So I’ve been giving Opera a try for a month now. So here’s what I think.
What I like about Opera over IE7:
- Faster – really fast. Pages change practically instantly. Well, maybe I’m overexaggerating, but it at least ‘feels’ like Opera is faster. I never really noticed a speed issue with IE7. But it is fast like Opera fans say.
- Skins – Opera has some really nice skins, if you don’t like the default look. Still don’t get why IE7 doesn’t manage to get a real skins-developing community. I saw a few and like getting a overall new look for my browser.
- Choice of blocking ‘unwanted’ pop-ups – IE7 has a great pop-up blocker, but sometimes when I actually press a link that I want, IE7 regards it as a ‘bad’ pop-up. That’s dumb. As far as I’m concerned, links I press are legit.
- The "Wand" – This feature remembers personal info. like name, city, address, e-mail, phone number, etc. to place in when you’re entering info. for a new account or anywhere where you might need to put such info. Just press it, and it automatically does it for you. IE7 doesn’t seem to have that option, or at least a easy way of finding it. Though Live Toolbar has a thing called "Form Fill" which does practically the same job.
- Best zoom feature – Out of the top 3 browsers, Opera does page zooming the best. I don’t really notice that much of a difference, but Long Zheng, a techie, wrote a post comparing the top 3 dogs, and their zooming power. Opera wins, with IE7 a close second. Though this was written in August 06′ so maybe it’s not the most current page to review from.
- View site source code – I can’t find that option in IE7, but Opera for sure does. Now I’m not a geek, so I don’t see any use in it, but for the people that want it, it’s in Opera.
Now what I don’t like about Opera:
- "Fast-forward" and "Rewind" button are useless – There’s two buttons right next to the usual "Back" and "Forwards" buttons, called the "Rewind" and "Fast-Forwards" button. They’re suppose to guess what page you want to see next, or go back to. Guess being the main thing. I tried it, and it doesn’t do anything I want. I mean how can you guess where I want to go next? Dumbest buttons ever, and you can’t remove them.
- No "Recent Pages" drop-down button – Probably comes from me being such an IE7 user, but that button or a way of doing so doesn’t appear in Opera to me. In IE7, right next to the "back" and "forwards" button, is a drop-down arrow, where you can view the many recent pages you’ve just been to, and a checkmark on the current one you’re on. Say if you want to go back to a page you were viewing about 4 minutes ago, you don’t have to keep pressing the back button so many times to get there. Just go to Recent Pages arrow, and select the page. Easy as pie. Nothing like that in Opera
- The whole Widgets idea sounds kinda dumb – Widgets/Gadgets are cool, but directly from a web browser? Um, that’s kinda useless. If you got OS X, you have the Dashboard. If you have Vista, you got the Sidebar. And if you have neither, you can go for Y!’s Konfabulator or even Live.com gadgets. Simple as that. The ones in Opera aren’t any different from the others, so it’s rather useless.
- I hate the Menu bar – Coming from a person that uses IE7, I found that I rarely/never use the menu bar. It just takes up space, and doesn’t really add anything pleasing when browsing. Though I can turn it on if wanted. But it’s not an option with Opera. You HAVE to have the menu bar. Not a choice. So I still prefer IE7 because it’s much more streamlined than Opera is.
- Doesn’t work well with Windows Live sites – Not Opera’s fault (blame that to Microsoft), but it sure is a let-down if you happen to use Windows Live a lot. Even though Microsoft’s tried to extend to other browsers like Firefox, Opera and Safari are still let-down in the cold. Going to Live Hotmail, I get the reduced version, instead of the full version like on IE7. Silverlight doesn’t work for Opera. Sigh. A lot of issues with Live and Opera.
- No Live Search listed in the browser search box – I was a bit upset with this. I mean, how can you NOT support the 3rd most used search engine? They do have Google and Y!, and even Answers.com and Amazon.com, but no Live Search? Instead, I had to go through the tedious task of entering in the Live.com site, and trying to get it to work for like 20 minutes. I thought that was rather dumb to just not include a big list of search engines like IE7 does. IE7 shows a ton of search engines, while Opera doesn’t.
- Full screen mode not as good as IE7 – Now while Opera really does show only the web page in fullscreen, you have to find the fullscreen option in the menu bar (or press F11) to launch it. And to get out of it, you have to press either the F11 or Esc button. It took me a few minutes to realize I couldn’t pan up to show a quick render to turn it off. With IE7, there’s a Fullscreen button right on the panel, and once you’re fullscreen, you can just bump around the top and a quick mini-render of the browser panel comes up allowing you to turn off fullscreen mode. Since I’m more of a mouse than a button person, I find that better. Though IE7’s fullscreen still show the scroll bar and usual bottom bar in that mode.
- Side panel – Takes up a lot of screen real estate if you open it. Somehow, I think IE7 does this in a more effective way.
- Some sites will render awful – Even though Opera’s suppose to be have better compliance to web standards or whatever, some of my favorite sites won’t render well in Opera. I don’t like that.
So that’s my stance on Opera. It’s a great alternative if you can’t get IE7 or want to try another browser, but there are things that (compared to IE7) seem less as good as other browsers.
So I suggest you at least give it a try to see what it’s like. On a scale of 1-5, I’d rate it a 4.