Opera 10.5 Mac Released — Still the Fastest Browser on Earth?

Opera Software today released the Mac version of Opera 10.5. It’s a release I’ve been waiting for ever since the launch of Opera 10.5 for Windows — itself an extremely impressive browser. I downloaded it this morning (confusingly, the version number is 10.52) and put it through its paces, benchmarking it against the latest versions of Firefox, Safari and Chrome, the browsers I use most frequently on my MacBook (s aapl) — it’s blisteringly fast.

As usual, I used WebKit’s SunSpider benchmark test, which runs the browser through a series of JavaScript-intensive tasks and measuring how long it takes to complete them.

The chart shows SunSpider scores in milliseconds; the lower the score, the better. As with the Windows tests, Opera was the fastest, narrowly beating Chrome. The margin between Opera and Chrome was even more slender on the Mac test, though — Opera scored 395.6ms, while Chrome scored 400.8ms. Still, Opera was slightly faster — perhaps just enough to continue to justify Opera’s claim of being the “fastest browser on Earth,” although I doubt you’d notice any difference between them in real-world usage. Safari was also pretty darn quick at around 500 ms, while Firefox lagged behind the pack at 1000ms. (Note that you can’t directly compare the scores from my Windows and Mac browser benchmarks, as they were carried out on different machines).
JavaScript performance is important because we’re all increasingly reliant on JavaScript-intensive web apps — the better our browser is at handling them, the more productive we’ll be. Raw speed isn’t everything, of course, but Opera’s lightning-fast speed, coupled with an attractive UI, support for the latest web standards like CSS3 and HTML5 video, and a slew of useful features like multitouch trackpad gestures, “speed dial” and “turbo mode,” make it a very compelling option — it may even become my primary work browser. You can download Opera 10.5 Mac for free at opera.com.
Let us know what you think of Opera 10.5 Mac in the comments.
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): What Does the Future Hold For Browsers?