Often overlooked among browser giants like Google, Microsoft, Apple and Mozilla, Opera is a little gem that keeps on getting better. Hardly able to compete as far as market shares are concerned, this excellent little browser is far from lagging behind as far as performance is concerned.

The recently released Beta version of the new generation Opera browser, Opera Next, may technically still be in the 'beta stage' of development, but it already behaves like a grown up, fully functional browser. Likened by some to a little souped-up sport scar among SUVs and mini-vans, Opera Next has a few distinctively different new features.

First of all, developers decided to lose Opera's Presto rendering engine and replace it with Chromium, the engine used in the Chrome browser of Google. Right now, Opera Next appears to be perkier than Google Chrome, although time will tell whether it will continue to be so once users have added extra extensions.

As it is, this has given Opera Next a sleek new look and feel, with Web page tabs - and an 'add new tab' plus sign at the top. This is followed by the address/ search bar combination, complete with the typical Chrome auto-complete for search words. On the same line, users will find back/ forward icons taking them through varying pages viewed on a tab and icons for adding/ removing 'speed dial' items, re-rendering pages and 'stashing' pages/ items.

The 'Stash' is extremely handy for quickly saving several pages for future reference. If, for example, a user is searching for summer blazers, they can store pages containing blazers they are interested in purchasing in the 'stash' area by simply clicking on the address bar's 'stash heart' icon.

These items can then be accessed by opening a new tab which will by default contain the necessary buttons to access Opera Next's three core features - stash, discover and speed dial. Having to access these features by opening a new tab can be a little cumbersome, but you never know, by the time the full version is released, they may have been given their very own icons.

On opening Stash, stored items are displayed in collapsed view. These can be expanded via a slider control next to the item list. The speed-dial is a little like a bookmark editor, with the difference that it displays thumbnails as opposed to text. Storing and organising the speed dial items/ folders is pretty straightforward, and there is also a speed-dial-specific search option.

The 'discovery' function allows users to find content of interest to them. Customisable in terms of language, country and 13 subject matters (so far). Discovered items are displayed on the Discover page in a flip board-like style. All in all, Opera Next Beta is already a highly polished little vehicle well worth test driving.

Not found what you are looking for? Ask Us!

Submit a Support Ticket