE9 is not a possibility for my OS. Opera has filled in the job, and well. :-)

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

    Was this review helpful? (4) (0)

Results 1-10 of 36

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