Stable Opera 15 arrives with new features and rendering engine

Just a month after unveiling the first beta to the public, Opera Software has released Opera 15.0 FINAL. The latest version of the browser receives a complete reboot, sporting a different rendering engine, revamped interface and a number of new features.

The new release does not spell the end of the previous version, however, with Opera 12.15 FINAL still available (and due to receive an update shortly) for those reluctant to move on.

One of the key reasons for existing users' reluctance to switch immediately to Opera 15 is the fact that there are several beloved features from the previous version that are missing from this new build, including any support for bookmarks outside of Opera's Speed Dial.

This is largely down to the fact the new browser is rebuilt from the ground up. Many of these features should reappear over time -- Opera 15 sees the browser switch to a rapid release cycle, with new updates promised every couple of weeks. One feature that is unlikely to resurface, however, is the built-in mail client, which Opera has hived off into a standalone product, Opera Mail.

The big change in Opera 15 is under the hood, with the browser switching from the proprietary Presto rendering engine to a open-source "Chromium engine" used by Google Chrome. This is joined by a revamped user interface that is designed to work natively on Windows and OS X, resulting in a look that is better integrated with the platform it runs on.

Two brand new features are added to Opera 15 in the form of Discover and Stash. The former provides users with a place to get relevant content based on localisation and personal preferences, while the latter makes it easy to compare related pages or websites together.

Users wishing to upgrade from Opera 12 to the latest version should read this blog post that details how the existing profile will be converted. Many settings and preferences should be automatically imported, but others -- such as bookmarks that will make their way into Speed Dial entries -- will need to be done so manually.

To facilitate the switch from bookmarks, Opera 15 includes a number of Speed Dial-related improvements. Users are now able to file shortcuts into folders, plus use a search field to quickly filter entries.

Opera 15.0 FINAL is available now as a freeware download for Windows and Mac. Also available are Opera 12.15 FINAL and Opera 12.15 FINAL (64-bit) for Windows, Mac and Linux.

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