The Opera web browser is one of the most well-known Internet browsers available today with a lot of innovations under its belt. It is the browser that popularized the speed dial, along with arguably being the first to support built-in tabbed browsing.
Over the years, Opera has changed a lot. We’ve seen it grow into a web browser filled with interesting features, and to the point where it is now just another web browser. I have been an avid fan of Opera since 2004, and that was mainly due to the browser’s uniqueness at the time. Fast forward into 2015 and I no longer have the Opera browser installed on my Windows 10 computer.
You might be wondering why such a drastic decision. Well, it has nothing to do with Opera being a terrible browser because it isn’t, it is because the features I have come to enjoy over the years are no longer there. The move from the Presto rendering engine to Google’s Chromium changed everything, and there is no coming back from that it seems.
I have chosen to walk away, and here are the reasons for such a drastic decision.
The missing mail client:
My web browser is always open, so having access to my emails without having to open Microsoft Outlook or having the mail client in a browser tab was something I enjoyed. It wasn’t extremely easy to use, but it worked for me and many others.
The current version of Opera doesn’t have this feature built-in, but the developer did make sure to create an extension for those who still need it. While that is great, the implementation is not as seamless as it once was.
The missing download manager and BitTorrent:
Unlike every other web browser, the Presto version of Opera had a cool built-in download manager that was quite powerful. It doesn’t matter if your browser crashed or even if your computer was restarted by the hands of Batman himself, the download manager will continue where it left off.
As for the built-in BitTorrent client, it was another reason to download less stuff to your computer. While not as powerful when compared to some standalone BitTorrent clients, it was solid and did what it set out to do.
The missing customization options:
Before being switched over to the Chromium rendering engine, Opera was the most customizable web browser without the need for extensions. Users had the option to do a lot with the tab and URL bar. They could switch it to the bottom, the sides or the top. There are quite a few adjustments users could make to the appearance of the browser, and this is missing from the current version.
The missing Opera Link:
Opera Link is probably one of the most forward-thinking features the Opera team have ever come up with in a long time. It allows users to run their own cloud server, so there was no need for the likes of OneDrive, Google Drive Dropbox, and others. Users could share their photos, videos, music, files, documents and whatever else across multiple devices along with others on the web.
It’s hard to forget a number of times I chose to leave my laptop on at home while out and about with my mobile phone. From there, I could gain access to any necessary files via my own personal cloud server. Hey, the user interface was a bit clunky, so it wasn’t perfect, but with work, it could have become something truly great.
As it stands right now, Opera is far from its former self. To me, the browser is just another browser that uses the Chromium rendering engine. If I were asked to choose between Chrome or Opera, I would definitely choose Chrome because Opera in many ways is Chrome, but with a different skin on the surface.