Posted: October 23, 2008 in Uncategorized

So here’s my review of Opera, and I plan for it to be good and long.
So here are my favorite features of Firefox:
Notes. Notes, accessible by clicking the screwdriver crossed by a wrench, and then clicking the third button down, is a nifty little feature that lets you write notes in your browser, and then automatically saves your notes so you can come back to them later. Today I used the notes feature to make a list of features I liked and disliked, and Notes was one of my favorite. Of course you can get a feature like this in Firefox, through add-ons, but it’s still pretty cool.
Speed dial is also a nice feature. Speed dial generally opens what you open a new tab. Speed dial shows a thumbnail image of a page that page you have pre set. Check out This page for a demo/tutorial of Opera speed dial, and the below image for a picture of what speed dial looks like. Speed Dial is a pretty cool feature, and Chrome also has a feature like this, but Chrome’s feature is based upon most visited pages, not your own input.

So now that you’ve seen what Speed dial looks like I can move on.
Widgets would be a feature I would have to say I did not expect to ever see in any browser other than Firefox, but I saw it in Opera. Widgets, as much as I owuld like to say it did, it didn’t impress me at all. The widget selecteion is very skimpy, or at least for what I wanted, but seemed to have a wealth of useless widgets. I did come across an awesome widget called Stay Secure which tells me the security of the following browsers: IE (which I wasn’t surprised to have the most security holes) Firefox, Opera (which didn’t have any) Safari and Knoquerer. Now Knoquerer is probably one of the least known browsers I’ve ever come across, and I only came across it because I was trying the linux distro Knoppix. But that’s another story.
Transfers is just like the Firefox feature Downloads which basicly tells you where the file is coming from, where it’s going, the file size and how much is being/has been transfered. transfers, or in Firefox’s case, Downloads, is a good feature to have but by no means a nesessairy one.
Skins is something I think Firefox get’s underrated on, you can get a skin for everything on Firefox, themes like Office 2007, Windows XP, Vista, Internet Explorer (I don’t know why either) and many other skins. And when I checked out Opera’s skins, I found, to my surprise, that I could find new skins and download them, and what was even better, I didn’t have to totally restart Opera to apply the new skin *cough* Firefox *cough*. I have to say, Opera is very advanced.
And now for what I didn’t like.
There is not any, or at least there isn’t to my knowledge, any bookmarks toolbar, at all, which, to me, is a huge deal. I use my bookmarks toolbar a LOT in Firefox, in fact, that’s the only interaction with my bookmarks I have, and seeing as I have over 150 bookmakrs, that’s very significant. So that was definitely one downside to Opera for me. Just like in Safari.
Now I took notes using the awesome note feature built in to Opera, on what I wanted to include, or make sure I wrote about in my Opera review, and this was one of my entries. “LOTS OF BUTTONS”. Now when I said lots of buttons I was referring to the extreme amount of buttons. You can find the Appearance window by right clicking the tab bar and clicking Customize… or by clicking Tools and then clicking Appearance… Now go  under the Buttons tab and you’re there.
Now one thing I was surprised to see in Opera was the Awesome Bar. Now for those of you that don’t use Firefox this will explain the awesome bar. The following is a quote from Mozilla Blogs.

“…the AwesomeBar will match what you’re typing (even multiple words!) against the URLs, page titles, and tags in your bookmarks and history, returning results sorted by “frecency” (an algorithm combining frequency + recency)…”

Now that just about sums the awesome bar up, it’s pretty awesome. But when I found the awesome bar in Opera I was surprised, although I really shouldn’t have been, Chrome had an awesome bar, but since it’s relatively new I didn’t suppose it would be in Opera. A cool feature Opera added to the awesome bar though was that when it displays resualts that you have bookmarked, Opera shows that exact path to that bookmark.
Another feature that comes built in with Opera that I like a lot, and that I don’t have in Firefox, is that Automatic form fill, or as it’s called in Opera Magic Wand. To use Magic Wand you have to open Preferences… and click the tab Wand. Now you have to fill out whichever forms you want to skip filling in, and then when you’re at a website and need to fill out a form, click the wand icon and according to what data you’ve input, you wont have to fill those form fields out. Now I could get a feature like this is Firefox through Add-ons but it would have been nice for it to have been built in.
Now a feature I just found out about is that Opera gives you the ability to mouse over tabs and get a snapshot preview of the webpage, that’s pretty awesome! Now after seeing this I couldn’t leave writing this post without being able to say that I had this ability also, so I went and downloaded Tab Sidebar and Tab Preview. Tab Preview does exactly what the opera preview tab feature does, except you can change the width of your preview image with Tab Preview. In Tab Sidebar you have to open the sidebar (under View > Sidebar), and once you do that you will get a good picture of your tabs along with the tab names.
Now this is probably going to be the last feature of Opera I’m going to go over, and that feature is Discover Opera. Discover Opera went over most of Opera’s features and how to use/access them. The discover page is definitely something other browsers should incorporate.

So I leave with this last question.

  1. Ti says:

    If I could find a plugin for Firefox that did exactly what Magic Wand for Opera does, I might switch. I like Firefox, it has some features I wish Opera had, I would settle for not having the ability to save sessions and right click to drop notes saved into boxes and to click on the left side of my Opera window to open up my bookmarks and a quick click away…

    Honestly. If I could get a Firefox plugin that would add an icon right beside my homepage button that did exactly what Opera Magic Wand does, I might give Firefox a good trial to see if it works better. But as it is, I cannot find such a plugin. =( I switch back and forth between browsers a bit because Firefox does some things better…

    I don’t like that in Opera, when I bookmark something with the same name, it doesn’t save over/ask if I want to save over, it makes me two bookmarks with the same name, for example, as a Firefox does it better thing. Also, Opera will not remember a bunch of webpages. It just remembers one webpage, one name, etc. Though I usually use one webpage, it’s nice that Firefox remembers a few webpages in the dropdown too.

    But alas. I cannot find a plugin that does what Magic Wand does. As the big reason to use Firefox is PLUGINS and Opera does almost everything I could want out of a web browser, plus more… if I can’t find the plugin I want, where’s the need to switch? Heh.

  2. zachdude1094 says:

    Where and when did you look for an addon that would replicate Magic Wand? I did a simple search for “auto form filler” in addons.mozilla.org, and came up several addons that seem suitable for this task.

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