While Internet Explorer (wrongly) and Firefox (deservedly) grab the majority of browser headlines and market share Opera is a much under appreciated option and following the release of v9.5 today you could do worse than taking a second look.
Lined up as the clear combatant for Firefox 3 and IE8, Opera 9.5 claims to make a number of dramatic improvements. Let's break them down:
Opera Link: Bookmarks, Speed Dial and notes can now be synchronized across different PCs, platforms and even the free Opera Mini browser for mobile phones. We got a sniff of this with Opera Mobile 9.5 and we've loving it.
Quick Find: Desktop style search for your browser history which digs deep into past pages to pull results from body content as well as titles.
Appearance: Design has had a spit and polish and the platform specific skins are a sensible idea - anyone fancy running running Leopard Vista-style? Thought not.
Security: Fraud protection boosted to protect against Malware and other malicious sites and software on the web.
Performance: Claims of 'dramatic' speed improvements to the e-mail client, RSS feeds and the browser itself combined with an overall reduction in system resources. All sounds good to us.
Naturally enough old favourites like mouse gestures, tab restore, session saving and customisable search engines all remain (yes IE users such features aren't new!). Opera 9.5 is out now and you can grab it immediately for the best price of all: free.