Lately I am trying to go through some of the drafts I have saved for posting on my blog, so many of the posts that will appear over the next few days will result from that attempt. I start with just such an article about the Opera Browser. Since anyone who reads this blog knows I am a big fan of the Opera Browser, I thought I would repost some of what Laurence John of makeuseof had to say about Opera now being his favorite browser (see link to his full article below).
Starting as a research project in 1994, Opera has been responsible for some world changing innovations (think tabbed browsing) and yet never seemed to achieve the kind of success it deserved.
But this isn’t a history lesson, it’s an article on a few of the killer features of Opera that keep me using it each day. I use Firefox and Flock pretty frequently as well, but Opera, as of version 9.5 has become my favourite.
1. The Interface
Opera 9.5 introduced what I think is a fantastic new interface and theme which is both attractive, useful and unique. [In addition] a ‘recycle bin’ has been added to the end of the tab bar and provides a list of recently closed tabs. Again, simple and useful. I find myself needing to use it all the time, and it’s a lot quicker then having look through the browsing history.
2. Speed Dial
What can I say about Speed Dial?
It’s one of those things like tabbed browsing, so simple that you wonder why no one did it before, and yet so useful you would hate to be without it. Speed Dial is just so simple, point, click, add: instant access… add that to the easy to use interface and page loading speed and you have a winner.
3. Bit-Torrent and Download Manager
Opera has a simple Bit-torrent manager as well as an enhanced Download manager, significantly better then you’ll find in either Internet Explorer 7 (With the IE Pro add-on) or Firefox 3.
4. Saved Sessions
Just close Opera safe in the knowledge you can come back later and resume where you left off. And yes, I know Firefox 3 has this now as well, but that doesn’t diminish its usefulness in Opera and I like it.
5. Mail Client
The Opera Mail Client is under-rated in my opinion as it really is quite useful, particularly with 9.5’s general update and improved Gmail integration.
As you know Gmail provides free Pop3 and SMTP access, which makes using Opera Mail all the more useful as you can use it either as an offline client like you’re used to, or as a way to access mail through SMTP and not have to reload the Gmail web interface whenever you use your email.
To get the most out of this feature I suggest using it in conjunction with Opera Link, another feature which will synchronise your Opera profile across multiple locations including desktop versions and mobile devices.
6. Search, History and Indexing
All pages you’ve visited are now indexed and you can search based on any word or subject you remember being vaguely associated with the page you visited.
Some of the comments on this article also pointed other useful features of Opera, including:
- Mouse Gestures- probably the neatest most unique feature. I couldn’t open a tab any other way now. I love this feature! Moving up in a URL level with a simple gesture, very neat.
- Paste and Go, seems small and simple, but handy
- Copy to Note, perfect to keep track of bill pay confirmations, shipping numbers…
- Smart zoom
- Fastest rendering speed among ie6/7, maxthon, even firefox 3
Now I realize that many of the features above can be had in firefox through the use of extensions, but the fact is that Opera has most of the functionality of many firefox extensions already built into it’s interface. It is the most complete browser right out of the box, so to speak. And for me, the built-in mail client has often been a lifesaver for those few times when I am not connected to the internet. The speed at which Opera searches emails is amazing as well.
If you haven’t tried Opera, I highly recommend that you do. You can download Opera here.
The article Six Things I Love About The Opera Browser was posted by Laurence John on 17 July 2008.