Opera is one of the oldest web browsers currently available. It runs on the Google Chromium system, meaning it uses the base, open-source Google Chrome program but tweaks it a bit to add its own features. Opera’s source code is also open for public use, so you can improve and customize it with unique tools and features if you know how to program. Further, this browser is compatible with every desktop and mobile operating system.
Opera has a clean interface. However, it is laid out a little different than other web browsers, so it may take some time to get used to. It has a sidebar where you can pin shortcuts to your favorite websites and frequently used settings so you can open them with a quick click. However, if you prefer, you can adjust the browser settings to hide this sidebar and navigate using traditional menus and toolbars. You can also pin app shortcuts that open email services and chat windows so you don’t have to open these programs separately. In addition, Opera has one-click bookmarking and tab stacks, which means you can drag and drop open tabs to rearrange them.
The address bar doubles as a search bar, so you don’t have to navigate to a search engine to make a query. When you type in a search term, Opera takes you to a list of Google search results.You can use voice commands to search and navigate the web, and both the desktop and mobile browser can read text to you. Also, Opera syncs across all the computers, smartphones and tablets you use it on, so the setting changes you make, passwords you save and your browser history are available on all your devices.
Most sites “sniff” the browser you’re using so they can properly format page content. However, many sites, especially old, outdated ones, block Opera entirely. As such, you may not be able to access some webpages when you use this browser. We didn’t encounter problems with this during our in-house tests, but other users have reported the issue.
Opera has security features that check websites for malware and phishing schemes, but you need to adjust your security settings for them to be effective. During our in-house tests, we kept Opera’s default settings and attempted to access several malicious pages, including several designed to look like popular social media pages and financial institutions’ websites. Opera blocked and warned us of only 46 percent of these phishing schemes. As such, we highly recommend using an antivirus program that is good at warning against dangerous websites and also blocks malware files from downloading – for example, Bitdefender. Because Opera works with third-party browser extensions, it will have no problem working alongside Bitdefender.
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This browser also has other impressive security tools. For example, its automatic pop-up blocker is enabled the moment you install the program. It also uses advanced encryption when you visit a secure website and lets you erase all private data, including your browsing history and cookies.
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This web browser launches quickly and has an average page load time of about four and a half seconds. In addition, it doesn’t take up much space on your computer – it comes in a smaller file than most other web browsers, including Chrome and Microsoft Edge.
Opera is a good choice if you want to use the same browser on all your devices because it is compatible with smartphones, tablets and computers running all operating systems. It is well designed and has easy-to-use tools and good security options. In addition, it’s fast, and you can quickly access settings and sites you visit often from the sidebar. The browser’s default security settings aren’t great, so we suggest adjusting them and using a third-party antivirus program for extra protection.