Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Opera 9 Review

I am not going to go into great detail over every feature that Opera 9 offers, but some of the features that I have used and fallen in love with. First and foremost I have used Safari ever since I bought my first Mac in 2003, I have loved Safari and really liked it a lot once they added the rss reader feature. During this past week I closed Safari and have not used it for anything at all, I wanted to see what it would be like using Opera only.

I am extremely impressed and have decided to replace Safari with Opera 9, not only that but also replace my Mail app, with the mail feature that is built right into Opera 9. I love the way that they integrated the mail client right in with the browser. It has all the features that I could want in a mail client. You can use filters just has in Mail app and that is really the extent of my use with Apple's Mail. So, Opera is replacing 2 applications that I use regularly.

I love the way that the rss reader is built into the browser it is very clean and neat, I can see the updated feeds in the panel to the left or right, wherever you choose to place it. It allows me to scroll through the stories really fast when it is opened into a separate tab in the browser window. I really prefer they way that Opera shows the updated feeds compared to Safari, just because it opens in a separate tab and feeds with pictures don't take a while to load. I have really enjoyed the rss reader that is built into Opera and won't miss Safari for the rss support.

I don't use IRC all that much, but since it has it built in I could see myself using it more. It also has a widgets feature that they have added with this version that is pretty neat, but I really prefer dashboard to that my desktop isn't cluttered with all the widgets, they aren't hidden with Opera. I like having all my contacts right there in the panel with the mail, just handy.

They have also decided to build in bit torrent support with the browser which is pretty neat, but I did feel like I could see myself replacing Azureus with the built in bit torrent client. It is really simple and easy to use compared to Azureus, but I really like all the extra stuff that Azureus has to offer. But the main reason is that I felt like it was a lot slower getting a torrent started than it is with Azureus and some wouldn't start at all. (Or maybe I wasn't patient enough) I will probably use it for quick little downloads but nothing big. Also any direct downloads are placed in the same tab as the torrents called transfers and I really like the fact that it is in a tab rather than a separate smaller window that Safari uses. Like I said it is really simple and easy to use, but I can't see it replacing Azureus at this point in time, maybe it will get better with newer versions.

There is a Notes feature that is built right into the browser, again in the panel to the left there is a button that is called Notes. What I love about this is that right while I am looking at a webpage or and email I can copy and paste what I need to remember right into the notes and not have to keep bouncing back and forth between tabs or even applications. (I use Apple's Stickies) If I think of something that I want to look up I just type it in real quick to the notes section. I can also send that note to anyone as an email which is pretty cool. I just think it is neat to have a place where I can jot something down right within the browser and not some other application, it is just one of those handy features.

Another feature that I absolutely love is mouse gestures. If you don't know what this is, it is the ability to do simple functions such as scan back a page or scan forward, create a new tab, close a tab, etc... all with the movement of the mouse with the right click held down. I didn't know how much I would use this feature, but now can't see myself browsing without it, it just makes browsing that much quicker I think. Rather than having to find the button to do the action I just right click and move the mouse in the direction to create the needed action. Once you start using this feature is hard to not have it.

Something that I have always thought was missing from Safari was the ability to add your own skin. Something I love about Firefox, but with Opera I can know choose the way that I want my browser to appear. I feel like I can customize my Opera browser a lot more than I could ever customize Safari and I like that little bit of individuality.

One of the reasons that I set out and thought about changing browsers is that I use the Opera Mini 2.0 browser on my phone and really like it a lot. I also have a ds lite and cannot wait till they release the Opera browser for it in the US. Also with some of the new features that were release with verison 9, I thought I just had to give another browser a shot at taking over as my primary browser. Plus the nice thing is that anyone across any platform can use this browser and I would highly recommend you checking it out for yourself. I have to be honest it wasn't a tough decision to drop Safari with all the features that I see myself using in Opera. There are a lot more features built into Opera and I am sure that I have only scratched the surface of this powerful browser, I look forward to using it and learning more about all of it's capabilities. I am an official Opera user, or switcher as Apple would say.