Everyone has been talking about the newest version of Opera recently but perhaps you have not looked at it too closely yet. Today we will take a look at 10.50 and let you see what this “new browser” is all about.
The New Engines
- Vega Graphics Library: Enables super fast and smooth graphics on everything from tab switching to webpage animation
- Presto 2.5: Provides support for HTML5, CSS2.1 and the latest CSS3 standards
A Look at the Features Available
If you have installed or used older versions of Opera before then the default look after a clean install will probably seem rather different. The main differences in appearance are mainly located within the “glass border” areas of the browser.
The “Speed Dial” setup looks and works just as well as in previous versions. You can set a favorite wallpaper or image as your background and choose the number of “dials” using the “Configure Speed Dial Command”.
One of the “standout” differences is the “O Button”. All of the menus have been condensed into this single access point but it only takes a few moments to find what you are looking for. If you have used the style before in earlier versions of Opera some of the items have been moved around. For those who prefer the “Menu Bar” that can be easily restored using the “Show Menu Bar Command”.
If desired you can actually “extend” the “Tab Bar” downwards to display thumbnails of your open tabs. Just use your mouse to grab the bottom of the “Tab Bar” and adjust it to suit your personal needs. The only problem with this feature is that it will quickly use up a good sized portion of your available UI and browser window space.
The “Password Manager” is ready to access when needed…the background for the button will turn a shiny metallic blue when you open a webpage that you have “Login Information” saved for.
One of the new features is a small “Recycle Bin Button” in the upper right corner. Clicking on this will display a list of recently closed tabs letting you have easy access to any tabs that you may have accidentally closed. This is definitely a great feature to have as an easy access button.
For those who were used to how the “Zoom Feature” looked before it has a new “look” to it. Instead of the pop-up menu-type listing of “view sizes” present before you now have a slider button that you can use to adjust the zooming level.
For our default setup here the “Sidebar Panels” available were: “Bookmarks, Widgets, Unite, Notes, Downloads, History, & Panels”. Additional panels such as “Links, Windows, Search, Info, etc.” are available if you want and/or need them (accessible using the “Panels Plus Sign Button”).
The “Opera Link Button” makes it easy for you to synchronize your “Speed Dial, Bookmarks, Personal Bar, Custom Searches, History & Notes”.
Note: “Opera Link” requires an account and can be signed up for using the link provided below.
Want to share files with your family and friends? “Unite” allows you to do that and more. With “Unite” you can: “Stream Music, Show Photo Galleries, Share Files and/or Folders, & host webpages directly from your browser”. We have a more in-depth look at “Unite” in our article here.
Note: Use of “Unite” requires an Opera account.
Got a slow internet connection? “Opera Turbo” can help with that by running the web traffic through their “compression servers” to speed up your web browsing. Keep in mind that “Opera Turbo” will not engage if you are accessing a secure website (i.e. your bank’s website) thus preserving your security.
Note: “Opera Turbo” can be set up to automatically detect slow internet connections (i.e. crowded Wi-Fi in a cafe).
Opera has a built-in “Private Browsing Mode” now for those who prefer anonymous browsing and want to keep the “history records clean” on their computer. To access it go to “Tabs and windows” and select “New private tab” or “New private window” as desired.
When you open your new “Private Tab or Window” you will see the following message with details on how Opera will handle browsing information and a large “door hanger symbol”. Notice that the one tab is locked into “Private Browsing Mode” while the others are still working in “Regular Browsing Mode”. Very nice!
A miniature version of the “door hanger symbol” will be present on any tab that is locked into “Private Browsing Mode”.
If you are using Windows 7 then you will love how things look from your “Taskbar”. Here you can see four very nice looking thumbnails for the tabs that we had open. All that you have to do is click on the desired thumbnail…
The “Context Menu” looks just as lovely as the thumbnails and definitely has some terrific functionality built into it.
Add Enhanced Aero Capability
If you love “Aero” and want more for your new Opera install then we have the perfect theme for you. The theme’s name is Z1-AV69 and once you have downloaded it you will need to place it in the “Skins Subfolder” in Opera’s “Program Files Folder”.
Note: For our example we used version 1.10 but version 2.00 is now available (link provided below).
Once you have restarted Opera, go to the “O Menu” and select “Appearance”. When the “Appearance Window” opens click on “Z1-Glass Skin” and then click “OK”. All of a sudden you will have more “Aero Goodness” to enjoy. Compare this screenshot with the one at the top of this article…the only part that is not transparent now is the browser window area itself.
Want even more “Aero Goodness”? Right click on the “Tab Bar” and set “Tab Bar Placement” to “Left”.
Note: You can achieve the same effect by setting the “Tab Bar Placement” to “Right”.
With the “Speed Dial” visible you will be able to see your wallpaper with ease. While this is obviously not for everyone it does make for a great visual trick.
Perhaps you need this wonderful new version of Opera to go with you wherever you do during the day. Not a problem…just visit the Opera USB website to choose a version that works best for you. You can select from “Zip or Exe” setup files and if needed update an older portable version using a “Zipped Update Files Package”.
If you are updating an older version keep in mind that you will need to delete the old “OperaUSB.exe. File” due to changes with the new setup files. During our tests updating older portable versions went well for the most part but we did experience a few “odd UI quirks” here and there…so we recommend setting up a clean install if possible.
The new 10.50 release is a pleasure to use and is a recommended install for your system. Whether you are considering trying Opera for the first time or have been using it for a bit we think that you will pleased with everything that the 10.50 release has to offer.
For those who would like to add User Scripts to Opera be certain to look at our how-to article here.