Opera 9

Opera is a fast, slick web-browsing application that can also manage email, RSS feeds and BitTorrent downloads, as well as run mini-applications called Widgets, which are similar to Apple’s Dashboard widgets.

What ensures that Opera stands out are its little innovations. For example, using an Opera feature called Mouse Gestures, you can right (Control)-click on any open web page while moving the mouse to the left, and be whisked back to the last page you visited – no back button required. This means you can easily navigate a series of web pages while barely moving the mouse. You can also customise an internet search. Right-click in the search field, and you’ll be prompted to create a search shortcut, which can later be called up from Opera’s web-address field by typing in a keyword and your search term.

Also of interest is Opera’s integrated BitTorrent engine. Click on a URL to download BitTorrent shared content, and you’ll reveal it. Not only will you download content, you’ll immediately become a node (so others can download from you) on the BitTorrent network without having to install any other software. Finally, Opera’s new Widget engine allows you to run mini-applications while the browser is open. All of these features combined can help make your web-browsing experience easier and more efficient.

Opera still sports annoying pop-up windows that let you know every time it blocks a pop-up ad. The irony of this is not lost on us. Also, the program doesn’t always play well with the different types of code on the web. For example, while viewing a page in Opera, we noticed there was an image missing that we knew, after viewing the same page in Safari and Firefox, should have been there. Opera Software told us Opera did not recognise the image because the HTML code was missing a closing angle bracket (>) around the text that represents the image. Opera shouldn’t have to compensate for coding errors, but the other two browsers handled the image with no problems.

OUR VERDICT

Opera 9.02 is a substantial update to what was already a stellar web-browsing application. Features such as Mouse Gestures and Widgets make the application easy and fun to use, and integrated RSS, BitTorrent and email support make the application a worthy choice for all your internet needs.

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