Browsers Windows

I Switched From Chrome to Opera and I’m Never Going Back

Joel Lee 17-05-2017

In this day and age, it doesn’t really matter which browser you use. They all get the job done and none of them are world-endingly bad. There’s only one real reason to pick one over another: the little nuances are more in line with how you like to browse the web.


I personally have every major browser installed on my system — the needs of my job require it. But if I wasn’t burdened by that, I can confidently say that I’d be an Opera man. Despite using Chrome for the past eight months, I recently switched back to Opera, and here are my reasons why.

1. Opera Is Faster and More Responsive

Lots of users hold Chrome up as the gold standard for browser performance. I won’t deny that: Chrome is certainly fast! But having used the browser on all kinds of devices — a four-year-old laptop, a two-year-old PC, a brand new iMac, and an upper-class Chromebook — Chrome is surprisingly underwhelming.

I know all about browser benchmarks. In fact, last year I compared benchmarks for Chrome and Opera Which Browser Is Best? Edge vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Firefox The browser you're using right now may not be the best one for you. The browser arena changes so frequently that your conclusions from comparisons made last year may be completely wrong this year. Read More and found that Chrome outperformed Opera in JetStream, Kraken, RoboHornet, and HTML5 Standard tests. But in daily use, Opera feels snappier, smoother, and more responsive than Chrome.

Perhaps this goes to show that “laboratory conditions” aren’t enough to judge browser performance. Maybe there are other invisible factors that affect speed and responsiveness. Or maybe it’s all in my head. But Opera feels faster and that’s all that matters to me.

Check out the speed of Opera on your mobile device as well as our tips and tricks for using Opera on your smartphone 10 Essential Tips and Tricks for Opera's Mobile Browser Opera is a great browser for both Android and iOS users. Here are some must-know features of Opera's mobile browser. Read More .


2. Opera Supports Chrome Extensions

A lot of people feel trapped into using Chrome, and one of the main reasons involve Chrome’s massive collection of active browser extensions: some extensions are so important that users feel they cannot live without them.

I Switched From Chrome to Opera and I’m Never Going Back opera features chrome extensions

But that’s no longer an issue. With the Download Chrome Extension extension, you can directly install any Chrome extension in Opera. It’s extremely easy to use, too. Once you have it, you just browse the Chrome Web Store like normal, find the extensions you want, and click “Add to Opera”. Start with these Chrome extensions that will make Opera even better.

3. Opera Uses Less CPU and Battery

In general, Chrome is CPU intensive. This can be a problem for older PCs because it leaves less CPU for other tasks, resulting in slower system performance. But it’s an even bigger problem for laptops: heavy CPU usage means faster draining of battery life.


This is why you should avoid using Chrome on MacBooks Safari vs. Chrome for Mac: 9 Reasons You Shouldn't Use Chrome Between Safari and Chrome on Mac, Safari is the clear winner. Here's why you should avoid using Google Chrome on Mac. Read More . But Opera offers a double benefit over Chrome: not only does it use less CPU during regular usage, it also comes with a Power Saver Mode that prolongs battery life when you really need it.

While active, the mode reduces activity in background tabs, pauses unused extensions, reduces the browser’s frame rate, pauses browser animations, and optimizes JavaScript timer scheduling. Opera claims it can extend battery life up to 50 percent longer than Chrome.

4. Opera Uses Less Bandwidth

Not only does Opera need fewer resources and less battery life than Chrome, it can also minimize bandwidth usage through something called Turbo Mode. If your internet activity is limited by ISP data caps, such a feature can prove immensely useful and even save you some money.

With Turbo Mode enabled, your internet traffic is routed through Opera servers so it can be compressed before it reaches you. Note that this only works on unencrypted pages, so HTTPS sites won’t be compressed.


5. Opera Is Its Own Unique Experience

Like Chrome, Opera is derived from the Chromium browser. Other examples of Chromium-based browsers include Brave, Comodo Dragon, Slimjet, Torch, and Vivaldi. But whereas most of these browsers feel like “Chrome alternatives,” Opera very much has its own identity.

I Switched From Chrome to Opera and I’m Never Going Back opera features speed dial

This is mainly because Opera has several unique features. Its iconic Speed Dial is a nifty substitute for the bookmark bar. Mouse gestures grant control of the browser without a keyboard. The built-in RSS aggregator is great for staying on top of news. Pop-out player lets you watch any online video while browsing the web. Extensions can be pinned to a dedicated sidebar. The list goes on!

But one of my favorite aspects of Opera is native support for custom keyboard shortcuts. You can change the keypresses for dozens of different browser actions, and you can assign multiple shortcuts to each action. Chrome can only do this with extensions, and even then not so comprehensively.


6. Opera Has a Free Built-In VPN

Opera turned a lot of heads when it introduced its built-in VPN back in 2016 — a VPN that’s 100 percent free and unlimited. This is in stark contrast to a lot of other free VPN services, which have significant limits and restrictions.

Why should you care about this? Because it boosts your privacy and security while browsing the web. It isn’t perfect, mind you. Free VPNs have drawbacks and Opera’s VPN isn’t exempt. However, if you don’t want to pay for a VPN, then it’s one of the better ones., and you can also set up Opera VPN on your Android phone. Benefits include:

  • Hiding your IP address so you can’t be tracked.
  • Bypassing blocked sites and region restrictions.
  • Protection against sniffers when using public Wi-Fi.

I actually use a paid VPN (we recommend ExpressVPN) but if I wasn’t, I’d be using this one instead.

7. Opera Is Not Google

In terms of the “morality” of browsers, Opera has a much better reputation than Google, especially when it comes to user privacy. Whereas Google is a monolithic (even exploitative) data-gathering company, Opera is smaller and more in-touch with users.

Opera’s built-in ad-blocker is a good example. Knowing that people want a clean and non-intrusive web experience, it implemented an ad-blocker that’s resource-friendly, fast, and effective. In general, Opera seems to have more respect for its users than Google does.

On the flipside, Google has no respect for Opera. Let’s not forget that, in 2012, Google tried to nag Opera users into using Chrome. As Google grows bigger, it becomes more appealing to rebel and pursue alternatives.

What’s Missing From Opera?

Now that I’m back on Opera, I’m happy to report that I feel no temptation or urge to return to Chrome. There is one feature that I do miss—Chrome’s user profiles—but I can live with that. Opera’s benefits more than outweigh its drawbacks and it has many useful features that make browsing fun 9 Opera Browser Tips That Make Web Browsing More Fun Opera offers much more than what meets the eye. There are a host of other nifty browsing features you probably don’t know about. Read More .

Note that while I’m writing this from the perspective of Windows, Mac users should also consider switching from Chrome to Opera 3 Unmissable Reasons Opera Is the Right Browser for Your Mac Chrome and Firefox rule on Windows, but on OS X, Opera is the browser to beat. Eternal favorites Chrome and Firefox can give you flexibility, but not without some heavy compromises. Read More .

Related topics: Google Chrome, Opera Browser.

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  1. A coder boy
    August 20, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Developers hate Opera. It's so bad with modern code and website sabldjddnamd.

  2. A coder boy
    August 20, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    And Opera sucks like shit for developers because nothing works on it.

  3. Bee
    April 25, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    I love Opera. I like that it doesn't have a menu bar - it doesn't need it. I forgo the speed dial page for which allows me to have many more bookmarks in various categories.

    I recently tried Vivaldi but it doesn't support Roboform and there's no built-in ad-blocker.

  4. Rade
    August 29, 2017 at 6:04 am

    I stop using Opera because they removed menu bar.I never accept this , give me this option I do not want this politics.When I use Mac Os I use Safari which is the best and not using opera because I forget that opera exist :)

    • Troll Slayer
      December 2, 2017 at 11:16 am

      You emanate stupidity to a level beyond the expression of words. Congratulations.
      Give yourself an uppercut.

      • A coder boy
        August 20, 2019 at 6:42 pm

        Opera is for losers. The UI is cool though.

  5. Joe
    August 8, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    I was a fan of Opera. I used it from 7.5 to 12.x, I believe. Then, I was using something else, and went back to Opera and kept using it till Chinese company bought it. Unfortunately, I cannot trust Chinese companies since they are all controlled by the government, I think, or at least monitored. They probably have all the rights to collect data from any companies in the country.

    I use Vivaldi instead. I like it since it's almost like old Opera used to be, customization to be the key. Off course, it doesn't have built-in ad blocker, but I use ublock origin. No built-in VPN, so I have to use something else when privacy is very important. Sometimes, uses Tor browser as needed.

    • Troll Slayer
      December 2, 2017 at 11:19 am

      Opera used to use their own engine (called Presto). Not Chinese. Not governmental. Now Google is the engine (Chromium), and it's worse than Chinese.

  6. bolotof
    June 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    I don't know why but I can't receive Facebook push notifications on Opera, just like I receive on Chrome. Anyone has the same problem?

  7. A41202813GMAIL
    June 4, 2017 at 12:49 am

    Where To Start ?


    1A - OPERA Is The Name Of 2 Incompatible ( Extension Wise ) Browsers, OPERA12- And OPERA15+ --- I Will Talk Only About The Latter,

    1B - I Left CHROME For OPERA, As My Main Browser, When CHROME Disabled The Use Of Extensions Not In Their WEB STORE --- OPERA Is A Lot More Power User Friendly --- I Hate It When Alternative Options Are Not Available,

    1C - Extensions, In Local Files, From All CHROME Clones Can Be Used On Almost All Of Them --- Just Rename Files To .CRX Or .NEX Or Whatever.


    2A - I Need To Use FF When Most CHROME Clones Block Sites With HTTPS Issues --- Again, I Hate It When Alternative Options Are Not Available,

    2B - Do Not Rely On The Extensions, You Love, Being On The CHROME WEB STORE Forever, Because They Are Yanked On A Regular Basis --- Save Them To Disk In The Formats Referred In Point ( 1C ) And Install Them Whenever You Want, And On The CHROME Clone You Want.

    About Memory Problems:

    Use The Extensions With Code IDs
    And The Great Majority Of Your Memory Problems Will Go Away, Especially If You Are Still Using A 32 Bit OS.


    Hopefully, The CHROME Clones Will Have 1 Day An Extension Like FEBE For FF And The Point ( 2B ) Will Be Almost A Non Issue.


  8. Bruce Danvers Willaims
    May 24, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    I've been using Chrome as my primary browser for years.. and i can tell you it is NOT cpu intensive , i'm currently browsing with 7 open tabs.. and cpu usage is less than 4% , the problem is it's a RAM hog... it's currently eating around 3gb of ram for all tabs combined :D

  9. Paul Girardin
    May 24, 2017 at 12:03 am

    I switched from Opera to Vivaldi and will never look back.

    • Uraael
      June 20, 2017 at 6:40 pm

      So did I. Vivaldi is the spiritual successor to Opera 12. Opera 15+ is now something else.

      • Randy
        December 30, 2017 at 12:27 am

        So did I, and for the same reasons. Opera used to be for power users, turn after v12.whatever, it sucked pretty bad... If I wanted a Chrome clone, I'd use Chrome. But Vivaldi is what Opera used to be, and Vivaldi now nearest and dearest to my heart... Although I am waiting patiently for it to be a little more fleshed out, like it's hard to rely on a browser with no sync capability (coming soon though I think!).

    • Troll Slayer
      December 2, 2017 at 11:27 am

      You Frenchies are always looking backwards.

  10. Guilherme
    May 23, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    I use Yandex, which is a browser based on the current Opera. In the beginning I've been using it only as my support for the Yandex company as a good enough alternative to Google (still not in the same level of Google, but just good enough), but now I don't feel I can leave this browser, even though it is still in beta. Yandex is, lets say, the Russian Google. Almost every product Google has, Yandex also has, including maps (which doesn't instakill your eyes when you look at it, like Google maps), drive (called disk and gives you extra 20 or 30 gigas if I'm not wrong for setting it with automatic sync in your phone), e-mail, search engine and translation. And also dozens of mobile apps.

    As this post refers specifically to Browser, I'll only talk about Yandex Browser. Clean layout, "borderless" window even if you are not in Windows 10 and the possibility for you to use tabs in the bottom of the screen (not a lot of people like this, though); built-in ad-blocker (also included in the mobile version); reader mode, which removes all distractions of the screen for a clean read of an article (also included in the mobile version); epub reader; built-in function for popping up videos in virtually any website with volume and progress controls. While the video is playing, the pop-up (also "borderless") is always on top. When it is paused, not anymore. You can move and resize it as you wish and it will save the last place and size you used; I'm still not sure how it is done, but in case you open a link sent to you on, for example Skype, the "back" button on Yandex will send your focus back to the Skype conversation (I'm using the desktop version of Skype on Windows 7); It also has a Speed Dial, because you know, every cool browser stole this great idea from the original Opera, but Tableau, as it is called in Yandex, has a news feed similar to the Android function that if I'm not wrong is called "Google Now" or something like that. My observations lead me to believe the news in Tableau are from much more varied sources than in Now, including websites that are not reaaaaly news agencies, like, which in my opinion is good.

    I still have some problems with performance, but I assume the reason is that I work with bazillions of tabs open together with development IDEs and virtual machines, so maybe not fully Yandex's fault.

    I've never been an extensions guy, but if I'm not wrong, most extensions that work with Opera work with Yandex

  11. Ram
    May 23, 2017 at 7:48 am

    There is still one issue that Google Voice Typing in Google Docs or another speech-to-text app does not work on Opera. They need Chrome

  12. DrBOP
    May 21, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    Love the Opera experience so far......especially since Chrome58's screwing around with Adobe Flash during HTML5 change-over .........seems not to be an issue with Opera.
    One weird thing is the amount of temp files/session files that get stored on pc.......usually over 500 files during even very short sessions, compared to 40 to 60 in Chrome ......and if watching vid/tv, takes 4ever to clean the disc.
    Anyone have a clue?

  13. Ken
    May 21, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    You do realize the Opera is now owned and controlled by the Chinese, nuf said.

    • Troll Slayer
      December 2, 2017 at 11:29 am

      That means that the Chinese own Google.

      You're funny.

      • Jan Lubach
        February 27, 2018 at 12:06 pm

        You emanate stupidity to a level beyond the expression of words. Congratulations.
        Give yourself an uppercut.
        Opera browser was sold to Chinese consortium.
        Opera is not Google. Opera uses Chromium which is open source.
        "The Opera" in general is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work. Again not owned by Google!
        Must say you're funny.

  14. Miaousse
    May 21, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Well, i pushed a bit further i've switched to Vivaldi, from former Opera team member.

    • JohnnyB
      May 21, 2017 at 7:03 pm

      Been using Vivaldi myself and am quite pleased so far. Browsers like Vivaldi and Opera show what can be done with the Chromium engine when someone actually wants to do something with it. One of my main issues with Chrome is that it's not developed much more than necessary. It's more just maintained.

  15. Kelsey Tidwell
    May 21, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Man, I like Opera so much, especially since it's easy to use all of my Chrome extensions with it. But I've had some issues that for me are killers in order of importance:

    1) There's a glitch in sync and it keeps kicking me out. Now it won't let me sign in again.

    2) There are certain video formats that I'm not able to play in Opera.

    3) Completely niggling detail, but it drives me nuts...I can't move my extension icons around. :)

    Back to Chrome...for now.

    • Kelsey Tidwell
      May 21, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      Oh! Forgot one other important feature Opera doesn't include so far...I can't figure out how to set another search engine outside the pre-configured list as my default as in Chrome. I use StartPage for my searching, and the best I can do is establish a shortcut in order to use it. I make do with DuckDuckGo.

  16. Thomas Kainz
    May 19, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    I've been using Opera for well over a year now and even though I periodically re-look at Chrome, Firefox and Edge I end up coming right back to Opera. Of course, everyone's own results will depend upon their individual browsing habits and requirements but FOR ME, Opera is more responsive, less of a memory hog and is actually much more pleasing to use....FOR ME.

    From my perspective, what fits my needs from a technical, power and aesthetic standpoint may not fit your needs and the way you need a browser to function. Many of my customers whom I recommend Opera to love it but there are a few whom don't find it to be their cup of tea. I have found a few web sites where I had to revert to another browser due to the website not fully functioning with Opera (or Edge for that matter) but those sites have been very few and far between (no different with Chrome or Edge not working on a full 100% of the sites I've used them on).

    So.... Rather than bickering, arguing, and trashing the "others", take a few minutes, try Opera (or Opera Neon) out. If you like it - super. If you don't then go back to what you are currently using - no harm, no foul. Some people like Fords, some like Chevys, some Dodges and, yes, some even like Priuses and so on. What's right for you is right for you and what's right for me is right for me. I don't need a [Chevy, Dodge, Ford, Prius] Sucks sticker on my bumper to make me feel good and neither should you.

  17. Hariharasudhan C
    May 18, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Yes,I Love to Using it.

  18. Keith
    May 18, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Opera has a similar problem to Chrome: when pasting a URL into the address bar, there's a significant and annoying lag until the page loads. Safari doesn't have this problem, pages start loading immediately.

    Also, when searching for a bookmark, the parent folder is not included in the results, as they are in Safari. Firefox also has an extension that allows them to be displayed.

    I want to like Opera, but it's not ready yet.

  19. 7heaven
    May 18, 2017 at 6:12 am

    Misleading article. I feel it's a paid article. No mention of opera being owned currently by a Chinese consortium. So the claims of respecting users privacy and stuff are wildly misleading. Also the free VPN and turbo savings mode directs all traffic thorough operas servers meaning your privacy is invaded by Chinese and I'm sure they wouldn't mind selling your details. Please stop misleading people atleast get the facts right. I don't mind your opinion(although it might be paid) but holding back facts is pure evil.

    • ratwhiskers
      May 18, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      "Pure evil" is a bit much, but I agree this is probably a paid review. Opera stopped being unique and innovative years ago, and are now busily selling out to the lowest common denominator. The only truly unique and respectable aspect of Opera is the speed dial, which they pioneered back in the 90s, but the team and the drive that created that innovative, ground breaking browser have long gone from modern day Opera. Opera is no more special or innovative than Chrome or Firefox with the right extensions.

      • Kelsey Tidwell
        May 21, 2017 at 3:23 pm

        If you're interested in seeing what the original (or some of them, anyway) Opera team is up to...Vivaldi.

        It's not playing nicer with Google API's right now, but if not for that I'd be using it.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 19, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      Thank you for your feedback.

      We disclose paid reviews. This is not one.

      • 7heaven
        May 20, 2017 at 2:42 am

        But isn't opera now owned by a Chinese consortium?

        • Tina Sieber
          May 20, 2017 at 5:33 am

          Yes, that's true.

          This recent discussion on Reddit has some good insights as well.

        • JohnnyB
          May 21, 2017 at 7:13 pm

          Does that make a big difference to you? Do you prefer American deception and shady business practices to Chinese deception and shady business practices? Same deception and practices either way. We Americans just excel at covering it up and sweeping things under the rug. As far as the VPN should never use a free one no matter who is offering it.

  20. Terry
    May 18, 2017 at 2:35 am

    My mistake, I unloaded a windows blinds program which interferes with opera resize of window. now resizing opera window is working and pretty nice. good browser.

  21. Terry
    May 18, 2017 at 2:20 am

    Good article, so happy to see Chrome extensions supported in opera. But first and primary failure with opera is I can't resize the window. Not kidding. i cannot resize a simple window of opera, it's full screen or partial screen. How is that even possible today?

  22. Peter
    May 18, 2017 at 2:11 am

    While I agree with all your points above, there is still one major advantage to Chrome. After a regular reinstall of all my software, Chrome automatically installs all of my extensions. As far as I know, Opera cannot do this (I hope you can correct me!). That is the only reason for not switching to Opera in my opinion.

  23. Praveen Khunte
    May 17, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    I have been using Firefox for years, which is the only browser I discovered impressive after Internet explorer. I tried to switch to chrome many times, but came back due to its intensive CPU usage. Now, few months back I tested Opera and all the features listed in this article outweighs the Firefox so much that I never looked to switching back. Quick to open, works fast (low CPU usage) , very satisfying features and most addons works in Opera.
    Though I still keep firefox for the websites which has not upgraded, but I believe Opera is the next generation browser.

  24. Bo Peng
    May 17, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    no sync across all my device
    not even close dev tool bar
    not from google
    = useless

    • Anton
      May 18, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      Bonkers. Opera supported cross-device sync before Chrome even left Dev labs. Your need to sign in as you do in Chrome, and you will have everything (history, passwords, bookmarks etc) in sync.

      • Bo Peng
        May 18, 2017 at 8:35 pm

        which means i need another account to sign in everywhere

    • Anton
      May 18, 2017 at 8:32 pm

      Bonkers. Opera supported cross-device sync before Chrome even left Dev labs. You just need to sign in as you do in Chrome, and all your stuff (history, bookmarks, passwords etc) will be in sync.

    • Patrick
      May 19, 2017 at 9:37 pm

      I think "not from google", for many people, is the point.

    • JohnnyB
      May 21, 2017 at 8:05 pm

      "Not from Google" is one of the advantages...not a disadvantage.

  25. Doc
    May 17, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Can't stand sidebars. :(

  26. ZentixZaneic
    May 17, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    I've used Opera in the past, and I've loved it (and still do), but I use Chrome now because a lot of websites work better with it. I also like the cast feature, since I use my Chromecast frequently. I would use the Google Cast extension for Opera, but it's depreciated.

  27. shebev
    May 17, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    I love it too but Microsoft updated my computer today (17 May 17) and now Opera refuses to go to any website at all. I cannot figure out what to do about it and the only way I can work is to go back to Chrome. Hopefully they'll fix it but Opera doesn't have any clues in its help section on what to do about it.

  28. Joshua of Catholic Tech Tips
    May 17, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    I've been playing around with Brave, which has an interesting way to pay websites that you frequent most, while still blocking their ads.

  29. Jon
    May 17, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    My only problem with Opera is that I can't get it to cast to my Chromecast. The Chromecast is never discovered. Frustrating, because I could easily give up Chrome but for that...

  30. Zhong
    May 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    I find that you cannot access the config similar to how you can change some of how the browser works and if you want to change the temp location, you'll need other methods.