Opera 10 Released: Its Turbo Is Fully Functional

Since the release candidate for Opera 10 was announced last week, I’ve been testing the browser to see if it could live up to my standards (which, since I basically live and work on the Web, are pretty high) and if I’d be tempted to switch to it completely.

As I mentioned in my earlier article, Opera hasn’t exactly made any dents in the desktop browser dominion of Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox in its thirteen years of existence, but as I’ve noticed Opera fans will even attack you for simply stating that fact. Well now that Opera 10 has been let loose and I’ve had the chance to put it to the test for a week, at least I can understand why it has fans in the first place.

First of all, Opera 10 feels fast. Super-fast, even, close to the speed sensation I had when I started trying out Google Chrome for the first time. It could be nothing more than a feeling of course – we’re looking into ways to do a massive browser speed test – but Opera did say this version would be about 40% faster than its predecessor Opera 9.6, specifically on resource-intensive pages. If you care about speed, check it out, because it’s zooming alright.

The Opera desktop browser has also been given a new lick of paint, but I’ve never really tried previous versions for a long period of time so I can’t tell if the difference is that big. But I have to say the interface that was designed for Opera 10 looks nice and feels quite intuitive. A sweet touch: resizable tabs that show you a thumbnail of what you have opened up in your browser window. Like its innovative ‘speed dial’ element, introduced back in 2007, expect it to get copied in other browsers in the near future.

Opera 10 incorporates the new Turbo feature, which helps speed up browsing sessions when surfing the Web on slower connections (3G, sluggish WiFi networks, etc.). The new release also comes with a number of bug fixes, usability and web standard improvements, automatic updates, integrated spell checker and a better in-client Opera Mail. Not in this release yet: Opera Unite and the new Carakan JavaScript engine that promises to process JavaScript about 2.5 times as fast as earlier Opera versions.

There’s not much else to add about the new browser other than it works as advertised, and who knows, maybe it will get a bigger piece of the pie with this release. I, for one, am not sure yet if I’ll be switching completely in the long run but I’m seriously impressed by how good – and fast – the Opera desktop browser really is.