Opera 10.5 – faster, better CSS3 support

by Peter

Opera 10.5 has arrived! Opera has today released the newest version of its Web browser, and claims it’s the fastest browser available for the Windows operating system. While timing isn’t everything, it is important, and this new version arrives just in time for the arrival of the controversial browser ballot screen in Europe, and at a time when European criticism of Internet Explorer has reached new heights. So probably this is good timing!

I have downloaded and tested the browser. It is great! “Opera 10.50 is the fastest browser in almost all speed tests,” claims Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software. Opera 10.5 uses a new JavaScript engine called Carakan and a new graphics library called Vega, which Opera says make this the fastest browser ever produced for Windows.

I don’t know if it actually is faster than Chrome or the most recent version of Firefox – I have not tested that. But I tried it on a few different sites and pages, and noticed that the support of CSS3 is much improved. Opera 10.5 now supports such CSS3 features as “box-shadow”, “text-shadow” and others. It also provides support for some of the new HTML5 emerging standards, for instance for video.

Testers seem to confirm this this version is better and faster, but still a number of smaller issues remain. See, for instance the extensive testing in Betanews and the Javascripts tests referred in Fiercecio. There are also some issues concerning DIVs that don’t display quite right under certain circumstances and TABLEs that sometimes take to much time to load.

What annoyed me the most was that Opera on install set itself up as the default browser without asking me. To me that is a no-must-do. Something that makes me mighty upset, and that forced me to spend time to find out how to reset this.

My feeling is that this is a good step ahead for Opera, but that even so they should perhaps have waited a little to get things a little more right.

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