Opera Review

Bottom Line

Sleek and quick like Chrome and customizable like Firefox, Opera has a solid fan following even though the browser has never gained a large popular base. It's the best choice for older, slower computers, as Opera requires less memory and takes advantage of caching so it often runs when other browsers might crash.

Performance

Pros

  • Uses less memory than other browsers
  • Loads quickly on slow connections and older computers
  • Improved customization

Cons

  • Not compatible with some sites
  • Fewer features than major browsers
Our Analysis
Specs

Features

Easy ways to organize browsing. Reviews concur that Opera belongs in the top five among major web browsers, but doesn't have all the advantages of Firefox and Chrome. Loyal users of the web browser have balked at many of the changes since version 12, and Opera has yielded to its critics by including many of its older features like a bookmarks bar. (An integrated email client and its super-fast "Presto" search engine -- replaced by Google's Chromium -- are gone for good.) In addition to the traditional bookmarks bar, the speed-dial feature saves and tiles sites on a page for easy access. (You can drag and drop to add new sites in bookmarks and speed dial.) Stash lets you mark pages for later (similar to a reading list), and Discover is a content portal tailored to your interests. The browser's mobile and desktop versions are also linked for integration across devices. 

Privacy and Security

Smaller may be safer. Opera has many of the privacy and security features users have come to expect of a browser, including anti-malware, anti-fraud and pop-up warnings of potential threats. The browser also lets you browse privately and erase history in a single tab. Fair or not, the major criticism of Opera -- once an industry trailblazer known for creating features like tabs -- is that it just isn't unique enough anymore. One thing that's great about its understated status, says PCMag.com: It's not a target for hackers. (However, one yearlong study found that 20 percent of Opera mobile users were concerned about security.) Opera is now using Google Chrome's code and has been through several redesigns since launching the enormously popular version 12 of its browser, which it still supports. PC Advisor says Opera "is perfect for people that want Chrome's performance, but don't want a Google account."

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