key review info
- Application: Opera 23.0.1522.60 / 24.0.1558.3 Dev
- Reviewed on:
- Heart icon button for quick access to Speed Dial, Stash or bookmarks bar
- (11 more, see all...)
Opera has continuously developed throughout the years and made a name in the web browser category thanks to its simple and clean browsing sessions, fast speed and security features, and of course, constant improvements.
Not only does this web browser manage to be one of the top choices for many users, but it is also able to distinguish itself from other pieces of software thanks to its unique set of features and design.
The 23 version brings a cleaner look by embedding the heart icon button in the right part of the tab bar. The newly shaped button is designed to add webpages to Speed Dial, Stash or bookmarks bar with minimal effort. When you create a new bookmark entry for the first time, the bookmark bar is automatically enabled.
Other enhancements that come with the new version are meant to prevent crashes or other issues that may affect the browser’s stability.
The installation process takes place in no time and you are allowed to make some small tweaks. You can change the language, install the app for the current user or all of them, select the saving directory, place shortcuts on desktop and in Start menu, and pin the browser to the taskbar.
You may also opt for running the portable version of the program which doesn’t leave any traces in your Windows registry. You can take advantage of the fact that there’s no setup included and copy it on any USB flash drive or other devices and run it on the target computer.
Although tabs don’t look and feel as fluid as in Firefox, their robust appearance is actually practical and they deliver an overall clean and organized browsing environment. Needless to mention, the multi-tabbed browsing is included on the feature list.
Chrome and Firefox provide access to the main menu with the aid of the "Hamburger" button, while Opera preserves the traditional main menu which can be opened up from the left corner of the browser. The button doesn’t take too much space and fits perfectly into the main window.
From the main panel you can open a new tab or window, activate the private browsing mode, view a list with recently closed webpages, switch to a full screen display, zoom in or out of pages, print data, access Speed Dial, Stash and Discover features, work with a downloader and history manager, access the settings panel, install themes and extensions, as well as activate developer tools.
Features that make the browsing session smooth and seamless
Opera improves your web browsing experience with some handy features. The Speed Dial gives you the freedom to store an unlimited number of webpages with the aid of thumbnails and access them with a single click.
Plus, you can arrange the Speed Dial pages in your favorite order using the drag-and-drop support, edit, reload or delete them, as well as perform search operations. In order to group a set of webpages into a single Speed Dial entry, you need to drag one webpage onto another and a folder is automatically created. You may click on the folder for checking out the entries.
The Stash feature provides a flexible way for keeping websites close to the click of a button. Webpages are stored in a resizable environment and you can use the built-in slider for zooming in or out.
Additionally, you may remove items from the Stash list or add them to the Speed Dial. Compared to the Speed Dial mode, the Stash one doesn’t give you the freedom to drag and drop the webpages in the desired order as it displays them in a simple list.
The Discover mode keeps you up-to-date with the latest news from all over the world. Plus, you may filter the results by country and language or categories, such as Arts, Business, Entertainment, Food, Health, Living, News, Science, Sports, Travel and more.
The tool combines the search and address bar into a single one for quick searches on the Internet and implements the heart icon button for helping you add pages to Speed Dial, Stash or bookmark bar. Context menu entries are also supported and they appear whenever you perform a right-click operation on a part of a webpage and their content pretty much depends on the element type (page, text, link, image, form).
The Opera Turbo mode is specifically designed to help you speed up browsing sessions in case you have slow network connection by saving bandwidth and compressing data.
The download manager appears whenever you grab files from the Internet, displays a progress bar, lets you pause the downloading process, and disappears when the download is complete.
What’s more, you can create bookmarks which are automatically placed on the bar below the combined address and search bar. Plus, folders can be used in order to group multiple bookmarks. You simply need to drag and drop webpages onto the target folder.
For fast web browsing operations, you may enable the mouse gestures which give you the option to perform common browsing actions (e.g. open a new tab, reload the page, close the current tab) by holding the right mouse button or moving the mouse to a different direction.
Rocker gestures help you navigate backwards and forwards by rocking your fingers between the right and left mouse buttons and there’s also support for keyboard shortcuts.
The sync mode makes it possible to save your information and access it across different devices. You need to create an account for Opera Link in order to view your bookmarks, Speed Dial and other details on your phone, tablet or another computer.
Themes, extensions and plugins
Personalizing the browsing experience is a must-have feature and Opera helps you change the look of your browser using themes. You may choose from several preset ones, download some more from the Internet or manually create your own theme by specifying the name, choosing a custom image, aligning the photo to bottom, center or top, applying text shadow and selecting the text color for Speed Dial entry names.
Opera gives you the freedom to enhance your browsing sessions using various extensions and plugins, which are grouped by Enabled or Disabled categories.
Opera is not all about providing a pleasant browsing experience and comes packed with several features designed specifically for helping you secure your navigation.
Using the private browsing mode, you can make sure your Internet history and other traces left behind are removed as soon as you close the window. More specifically, the tool deletes your browsing history, items in cache and cookies.
The web browser also uses badges which are embedded in the combined search and address bar for letting you know whether you have landed on pages that contain phishing or malware data. The green lock ensures that the connection is secure and warning pages pop up whenever sites are found on the blacklist.
What’s more, you are allowed to clean your browsing data, including browsing and download history, cookies and other site data, cache, clear saved password and autofill form data.
You can activate the “do not track” feature, save passwords entered on webpages, enable auto-filling of forms on webpages, manage HTTPS/SSL certificates, as well as block third-party cookies and site data, and create a list with cookie exceptions.
Several configuration settings
The tool comes packed with a suite of dedicated parameters usually found in similar powerful web browsers. You may set the search engine, make Opera your default web browser, select the user interface language, and change the default spell check dictionary or add a new one.
Plus, you may show or hide the bookmarks bar, configure proxy settings, specify the maximum number of columns used in the Speed Dial mode, as well as work with developer tools, which include a DOM view of webpages and highlighting of elements.
Last but not least, the tool integrates a task manager that helps you kill the running extensions or other tabs with just one click, and get detailed information about each process, such as name, memory, CPU, shared and private memory, process ID, FPS, GPU memory and other details.
Opera delivers user-friendly and fast browsing sessions which are backed up by several security tools designed to help you navigate on the Internet without traces, clear browsing data, as well as block pop-ups.
Several key features such as Speed Dial, Stash, Discover, mouse gestures, keyboard shortcuts, bookmarks, and sync make the browsing experience enjoyable and practical.
Personalizing the web browser can be done with the aid of preset or user-defined themes. Plus, the support for extensions makes it easier for you to improve the overall performance of the web browser.
Mouse clicks need to be accurate and performed exactly on the tab space if you want to access the current webpage. If you click above the tab area, the current tab is not opened and this proves to be quite annoying.
The download feature gives you the possibility to pause a file which is grabbed from the Internet. In case you change your mind and want to delete the active download from the list, you are not allowed to perform the action. You need to manually open the download manager and clear the entry from the list.
The Stash feature proves to be quite useful in case you have a high-resolution display. On a small display, the view mode makes no miracles.
There’s no search option implemented in the Discover mode, so you need to manually browse throughout the entire collection of preset categories. The thumbnail rendering mode is not always fast when you get to the bottom of the page.
All in all, Opera has proved to be an important player on the market and brings forth a handy suite of features for helping you acquire a smooth and secure browsing experience. Although it needs a few improvements here and there, its powerful mix of features makes this web browser suitable for rookies and power users alike.