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Opera review

Try Opera, the browser that deserves far more attention than it gets

(Image: © Opera Norway)

Our Verdict

With good looks, impressive speed and a raft of extra features, it's very hard not to fall in love with Opera.


  • Built-in ad blocker
  • Synchronizes settings between computers
  • Integrated VPN


  • A look that isn't going to be to everyone's taste
  • Some handy options are well hidden

Like Chrome and Edge, Opera is a web browser based on Chromium, but the look is different to just about everything else on the market. Making use of the fact that monitors are widescreen, Opera maximizes the amount of vertical space it has to display web sites by featuring a sidebar to the left of the screen to provide access to bookmarks, history and other options, freeing up the top of the screen. The sidebar is also home to shortcuts to apps such as Facebook Messenger, Telegram and WhatsApp, which is a very nice touch.

There's an integrated news reader, and Opera can be expanded through the use of extensions. There are thousands of add-ons available, and you can even use Chrome plugins if you can't find a native extension that does what you need.

Open a new tab and the customizable Speed Dial provides access to a search function and your favourite websites.

The look of the browser is pleasingly customisable too, thanks to a dark theme option and the ability to change background images.

User experience

You don’t have to spend long using Opera to wonder quite why it is you don’t hear more about the browser – even if it is a little quirky.

There are no traditional menus needed for daily use: click the bookmarks button, or history, and it loads in a browser tab. There is a menu that's somewhat hidden under the Opera button but you'll probably never need it.

As with Firefox and Chrome, you can synchronize bookmarks and settings between computer – or even the mobile version of the browser – and there are so many extra features (ad blocking, VPN and data compression to name but three), it puts other browsers to shame.

Everything feels wonderful speedy and slick as well, and the pop out video player that lets you keep browsing while a video continues to play – and remains visible – is just brilliant. Truly inspiring stuff.

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