What Is the Opera Browser?

All about the Opera web browser, including Opera Mini and Opera Touch

Screenshot of Opera webpage in an Opera browsing window

Opera is a free internet browser available for mobile phones and computers. The Opera browser is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, and has mobile apps for Android and iOS. Opera Touch, the mobile version of Opera designed for one-handed smartphone use is also available on Android and iOS, as is the faster, data-saving focused Opera Mini.

What Is Opera?

The original Opera web browser was released in 1995, as the result of a research project of a Norwegian telecommunications company. Since that time, the browser has received 60 updates in response to new innovations, and to keep pace with new technological innovations. Opera has a fast development cycle and experiments with new features and updates every two weeks.

Those interested in trying out the latest new features can download the Opera Beta or Developer Browsers. The Opera developer stream receives early experiments, and once they're more stable, move on to Opera beta. Once the updates are stable, they become part of Opera's standard browser update.

What Can the Opera Browser Do?

The Opera Browser Saves Battery Life While Browsing

Opera has many outstanding features, but one of the best is Opera's battery saving technology. According to Opera's tests, the browser "runs up to 35% longer with the battery saver on, compared to other browsers like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge." Depending on the type and specification of your laptop, this could give you an extra hour of battery life.

On mobile devices, Opera compresses content so pages load quickly, even with a slow internet connection, meaning less time spent waiting for a page to load.

Opera Web Browser Eliminates Pop-Up Ads

One of the reasons the Opera browser is so efficient is because of the built-in ad blocker that keeps ads from popping up while browsing, enabling pages to load faster. The ad blocker is free, requires no special add-on, download or plugin, and it works on the desktop and mobile versions. According to Opera's tests, Opera loads content-rich pages up to 90% faster with ad blocking enabled, though you're free to unblock ads from any website you choose.

Opera's Speed Dial Lets You Open a Web Page Without Typing

Opera's Speed Dial appears on the home screen, featuring thumbnail icons for your favorite, or most visited, web pages. Simply select the icon to open the page, without typing.

You can choose which websites appear on Speed Dial, and customize the image that appears in the thumbnail. Opera also has a feature that enables you to automatically import your bookmarks from Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer, while the home page presents a news feed with free access to news channels; customize your feed, subscribe to your favorites, and save stories to read later.

Opera Syncs Across Devices

Create a free Opera account, which includes a free Opera email account, so you can sync across devices. Sign in to each device and your Speed Dial shortcuts, bookmarks, and any open tabs will be synced across all devices.

Opera's Flow links the Opera browser for computers with Opera Touch on mobile to keep videos, links, images, and notes in one place. Flow requires no account or log in, simply scan the QR Code from your computer on your phone.

Opera Has a Secure, Private Browsing Feature

Opera comes pre-built with a free Virtual Private Network (VPN) that works on private and public free internet and shields your location from hackers. When accessing public internet, Opera's VPN blocks your location, providing an extra layer of protection from malware and fraud. The VPN also blocks most tracking cookies. Opera also provides a private browsing option that does not store your internet history.

The Opera portable browser, available for Windows, stores your browsing history, bookmarks, extensions and other private data to portable storage devices like a USB drive, ensuring nothing is stored locally on a computer.

The Innovative Opera Wallet

The Opera wallet is available on Opera for Android and supports Web 3, specifically for mobile payments and cryptocurrency payments; the beta and developer versions of Opera provides access to Ethereum Dapps and Web 3. The Opera wallet is highly secure, with full control of funds and collectible keys, which are linked to Android's secure system lock, eliminating the need for PIN codes and passwords.

Chat and Browse Simultaneously

Opera provides easy sidebar access to full web versions of Facebook Messenger, VKontakte, and WhatsApp from the desktop. Pin important messages to keep them on top, and customize your notifications, with mute and log-out options right in the browser. You can even keep up with chats on your mobile device through the notification bar.

Opera's Special Screen Features

Opera for mobile includes a Fast Action Button that makes it easy to surf the web with one hand. The mobile version includes a smart night mode to make it easier to read at night, as well as a search feature. Opera for Android includes a zoom feature, making it easier to read the small print, allowing text to wrap automatically and adjusts across the screen.