Opera 10.5 Beta: The Fastest Browser on Earth

Opera Software today released the beta of Opera 10.5 for Windows (s msft). The big improvement in this new release is a new JavaScript engine; Opera claims that it’s eight times faster than the previous version.

As the web apps we rely on get increasingly complex, we need fast browsers, otherwise the web will begin to feel very sluggish. When Opera 10 was released, I pointed out that while its JavaScript performance wasn’t bad, it couldn’t match the speed of Chrome (s goog) or Firefox — and since then both Chrome and Firefox have got faster.

So how does Opera’s latest release stack up? Running the latest versions of Opera, Chrome and Firefox through the SunSpider benchmark tests on my test laptop produced some interesting results (I’ve also included the previous version of Opera for comparison):

The chart shows SunSpider scores in milliseconds, where a lower score is better. Opera’s improvement in this release is staggering — the new beta takes roughly a sixth of the time to complete the tests. Opera 10.5 narrowly beats Chrome, so Opera’s “fastest browser on Earth” claim seems justified. It also scores a perfect 100 on the Acid3 test, which tests for compliance with web standards.

Of course, raw speed and web standards aren’t everything, but Opera comes with a nicely designed UI and some neat features, like “speed dial” (for quickly accessing commonly used web pages) and a “turbo mode” for slow or laggy connections. When Opera 10.5 beta is released for Mac (it’s only in alpha currently), it may just become my new favorite browser.

Let us know what you think of Opera 10.5 below.