You have Opera installed on your computer and open it occasionally when Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer starts acting up. But, there is something holding you back from clicking that “Make Opera My Default Browser” button. What is it?
Opera has good features, is pretty reliable, loads at a decent speed, and offers helpful extensions, so why isn’t it your default browser? For me, I am certainly coming around to Opera and considering clicking that button; however, there are certain things that are holding me back.
The Good Features of Opera
One great customization feature of Opera is Speed Dial. When you open the browser or a new tab this handy page pops up displaying all of the sites and extensions you need and visit on a regular basis.
You can create folders for similar sites like social media, news, or shopping. You can add extensions such as weather widgets, analog clocks, and countdown alarms. You can even give it a beautiful theme from static images to those that are animated.
The Speed Dial screen also nicely displays links to your Bookmarks, Tabs, and History along with a Discover option to find something new. For all of this convenience and customization, Speed Dial is definitely a standout feature of Opera.
As mentioned above, on the Speed Dial screen is a link to Discover. It may not be considered a major feature of Opera, but it is certainly a nice-to-have option. Not only will it give you the Top Stories in news, but 14 additional categories to browse through.
See what’s new in Business, Entertainment, Sports, or Technology with a click. In addition, you can customize the Top Stories to include or exclude any of these categories. Discover is simply a handy addition to your main Speed Dial screen.
Syncing and Opera Mini
If you are an avid Opera user, then most likely you take advantage of the syncing with your mobile devices. Signing in to your Opera account, like most other browsers, allows you to access bookmarks, history, and settings wherever you sign in.
Opera Mini, available for free on the App Store [No Longer Available] and Google Play, is a slick, fast-loading browser option for your mobile device. You can access the same great features as the Web version of Opera. You can customize your Speed Dial screen which also holds your bookmarks, quickly view your History, and open that terrific Discover section for Top Stories and other news. The Opera Mini companion is certainly a plus.
A Blessing and a Curse
One might say that the ease of setup and configuration of Opera’s settings is a good feature. You do not have to hold a Master’s Degree in Information Technology to configure your Opera settings. The settings are displayed simplistically, the descriptions are comprehensive, and it is all just very uncomplicated.
The curse comes in for those who require more advanced settings for their browser and appreciate those that others like Firefox supply. For example, the connection settings for Firefox offer many more options for configurations than Opera’s connection settings do. These types of differences can be a major factor in which browser you choose.
There is definitely a big difference in the extension category. For example, searching for “Pinterest” extensions on Opera yields five results whereas in Firefox you receive 34 options. Again, this is a blessing and a curse. Some may consider it a pro because you only have five options to research and experiment with, so the limited options make it easier to decide.
However, with only five options as opposed to 34 you are in a situation where if those five extensions do not work well, you have nowhere else to go. With seven times as many to try on Firefox you have a better chance of finding the one that works best for you. Additionally, those extensions that are provided in your search results for Opera are not necessarily a complete match, as you can see below. So, you are limited even more.
Flipping the Switch
With all of the helpful features and reliability I have experienced with Opera in recent months, I am one who is still hesitant to make Opera my default browser. There is no one specific reason; however, it really comes down to favoritism, convenience, and limited extensions for why I will not make the browser switch.
Favoritism comes into play with Firefox. For a while, Chrome was my second-in-command, go-to browser whenever Firefox began to act quirky on my PC. Unfortunately, I broke up with Chrome recently while Firefox continues to shine more times than not. The customization options of Firefox simply draw me in.
On my Mac and iOS devices, well frankly, I have not needed a different or backup browser because Safari has always been stable for me and allows me to sync effortlessly. So, why even install another browser?
The limited extensions offered by Opera are definitely a deterrent as well. While narrowed-down extensions to experiment with can be a handy way to find what you want, I simply prefer more options.
So for now, Opera remains my non-default browser, but has moved up as the second-in-command on my PC for the attractive features and continued reliability. Unless Firefox and Safari become completely unusable, I have no compelling reason to make a full switch.
The Browser Underdog
Opera continues to remain at the bottom of the list across the board when compared to other major browsers. As you can see in the browser statistics below from W3Schools, Opera’s numbers increase but do not come close to other browsers in the ranking. Even with the useful features, device syncing, and updated integration with Mac OS, it still struggles as the browser underdog and sits at the uncool kids table.
It’s Your Turn: Why Won’t You Switch?
Okay all of you Opera fans, tell us what makes this your favorite browser. Which features do you love that made you hit the default browser button?
For those of you like me who cannot quite make the switch, what are your reasons? Are they any of those listed here or do you have others? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below on the whys or the why nots when it comes to Opera.
Image Credit: Mega Pixel via Shutterstock.com