Bigger is not always better. Take Web browsers, for example. Internet Explorer commands roughly 85 percent of browser usage. Firefox hovers somewhere around 12 percent. At less than 1 percent is Opera. Oddly enough, this least-used of the browsers is among the best of the lot — at least as good as Firefox and far better than IE.

First released in 1997 by the Norwegian company Opera Software, Opera has always sought to be faster, leaner, more stable and more flexible than any of its competitors. With the December release of version 9.1, it adds an improved layer of security and clever new features that further enhance its functionality, all in a free download that is only 4.9 MB in size.