Norwegian-based developer Opera Software today announced the final version of a web browser that has been available to beta test since late May. The beta test — which was released under the “Opera Next” moniker — was notable in that it was based upon the Chromium project. The Chromium project is the open-source part of Chrome, the world’s most popular browser.
Opera is available for both Windows and OS X, though I’ve been testing it on the latter platform. Web browsing on a Mac is typically great: both Safari and Chrome offer excellent options, though each have a relatively major drawback. Safari, at least until OS X Mavericks is released, is buggy and prone to crashes when too many tabs are loaded. Chrome, on the other hand, decreases battery life and takes up a massive amount of RAM.
In my limited testing, it would seem that Opera appears to be a happy medium. Performance of the browser, at least on my MacBook Air, is excellent: it’s obvious from the speed that this browser is using the Chromium project. It also seems to be somewhat lighter on RAM usage, which is one of the main complaints Mac users have against Chrome.
The jury is still out on battery life, though it’s likely that it will indeed be easier on the battery than Chrome. In terms of stability, it seems as if all the major bugs have been ironed out. Loading videos and other intensive tasks are no problem for Opera 15.
Opera 15 is certainly worth a try, even if it is just to see how great this third-party browser has become in the past few years. Opera offers various features that range from being extremely cool to insanely useful — overall, Opera makes building a fantastic web browser look easy.