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5 reasons why Opera is my favorite browser (and you should check it out too)

If you're looking for reasons to jump ship from your current browser, I have five good ones right here.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Close Up Of Male Hands Typing On Laptop Keyboard in Neon Light
Tatiana Lavrova

I've been using Opera as my go-to browser for nearly a year now and have found it to be a confluence of everything I find positive in a web browser and very little of what I feel detracts from the experience.

You might find yourself thinking, "Aren't all web browsers created equal?" Or maybe, "I'm fine with what I have." That's great. If the browser you're using suits you, then I say, "Keep on keepin' on." But if you've not given Opera a chance, you are missing out.

I want to offer some of the reasons why Opera very quickly became my default browser on every operating system I use (Linux, MacOS, and Android).

Are you ready for this?

1. Unbeatable tab management

You might think your browser manages tabs well but I can guarantee it's not nearly as good as what you'll find in Opera. Opera uses a feature called Workspaces, which allows you to create individual workspaces for each category you need. 

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For example, I have Writing, Shopping, Social, and Work and only open tabs that are related to those topics in each workspace. Other browsers (such as Safari and Vivaldi) offer a similar feature but Opera takes this one step further by allowing you to pin tabs to specific workspaces. With this feature, I can have ten or so tabs open in each category and not feel like my browser is so crowded with tabs that it becomes impossible to work efficiently. 

As far as Chrome is concerned, what Google's browser offers doesn't even come close. With Chrome you can create individual groups but those groups crowd the tab bar with no way of selecting them individually. With Opera, I can create a Workspace named "WORK," switch to it, and only see the tabs that are associated with that Workspace. With Chrome, you have to save a group, manually hide it, and then manually reopen it. On top of that, you can't specify which tab group you unhide. That's not efficient.

The Opera Workspaces feature in the sidebar.

Opera's tab management cannot be beat.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. The sidebar

I honestly never thought I'd bother with a browser sidebar but Opera convinced me otherwise. Opera's take on the sidebar is broken into three sections: Workspaces at the top, apps in the center, and Opera tools at the bottom. Not only does the sidebar give me quick access to my workspaces, but it also allows me to add specific apps that I frequently use, such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and more. As far as the Opera tools section is concerned, this has also become a feature that I depend on daily, as it allows me to view my downloads, personal news, Pinboards, history, and more. If you give Opera a try, do not neglect the Sidebar.

3. Aria AI

This is a rather touchy subject for many, but as I've written before, I've found Opera's built-in AI, named Aria, to be incredibly helpful. I use it as a super-charged search tool that bypasses all of the sponsored articles that tend to bubble to the top of Google results. I only use this tool when doing research but I do a lot of research (especially when writing fiction). 

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And although Opera allows you to gain quick access to the ChatGPT service, I've found Aria to be more effective for my needs. Even better, Aria lives in the Opera sidebar, so when you click the icon, it opens as a slide-out window, where you can quickly run a query and read the results, without having to open yet another tab.

Opera's Aria AI explaining string theory.

Opera's Aria AI is incredibly helpful for reasearch.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. The mobile version

I immediately switched to Opera on Android as soon as I realized how customizable it was. It enables me to create a very minimal browser, with the address bar placed at the bottom of the screen, so it is not only easy on the eyes but very efficient to use. That alone was good enough to have me switching. 

The only thing the mobile version of Opera is missing is Workspaces, but then I don't use it nearly as heavily as the desktop version, so the Workspaces feature really isn't necessary. Even without it, Opera makes managing tabs on a mobile device quite simple. And with the help of a built-in VPN, I feel safer using Opera mobile outside of my home network.

The Opera mobile browser.

The Opera mobile browser can be as clean or busy as you want.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

5. The look and feel

This may not matter to some, but I cut my teeth on the Linux desktop, where I would spend hours tweaking the UI to look exactly how I wanted. Although aesthetics won't make your experience more efficient or effective, it can make it more enjoyable. I find most other browsers to be dull and lifeless, whereas Opera has a much more modern aesthetic that is not only pleasing to the eye but is laid out such that each feature is contained within a specific section of the browser (such as the sidebar, Workspaces, address bar, tabs, extension "island"). 

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I know this is a very personal opinion but when I use Opera I simply feel at home. When I switch to another browser, I feel as if there's something wrong. Firefox is too sparse, Vivaldi tries to be Opera but doesn't quite achieve its goal, and Chrome has come a long way but it hasn't done much to appeal to someone who needs a highly efficient and effective working environment.

The Opera browser opened to ZDNET.

The Opera UI is one of my favorites.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Opera isn't perfect (no browser is), but it certainly has proven to me that (for the moment) it's my go-to browser. I can't imagine that another browser will take its place, but I'm about to dive into the world of Microsoft Edge, so we'll see if I wind up switching to yet another web browser. Until that day comes, I'll continue working happily (and efficiently) with Opera.

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