Opera unveiled a brand-new version on Tuesday featuring an updated design for both Windows and Mac computers that mixes its classic features in with mobile-inspired enhancements.
Opera, ran by a Norway-based software company moved version 15 out of beta on Tuesday - it introduces a streamlined, modern clean look that adapts from the good features of its competitors, particularly adapting the custom tool menu provided by Firefox. This is the first official released powered by Blink, the rendering engine developed under the Chromium project for Google Chrome's browser.
Opera has introduced a new feature called 'Stash' that allows users to save websites (similar to bookmarks) and then organise them into groups of thumbnails that you can search through - which is an ideal feature when your Stashed pages grows too big. Opera says Stash is ideal for tasks such as saving articles, comparing offers or creating a reading list for later.
Searching & Downloading
Similar to Chrome and Safari, Opera's new address and search bar are now combined into one single field - an Omnibar. Opera has implemented a new download manager - it bears similarity to existing browsers through its sleeker layout but extends this with some nifty popup growl style effects and statuses of all downloading items.
Opera 15 includes a new feature called 'Discover'. Based off its previous mobile design, the mobile crossover helps users access the latest articles based on categories of interest.
Additionally, Opera have revamped its 'Speed Dial' feature for organising favourite sites and 'Off-Road' mode (previously named 'Turbo'), which uses compression technology at Opera's servers before hitting your browser - allowing for faster web page delivery, increased performance and reduce loading times when the network connection is slow.
Although Opera 15 is now powered by the same engine as Chrome and Chromium, Opera still maintains its own unique and distinctive look and feel. Opera still offers mouse gestures for navigation though some of the original commands such as restore and minimise, have been reported not to work.
Despite having some of the fundamental 'Opera feelings' to it, there are some noticeable Chrome-like features such as the Omnibar (mentioned above). Similarly, the settings and history feel Chrome based, though Opera has tried to add its own stylish touches to these areas.
Overall the new Opera Browser is fast but lacks features that currently put the likes of Firefox and Chrome in the lead. Though, in some simple testing using browser benchmark tools, Opera 15 benchmarked almost identically to Chrome 28 (the latest stable build). This means it is slightly faster than IE10, and mostly comparable to Firefox.
In real-world use, due to some speed tweaks built into Chromium, Opera will probably feel faster than Firefox and IE - and perhaps faster than Chrome, as it isn’t bogged down by features such as tab and preference sync.. yet.
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