10 things I like / dislike about Opera (but overall it's great)
Been using Opera Browser for Windows now for a few months so here's some feedback. My kit is about 5 years old running Windows 7 64 bit with 4GB of RAM and I'm a power user so the first thing I do after install is go to the settings and tweak it to my liking. I often have 30+ tabs open concurrently for several hours at a time with speed and efficiency being my primary drivers. Extensions are kept to a minimum (max 3-4) and sites I visit tend to be script heavy (e.g.http://www.dailymail.co.uk).
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT OPERA
It's blazing fast. It's fast to start, fast to load, fast to do pretty much everything. When loading http://www.dailymail.co.uk, I can open several pages in the background and the browser does not grind to a halt or freeze momentarily. Speed is my primary driver and Opera delivers.
2. Tab Management
Absolutely spot on. See that little down arrow at the top right of the browser window? Click that and you immediately get a list of all open tabs and even recently closed tabs. Better still, enable "Show tab previews" in "Settings" and you can hover over a tab to see the page without switching to it thus easily toggling between two views in a flash. Genius! Right click a tab and ditch all those other tabs, all tabs to the right or just the current one. Press Control+Tab to cycle through tabs starting with the most recent. Utterly awesomne. Be A Tab King Master and Feel The Power.
3. Integrated Ad Blocker
One less extension to worry about and the built-in ad blocker works great with a nifty little indicator in the address bar showing how many ads have been stopped. The ad blocker can be a little temperamental though. For example, on the Google homepage, I always see the sponsored Google ads for a split second before they disappear. On other PC's, the Google sponsored ads always show even if the ad blocker is enabled. This does not occur with a third party extension like uBlock Origin.
4. Download Manager
Simple, effective and right where it should be without getting in the way. Amazing how even the basics can be messed up by the current most popular browser by market share.
5. Start Pages
Start Opera with a specific set of pages so that my most common websites are all ready and waiting for when I fire up the browser. So much nicer than having to rely on bookmarks and shortcuts. Combined with tab management, the tab preview makes this feature very slick.
6. Cookie Management
Only allow session (non-permanent) cookies and prevent third party cookies being set. Exactly what the browser doctor ordered.
7. Search Box
I like having separate address and search boxes. It means I can keep my search terms visible when going to a web site and more accurately control which search engine I'm using.
Being able to select a theme or background for my spped dial page is real nice. Makes for a far more agreeable user experience. I like the default leaf background.
9. Search Settings
Go to "Settings" and a search box appears with focus letting you enter a search tearm to find that elusive setting. If it exists in more thsn one place, all instances are shown. This is so much easier to pinpoint a particular setting rather than having to bumble around trying to find it, I nearly always use search now to make config changes.
10. Speed Dial Sidebar
I don't know what that left hand sidebar thing on the speed dial page is called but it's bloody useful. Is there a way to have this permanently on every page for quick access?
WHAT I CURRENTLY DON'T LIKE ABOUT OPERA
1. Sync Button
No way to get rid of that damn button. I will never ever use Synchronisation and the button just takes up valuable space on the toolbar.
2. Search Engine Management
I understand Opera has to make money but the default set of search engines cannot be changed or removed. Including Yahoo for example is as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. Yahoo couldn't even find whiskers on a cat let alone act as a half decent search engine. Unfortunately, I can't get rid of it from the list.
3. No Confirm On Exit
4. Cache Management
Or lack of it. Have to use a command line hack to set the disk cache size for Opera otherwise it could grow to 1GB. I keep my browser caches to about 200-300MB tops as I simply have no need to store 1GB of web data. Clearing a small cache is also considerably quicker than having to empty a 1GB cache.
5. Ad Block Management
It's a little temperamental as mentioned above and it'd be great if users could provide a URL to auto update the blocking list. Currently, you can only manually enter a text list of blockers and have to manually update this as required.
6. Search Box Auto Select
A frustrating one this. Click into the address bar and the whole address bar is auto selected so you can simply start typing and it will overwrite the existing URL. Not the same behaviour in the search box though. Click once and the cursor will appear wherever you click without replacing anything. Click twice and it'll highlight the word. Click three times and only then does it auto select all text in the search box so you can start typing to overwrite the existing search term. That's 200% more clicks than is necessary. Annoyingly, if you use the address box for searching, you only need click once. Don't know whether to file this under "bug" or "works as expected to annoy users".
7. Search Box Default
If you want to change the default search engine in the search box, you have to go to the settings and do it there instead of where you'd expect to which is in the actual search box itself. Again, the same does not occur when using the address box, you can search in there and choose the required search engine although it doesn't set it as a default. Seems the thinking here is that users willl not often change their search engine so no need to make it easily changeable on the fly.
8. Toolbar Spacing
Seriously, you could park a bus in the space between each icon / shortcut on the toolbar and bookmark bar. What's that in aid of? Let's provide the option to condense the space so you can fit more and not waste the real estate.
9. Customisable Toolbar
No options to customise the toolbar to add or remove icons or even change the length of the address and search boxes. Plus, holding down control and then clicking back or forward does not open the link in a new tab like you would expect it to.
10. Find As You Type
There is no find as you type like there was with the old Opera. You can enable the "Find in page" bar (control F) and then start typing in that which works spendidly (and I love the counter of matches) but once you click out of it, you have to click back in the find box to activate it again. Plus, the bar takes up a whole row which is a real waste of screen estate.
Overall though, Opera is easily my default go-to browser. Keep up the good work guys and well done on a stellar product.