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In the world of web browsers, there is no greater underdog than Opera. Initially released in 1995, Opera has been going strong for over 22 years, introducing features we all take for granted earlier than most, and it hasn’t stopped innovating since.
Despite being on the forefront of browser technology for most of its existence, Opera is still treated as something of a curiosity by internet users. According to W3Schools, Opera made up just 1.1 percent of internet use in April of 2017.
While Chrome still reigns supreme on the charts—it was at 75.7 percent of all browser usage this April—Opera keeps steadily improving. If you’ve never given Opera a chance, you won’t know what you’re missing out on. Maybe it’s time you tried out Opera. Here are 10 reasons you should switch to Opera—if only for a week.
1) Turbo mode
Opera comes with a feature called Turbo, a built-in data compression system that allows the browser to load web pages faster by simply downloading less data. Turbo compression only works on unencrypted websites (sorry, Daily Dot readers), but if you’re browsing on weak WiFi or, god forbid, DSL, Turbo mode will make you forget you’re on a vintage connection. On Opera’s mobile version, Turbo comes in handy for web browsing at the end of the month we’re your getting by on crumbs of data.
2) Built-in ad-blocker
Ads are a necessary evil of the internet (please click the ones in this article, thanks!) but that doesn’t mean they aren’t annoying. Poorly designed ads can slow down your browsing and make reading your favorite sites a nightmare. Opera comes with a built in ad-blocker already installed, with powerful customization options that allow you to enable ads on websites you enjoy. (*cough, cough*)
3) Built-in VPN
VPNs are a great way to keep your personal information safe. But for the average internet user, there isn’t really a need to pay for one. That’s why Opera is such a great browser for browsing securely. While other VPNs make you pay, Opera comes with a free VPN built right in. To turn it on, go to browser settings and check the “Enable VPN” box in the “Privacy and Security” section of the menu. If you don’t want to turn the feature on for normal use, you can activate the feature by pressing the “VPN” button that appears in the address bar while using Private Browsing.
4) Pop-out videos
We live in an era of autoplaying videos. Sadly, it is currently still legal for websites to blast a video with sound without your consent. Opera’s pop-out video feature at least makes it easy to find and shut those videos off. Whenever a video plays in Opera, a little icon will appear at the top of the screen. Click it and the video will pop into view, even if the video is playing in another tab.
5) Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp nested in the sidebar
Jumping back and forth between windows when you’re using Messenger or WhatsApp can be distracting when you’re trying to work. Opera includes full versions of each of these apps nested in its sidebar, allowing you to quickly answer messages without leaving the window you’re working in.
6) News digest
Making time to read the news every day can be difficult, but Opera’s digest feature makes it easy. Provide Opera with your country, language of choice, interests, and preferred new sources, and the browser collects articles for you into a digest for easy reading without having to visit a bunch of different sites. It’s like having a newspaper delivered to your browser every morning for free.
7) Chrome extension compatibility
Opera doesn’t need Chrome’s extension—it has plenty of its own. However, if you want to use your favorite Chrome extension in Opera, it knows how to play nice with most of them. To utilize this feature download the Chrome Extension add-on for Opera and you’re ready to roll. Chrome apps are not supported, unfortunately, but given that Opera already allows your extensions to come over, that seems like a small concession.
8) Battery friendly
Chrome is a fantastic browser, but it drinks life from your battery with a ferocity that is usually reserved for dehydrated dogs. Opera’s battery saver feature provides up to an hour more of battery life over Chrome. Whether you’re taking notes in class or simply getting some work done at the coffee shop, an extra hour of juice can be a godsend when there aren’t any outlets available.
9) Sync Opera across your devices
Hand-off mode has become a more common feature in browsers, but Opera’s is one of the best. You need to login to access the feature, but the ability to leave your computer, pick up your phone, and immediately access the last pages you were browsing is a simple treat you’ll quickly begin to take for granted.
10) Built-in BitTorrent client and search
Opera aims to be a tool for every kind of web user, including BitTorrent fans. The browser comes with a powerful BitTorrent client built into the browser, allowing you to download torrents without having to open a secondary app. In addition to the client, Opera also includes a BitTorrent search feature in its search bar, making it easier than ever for you to find the content you’re looking for. We know you won’t use it to download anything you shouldn’t—but if you do, remember to click on that sweet free VPN.
John-Michael Bond is a tech reporter and culture writer for Daily Dot. A longtime cord-cutter and early adopter, he's an expert on streaming services (Hulu with Live TV), devices (Roku, Amazon Fire), and anime. A former staff writer for TUAW, he's knowledgeable on all things Apple and Android. You can also also find him regularly performing standup comedy in Los Angeles.