Opera's new desktop browser, Opera 15, exited beta today after a month of testing and is now available to the masses for Windows and OS X at Opera.com.

But despite a whole lot of changes to the independent browser, much still looks to be lacking.

As of this version Opera is now built on Google's Chromium and JavaScript V8, and it shares much with the popular Google browser.

It also uses Google's new Blink rendering engine, which Google hopes will replace WebKit and help streamline web development.

Something's missing

Users of Opera's new browser can expect regular updates across multiple release channels, including standard Opera releases, Opera Next, and Opera Developer.

The initial post-beta release includes new features such as the Google News-like "Discover" tab, a "Stash" tab for storing pages you want to read later, and an "off-road" mode that replaces Opera Turbo and functions similarly, speeding up browsing on slower connections.

But it lacks a traditional bookmarks menu, instead relying on a combination of the "speed dial" set of oft-visited pages and the aforementioned Stash tab. At least speed dial supports folders now.

In addition, Opera 15 won't yet sync settings from other browsers and its search bar is not customizable. Other features are missing, while some that should have been ditched, like a separate email app, are present.

Call and response

TechRadar asked Opera whether it believes some of the missing features simply aren't necessary or if it plans to add them in future updates, and Opera Software SVP of Desktop Products Krystian Kolondra responded that the browser "continue[s] to develop."

"We continue to develop the next generation of Opera, and we will be adding some of our most beloved features in future updates," he wrote in an email. "In the latest version, we have merged Speed Dial and bookmarks. Instead of keeping them separate, we have made it possible to group your Speed Dial entries by using folders. It's really convenient."

"Instead of choosing one search engine by default, you can now simply pick the one you prefer, while typing a searched term," he continued. "Our engineers are working hard on the next-generation bookmarking and search customization options, so stay tuned for more."

At the start, the new Opera browser looks great, but it seems it will need a few iterations before it can compete with the big browsers.

Via TechCrunch