released a sneak peek of the newest version of its desktop browser, Opera 10. At the center of this new release is Presto 2.2, Opera's new rendering engine, which, according to the company, offers a considerably faster browsing experience when compared to Presto 2.1.Opera today
Opera has had to face stiff competition in the desktop browser market from Google's Chrome, and the company is clearly looking to gain back some ground by emphasizing the speed of the rendering engine over new features in this release.
In terms of its user interface, the changes between version 9.6 and this alpha of Opera 10 are minimal and mostly cosmetic.
As for new features, Opera finally supports inline spell-checking. This feature had been sorely missing from Opera until now. Opera 10 can now also auto-update without giving notification to the user, similar to Google's Chrome.
Opera 10 also still includes all the major new features of Opera 9, including Feed Preview, Opera Link for bookmark synchronization, and the updated version of Opera Mail.
The rendering engine easily scored 100 out of 100 on the Acid 3 test (and easily passed the Acid 2 test as well). We benchmarked this alpha version against Opera 9.62 using the Sunspider and Dromaeo benchmarks. In both cases, Opera 10 was clearly faster, but the performance gains were typically around 10-15% and nowhere near the 30% claimed by Opera (though in their defense, Opera's PR material talks about the faster 'browsing experience,' not about benchmarks). Presto also wasn't able to come close to our benchmarks for Chrome.
A Capable Browser
Overall, Opera 10, at least in its current state, looks like an evolutionary update to previous versions. This preview version, however, was mostly meant to showcase the new rendering engine, so chances are that Opera will roll out additional new features and changes to the user interface in upcoming alpha and beta releases.
We have always had a soft spot for Opera, but somehow, the browser never quite found the sweet spot between speed and functionality that Firefox (in large part due to its extensions) and Chrome have.
Opera 10 is a capable browser with a number of very interesting features. However, when compared to Google's Chrome, with its unified address and search bar, as well as its speedy rendering engine, Opera 10 still has a bit of ground to cover before it will be able to challenge Chrome and Firefox.