Opera 12.02 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Opera

CNET Editors' review

The bottom line: Extensions, competitive page-load times, solid features, and good support for "future Web" technologies make Opera 12 an excellent browser, but it's treading water where it used to lead.

Review:
The second-oldest browser currently in use, Opera debuted way back in 1994 and continues to attract attention. Its feature-phone version claims more than 160 million users worldwide. While desktop Opera isn't quite as heavily used, it has developed a reputation as a leader on feature development, and can hold its own against the big four.

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 2 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 11, 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 and Turbo. The bottom right corner of the status bar sports a dedicated zoom slider.

The navigation bar and its associated buttons and extension icons are a uniform height, keeping the browser's chrome, its interface, to a minimum. It's a polished look, and one that most browsers offer today. 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.

The influence of the radical interface changes that Google Chrome introduced in 2008 can be seen here, from 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. A red Opera "O" logo button in the upper left corner reveals options and menus, while a wrench icon on the New Tab page allows you to customize Opera's forward-thinking Speed Dial.

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. That's fallen off a bit in version 12, which showcases more catching up than trailblazing leadership.

Quirky features such as Widgets, Unite, and Voice have been killed off, which means that there's less bloat in the browser. But no doubt that those executions were performed also because of a lack of user interest.

Opera 12's hardware acceleration, which is when the browser uses the graphics processor to render animations faster and more smoothly, is still a work in progress. It's in the browser, but you must manually activate it for now.

Many changes in Opera 12 that pull it closer to parity with the competition. These include separate processes for plug-ins like Flash and QuickTime, so that when the plug-in crashes, the browser doesn't burn up with it; a lightweight add-on structure powered by HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS emphasized for extensions and now themes; and redesigned location bar security badges that are easier to read.

This isn't to say that Opera can't compare, because it holds up well. It's just not quite as innovative in this version as in the past. You still get tab stacks, a way to group tabs and cut down on tab clutter; tab pinning; and Opera Link for syncing Bookmarks, Speed Dial, Notes, and passwords to other instances of Opera, including Opera Mobile and Opera Mini. Sadly, there's still no tab sync in Opera.

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. And Opera 12 has added HTML5 support for controlling local media hardware, such as Webcams, from Web sites.

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 rival 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 but just a bit old-school right out of the box. However, aside from the integrated mail support, much of what Opera offers can now be found elsewhere.

Performance
Full benchmarks will be added here as they are completed, but preliminary results indicate that Opera 12's page-load times remain comparable to its competitors on publicly available benchmark tests. Short version: It's an extremely fast browser. And although rumors persist about Web site incompatibility, we've yet to encounter any major site that Opera had problems with.

Conclusion
Opera is in firm grip of the fifth-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, open developer's community of Mozilla's Firefox. What it does have are a fantastic combination of speed and built-in services, and a mobile base that's enormous.

What's missing is a compelling argument for adoption beyond a dislike of the other four. As much as we enjoy our time using Opera, it doesn't surpass the competition -- it only matches it.

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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:

    4.2 stars

    out of 18 votes

    • 5 star: 11
    • 4 star: 3
    • 3 star: 2
    • 2 star: 0
    • 1 star: 2
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 18

  • 5.0 stars

    "This version is great...DON'T UPDATE TO VERSION 12.10"

    November 7, 2012  |   By RogerCary

    Version: Opera 12.02

    Pros

    Works relatively well. I love the sharing capability of the unite feature.

    Cons

    Updated to version 12.10 & unite no longer works. This is at least the second updated version in which unite doesn't work.

    Summary

    NEWER ISN'T ALWAYS BETTER....DON'T UPDATE TO VERSION 12.10 IF YOU USE UNITE FOR SHARING!

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (1) (0)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Like it better than Google!"

    November 2, 2012  |   By ITExpert2013IT

    Version: Opera 12.02

    Pros

    Lot of good thing....

    Cons

    Some issues with security...

    Summary

    Opera is a great browser with a lot of potetional I want to see this browser in 2022 and see what it will be like in 10 years....good job Opera!

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (1) (0)

  • 5.0 stars

    "TRULY AWESOME!!"

    October 30, 2012  |   By qhenson

    Version: Opera 12.02

    Pros

    FAST LOOKS GREAT EASY TO USE.

    Cons

    I CANT THINK OF ANY CONS TO THIS PRODUCT!!!

    Summary

    I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS TO ANYONE HANDS DOWN ,UP SIDE BACK LOL !!!

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (1) (0)

  • 4.0 stars

    "The old girl is "Back""

    October 21, 2012  |   By desertdan1

    Version: Opera 12.02

    Pros

    Works great love the zoom slide for those of us with sight issues this is a great item!

    Cons

    Occasionally doesn't shut down, Bookmarks leave a lot to be desired especially if you try to transfer bookmarks to the toolbar?? Still has slight scrolling issues in Facebook but much improved !

    Summary

    Opera has vastly improved in their last two upgrades! And I keep it on my PC not so much as default, but for it's zoom feature.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (2) (0)

  • 3.0 stars

    "Good but.."

    October 21, 2012  |   By sanjaybai

    Version: Opera 12.02

    Pros

    Fast. That's all.

    Cons

    You have have to click at the YouTube Video Player to Click on thoese Buttons and it don't have Many Extnesions like Google Chrome.

    Summary

    if you like it Use it.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (2)

  • 3.0 stars

    "this is weird browser"

    October 14, 2012  |   By salesalex

    Version: Opera 12.02

    Pros

    it has nice logo .

    Cons

    weird names of the common operations and totally strange interface ,I do not want to spend a week on youtube watching tutorials about Opera.

    Summary

    It is made only for enthusiasts.

    Reply to this review

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  • 4.0 stars

    "GREAT BROWSER"

    October 11, 2012  |   By Sherif Ayad

    Version: Opera 12.02

    Pros

    OPERA is easy to download, easy to setup

    Cons

    The main defect is when I browse and open a certain category at http://download.com/ the browser automatically leaves the category and goes to the main page. This is always happened with versions 11, 12 and also with opera next. I hope it will be fixed sooner because for me is a main problem

    Summary

    It has everything I need and more than I will ever need right out of the box.It has never crashed on me in over a year so it is very stable

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (1) (1)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Still my default browser."

    October 3, 2012  |   By UmbraSpirit

    Version: Opera 12.02

    Pros

    Has many features despite cutting down on some of them. Widgets, & Opera Unite have been removed. I use it's built in email client, & speed dial as well as extensions such as cleanPages, To-Read Sites, Ghostery, & others.

    Cons

    Some websites like bitly.com don't work properly. Even though I use an old computer, Opera still doesn't have default GPU acceleration. I feel lack of default graphics card acceleration is holding this browser back. It's a work in progress, but Opera is definitely heading in the right direction.

    Summary

    Overall a great browser with a lot of flexibility.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (4) (1)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Really good browser"

    October 3, 2012  |   By Moo__

    Version: Opera 12.02

    Pros

    It has a mail client, fast, and doesn't have as much memory problems as FF.

    Cons

    A bit crashy, can hog memory sometimes, and opera unite will die soon.

    Summary

    No, it doesn't make it your default browser without asking. Look at options in the installer.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (3) (1)

  • 1.0 stars

    "What other changes does it make without asking?"

    October 1, 2012  |   By kbuikmvaj

    Version: Opera 12.02

    Pros

    I don't know

    Cons

    Definitely sleazy

    Summary

    When I installed it, I thought it was real sleazy that it installed a quick-start icon without asking. Then I noticed that it had set itself up as the default browser without asking! That's when I uninstalled it. The writers are so arrogant that they'll do things like that without asking, there's no telling what other changes they'll make to my machine without asking.

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

    Was this review helpful? (1) (6)

Results 1-10 of 18

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