Opera 10 full review

In the Web browser wars, Opera is Switzerland: dependably neutral and obsessed with design. The venerable browser’s latest version introduces several innovative interface ideas, some more useful than others.

Knowing the score

In benchmark tests, Opera 10 performs respectably in the middle of the pack when compared to other browsers. On a 2GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook, Opera rendered an XHTML test page in 1.83 seconds, slower than the .49 seconds posted by Safari 4 but faster than the 2.66 seconds by Firefox 3.5.

In a CSS test, Opera scored 152 miliseconds to Safari’s 35 ms and Firefox’s 361 ms. And in Web standards, Opera 10 earned a perfect score of 100 on the Acid3 rendering test, and rendered all 578 selectors in a CSS3 compliance check.

The only real disappointment under Opera’s hood was its JavaScript performance. Opera 10 wheezed through the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark in 6144.6 ms, compared to Firefox’s 1464.4 ms and Safari’s 756.4 ms.

In regular use, the browser felt no less responsive than Firefox or Safari. Aside from a couple of non-reproducible rendering glitches, Opera 10 gave me no troubles.

The program comes helpfully preloaded with all the Web’s most popular plugins. However, since it’s not as widely used as some rival browsers, certain Web apps, like Netflix streaming movies, simply don’t support it. That’s not Opera’s fault, but it’s still a drawback.

NEXT: A true original

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