Opera’s New Mobile Browser Is Missing Its Best Features

It's probably not the browser you’re looking for

Key Takeaways

  • Opera GX will release on iOS and Android devices in a few weeks, bringing the company’s gaming browser to mobile phones.
  • While it has some nice features, Opera GX ultimately fails to deliver on the additions that made the desktop version so notable.
  • Right now, there isn’t much reason to choose Opera GX over your normal mobile browser.


Mockups of the Opera GX browser and logo on a smartphone.

Opera

Opera’s new browser for gamers offers good performance, but it fails to deliver on the features that made the desktop version so enticing.

Back in 2019, Opera released Opera GX, a gaming-focused browser for desktop computers. The browser promised faster speeds than Chrome or Firefox and touted some exceptional features like a built-in VPN, and limiters for RAM, CPU, and network bandwidth resources.

Now, the company has announced plans to bring the browser to mobile devices, though it’s missing many of those iconic features that set the desktop version apart. The browser is available in beta right now, and I took it for a spin to see how it stacks up against Chrome and Safari.

While I was impressed, overall, with the speed and performance of Opera GX on my iPhone 11, it just doesn’t offer the same bevy of features that made the desktop version such a hit. Combine that with the somewhat gaudy "gamer" design, and you’re honestly better off just sticking with what you already use.

"It seems strange to leave out the most important features that have made it such an enticing option for desktop users."

Failure to Launch

Delivering a fast browser isn’t really that big of a deal anymore; let’s just be honest. Everyone claims to offer the "fastest browser," but many don’t have any features that set them above the rest. With Opera GX on desktop, though, the company seemed to have found a winning formula. 

The GX Panel, which allowed users to limit RAM, CPU, and other performance-based specs, was one of the most notable additions, allowing you to truly fine-tune how the browser performed. The mobile version doesn’t come with any of that. Instead, it’s just a normal browser with some extra gamer-focused news feeds.

With the desktop version already touting such great features, it’s interesting to see Opera forego including any of them in the mobile version. Being able to control the amount of resources that your browser can use on a mobile phone seems just as—if not more—important than desktops, where the machines tend to have much more RAM and CPU power to work with. 

According to Brian Turner, a web developer who started using Opera GX on his desktop, the resource managing features made the browser stand out to him initially. It’s also part of what has led to 9 million gamers adopting the browser and using it as their everyday internet application.

"I tentatively gave it a try, not expecting much," Turner told us in an email. "However, I was immediately blown away by the modern user experience and the many customizable amenities."

Turner noted that the GX Cleaner, RAM Limiter, and the Hot Tabs Killer were by far the most useful features in the browser. Unfortunately, none of these features are available in the mobile version—not even in a more simplified adaption.

While Opera claims that many have been clamoring for the gaming-focused browser to make its way to mobile, it seems strange to leave out the most important features that have made it such an enticing option for desktop users.

Reaching for the Sky

Instead of offering any of the standout features seen in the desktop version, Opera GX on mobile comes with a fairly standard set of features. There’s an auto-cookie accepter, which you can use to get rid of annoying website cookie messages.

Someone gaming on a smartphone while wearing headphones.

Kojo Kwarteng / Unsplash

There’s also a built-in ad-blocker, as well, if you so choose to use that particular kind of feature on your phone. But, perhaps the most notable feature on the mobile browser is the Fast Action Button (FAB). 

It’s a nifty system that replaces the standard navigation bar along the bottom of the browser, making it easier to switch between multiple tasks. The browser also does a good job of quickly swapping between pages, and I never noticed any sluggish behavior.

Flow is another important addition to the browser, making it easy to move links and web pages between the mobile and desktop versions of Opera GX. It’s useful, but again, not really something other browsers haven’t done similarly in the past.

Ultimately, Opera GX is a perfectly acceptable mobile browser, but if you aren’t interested in the gamer-centric gimmicks, there really isn’t much reason to install it on your mobile phone just yet.

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