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Harry McCracken says Opera 10, just released today, is worth trying. After just a few minutes of working on the road, I’m inclined to agree. I grabbed the download for my MacBook, but you can install the new browser on Windows or Linux as well. Since […]

Harry McCracken says Opera 10, just released today, is worth trying. After just a few minutes of working on the road, I’m inclined to agree. I grabbed the download for my MacBook, but you can install the new browser on Windows or Linux as well. Since I’m on a marginal EVDO connection right now — downloads are topping out around 600kbps — I immediately checked out the new Opera Turbo function. This speeds up browsing just like it does for Opera’s mobile browsers — it compresses the data on Opera’s servers before you see it on your computer.

I used the new Screen Recording feature of Snow Leopard’s QuickTime Player to show the speed difference on my current connection. In the video — no audio since I’m at a noisy Starbucks — I simply open up the jkOnTheRun home page in both Safari 4 and Opera 10. I have Opera Turbo turned on, although you can also disable it or have it kick in whenever Opera automatically thinks you need a boost. This isn’t meant to be a definitive browser comparison, but more to give you an idea of what Opera Turbo can do. Images suffer from the compression, but that’s a small price to pay for a speed boost.

I’ll have to kick the tires much more before I decide to move to Opera on a more regular basis, but Turbo offers a definite advantage for mobile device users. When we’re home, we tend to have faster or more stable connections to the web. On the road, we have to deal with signal variances and over-saturated airwaves — in places like that, Opera Turbo offers a huge boost.

  1. Kevin, did you clear your browser cache before doing these tests? It seems from your histories that you visited your site in both browsers before.

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    1. Asute observation and no I didn’t for that video. I realized that after I uploaded it but before publishing, so I cleared the cache in both and retested off-camera before the post went live. I saw no noticeable difference — Opera’s Turbo still beat the pants off Safari in this unscientific example, so I opted not to re-record. Thx!

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    2. If it performed as well with cache cleared, I’d say this is a pretty serious bump in speed for free for all us wireless broadband users.

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    3. Rich, I say give it a try. The only cost is the time it takes for a 5MB to 10MB download and install, depending on your platform. User experiences are sure to vary based on network connection, sites loaded and browsers by comparison, so I’d be curious to hear about your experiences as well as others with Opera Turbo. You hit the nail on the head that the real benefit is gained for wireless broadband users (and any remaining dial-up users, I’d guess). For that reason alone, I’m thinking of installing Opera on all of my mobile devices for specific use over 3G. Not sure on that one yet, but that’s my thought for now.

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  2. Hi Kevin, I’ve been an Opera-Fan for quite a while now and since the first beta versions of Opera 10 came with the built-in Turbo I once again knew why I always turn to Opera when I’m looking for browser innovations.

    I just came back from my holidays in the Austrian mountains and although 3G coverage is pretty good in Austria (who would have guessed? plus: it’s reasonably priced), there are, of course, some spots left on the map where one would only see GPRS/EDGE. But with Opera Turbo that’s not a problem at all.

    Opera is great anyway because of so many functions that other browser just don’t have. Mouse gestures (I’m aware of the Firefox addons but none of those can compete in with the built-in solution of Opera), visual tab bar, Opera Unite… just to mention a few.

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