Opera or Firefox? Confused? Going crazy over what’s better. This comparison might just help you a bit to decide.
Basically both programs follow the same traditional placement of buttons of any browser. Based on the default skin Opera would win this. It consists of a sleeker interface. Also websites loaded in Opera are ‘skinned’ as well. With checkboxes, fonts and command buttons in web pages the same as the ones in the opera skin. Firefox though uses a basic interface. Both programs contain some good skins (themes) and with skins taken into consideration the result would be a tie.
- Ease of use
Both programs present its features and preferences in a user-friendly way. So by ease of use it would be a tie.
In the browser wars, the term ‘features’ can be a loose term. This is due to the availability of addons (widgets in Opera) that most browsers employ. These addons are applets that can be installed into the browser to provide an added feature (s).
Therefore looking at features taking addons into consideration it can be hard to make a comparison, as pretty much all browsers can become ‘all-powerful’ using addons, however a comparison of features out-of-box can be made.
Out-of-box features in Opera heavily outweighs Firefox. Apart from the standard set of features provided by all browsers, Opera offers a horde of other features out-of-box; Opera Mail, Unite (discontinued) and BitTorrent to name a few.
Of course, all the above mentioned features as well as the others not available to Firefox out-of-box maybe added via addons.
Both programs provide addons. Opera provide this in the form of widgets. Both programs provide several useful (or not) addons. However, Firefox offers a lot more addons than Opera, this reflects on the user base of the two browsers as well. Firefox has a lot more users therefore more addons developed.
Also based on my observation, it appears that the quality of the addons in Firefox are higher than in Opera, developers of Firefox addons seem to be a lot more comprehensive.
- Memory Usage
Opera would win this one by a landslide. Memory has long been an issue for Firefox and apparently Mozilla isn’t bent over fixing this issue. Latest versions barely have any improvement in terms of memory compared to past builds. In addition, the latest ‘feature’ where the plugins are isolated in a separate process appears to be consuming even more memory than before. While the feature is handy in case the plugin stops responding, it doesn’t make the memory issue any better.
On the other hand, Opera has always been light weight and handles memory very efficiently.
Currently browser market share based on all popular sources suggests that Firefox popularity heavily outweighs Opera. Over the past few years though, Opera has been gradually gaining market share, however the minute change over the years suggests that it would be a while before Opera becomes even the slightest threat to Firefox in terms of popularity.
- Browsing speed
While these tests may make it confusing to decide which browser is faster based on personal usage I have deduced that Opera is better for slower connections. Based on observation and comprehensive usage, the overall speed of Firefox is slightly faster however Firefox tends to load more content before displaying it in comparison to Opera which immediately displays whatever is loaded, this makes it apparent that Opera is faster and is therefore better for slower connections. Firefox however has a faster overall speed thus it is more advisable for faster connections.
Compared to the recent past, most websites support both browsers extensively, one common occurrence are sites that only support Internet Explorer, this is a common problem to both browsers so doesn’t apply in this comparison.
One factor of compatibility however works in favor of Firefox. As aforementioned, Firefox is a lot more popular than Opera thus third party applications like download managers may support integration with Firefox but not Opera.
Both programs provide adequate privacy. They provide quick access to a window where all temporary files could be just selected and deleted. Both programs allow basic privacy options like disabling history, cookies, etc. Both programs allow private browsing. (browsing session where no private data is recorded)
Based on the comparison above Firefox and Opera are quite closely matched, if you are looking for a browser that has enough features out-of-box and aren’t too keen on looking for addons, Opera maybe a good choice for you. I personally use Firefox because I am more comfortable with it. Managing and developing this site is all done using Firefox. So Firefox would be my choice. What’s yours?
You might also want to check out the Chrome vs Firefox comparison.