4 Cool Features That Make Opera a Browser Worth Checking Out

Craig Snyder 07-04-2013

why opera is the bestIt was only months ago that I finally made the transition from Firefox to Chrome, but it’s a decision I’m pleased with making. While I do feel like Google Chrome is the best browser out there for the average internet user, Opera will always be my favorite “dark horse” in the category.


Though it’s probably known best for it’s presence in the mobile space, Opera’s desktop browser 5 Ideological Reasons Why You Should Try Opera Not a lot of people have tried Opera or even heard much about Opera as the browser has always watched from far away as Internet Explorer, then Firefox, and now Google Chrome are taking the... Read More has always had a good feel to it. It’s very fast, responsive, renders well, and is packed with so many features that other browsers carelessly overlook and don’t seem to consider. Let’s appreciate Opera in this post and check out a few of those features.

Speed Dial

While Opera is certainly not the only browser out that supports this feature anymore, it was easily one of the first.

why opera is the best

Opera’s Speed Dial page is very configurable, allowing you to change the number of columns on the page, the zoom level, and you can even set a custom background image to the page to give it more of a unique feel.

why use the opera browser


As you can see in the screenshot above, I’ve played with those settings a bit. Speed Dial Give Google Chrome's New Tab Page a Makeover with SpeedDial Read More is, in my opinion, the most sensible homepage available (in any browser). Opera has had years and years of experience with it, and they do it right.

Tab Arrangements & Placements

This may be one of the most underrated features available in any browser. As an unfortunate single-monitor user, I don’t get that great benefit of being able to do two things at once (in two different windows) very often. With Opera, I can.

why use the opera browser

Right-clicking the title bar and hovering over the Arrange menu will expand several different ways that you can arrange your open tabs. The cleanest and most convenient way is to tile them vertically (as resolutions are wider than they are tall).


why use the opera browser

You can surely imagine how this can be useful. Maybe you’re interested in watching a long video on YouTube while doing work in another window. Tile the windows, play the video, and do your work in the opposite window. This is so much more efficient than bringing up two copies of a single browser.

why opera browser

Opera also offers the ability to change the placement of your tab bar entirely. Top, bottom, left, or right are all fair game, and docking tabs to the left or right side will display your tabs in a more interesting thumbnail view.


Stacking Tabs

For the longest time, I had searched through add-ons and extensions for Firefox and Chrome to find something like this, but I failed. Does it exist? Possibly. But, it comes with Opera right out of the box. Stacking tabs is a way to basically assign a parent tab to additional tabs.

why opera browser

Above, you can see the MakeUseOf tabs are stacked. The main tab is the leftmost, while those after it can be stacked and then unstacked again.

why opera browser


How is this useful? It’s a great space-saver and synergizes very well with websites that may require you to have several different tabs open (such as Reddit). Assigning these tabs to a single stack will allow you to navigate and enjoy the website as normal without sacrificing a whole heap of real estate in the tab bar. Being able to stack tabs is something that I’d call a “quality of life” feature, and it’s something that has saved me headaches in the past.

Opera Turbo

Again, the only way to really describe a feature like this is to call it underrated. Opera Turbo is a very niche feature that is going to help such a small minority of users, but to those of who make some use it could see it as the deciding factor between Opera and another browser.

why opera is the best

To dumb the process down a bit, Opera Turbo simply lowers the quality of images on every website. If you don’t think this change is noticeable, try using a shoddy satellite or DSL connection. I’ve had to do it before, and it is. Right-clicking on an image will allow you to reload it in full quality if you desire. You can set Opera Turbo as on, off, or to detect when it needs to be used.

I wouldn’t call any of these features groundbreaking or exceptional. While some stand out more than others, they are quite simple. Nonetheless, it’s good to see Opera thinking outside of the box to provide users with features you won’t find somewhere else. What’s your favorite Opera feature? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. jim
    April 13, 2013 at 6:45 am

    the zoom feature in the bottom right corner is one of the most overlooked and one of the most useful opera features - no other browser comes close. so many websites have very small and/or low contrast print this is a really fantastic feature and it is so user friendly and easy to use.

  2. BrunoFoca
    April 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Using Opera since 1997, never regreat.
    In my Bookmarks I have websites that no longer exists.
    Every new feature I see in other browses Opera have built-in for years.

  3. Nicut Alexandru
    April 12, 2013 at 5:03 am

    The speed dial feature, tab arrangements and stacking, plus the ” click to activate the plugin ” feature and the very good ram memory management made me give up on firefox.

  4. null
    April 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    I have used Opera for years.

  5. sonwabile
    April 11, 2013 at 3:28 pm


  6. Scott Belcher
    April 11, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Nice features but still not enough to make me want to jump ship. The addons are nowhere near as many as for Firefox and Chrome, and that's a major killer for me. We'll see how it develops though. I've got it installed and do keep my eye on it now and again.

  7. punktyras
    April 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Mouse gestures.
    Tabs management, especially Ctrl+Tab switching between most recent tabs
    Incorporated mail client
    Incorporated torrent client

  8. Achyut nr dev
    April 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Its opera turbo mode & saving the previous session's tab without any extra setting. And ya I also like the google search bar that it has because of what we dont need to go to first.

  9. EhtMal
    April 10, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    RSS Management

  10. daniel
    April 10, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Windows phone i mean ofcourse.. :)

    • Godzonekid
      April 12, 2013 at 2:49 am

      See what a Windows fone does to a fella? Evil. Evil... LOL

  11. daniel
    April 10, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    ...still waiting for a version compatible din din phone. Win 7,8


  12. Nahuel
    April 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    The mouse gesture! By far... At first it can be hard get to use it, but once you do it's the better and easier way to move in Opera! And even when by any reason i use another browser, i find myself doing that mouse gestures unconsciously...

  13. Frank Kenyan
    April 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I find Opera quite heavy on the RAM compared to Google Chrome. So I am more mainstream (Chrome and FireFox).Wii check again. :)

  14. Vladimir Radakovic
    April 10, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Tab stacking is worst feature ever and tab arranging is very useless. IMPO best feature is "Paste and Go" and "Speed Dial".

    • Godzonekid
      April 12, 2013 at 2:48 am

      Tab stacking is worst feature ever and tab arranging is very useless. - Why? I find it very useful. I can keep stuff together. And, I can keep the tab stack that I am using at a particular point in time on the right

      Biggest gripe I have is the tabs just keep on getting smaller and smaller the more you have. At least with slimbrowser you ended up with an arrow on the right hand side to show there were more tabs there that were not visible in the address bar location.

  15. kreedzfreak
    April 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Opera was my fav browser for years but the change to version 12 solved that, too damn much bugs...
    Hope to see it back on my machine some time later because it has a unique UI.

  16. Franky
    April 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    for me its rather the little things which are there since forever ... like left-mb + right-mb = forward; right-mb + left-mb is backward (very convenient if you dont have a tilting mouse wheel or dedicated buttons), or that I can double-click in the tab-bar to get a new tab instead of having to hit the "+" exactly, or that you can minimize tabs and generally have a sane tab-handling (if you close/minimize a tab you get the one you used before, not the one on the left)

  17. Ben J
    April 10, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Been using Chrome mainly but have enjoyed switching over to Opera lately. Although I have noticed some sites have issues.

    • Godzonekid
      April 12, 2013 at 2:43 am

      True, some sites have issues. And why? Because they do not adhere to W3 standards. They slavishly follow MickeySoft and their non compliant browsers and functions.

      Having said that, there are pages that Chrome and Firefox won't render properly either.

  18. Kashif Maqsood
    April 8, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Using it for years now...Really awesome browser. Opera link is another great feature through which you can sync your bookmarks and passwords across your mobile, tablet or any other PC. Bookmarks can also be accessed from anywhere by simply logging in to your online opera account. Also it supports RSS , out of the box.

  19. Edward Goldblatt
    April 8, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Half the time, I don't know where I'd be without Tab Stacks. With a drag-and-drop, I can prioritize my web browsing between work, research, and of course TVTropes. Maybe it's not exactly "groundbreaking", but without that single function, I have found tabbed browsing to be more of a problem than a help. Outside that, how about the fact that in the browser are included a BitTorrent client, an IRC client, and an E-Mail client? If you have any reason to exist in a portable environment, Opera is your best bet for sheer balance of disk space to function.

  20. munkyBeatz
    April 8, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Opera is simply the lightest browser in regards to system resources available IMHO. Chrome claims to be the fastest browser, but if you compare it to opera, especially on an older computer or say a netbook Opera will win on real world use. Chrome has considerable lag on these slower systems if you add more than one plugin. I love that opera has so many out of the box features, that are considerably useful. However, the only thing that keeps this from being my main browser on all my systems is that it won't even load many websites, even some major ones. Just says it can't load the site. Also, every version has some issues with scrolling pages with the wheel on trackpad, and you send up having to reload websites to read them. Other than those two items, opera is the best browser IMO.

    • Godzonekid
      April 12, 2013 at 2:41 am

      Unfortunately, Opera is now in the throes of becoming bloatware. And that saddens me. If I open say 20 tabs, it will hog 1.4+ gigs of RAM. And my machine only has 2 gigs.

  21. jonen
    April 8, 2013 at 8:46 am

    my favourite feature? it was developed in my home-country

  22. Keith Swartz
    April 8, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Opera is a great browser that I use from time to time. I primarily use Firefox. I would rate Opera #3 in my BEST WEB BROWSERS:

    1) Mozilla Firefox

    2) Chrome

    3) OPERA

    4) IE 9

  23. Ashok Kumar
    April 8, 2013 at 3:03 am

    using opera portable........not so fast on slow connection.

  24. Ayham Alkasir
    April 7, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Thanks nice article, BTW I got stacked tabs on my Firefox with "tab utilities" add-on.

    • Godzonekid
      April 12, 2013 at 2:39 am

      Yeah, another resource hog utility. Opera's comes built in.

  25. null
    April 7, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I checked out Opera some years ago. Somehow it didn't quite work as good as e.g. Chrome. Another downside of Opera is that if you forget your password (hey it happens after a few years) there is no way to reset it...

    • Rafael
      April 8, 2013 at 1:32 am

      What are you talking about?

    • Godzonekid
      April 12, 2013 at 2:38 am

      What password? The only password I know off is password manager. If you were able to reset it, then so would any kiddyscript hacker.

  26. Aungmyo H
    April 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Why we need it? Especially as a windows user. We already have Firefox, Chrome, Maxthon. What is the good point of opera?

    • Godzonekid
      April 12, 2013 at 2:37 am

      What is the good point of Opera. Well, they are a trail blazer. Without Opera you probably wouldn't have tabs on any of the browsers to this day. After all, what's wrong with opening up a new instance of IE, or Firefox or...

      Chrome uses a speed dial. Guess who came up with that first?

  27. Scott
    April 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I wish Opera had NoScript (not one of the inferior Chrome-Opera versions of it). If it did I'd use Opera a lot more than I do at present. As it is I'm using FF + NoScript, and Opera's move to webkit obviously won't change that.k :-(

  28. Schvenn Meister
    April 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I only use Opera.
    Don't forget that Opera has built-in e-mail and RSS support, as well as Opera notes.
    I also can't use a browser without mouse gestures.

    I've been using Opera since it was ad-supported and never looked back.
    Opera creates all the innovations that the other browsers eventually make mainstream, such as tabs, mouse gestures and synchronization.

    If you want to know what features the other browsers will add 3 years down the road, try Opera, first.
    They'll try it, perfect it and everyone else will copy it.

    • TornZero
      April 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      Don't forget that even after everyone else copies it through extensions, Opera still does it better /and/ has it built-in.

    • Godzonekid
      April 12, 2013 at 2:32 am

      Don't use RSS and don't like the built in email.

      Never noticed Notes before. Just had a very quick shufti and will investigate more.

      Hate mouse gestures. Ended up doing things I never intended so I just plain don't use it.

  29. Vipul Jain
    April 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Opera is great on phones. Love the mini on my S2 when I'm in places with 2G covergae.
    But on a desktop, Opera seems a bit un-smooth. I really can't explain it any further but browsing on Opera & Chrome really feels so.
    And as for the speed dial features due to which I used to be an Opera fan, since the chrome market, X New Tab Page extension does all that and better :D

    • Godzonekid
      April 12, 2013 at 2:15 am

      Personally I find the speed dial features on Opera far superior to Chromes. Easy to edit, move around etc. Not so with Chrome. Had me pulling my hair out. Fortunately I am blessed in that department.

      I dropped Opera on my Huawei X5 because it was soooooooo sloooooooow. Went back to the default browser which was more than acceptable.

      And, all IMHO too.

  30. null
    April 7, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Opera has been my primary browser since its earliest incarnations... well over a decade. as others have mentioned this may be the end of an era since Opera has announced they are dropping their own rendering engine in favour of WebKit. Bad idea in my opinion. We can only hope it retains the UI features that make it unique

    I also use Chrome, Firefox, and yes, IE at times, but Opera has always remained my system default. I can have many more tabs open in Opera without bogging down the system than I ever could in any of the others. Opera pioneered tabs and still do them better than the rest. It has also done private browsing for years, something Chrome copied (badly), and which Firefox has only just announced, and integrated with the tabs better than anyone.

    Yet another Opera innovation that nobody else ever did right was mouse gestures and cording. I've seen many Firefox Plugins that claim to duplicate this

    • klu9
      April 8, 2013 at 12:33 am

      Opera user since 2002 (Opera 3 on BeOS R5!) My first reaction to the move to Webkit was disappointment. But then as someone pointed out to me, how much of what I like about Opera is down to the rendering engine? Relatively little really. Most of the things I like (& need) about Opera are to do with the features & interface. In fact my only major problem with Opera is down specifically to the rendering engine (i.e. important websites not working).

      So I'm actually looking forward to the Webkit switch; all those sites where I had to switch to IE/FF/Chrome might then work in Opera. (Fingers crossed!)

  31. Reinis Vesers
    April 7, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    "Opera Turbo simply lowers the quality of images on every website"
    While Opera Turbo does that too, that function of it just barely scratches the surface of how Opera Turbo works. It works by sending your request to an Opera server, where the server downloads the site, compresses it and sends it to you, to be decompressed again in your computer. Speeds up the browsing for slow Internet connections and saves precious Mbytes if you have a download cap to your networking. That way you can save up to 50% of your traffic. The function also exists on Opera Mobile and it's very effective for mobile users.

    • null
      April 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      But i digress. I think i can easily call myself an Opera fan boy. Opera is the greatest browser for me for the reasons that were mentioned in the article and the fact that Opera has a lot better Password manager than any others I've seen in other browsers and the fact that the toolbars are completely customizable, even with the possibility to add buttons. and delete unnecessary ones.

  32. johnk
    April 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    I like the speed dial feature. keeps all the sites I normally visit in plain view.
    a good feature would be the option to keep opera in the system tray. slim browser does that but doesn't have the speed dial feature.

    • Times
      April 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      I have Opera shown in system tray. I do not know how did I set it, though... :(

  33. Anomaly
    April 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Opera is an awesome browser and has been for years. Hasn't caught on like it should because the average fool just uses what comes with their computer and that is IE.

    Firefox is my favorite but Opera is a close second and I use it on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It's miles better than the hog Chrome.

    Unfortunately this post on Opera is a little late. Opera just announced they will be switching from the Presto engine to Webkit, the same engine that Chrome uses. The Opera you see now will no longer exist. Nobody knows yet what will change but it will change big time. We will just have to wait and see how it turns out but it will be different and I seriously doubt it will be better than it is now.

    • Times
      April 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      It is just a rendering engine, so I think, most of the things will stay as they are now... I think, average user find only small differences directly in the way how pages are displayed (and maybe loading speed).

      • Anomaly
        April 11, 2013 at 4:17 am

        I hope you're right but I don't think so. Opera for phones changed engines to and the UI is very different now. No reason for me to think they won't screw up the UI of Opera desktop when they switch engines.

  34. Scott M
    April 7, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I use Chrome,firefox nightly and a bare bones Iron browser when I just want speed.I think Opera would be a nice compromise for many people who just wish to use one browser..

  35. Trebor Walters
    April 7, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I have used Opera off and on since they were "the smallest browser" on the internet. Once upon a time it was my default. Firefox is default now, Opera second choice of browsers. My biggest complaint is how Opera automatically sets itself as the default during initial installation. Should offer the choice, like firefox.

    • dragonmouth
      April 7, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      "Should offer the choice, like firefox."

      Or IE? :)

    • Scott
      April 7, 2013 at 6:00 pm

      FWIW: When installing, before clicking on "accept and install," if you click on Options you will be able to uncheck the box which sets Opera as default.

  36. tecn0tarded
    April 7, 2013 at 10:01 am

    just installed it, everything from firefox automatically imported without permission, uninstalled the piece of junk.

    • TornZero
      April 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      You sure it wasn't part of the installation process? For future reference, there's an Options button easily found in the installer. You probably ignored it and left those options enabled.

    • Rafael
      April 8, 2013 at 1:28 am

      It imports the bookmarks from the default browser in your system for convenience. Sorry if you didn't like it, but you can aways delete them from it.

    • Godzonekid
      April 12, 2013 at 2:25 am

      Given the other 2 replies, maybe you should try installing it again and giving it a fair go.

  37. Nevzat A
    April 7, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Opera is still classy, it's shining as a browser!

  38. EdmarJohn SanDiego
    April 7, 2013 at 8:44 am

    most of the features of opera are just addons on firefox

  39. macwitty
    April 7, 2013 at 7:59 am

    I like the side panel - to get a lot of different information without having to change tab/window

  40. Boogeyman Tycho
    April 7, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Speaking about speed dial, I love more than speed-dial feature since it is cross-browser

  41. walter
    April 7, 2013 at 6:03 am

    I have been using opera on my first cellphone a Nokia 5530 running symbian and it was then the fastest for mobile websites. Now using it on android and win7. Very fast indeed and stable. Try it.

  42. Aleksandar Jovanovic
    April 7, 2013 at 5:25 am

    Oh yes,Opera.
    2.Pale Moon

  43. Junil Maharjan
    April 7, 2013 at 4:48 am

    opera is a great browser which i can't deny but i'm really happy with firefox and occassional chrome.

    • Vishal Ram
      April 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      yeahhh man same with be opera was once best for mobile browser but for PC it sucks

      • Godzonekid
        April 12, 2013 at 2:22 am

        Oh really? Why? It's fast, customisable and has features that other browsers don't (as yet). So come on, tell us why YOU think it sucks.

  44. Prasil Koirala
    April 7, 2013 at 3:36 am

    Certainly, one of the best web browser. Makes it ease to sync bookmarks between a desktop PC and a mobile pc. But I don't use it anymore. Reasons include the tabs. Both selected and other tabs have similar color combination which makes it quite difficult to see what tab am I currenly on. And the most frustating problem with tabs is that i have to click it right in the centre of tab to select (unlike chrome/firefox where i could click anywhere at the top of the browser tab to select it). I have already sent them a suggestion to fix it. Hope they will do it as soon as possible.

    • PS
      April 8, 2013 at 6:23 am

      Wow dude, you have just read my mind. I find it soo annoying that you have to click right at the centre of the tab. Opening a new tab is even harder as you have to target your mouse right at the plus button! I wish they would make these subtle changes. Removing the thinking process from these will make a lot of users happy!

      • NG
        April 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm

        Opera's best feature IMO is mouse gestures. Scroll back, forward, change tab, new tabs has never been easier than in Opera, and for ages now. For example, for those who want to open a new tab, hold the right mouse button down and pull the mouse downwards (towards yourself). See documentation for details. Opera is real fun.

        • Times
          April 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm

          And also, there are other ways: Double click on the empty area right to the opened tabs, middle click on the empty area right to the opened tabs (if you middle click on the opened tab, it closes the tab), CTRL+T...
          In case of selecting tabs - I have never encountered any problem you described. Switching between tabs is also possible with mouse - just hold right button anywhere on the page and roll wheel..
          In case of colour combination of tabs - it can be altered by different theme.

        • Godzonekid
          April 12, 2013 at 2:20 am

          QUOTE: Switching between tabs is also possible with mouse – just hold right button anywhere on the page and roll wheel..

          That's awesome, I didn't know that. New trick up my sleeve. Thanks ever so much for that...

      • Rif
        April 11, 2013 at 10:08 pm

        Open opera:config and set Chrome Integration Drag Area Maximized to 0.

    • cristi
      April 10, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      Middle mouse button. Works on every browser. Just go on top and press middle mouse button

    • cristi
      April 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      and it works for closing tabs too

    • Godzonekid
      April 12, 2013 at 2:18 am

      Tab colours can be changed, and while it isn't a biggie for me I can see how it may be for others. Stacking tabs is awesome, and being able to remove a single tab out of the stack is mega awesome.

      Best thing for me though is that I have wrist damage and using a mouse continuously gives me a lot of pain. On a LOT of sites I can go from link to link just by pressing the space bar. In a NUTSHELL, that is what makes it the best browser for me.

  45. Chris Marcoe
    April 7, 2013 at 3:11 am

    I've just split my time between Firefox (at home, regular browsing) and Ice Dragon (At school browsing) Not sure I am ready to add Opera into the mix.

    A question, though. How secure is it? And how are the addons/extensions?

    • Schvenn Meister
      April 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      It is typically more secure than the other browsers. One reason of course, is that it isn't targeted as much, because it has a smaller share of the market.

      • Chris Marcoe
        April 8, 2013 at 3:07 pm

        These are the reasons I started looking into Ice Dragon. However, I don't see it on that list. I feel I can really lock down Ice Dragon, what with private browsing (which others have) and sandbox browsing (which I don't know if the others have, and isn't listed on that review)

        that is a great link, BTW. Thank you.

    • Gulli
      April 10, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      There's usually a lot less need for extensions and addons for Opera then there are for Firefox, a lot of the useful Firefox extensions started as standard features in Opera.