Opera 11.60 - 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 21 votes

    • 5 star: 10
    • 4 star: 3
    • 3 star: 5
    • 2 star: 1
    • 1 star: 2
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 21

  • 4.0 stars

    "A Brilliant Browser Despite Some Compatibility Issues"

    January 20, 2012  |   By perknh

    Version: Opera 11.60

    Pros

    Fast, secure, clever, and philosophically sound. It is just about as fast as Chrome, and it is a browser that few hackers set their sights on. It make good use of little space, so it doesn't take a lot of space on your hard drive. And Opera is philosophically sound: they are trying to standardize compatibility in the industry.

    Cons

    If you use Opera long enough, including 11.60, you will learn that there can be compatibility issues with Opera -- which is probably the reason they wish to standardize compatibility in the industry. For instance, using Gmail can be a problem. Historically, in Opera browser, Gmail's cut and paste has been sluggish, and composing an email in Gmail begins with the tiniest of text sizes -- which is nuisance to always be changing manually. Another compatibility issue I'm aware of concerns viewing slideshows in Yahoo News -- it just isn't going to happen. This function DOESN'T function in Yahoo News if you're using Opera browser.

    Summary

    If you're not a big user of Gmail, and you don't care about viewing slideshows in Yahoo News, I'd say go for it -- give Opera a try. Opera is a brilliant browser -- clever, as well as fun -- despite some compatibility issues. However if you use Gmail a lot, or if you are always checking out Yahoo News, I'd say try giving Comodo Dragon browser a spin instead. Comodo Dragon, too, is fast and secure, and it does not take a lot of space on your hard drive. At least in Comodo Dragon, Gmail and Yahoo News function as they should. But when Opera irons out the aforementioned bugs, I will gladly migrate back to Opera.

    Updated on Apr 5, 2012

    I gave a good plug for Comodo Dragon when it was updating correctly. But Comodo, itself, has some of its own issues with updating. I'd say if you don't care much about photo sideshows at Yahoo News, and if you don't use Gmail a lot, I'd go with Opera.

    Opera, though, still deserves 4 stars, in my opinion, because of some compatibility issues.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Excellent really"

    January 16, 2012  |   By whitegroup3322

    Version: Opera 11.60

    Pros

    Easier to use than before and quick as the bigger Players

    Cons

    Quirky web address display, sometimes it shows and other times it waits or won't show.

    Summary

    Well done OPERA

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  • 5.0 stars

    "lies lies lies"

    January 16, 2012  |   By ohwowmypc

    Version: Opera 11.60

    Pros

    I smell a liar..................

    Cons

    None they are always updating their software....

    Summary

    It funny that YOU are the only one with this issues hmmmmmmmmm

    Updated on Jan 16, 2012

    He is lying out of hundred of user he is the only one with that issues....riiiiggghhhhtttt.... I blame the user not the software I do not think electronics are the issue but the users who do not know much...

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Eh...................."

    January 13, 2012  |   By Doc_sean

    Version: Opera 11.60

    Pros

    Okay, some what good browser.

    Cons

    This thing wants power...meaning even if you do not choose it as a default browser, it WILL still take over as a default even when the box is unchecked. Good example. I have Forefox as the default, and when I open an email or go for an update from another program 'Opera' will open as the default. After removing it from my comp; it left mal-ware behind and has caused some considerable shut down issues in Win 7 for some reasons I don't know or why the group who developed Opera would install it.

    Summary

    I like to have a couple of extra Browser's as back ups other than Microsoft Explorer. Because of the malicious attacks on its coding. If and when Mal-Ware tries to install itself, I still have a chance to get on and solve the issue. Other than that, Chrome still out does Opera.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "It's not complicated. You can use it without tweaking."

    January 10, 2012  |   By unklray123

    Version: Opera 11.60

    Pros

    Fast, pretty, lots of ways to customize your browsing experience.
    Tweak until your hearts content.

    Cons

    None I can think of. You can use it out of the box, so to speak or tweak it till it suits you perfectly

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Fast But Still Skillful"

    January 5, 2012  |   By RufusBilly

    Version: Opera 11.60

    Pros

    Lots of creativity

    Cons

    not visible to the two headed users

    Summary

    Will not be popular in Detroit, Compton, South Side of Chicago or East St Louis

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Opera is a little too jumpy."

    January 4, 2012  |   By dcowboydon

    Version: Opera 11.60

    Pros

    Opera is fast.

    Cons

    Opera is fast but I neeeded a steady browser for Facebook and this is noot it...

    Summary

    I needed a steady browser for Facebook.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Not good at all"

    January 2, 2012  |   By ThatGuy90

    Version: Opera 11.60

    Pros

    customizable but complicated.

    Cons

    slow, bloated, complicated settings, not user friendly.

    Summary

    Opera isn't tat great. it still needs a lot of work to make it better.

    Updated on Jan 2, 2012

    Opera isn't that great***

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Opera 11 screwed me up"

    December 25, 2011  |   By Lucien_Sabre

    Version: Opera 11.60

    Pros

    It was my top browser (chosen over Firefox)....

    Cons

    ...until version 11 has come out; since then, the browser has gone down the drain.

    Summary

    I used to love this browser, I've used for almost a year - ofter using this more than Firefox - and I thought there could be no better browser...then the age of doom began: Opera 11.
    Since then, all the page I viewed got screwed up, I couldn't see some websites (like Photobucket.com) and the ones I could see looked worse than in IE's old versions. I tried to uninstall and reinstall the program; tried to uninstall, wait for new version and install it from scratch (a couple of times); tried to use it without addons, extensions and similar; nothing worked.
    In the end, I gave up and decided to try out Google Chrome; it's been six months and I must say CHROME 100 - OPERA 5, there's no competition at all: in my opinion, Chrome has everything (almost like Mozilla), Opera lacks lots.
    CHOOSE CHROME INSTEAD OF OPERA, YOU WON'T REGRET IT.

    Updated on Jan 12, 2012

    I pity all those who cannot but post brainless replies (musicman4you and crosstowntrafic, I'm not afraid to call them with their names).
    I tried Opera again and I've been using for a couple of days: today, browser windows suddenly froze, my 5-months-old laptop shut off with the message a crash had happened and the switch-off was to prevent further damage.
    I think that sums everything up.

    Reply to this review Read replies (3)

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  • 3.0 stars

    "lacking basic essentials of a web browser"

    December 17, 2011  |   By jeffkski

    Version: Opera 11.60

    Pros

    nothing spectacular about opera

    Cons

    could not see hotmail

    Reply to this review Read replies (2)

    Was this review helpful? (1) (6)

Results 1-10 of 21

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