Slowly but surely, Opera is setting a new bar for secure and fast Web browsing. Leaving aside for this version any significant improvements in its already top-notch interface usability and appearance, this free browser has focused all its attention on improving its privacy settings with a built-in VPN solution (SurfEasy) and a prediction system to reduce the page loading time to as close to zero as possible.
After leading the way on the field of browser design by creating the first tabbed interface, introducing the themes concept for interface customization, and paving the way to all current thumbnail-based bookmark pages with its Speed Dial, Opera is now all about speed and privacy. They claim to have reduced startup time in 13% as compared to the previous version and to have brought page loading time down to almost zero. To offer a faster startup time, Opera uses PGO (Profile Guided Optimization) to make their software run faster on Windows, and to reduce page loading time they have introduced a mechanism that predicts the website you want to visit faster than most browsers, taking you there before you finish writing your request. All these new features add up to its page compression technology, which already made Opera stand out in this area in the past. All of these speed-up new features have a very important side effect that is worth noting – the extension of your battery life by – according to Opera – up to 50%. Laptop users will surely welcome this achievement.
Safety and privacy is the other area on which Opera has put more emphasis lately. For this version, Opera has decided to make SurfEasy, its proprietary VPN solution, part of the browser. All you have to do to enjoy its benefits is to enable in the Settings section, allowing you to browse anonymously and access blocked sites without compromising your download and upload speeds more than necessary, which in the case of Opera means a slowdown of less than 9%. This unlimited and free VPN solution only adds to the existing high level of protection against fraud and malware apps that this browser has been offering for some time now and to the existing private mode.
Other new additions include an efficient ad blocker that will also speed up your page loading speed, a video pop-out feature that will play back any online video on a different window, and a currency converter for all your international purchases online. Some things haven’t changed, though, such as the lack of a specific 64-bit installer or the absence of other search engines for you to choose from in the Speed Dial if you happen not to be a Google fan. I guess that at least the latter still needs some time, though you can always bookmark the sites of your favorite search engines and use Opera’s new functionality to search the Web faster and more securely.
- Faster browsing
- Built-in VPN feature
- Video playback on a separate window
- Ad blocker
- Profile Guided Optimization
- Battery saver feature
- Currency conversion
- No 64-bit version available
- Google is the only supported search engine
- No support for Flash content