Opera 12.14 - 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.

A handful of new features in Opera 12 (pictures)

1-2 of 6
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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:

    3.3 stars

    out of 9 votes

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

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-9 of 9

  • 2.0 stars

    "Very Presumptuous"

    April 2, 2013  |   By nickrusso

    Version: Opera 12.14

    Pros

    It's a browser

    Cons

    NO installation options - puts it where it d___ well pleases (on the boot drive, of course, just where I DIDN'T want it).
    Sets itself as the default browser w/o asking.

    Summary

    A browser this mature should do better than this. I would not bother with it again.

    Used for a few minutes, looked at add-ons, decided inadequate in general, removed from system.

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Fast and Reliable, as always"

    March 28, 2013  |   By FonsB

    Version: Opera 12.14

    Pros

    Loads pages quicker
    Opera turbo!
    Email / bittorrent build in
    No real need for addons

    Cons

    still some rendering issues with Yahoo interface

    Summary

    I have been using Opera as main browser for the last 10 years or so and it still is my favorite browser to use. Since Opera 10 I've had almost no issues rendering pages. Yahoo still acts up sometimes but I got used to that and 99 out of the 100 times i load Yahoo it works fine.

    What I like most is how quick pages load (Opera Turbo works like a charm when I'm on a slower connection) and how Opera does/shows all the things I need it to do/show out of the box, without the hassle of getting any addons. I feel the major difference between Opera and the Big 4 is that the other four have better marketing than opera has.

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

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  • 5.0 stars

    "still the best"

    March 7, 2013  |   By ChoiceVoice

    Version: Opera 12.14

    Pros

    -most secure browser
    -2013 winner av comparables antiphishing tests (even ie beat chrome and firefox)
    -hacker tests refuse to test opera (even though more users than some browsers tested).
    -most secure addons - opera has strict policy against 3 party extensions. that's one reason why firefox has far more.
    -historically, opera is always fastest or close to it.
    -more rugged structurally. i use a program that limits write protection in my browsers. so i can only save to download folder. sometimes i forget and try to save to desktop. chrome crashes. opera does not.
    -integrated email is fantastic. simplifies internet time.
    -really like tab vault extension and password manager.
    -opera has always been the browser innovator. everyone else follows. i've noticed over the years how chrome and firefox always copy opera's appearance.

    Cons

    -would like to see a couple 3rd party extensions added (webutation, webroots reputation, etc).
    -because of smaller user base, opera doesn't work with online virus scanners, and some programs (trend micros browser guard, or spyware blaster).

    Summary

    just loaded opera and chrome. opened process explorer ... chrome has 12 processes running, opera has 1. ouch!

    check startup, chrome starts with boot, slowing computer boot time ... why? opera does not.

    when chrome not opened, it still tries to access internet. opera does not. chrome is far too aggressive with monitoring my browsing for advertising reasons (i suspect?). opera does not. i don't like my browser spying on me.

    chrome likes to save old builts (which takes up a lot of disk space), opera does not.

    Updated on Mar 14, 2013

    Opera's adoption of the Webkit engine (created by Apple, not Chrome ... but used by both Safari and Chromium) is just another reason to use Opera. Opera's biggest obstacle was a poorer rendering of occasional webpages (as compared to more popular browsers). It will now render them identically to its competition. Yet, it will still contain all of its other advantages. Another thing that annoys me with Chrome is that it adds services. Opera does not do this. To say that a ford car and a toyota car that use the same engine are the same car to drive is laughable.

    Reply to this review Read replies (6)

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  • 1.0 stars

    "horrible browser"

    February 22, 2013  |   By whoda_thunkit

    Version: Opera 12.14

    Pros

    none except gives you some exclusivity because less than 2 in a 100 people use it.

    Cons

    -slower than firefox, chrome.
    -least secure especially compared to IE 9, IE 10, FF19, cvomodo dragon.
    -not as many addons as FF.
    -poor page rendering
    -high memory usage
    -poor privacy. this companyt is in bed with many corporations. it's like google chrome privacy wise without chrome's b=blazing speed.
    -unique id for eah browser than identifies you even if you are using VPN.

    Summary

    nothing good about this browser. this browser should not even exist.

    Updated on Feb 25, 2013

    * more than 15-20 times as many people use Firefox as compared to OPERA.

    Reply to this review Read replies (5)

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Excellent browser needs improved Yahoo interface."

    February 14, 2013  |   By swanjame

    Version: Opera 12.14

    Pros

    I used Opera preferentially for two years until a year ago it got squirrelly for me. Six months ago I got a new computer and put Opera on it and it was still squirrelly. I tried it again a few weeks ago and the bugs have been mostly worked out.

    Cons

    The interface with Yahoo and Yahoo mail is still not smooth, but it is useable.

    Summary

    It is really working well, but I am not at this point getting away from Yahoo.

    Reply to this review

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  • 5.0 stars

    "I love it. BEST BROWSER OF ALL."

    February 12, 2013  |   By chloeanderson

    Version: Opera 12.14

    Pros

    Using Opera for more than five years. Been my default browser and has never let me down. Sometimes I've seen browsers like firefox and IE failing to open certain pages due to extensive popups attached to it while opera successfully blocks all the popups and opens the page successfully.

    Cons

    Muah, Love you OPERA.

    Summary



    Updated on Feb 12, 2013

    Best user friendly browser ever. More reliable than IE and firefox. User controls everything. I don't understand what is it that you don't find in it. I find everything I need in it and using it more than seven years.

    Reply to this review Read replies (2)

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Hated It!!"

    February 9, 2013  |   By philw19642002

    Version: Opera 12.14

    Pros

    Not one could find out of your product!!

    Cons

    User-unfriendly. One can not make it personal at any level. At least with Internet Exploer one has a good clear look at everything. 9 out of 19 times I cannot even read what is saved in Opera browser!!

    Summary

    Hate it! Don't use it. Very user-unfriendly!!

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

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  • 1.0 stars

    "The Browser For Antique and Museum Computers"

    February 7, 2013  |   By EricVonZipper

    Version: Opera 12.14

    Pros

    12.14 actually loads up and works, sort of.

    Cons

    Page rendering is something the people in Norway don't know about or don't care about...and if you call them and their fanboy base out on it, their default position it's the website developer's fault, never mind that every other browser will render those same pages correctly.

    Summary

    With 1.75% of the browser market share, who cares?

    Updated on Feb 13, 2013

    OPERA so bad at page rendering and coping with the modern web OPERA is having to ditch their antiquated Presto engine and switch to a Web Kit like Chromium based engine. The suits at OPERA headquarters have woken up and smelled the coffee and read the handwriting on the wall - too bad the fanboys on here will no longer have their precious OPERA as it is morphing into Chrome. Hahaha!!!

    Updated on Feb 16, 2013



    Updated on Mar 13, 2013

    MM4U--why don't you try answering the FACT that Opera Executives have scrapped your precious and have gone with Chrome as Opera's new brain???

    Reply to this review Read replies (15)

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Great Browser Works Great and fast,My Favorite Browser"

    February 7, 2013  |   By musicman4you

    Version: Opera 12.14

    Pros

    Very Fast Browser with Tons of options.I use it everywhere.Love the Tabs.

    Cons

    No cons from me.Have used it for over a year.Well one Con.Tonight Opera 12.13 would not open but I figured it out.Read Below and it will help some of you out I hope.

    Summary

    Great Browser.Had me worried when it wouldn't open tonight and I had to use slow IE for about and hour.
    I was using 12.13 and worked great but tonight I turned on my computer and Opera 12.13 would not open and told me to send and error report over and over everytime.Well nothing worked to get Opera 12.13 to open and I had many Bookmarks I did not want to lose and had not backed them up.I found out on the Opera Browser there is and Export Bookmarks Option were you can save them anywhere on your PC and then Import them later even after a fresh reinstall if you need to.Well I couldn't get into the Browser to do this until I decided to go into Add and Remove Programs on my PC and went to Opera's Download Page.I downloaded Opera 12.14 and figured oh well I will just try and install it over 12.13 and then save my Bookmarks and then delete 12.14 and Install it again so I could get rid of all of the stuff left behind from both versions with CRAPCLEANER and a Registry cleaner BUT TO MY SUPRISE when I went to install 12.14 it told me it was and Update for 12.13 so I installed it.Took only a few seconds.It works great now and saved all of my Bookmarks, Plugins and other settings and Extensions.All is good now.

    Updated on Mar 14, 2013

    @ EricVonZipper Why do you want to lie ? On March 8th or 9th you Posted look at MM4U's spelling,look at his sentence structure and other things CNET removed that had nothing to do with Opera.I CC&P it under my reply to you but it was removed by CNET also.Also you and whoda_thunkit Posted that the only people that used Opera was people that had a low IQ and old people.Cnet removed that also.I already told you Switching to Web Kit instead of updating the Presto engine is a smart move by Opera if you ask me.Opera will still be a great Browser Im sure and will improve on it.Right now they are making tons of money on Opera for Mobile.

    Reply to this review Read replies (2)

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Results 1-9 of 9

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