A couple weeks ago I made an interesting discovery. Opera was coming out with a new browser they called “Opera GX”, and they were marketing it as a “gaming browser”. This peaked my interest, so I downloaded it.
If you are curious, the main selling point is that the browser has a built in system where you can limit memory and cpu usage. So if you happen to have the browser up while gaming, you can make sure it doesn’t hog all the resources.
Ultimately, I uninstalled the browser a couple days later, but not because it was bad. I liked the browser experience, I just didn’t necessarily need all of the “gaming” features that it was pushing.
After a few days I thought…why not just switch to regular Opera? So I did.
From Chrome, To Opera
I’ve been a Google Chrome users for quite a few years now, so it’s safe to say that I’ve become pretty comfortable with it. As a web developer, Chrome is often the ideal work environment as it is usually at the forefront of implementation.
So why switch from Chrome? Why not use another browser like Firefox or Edge?
It’s no secret that Chrome is a memory hog. I mean, c’mon, it doesn’t even try to hide the fact any more. This was one of the primary reasons for switching. I wanted a browser that didn’t completely hog my resources.
At home, with my gaming pc, it’s not really an issue. At work, I have a potato. Chrome would nearly be eating up all of it’s memory. It’s slow enough already, I don’t need a browser trying to hog what little resources there already are.
If we are just looking at this aspect, probably any browser out there is better than Chrome. Prove me wrong?
This may not seem like a huge deal, but I am a web developer. Whether it’s just in my head, or not, I’ve gotten used to the way Chrome renders things while I’m developing. Opera uses the same browser engine, Blink. The thought is that rendering will be similar in these browsers.
There are differences between them, but for the most part, if it works in Chrome, it’s probably going to work in Opera. Obviously, every browser has its nuances, but you get the idea.
Probably the leading reason why I chose Opera over Firefox and Edge is that I felt comfortable with it very quickly. I’ve always had Firefox and Edge, even IE, on my computer for testing purposes. Whenever I click into them, I just don’t like the environment. As much as I want to love Firefox, it’s just not for me.
After I hopped into Opera, and adjusted my settings, I felt right at ease. It has a familiar feel to Chrome, but has just enough things to make it different. Having a built in adblock and snapshot tool is awesome. I don’t have anything against AdBlock Plus, but if I can get the feature natively, that’s a win in my book.
Opera also has a simple built in VPN you can use. I don’t know when I’d ever use it, but that’s cool. Overall, Opera just feels a lot more responsive than Chrome did.
Downsides to Switching
Just like any choice in life, there are downsides. It’s not like Opera is perfect, I mean, pulling a tab and docking it on another window doesn’t work half the time, which is kind of annoying. However, little things I’m willing to look over for the gains.
So what are some specific things?
Opera isn’t a “Big 3” Browser
This became apparent right away at work when I went to use our proofing software and the website decided to tell me that my browser was outdated. Obviously, it’s not. However, that didn’t stop it from trying to force me to use Chrome or Firefox.
It’s kind of annoying. An up to date Opera has just as good support as Chrome or Firefox, so it’s a little disheartening that I’ve seen the “unsupported browser” modal on a couple of sites now. For the most part, the sites work as expected, it’s just that they themselves don’t expect to work I guess.
Seems pretty odd that websites would alienate a perfectly modern browser. Oh well.
Bookmarks and Passwords
Who the hell remembers passwords these days? You type it in once and then you let your browser remember it for the rest of your days.
For the most part, Opera did a fantastic job pulling over all of my bookmarks and settings from Google Chrome. I tip my hat to them for that. However, whenever you change browsers, you are going to have some sites that pop up that you just don’t remember the login.
It’s not even Opera’s fault, just part of the change process. For instance, I couldn’t remember the Netflix login for the life of me the other night. Instead of looking it up, I just spun up Chrome for the 2 seconds I needed it…Shhh!
Overall, I Like It
At the end of the day, I switched to Opera because I like it. I gave it a whirl, and decided that I liked it better than Chrome.
Changing browsers is becoming a bigger deal than you would think. You don’t realize how much your browser remembers for you until you start using a new one. Kudos to Opera though for importing as much information as they could.
So yeah, I like it. The browser is nice and fast. The built in adblock and snapshot tools are amazing. So far, so good.
Thanks for reading.