After posting my findings about the various browsers I decided to try out Safari 4 and Opera 9.6. I had to quickly abandon Safari because it lacked the features that I need. So I starting playing with Opera. If you look at my previous post you will notice that (on my machine) the Opera numbers were far faster than the Firefox numbers. But I wanted to play around and see if I could find the features that are important to me.
The first feature I must have is Speed Dial. This is a page that has pictures I can click on and go to my most frequently used pages. Here is what they look like in Opera:
Okay, good news, Opera wins in that category. The next thing I didn’t want to give up was my own toolbar (see previous Conduit post). You see in my toolbar I have my e-mail accounts configured so that they show me how many new messages I have, and when I click on the icon I am immediately taken to that account (I have multiple e-mail accounts), without being required to sign in each time. That was a biggy for me.
Well, Opera handles that very nicely in their own mail program. Now everything feeds into my Opera mail and I get little pop-ups down in the right, bottom corner when mail comes in. Or, I can simply leave the sidebar open and see when something comes in to my mailbox:
Another thing I really like is that in addition to all my e-mail accounts, the sidebar also shows my RSS feeds from Google Reader:
So far, as far as features, Opera hits the imporant ones. My only other major desire being my passwords. I use Foxmarks and really love having the saved password feature because I change them so frequently. Well, Opera addresses that too. They have a “wand” that saves passwords. Now, I am not finding it as fully comprehensive as Firefox/Foxmarks, however, it is something I can live with, because…
The speed is outstanding! I cannot believe how much faster this browser feels. I feel like I am driving a Porsche compared to an old Nissan. It handles like nothing else. And apparently Opera 10 is supposed to be even more nimble and responsive.
So what’s the bottom line? I have been using Opera all day and I love it! It’s fast. Super fast! It pulls my e-mail and RSS feeds into a sidebar making it super convenient for me to access them (no need to sign in to my Gmail accounts). I can theme it (just like I can with Firefox). I have all the features that are important to me, and I feel like I’m driving a thoroughbred rather than a work horse.
But that’s just my experience. I encourage you to take your own test drive. Just click on the Opera icon above and you’ll be taken to their download/information page.
Update: My husband installed Opera on his Win XP machine. He ran only the first test (2x). On his machine Google Chrome was approx. 6x faster than Opera. However, he did not use Opera in any way.