Eee Browser Wars: Firefox vs. Opera


Firefox vs. Opera: Who wins?

I’ve been quite happy with the Mozilla Firefox browser that comes with the default installation of the Eee. However, the Eee’s screen resolution (800 x 480) would mean that websites designed for a higher resolution would have those annoying horizontal scrollbars at the bottom of the screen. And since we have to wait until Firefox 3 for that much-desired zooming feature, we have to content ourselves with pressing F11 for full screen, changing the font size, or scrolling left and right.

There, however, is a workaround: Opera has a fit-to-width feature that addresses the issue of low-resolution screens. I excitedly downloaded a copy, and navigated to my personal blog. And yes, the fit-to-width feature does work, albeit not without a few quirks. The websites visited moved a few columns downwards, and in some cases, banner images splinched. Those expecting Opera Mini-style zooming need not be disappointed, though: Ctrl + or – (or Ctrl+scroll) does exactly just that. Also, pages render quite faster, and the UI does not take up as much space as Firefox’s.

I can say I like both browsers and I am comfortable running them at the same time. But I find myself using Firefox over Opera more and more. Why so?

  • Plugins – I use Firefox on my desktop with a load of plugins installed, and I was able to import the same functionalities to my Eee by installing most of the plugins I use. Sure, Opera has widgets, but do I have to use up more of that precious little RAM that the Eee has?
  • Familiarity – Let’s face it: Opera offers a different browsing experience. And those differences mean a lot for somebody who wants to just browse away without having to learn something different.

So in the end, I use Firefox more not because I don’t like Opera. I actually use Opera if I want a page to load faster, or if it’s too big for Firefox to render. I’m probably just one of those stuborn old stogies who can’t be bothered to learn to break my routine.

So, what browser do you use?

Ade also writes for Noisy, Noisy, Man and The Man Blog. He posted this article using Firefox, then checked how it looked like with Opera. Then he played once again with Opera’s awesome page zoom. Just because.

11 Responses

  1. Sascha Says:

    I have to say, that i am also using opera right now.
    Even though, it is in german, i wrote a little HowTo on my german Eee PC Blog:

    Eee PC News Opera Howto

  2. Wilson Co Says:

    How to install Opera in my Asus eeePC? I understand the blog above has the instructions but as he stated, it’s in German…

    Wala yata (not available) sa Asus repositories ang Opera di ba? Can Linux handle Software packages like Windows, where you can just download a Setup file , save it to disk and execute? My previous experience with Linux is with Red Hat, and with that, you can find .rpm files which handles pretty much the same as Windows executables. Sorry, but my knowledge of Linux is quite limited. Opera website has a Linux download for Ubuntu, that’s a debian distribution, right? Will it work with Asus’ Xandros, which I understand is also a fork of debian…

    Also can Opera adds text-to-speech capabilities (it’s a feature in Windows version that requires additional download)?

  3. Wilson Co Says:

    Using Google Translate, I was able to get the idea of how to install Opera, will try it later. It looks like the Debian 4.0 version is preferred as other variants (including Xandros 4.0) generate errors.

  4. Brennan Williams Says:

    I tried installing the Debian release of Opera 9.25 but got an error about libqt3c102-mt not being installed

  5. Earl Says:

    I am using Firefox, but I am very interested in Opera. I use Opera Mini for my Blackberry 8320 and I love it. The problem I face with Firefox is that it doesn’t let me scroll down in some of the upload screens of Moveable Type 4. I run into this when I try to upload photos to my blog. I’ll try Opera to see if it solves this problem.

  6. sutoraifu Says:

    I don’t have Eee PC but wanting to have one.

    I discovered Firefox back in 2003, and from the moment I used it in place of IE, I have never looked back. But I am using Opera a lot more frequent now than FF, specially at my work. I can make it look like I am staring into a simple word document, when in fact I’m browsing the net while at work hehe. And in addition, I enjoy the Opera community – please follow the link on my name…

  7. tommo Says:

    I personally prefer Opera. I find it faster and I love the fit to page feature. Firefox is sweet also like you mentioned but it does not seem to measure up to the speed of Opera I am finding here.

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