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Opera Launches Browser Faster than Chrome

Gordon Kelly


Opera Launches Browser Faster than Chrome

For all of its advancements in mobile, one of the great injustices is that Opera has been unable to gain any significant traction in the desktop market despite clocking up over 14 years making browsers. But this could be about to change...

Following on from the launch of Opera 10.5 Alpha in December, Opera has announced this hugely exciting browser has now reached beta stage. For those not in the know 'alpha' is generally considered developer-centric and too early for consumers to get involved, but anyone with some computer smarts can jump on a beta.

What makes it so exciting? In a word: speed. Whereas Opera had always been faster than Internet Explorer 7 and 8 (nothing isn't) it lagged behind Firefox and was positively smashed by Webkit based browsers Safari and Chrome. Not anymore.

By contrast Opera 10.5 "promises to be the fastest browser on Earth" with a new JavaScript engine, 'Carakan', running Web applications more than eight times faster than its predecessor. It also has Opera's long used 'Turbo' technology to speed up browsing on limited networks. In addition, Opera 10.5 gets a visual overhaul with Chrome-esque positioned tabs for a more minimalist interface and greater maximum space usage - particularly handy on netbooks' smaller screens and lower resolutions. I think it looks fabulous.

Elsewhere you'll find a porn 'private' browsing mode, a smarter address bar (akin to Firefox's 'Awesome Bar'), support for custom searches and HTML5, full Windows Vista and 7 Aero Glass integration and Jump support in the latter. There is also compatibility with all Opera Widgets, which its die-hard fans will tell you have the usual array of third party add-ons beaten hands-down.

No release date been given for a final version of Opera 10.5 yet, but Opera did say Mac and Linux betas are "expected hard on the heels of the Windows release". Oh and one thing: surely calling it 'Opera 11' wouldn't be an oversell...?


Opera 10.5 Download Page


February 11, 2010, 8:54 pm

and in addition to that, it's a brilliant email client! On a widescreen monitor, having your email tree always open as a side-bar on the left is really useful compared to tabbing between programs!


February 11, 2010, 9:00 pm

Fastest in the world?! There must be some mistake, I just tried Opera and it proved to be as slow as a dog. A very old dog. A dead one.


February 11, 2010, 9:23 pm

Don't know what's wrong Williamn but it seems pretty fast even on my netbook ... In real world terms I've never felt much speed difference between Opera and Firefox - (and the UI on the latter is looking very dated) - but now Opera feels as brisk as Chrome and is far more usable in many ways. I hope it finally gets the recognition it deserves


February 11, 2010, 9:46 pm

Maybe i should try Opera on my AA1. Is there a no script/Ad Block plus equivalent? (Don't worry TR, i disable both on here as well as other daily sites i use)


February 11, 2010, 10:20 pm

Opera 11 indeed, I've been using the snapshots since December and it really has evolved into all the browser you ever need. Oh, and it owns Chrome, always fun, that.


February 11, 2010, 10:48 pm

This latest version is very definatly the fastest browser I have used. I have used Opera for about 10 or 11 years all of the time and cannot understand why it is not better known; it outdoes all of the others for usability. The only problem is the sites which are written for IE which then dont work in Opera correctly (which is a real micky take due to Opera having the best match to internet standards) Scan computers have lost a lot of business off me since there site went all stupid. This version when complete will be fantastic!!!


Rich Brown

February 11, 2010, 11:00 pm

One might reasonably be skeptical of the claim that Opera 10.5 is faster than Chrome, except for one thing: It's absolutely true. I ran the Peacekeeper and Sun Spider benchmark tests and, while it's no blow-out, Opera is faster than Chrome on both of them. This is true on my laptop and my netbook, both running Windows 7. In fact, on my SLOW netbook, Opera 10.5's Peacekeeper sore is almost twice that of Internet Explorer's score ON MY FAST LAPTOP.


February 11, 2010, 11:19 pm

We know better. Interface is just as important as speed. My consistent opinion is that firefox is faltering because the interface is just awful. IE has NEVER had a good interface. Opera is shaping up, but still to cluttered with front-end and configuration options that the average user will never see. Chrome wins on simplicity, brilliant interface and it will always be up there in terms of speed.

I just tried Opera 10.5 on my desktop, and it wasn't faster than chrome in my exp. But then again, it's not possible to see some speed differences even between IE and Chrome for certain websites. (My method of testing is simply loading a webpage and counting the seconds until fully loaded.)


February 11, 2010, 11:22 pm

One of the pieces of software that I've paid for in the days when it wasn't free. And ofcourse that's an indication of how long I've been using it. The single key shortcuts along with it's mouse control functions are amongst the best of any browser.

@Simon: Flash and Javascript are easily disabled by either adding the icons onto the status bar or by pressing F12 plus either U for Plug-Ins or J for Javascript.


February 12, 2010, 12:17 am

@ffrankmccaffery, can you blcok specific one or do you have to block them all? NoScript is one of the reasons Im using firefox over Chrome, now we have Opera.

Gareth 4

February 12, 2010, 12:23 am

Browser speeds are fast enough not to really notice. The biggest bottleneck for browsers is how horrifically Adobe Flash is on processing time and memory. Chrome, Firefox, IE or Opera, run a Flash application (like a game) or a video and it is ridiculously sluggish.


February 12, 2010, 12:29 am

@Gareth - not really. Web pages are getting ever more complex and the performance of our browsers needs to continually improve to keep up. It is also about scalability - Chrome, for example, runs much better on a netbook than Internet Explorer and there are also smartphone browsers to which this tech will filter down.


February 12, 2010, 12:57 am

Yeah, those dam adverts just keep get more and more elaberate! ;-)


February 12, 2010, 1:47 am

All round a nice balanced review, but one line disturbs me (as an Opera user):

"Opera Widgets, which its die-hard fans will tell you have the usual array of third party add-ons beaten hands-down."

This sentence alone tells me Gordon Kelly is not an Opera user. The idea that widgets are some form of third party browser add-on is an unfortunate myth perpetuated by people who have evidently never used, nor even seen a widget. It's like saying chocolate has the usual array of chairs beaten hands down... For future reference, Opera widgets are more comparable to MacOS dashboard apps and Adobe AIR apps - they're apps, not add-ons.

Such pedantics aside though, a nice enough review.


February 12, 2010, 1:58 am

@darkspark88 - I wouldn't say that Firefox is faltering, seeing that it's been picking up market share for the past couple of years. Of course, I agree that Chrome's UI is out in front, but then it has the advantages of a fresh start, and of not having a large user-base to run decisions by.

Hopefully, Firefox will have taken some strides with their UI once version 4.0 is released and, judging by some of the pre-release artwork, it will work and look better then it does now i.e. very Chrome-like.

Ala Miah

February 12, 2010, 3:01 am

For a very fast browser, it install very slow. Anyway yes it is the fastest browser i have used so far, much faster then firefox and chrome. ff has become a little slugish for me.

if it doesn't have google toolbar, it doesnt matter how fast it is, im not moving from firefox.

that is the only reason why i havent migrated to chrome and until they do no will use it as my default browser.


February 12, 2010, 3:35 am

@lucideer funnily enough Chrome is my default browser, but I have Firefox and Opera installed as well. I understand where you are coming from, but you have misread. At no point do I say Opera Widgets are third party add-ons. I say fans will tell you Opera Widgets have "third party add-ons beaten hands-down." Very different thing ;)

Otherwise thanks for the nice comments, though I must stress this isn't a review it is simply a news story. Our reviews are over multiple pages and have extensive benchmarking.

@Pbryanw FF actually has stalled. According to Net applications, W3counter, Stat Counter and more FF market share actually declined slightly in January as did that of IE with Chrome growing by far the fastest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U...

@Ala Miah you use a Google Toolbar when Google search is built directly into these browsers? Heavens why? For me it just wastes space. Share, translate, etc shortcuts can all be added far more neatly via extensions these days.


February 12, 2010, 4:28 am

@xbrumster: Although you didn't specify which scripts you'd like to be blocked. Opera does offer you the option of disabling the scripts which control the various elements of the browser window such as the status bar, the address bar, the right-click menu and the size of the window itself. For advanced users theres also an option for adding your own specific files.

@Gordon: Whilst I've never bothered with Chrome I can vouch for Operas performance on a Thinkpad X22 with just 256 MB of RAM which runs almost as smoothly as it does on my my other and much newer X32.


February 12, 2010, 4:30 am

@Gordon - Actually, I think I was taking more issue with the opinion that Firefox's interface was awful. On second thoughts, and flicking between Chrome & Firefox, I may have been blinded to the awfulness of Firefox's UI by my years of using it.

So I think I might give Chrome a go for the next couple of weeks. It's only lack of extensions that's been putting me off, and a decent Ad-blocker. Now it's got extensions, and ones I use like Xmarks & Lastpass, and it's got Ad-block which seems just as good as Ad-block-plus on Firefox. So, I might be adding to that Chrome statistic in a month's time.


February 12, 2010, 5:04 am

@Simon: I use adsweep for general ad-blocking and Opera has a built in content-blocker for specific addresses (or entire domains if you wish).

@TrustedPhrontis: Have you tried Maxthon classic? It's got several interesting features (like a combined web/page search bar that's great for research) that other browsers haven't yet implemented.


February 12, 2010, 5:54 am

Used Opera for many years, it's a good browser. Use Firefox now for the same reason as most other people who make a conscious choice: the addons. Chrome's UI is better than the default Firefox UI, but the default UI is hardly relevant when you're a heavy Firefox user. Chrome lacks way too many features to be a serious contender for me, even though I love it's snappiness and the superior architecture.


February 12, 2010, 1:21 pm

I have been using Opera for some two years and find it to be the fastest browser for everyday use. Sure, Chrome loads a single page faster than Opera, but when it comes to multi-tabbed browsing (I have 5 tabs open now), Opera blows anything else out of the water.

Ala Miah

February 12, 2010, 3:03 pm

@Gordan extension to carry bookmarks wherever I go? If there is a one please point me to it and i'll happy ditch my wife and go with the pretty blonde next door.

Share, translate and other widgets are useless for me. I am solely interested in bookmarks.

I have forgotten what it's like typing a web address in the address tool bar hence now i am handicapped without it : (


February 12, 2010, 6:45 pm

@Ala Miah: Simply enable Opera Link to synchronize bookmarks.



February 12, 2010, 7:10 pm

All this hype over who's got the fastest browser makes me laugh. You would think reading any forum or any review of any browser that Firefox, Chrome and perhaps even now Opera were the only browsers in the world. Furthermore that using IE8 would instantly cause the PC to freeze, at best would mean hours of staring at a screen waiting for pages to load and all with an interface that the Flintstones would be comfortable with.

However in the real world it's just not true. I've installed FF and IE8; after comparing most of the sites I regularly use I can't tell any real-world difference in loading times. Nothing. Most pages appear within a second. Who cares if they load in 0.4 or 0.5 seconds. Well I don't.

Most users simply want an easy to use, not overly techy, non-threatening, friendly browser. That works. That's it.... FF especially frightens off many people who don't want all the extras to worry about.

God only knows what you lot use your browsers for, but I just use mine for browsing the web.

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