Windows browsers: New Opera 51 'far faster than Firefox Quantum 58'

Opera 51 brings speed improvements, Spectre mitigations, and a host of time-saving features.

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Opera has released a new version of its Chromium 64-based browser, which it says is significantly faster than Mozilla's Quantum-tuned Firefox 58.

Just as Mozilla has doubled down on speed and performance improvements in Firefox to claw back users lost to Chrome, Opera too has been busy making under-the-hood improvements aimed at improving performance on Windows.

Opera 51 is now compiled in Clang, which has helped boost its performance in benchmarks like Apple's WebKit Speedometer 2.0 browser test. Opera squared Opera 51 against Firefox 58 on a HP Spectre running Windows 10 and produced a result showing it was 38 percent faster.

Opera performed very well in browser tests carried out last year by ZDNet's Steven J Vaughan-Nichols, coming out on top or a close second on multiple benchmarks.

And following Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge, Opera 51 now also includes mitigations for one of the Spectre attacks that could potentially be exploited by JavaScript. The changes remove ways that an attacker could gain a high-precision timing source, Opera developers explain. The mitigations are based on Chrome mitigations.

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Opera 51 focuses on faster browsing through increased performance and new time-saving features.

Image: Opera

The company has also been working on a number of time-saving features for faster web browsing.

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Opera 51 introduces a shortcut for getting back to the top of long pages like Facebook feeds. Users can now simply click the tab to return to the top and click it again to return to the last location.

For those who work with loads of open tabs, the browser now features two collapsible lists of open tabs and recently closed tabs.

The feature, which sits on the right of opened tabs, makes it easier to see what's open on each tab and hop between or close them. Hovering above an item on the list also displays a preview of the page. There's also a new option to permanently keep tabs pinned.

Another time-saving feature addresses the previously lengthy process for resetting Opera browser settings, which required saving preferences in a separate file before deleting the browser.

Now there is an option to reset Opera with a single click, which cleans out cached pages, cookies, unused extensions, and pinned tabs while keeping bookmarks, history and saved passwords.

Previous and related coverage

Think Firefox Quantum is fast? Try Firefox 58, out this week, says Mozilla

The incoming Firefox 58 brings faster page loads thanks to a new compiler and streaming compilation, reports Mozilla.

Opera just added a Bitcoin-mining blocker to its browser

Finally, a browser is doing something to protect users from drive-by crypto-miners.

Google bullied us and must be regulated, says Vivaldi and Opera founder

Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner calls for Google to be regulated after experiencing a three-month AdWords suspension.

How to force Firefox to forget your browser history (TechRepublic)

Firefox has included a forget feature for a several years, but it's not enabled in the browser by default. Here's how to enact and use it.

Opera refresh adds VR support and in-browser selfies (CNET)

The desktop browser will now let you stream 360 videos to your Vive or Occulus headset.

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