I have tried to use Opera for years. Each time I’ve been stopped cold when Web sites (such as ones used for banking) have caused me grief as apparently they were not delivering code to W3C specs. So while Opera did NOTHING wrong here and has managed to evolve into a very full-featured Web browser, people such as myself are unable to use it due to select Web site incompatibilities. To point out that it is frustrating would be a huge understatement.
Fast forward to now and we have Google’s Chrome to compete with Opera in the speed department. The results thus far? According to Lifehacker, Chrome is notably faster in pure speed tests. Thankfully, Opera is not totally out of the running. It seems that Opera is faster in cold and warm browser start-ups. Speaking for myself, this is a bigger issue than minor speed advantages in load times.
What the above piece from Lifehacker has taught me is none of the available browsers really offer it all. Yet even considering that fact, I find that Firefox and Opera provide me with the best overall value in contrast to Chrome as it only offers me speed — not memory management, which matters the most to me personally.