Think of a web browser and some people would say Internet Explorer, whereas others Firefox is their obvious choice. Ask them to think again, and they’ll pause. However, there are many other decent browsers available on the market. One of the oldest is Opera and it’s recently had a major upgrade. Hard to believe for some, but Opera has been an innovator in so many areas and the first to launch new features in their browser.

Opera 10 is now available and it’s a release worth investigating if you’re not yet an Opera user. The first thing you’ll notice is the user-interface. Well designed and arguably the best-looking browser user-interface of any of the main ‘big four’ web browsers. Indeed, some of the UI features planned for Firefox 3.7 and, later, 4.0, take design cues from the current Opera 10. Again, leading the pack.

The next thing you’ll notice is the speed. Already fast, Opera 10 now ships with a ‘turbo mode’ if you’re surfing the Internet on a slower connection, such as through a 3G modem. It can be set to automatically detect your Internet connection, so if you’re back on your ultra-fast broadband connection, later, the turbo mode will be switched off.

If you’re already an Opera user, there are still many enhancements, such as the improved Speed Dial, which super-sizes the way you see your favourite websites, when you open a new tab. The new browser now checks your spelling in any web form, which is handy. It also ships with support for the latest web standards, including HTML 5, CSS3 and is 100% ACID3 compliant, something that Internet Explorer would dream to achieve.

You can also share your data, such as your bookmarks, across your Opera browsers, across different operating systems, through MyOpera. There’s little negative to say about Opera. The only small problem we find from time to time, is that banks and other sites will not allow you to browse their site in anything but Internet Explorer and Firefox. Not because Opera can’t cope is insecure - quite the opposite, in fact. Apart from this, we suggest you give this fantastic browser a look. We’ve only covered the basics here and there are numerous advantages that Opera brings to your web browsing experience.

Note that this is the portable version of Opera.

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This browser just gets better and better, yet it's baffling it's not as popular as Firefox. Definitely worth a look.