Opera 10.5 Pre-Alpha Is Here and It Is Fast!
By on December 22nd, 2009

The wait for Opera fans is over. Opera Software has officially released Opera 10.5 Pre-Alpha. Couple of days back, an internal build of Opera 10.5 had been leaked. However, the official pre-alpha is a lot more stable and contains a few extra goodies. The big new features in Opera 10.5 are:

Opera-10.5-screenshot

Carakan: The speed race just got a lot more interesting. Opera 10.5 introduces the much anticipated Carakan – Opera’s new JavaScript rendering engine. We did a quick test using the V8 Benchmark. This is what we found:

Browser-Speed-Benchmark
(higher is better)

Opera 10.5 blew away Firefox and outperformed Safari by a fair margin, but Google Chrome still reigned supreme.

HTML5: Opera 10.5 uses an updated rendering engine( Presto 2.5.18). Presto 2.5 introduces a number of new features including support for CSS3 Transitions and HTML5 features like persistent storage.

Vega: Vega is Opera’s graphics library and was previously used only to render SVG. However, in Opera 10.5 all graphics is Opera is rendered using Vega. For now Vega is a highly optimised software rendering engine, but this move definitely does open up the possibility of using hardware acceleration in the future.

Better Platform Integration: As mentioned earlier, Opera 10.5 includes better Windows 7 integration including support for taskbar thumbnails and jumplists. However, there is good news for Mac users also. Opera has finally decided to utilise the Cocoa framework, as a result of which Opera now looks and feels like a native Mac app.

Opera-Thumbnail-Tabs

Private Browsing: Opera 10.5 not only introduces Private Browsing but also puts its own spin on it. Unlike in other browsers, you don’t need to open a separate window to enter private browsing mode. Opera supports per-tab private browsing. Whenever you use a private tab, Opera will not keep a record of pages opened in that tab.

Opera-Thumbnail-Tabs

Non-modal Dialogue Boxes: Dialogue boxes are no longer in your face. Instead they are displayed as page overlays.

Various UI Improvements: There are minor UI improvements all around. The cache viewer and find have been drastically improved while the address field and search field have been retouched.

Opera-Cache-Viewer

Opera 10.5 is available for Windows and Mac users. There are some known issues including high memory usage. This build has major performance issues on older computers and it not recommended unless your processor supports SSE2. And finally, there is no UNIX build this time around.

Update: I wen’t ahead and carried out a few more tests. Opera managed to beat Chrome in both Peacekeeper and Sunspider. So, it appears that Opera is now the fastest browser available.

Browser-Speed-Benchmark
(lower is better)

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Author: Pallab De Google Profile for Pallab De
Pallab De is a blogger from India who has a soft spot for anything techie. He loves trying out new software and spends most of his day breaking and fixing his PC. Pallab loves participating in the social web; he has been active in technology forums since he was a teenager and is an active user of both twitter (@indyan) and facebook .

Pallab De has written and can be contacted at pallab@techie-buzz.com.

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