The Good Customizable interface; built-in RSS reader and mail client; pop-up stopper.
The Bad Limited technical support options.
The Bottom Line There's a ton of great technology in Opera, and it's free to compete with Mozilla Firefox.
Editors' note: On September 20, 2005, Opera stopped charging for its ad-free browser. We revisited the product and revised our rating upward. (9/20/05)
The Opera 8 Web browser has a lot going for it: a tabbed interface, tons of customizable skins, and some innovative navigation tools. Opera has always been on the cutting edge of browser innovation and was once considered the best alternative to Mozilla Firefox came along. Now, as of September 20, 2005, the Opera browser is free, but its reputation in the public's mind as a "paid browser" may take a while to subside. Opera 8 offers a few features found in neither IE nor Firefox. If you're an early adopter or if you're dissatisfied with IE, Netscape, and Firefox, then Opera's definitely with a look. We downloaded and installed Opera in less than three minutes. Although $39 is a reasonable price for software that is as sophisticated and reliable as Opera, we doubt many users will pay to browse the Web. A free version of Opera also exists, but it includes a small advertising banner across the top of the browser window. As adware goes, the Opera banners are innocuous. Still, with screen real estate at a premium, we didn't like the added distraction at the top the page.until
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