Opera 9

We really like Opera 9, but we like it more as the cool, arty browser that it is and not as our everyday workhorse for the Internet.

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Opera 9 is a good Internet browser. It is light-years ahead of Microsoft's new Internet Explorer 7 beta. But should you trade in our current Editors' Choice browser Firefox 1.5? No. While Opera 9 is free to download and offers a number of built-in goodies, such as BitTorrent media support and desktop Widgets, these are not necessarily features that everyone needs. We really do like Opera 9, but we like it more as the cool, cutting-edge browser that it is and not as our everyday workhorse for the Internet. For that, we highly recommend the more extensible Firefox browser instead.

It's easy to download and install Opera. As with Internet Explorer and Firefox, upon first use of Opera, the browser invites you to import your current Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds and mail from previous versions of Opera or other browsers.

The basic interface shares many of the same features as IE and Firefox, but after using Opera 9 for a few days, we noticed a few irritating interface omissions. For example, in IE, Netscape, and Firefox, you can right-click over the Back arrow to see a menu that lists your most recently viewed pages. In Opera, a simple mouseover reveals only the URL of the last page visited; a right-click offers a choice to either "remove from toolbar" or "customize" the icon, but there's no mention of the pages you've visited. On the other hand, Opera's double-back arrow and double-forward arrow are quite unique and very nice, allowing you to jump back by domain, rather than returning to each page viewed within a given domain. While Firefox offers many extensions to customise its look and feel, Opera, drawing upon a much smaller developer community, offers only a few skins, keyboard shortcuts, and preset RSS feeds.

We think the inclusion of BitTorrent within Opera 9 is a bit overblown. True, offering a built-in media viewer is very cutting-edge, and eventually other browsers are likely to adopt built-in BitTorrent-like media players. Currently, however, you'll have a hard time finding legal BitTorrent to download. Also, in random tests, we found that although we could download two-thirds of a file very quickly using the peer-to-peer technology employed by BitTorrent, the download often hung during the final third. While individual downloads will always vary depending upon their source computers, we had several incomplete downloads of various sizes. Finally, not all corporate environments allow BitTorrent, so you may encounter firewall difficulties, as well.

Opera 9 embraces AJAX technology by offering tiny desktop applets called Widgets. Widgets offer specific functionality, such as currency conversion, that stays on top of your desktop screen. But Widgets are not new; they're available all over the Internet and will be a part of Microsoft Windows Vista when it launches next year. It's unclear why the browser needs this feature -- other than because it's cool.

One truly handy feature within Opera saves, then reopens, frequently used tabs whenever you relaunch the browser. If you order your tabs the way I do, you'll appreciate the time savings here. Speaking of saving time with tabs, Opera now allows you to mouse over any tab to see a thumbnail of the current content, but the images are too small, with more than half of the preview window displaying the URL of the site. In addition to providing built-in zoom to magnify Web pages, there's Opera Voice, which will read aloud Web content.

Another useful feature is the new trash can icon. Say you accidentally close a Web page that you want to keep open. With Opera's trash can, you can reload that page quickly without having to dig through the browser's history file.

Like Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 beta, Opera 9 allows you to customise and manage your search engines and frequently used passwords, as well as block site content and pop-ups. We were less impressed by Opera's default handling of RSS feeds; the page is clunky and not as stylised as that found in the new versions of IE and Firefox.

As for overall security, Opera remains one of the more secure browsers on the market, but that'll change as more and more users start adopting it. Of the vulnerabilities that have been discovered, Opera has been excellent in patching them quickly.

For technical support, Opera enjoys a passionate and devoted fan base that makes its user forums a good place to request technical support. Unfortunately, there are few FAQs on the Opera site, and there is no telephone support.

While we really like Opera 9, its many features are somewhat esoteric for most people who simply want a good, secure browser. For that we recommend Firefox 1.5. But for the technically adventurous, Opera 9 will shine.

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neitakk posted a review   

Opera isvbetter then Firefox. You said you missed a function to see the visit history by right clicking the back button? Well, it's easier with Opera. Just click back or forward arrow, and hold your mouse button for 1 second. Then a dropdown list of all visited site rolls out.


sarfaraz posted a review   

excellent- i like it


InfraredNinja posted a review   

The Good:Too many to list.

The Bad:Doesn't work with a few websites, most of which reqire certain IE hitches(Read: screwed up code) to operate. Personally, i beleive this is a mistake on the part of the web developers.

I agree with my fellow commenters. This reveiw is crap.

The fact that the reveiwer claimed incorrectly that full history could not be veiwed easily shows that the reveiwer not only failed to give the browser a fair trial, but, upon discovering an inconvenience, decided that the browser was lacking in that department and wrote it off, rather than using either Opera's help feature OR the community! This seems to be a clear lack of effort on the part of the reveiwer.

The reveiwer's entire commentary regarding the inclusion of BitTorrent support is best described as "clinically retarded." Not only is it, as has been pointed out, contradictory by it's nature, but the paragraph is more a commentary on BitTorrent itself as a utility, NOT opera's inclusion of it. The pros and cons of BitTorrent should NOT be a subject of discussion in a reveiw of a browser. One might as well discuss website content in the reveiw for all the inteligence that this shows. The truth is that Opera's BitTorrent client is a very convenient feature. Admittedly, it is not a complete replacement for a proper BitTorrent client, with downloads endidn when the browser is closed (relatively speaking, a minor concern), and the lack of control over handling the downloads (particularly being unable to download only one file from a torrent). For these you need a pure BitTorrent client. I will regualrly use Opera for a torrent download when these features are uneccessary for the instance and i find it to be delightfully convenient. I am confident that later releases will improve on operas functionality in the department, to the point that it may soon be a valid competitor for programs like utorrent and azurus.

The commentary on opera's security is likewise contradictory, both praising and belittling it. I personally find it offensive that the reveiwer felt it appropriate to speculate on the relative status of the browser's security as its popularity increases. The statement is blatently speculative and has NO basis in fact. Had the reveiwer simply given token nod to the contribution of obscurity to the browser's security, it would be acceptable. Instead s/he makes the claim that the browser's relative security would change with popularity. No evidence is given to support this claim. In fact, the reveiwer goes on to praise opera for dealing with security issues quite well. At least keep your stories straight!

Regarding the presence of Faqs from opera, i have to ask, did you ever bother to look under that Help menu, or even really browse the site? Opera's help database is simply massive, covering seemingly everything you could need help with. And opera as a large number of tutorials on its website covering all sorts of subjects, filling the place of FAQs

I also find the lack of mention of Opera's in-browser email client to be annoying as well. Opera mail, while not perfect, can prove incredibly handy to ANY user with an email account. Rather than having to constantly sign in to websites to check your mail, it's right there on startup. opera even lets you know when a new email is received. simply setting up my email to work with opera has increased my email use tenfold, making it a convenience to check, rather than an annoying pain.

Lastly, how can one talk about opera and not discuss it's superior web standard compliance!? what other major browser passes the Acid2 test? Standards compliance is a requisite for modern web developers and only opera truly offers it.

define:editor - ff fanboi

define:editor - ff fanboi posted a review   

The Good:even if it wasnt the fastest web browser, using opera would still make browsing the internet faster because of all the features designed to help you.

mouse gestures
most idiots can work it out easily (I say most because obviously the reviewer did not work it out ps yes I just put the reviewer into the catagory of "idiot")
speed dial
multi purpose address bar
it just works (the most important feature, Ive installed firefox and internet explorer on a few machines and found errors, not once have I found an error with opera)

The Bad:opera is "competing" with microsoft and google which have a lot of power.

this review is crap.

"but there's no mention of the pages you've visited"
please hold down the left mouse button to see this list.
do macs have a left mouse button, NO
so opera by doing this is more cross platform than IE and ff and netscape. so this should increase not decrease the rating.

why are you complaining about bit torrent being included and saying its bad that opera has it but other browsers will integrate it (implying that having bit torrent in your browser is a good feature) which is a bit contradictory

opera is faster, more secure and easier to use than firefox. however you imply that firefox is not only better (a vaguely defined comparing word) but also more secure (which is a complete lie) than opera.

fun fact
time spent using opera:2 years every day a few to 10 hours a day.
crashes using opera:0
time spent using firefox: 1 month
crashes using firefox: about 10
and obviously internet explorer gets the most crashes.

"It's unclear why the browser needs this feature" - "Widgets offer specific functionality" another contradiction?


saudiqbal posted a review   

The Good:Everything works perfect for me

The Bad:Nothing, Uninstall Firefox and start using Opera

Opera is the best and fastest browser. It has a built in Email client which I use everyday

Frank Pinto

Frank Pinto posted a review   

I will like you to extend my thanks to Rob whose web site helped me to install Opera 9 Web Browser on my Red Hat Linux


curigeorge1945 posted a review   

The Good:Fast
Some 'cool' features that I'd like on an everyday workhorse.

The Bad:Google desktop does not yet support it which would be so bad except that Opera's history functionality has been so abysmal.

Also it doesn't have many Greasemonkey and other extensions that are useful in Firefox such as bumblesearch, GTD (for Gmail) and Gmail preview.

Opera is a fast browser but I agree that it seems to support cutting-edge rendering development more than "workhorse" functionality (especially information management; see cons below). It'll never increase market share significantly unless it can be used as an everyday workhorse browser.


anonymous posted a review   

The review is terrible.

Firefox eats memory, even with no pages loaded. Opera has a tiny memory footprint at all times.
Firefox is slow to load and has a history of being buggy, which it maintains. Opera is extremely fast to load and very refined and I've never encountered a bug or freeze-up in YEARS of usage.

Forget extensions -- opera is streets ahead of firefox. How many non-poweruser users use extensions? Then don't say opera is not a good day-to-day browser.

How will more users using opera make it less secure?

This review is extremely poor and does not consider anything that should matter (speed, memory footprint, effectiveness at BROWSING).

The standard mozilla browser is a better browser than firefox (any version of FF). It is stable.

Whoever wrote the review has made me laugh so hard.


ZéB posted a review   

The Good:Fastest web browsing;

The Bad:Problems with some flash animations;

It looks like you've spent only a couple of minutes with Opera and 2 years with Firefox.
As it was said in a previous comment, YOU CAN SEE PREVIOUSLY VIEWED PAGES - just maintain the click for 1 second (please update this error in your review!).
The widgets aren't just cool. They are real apps that just happen to run in your brower thus perfectly integrated with the web.
And it has a lot of time saving solutions, becoming the best "worhorse for the internet". Two examples:
1- Press left button, right button and go forward; press right button, left button and go backward;
2- Press right button+scroll wheel and scroll through tabs.
I still keep Firefox and IE because no browser can open all pages. And also, as it was already mentiones, opera has issues with some flash animations.
Just give it a go for a few days and I think you'll be positively surprized.
And, please, updated this review!


"Coolest feature is mouse gestures"

Anonymous posted a review   

The Good:Mouse gestures are a wonderful addition

The Bad:Problems loading flash animation

Apart from what has been said, a feature not often mentioned which i have found really useful is mouse gestures where u hold down the right mouse button and depending on the direction you move the mouse you can go back a page, scroll to a different tab etc. This is just so convenient and once you use it you wont go back. None of the other browsers have this as far as I know...

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User Reviews / Comments  Opera 9

  • neitakk



    "Opera isvbetter then Firefox. You said you missed a function to see the visit history by right clicking the back button? Well, it's easier with Opera. Just click back or forward arrow, and hold you..."

  • sarfaraz



    "excellent- i like it"

  • InfraredNinja



    "I agree with my fellow commenters. This reveiw is crap.

    The fact that the reveiwer claimed incorrectly that full history could not be veiwed easily shows that the reveiwer not only f..."

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