April 05, 2022


Over the last few weeks I have been using Opera GX web browser. I stumbled across it one day and thought I would give it a chance. Years ago when I tried Opera, I wasn't impressed. Since then, Opera has made some changes such as it is now Chromium based. It looks like they made that switch back in 2014. So it has definitely been a while since I have even looked at Opera.

Over the last few weeks there have been some things that caught my eye that I thought were great, other things that were interesting, and other things that I am not a fan of. I don't have any scientific way of measuring how awesome or bad this browser is. It is just my objective opinion from working as a web developer over the years. I tend to be attracted to things that make my life easier on a day to day basis.

About Opera

The original Opera browser was release in 1995. At that time it had its own proprietary engine. In 2013 Opera switched its backend to use Chromium. Opera is a cross platform browser that can run on Windows, MacOS, Linux, and mobile platforms.

Opera GX was released in 2019 as a gaming focused browser. It has a lot of additional features that the base Opera browser does not have. I will cover a lot of these features in this article.

Opera GX is just one of the specialized browsers that Opera has released. You can check out their site to see the other browsers they have released such as Opera Crypto Browser.

The Good


Let's start with the basics. This thing is pretty. If for some reason you don't like the way it looks, you can make a lot of customizations to the look of it quite easily. Opera really gives the control to the end users on how their experince can look. This goes for not only the colors and showing and hiding menus. It also goes for things like being able to set your own wallpaper on new tabs.


Probably the main point of focus around usability in this browser is the built-in apps and the apps you can install in this browser. There are some preinstalled apps that you can disable if you want to. Some of the preinstalled apps are

  • Discord
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Instagram
  • Telegram
  • Twitch
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp

On top of those apps, Opera GX also has a Player app that gives you access to multiple music playing services. Here is a list of some of the services you can access through the player.

  • Apple Music
  • Deezer
  • SoundCloud
  • Spotify
  • Tidal
  • YouTube Music

While the apps have been handy, the one functionality I have probably used the most up to this point is the Easy Setup slide out window. When you click the Easy Setup icon, a menu slides out from the side of the browser that has a bunch of common settings you can change without leaving the browser page you are on. If you need to go deeper into settings, you have the ability to click into the full settings menu as well. Most of the settings I have played with have been in the Easy Setup menu. I have found it super handy and easy to use.

Something I just recently discovered in Opera GX is Workspaces. Workspaces allow you to have multiple sets of tabs stored in a workspace that you can flip between. You can have a workspace for your email, calendar, stocks, and other personal things. Then, you can have a workspace with entertainment like youtube videos and games. When you want to switch, it is a simple click of a button. I am personally really bad about having three or four windows open with a bunch of tabs open in each one. I think this will be a great feature to get me to break that habit. This is going to take some getting use to though.

The last thing I wanted to mention here is the ability to Force Dark Mode through the Easy Setup I mentioned previously. This is a pretty nice feature and on the most part works well. I will touch on this feature a little more later on.

Extra Goodies

One of the things that Opera GX actually touts is the ability to throttle the resources it uses. The user has settings they can turn on that controls the usage of the browser. I did play with this a bit by comparing the numbers they were showing versus what Windows Task Manager was showing. Implementing the hard restrictions definitely brought down consumption of resources. I had some YouTube videos streaming at 4K just to push it a little bit. The browser ended up putting that tab to sleep to save on memory. So it can definitely affect thing you are doing in your browser. It is a very interesting feature though.

Another thing that is a rather unique feature is the GX Corner. I am not much of a video game player, but if you are, this thing seems pretty comprehensive about tracking release dates of games across most platforms. It also have a section that shows you games that are free to play either for a limited time or just plain free to play. So if video games are your thing, this is something that may be appealing to you.

If you are a person who hates ads while watching YouTube, great news! Opera GX has a built-in Ad Blocker you toggle on and off. I tested it out for a couple hours and it does a great job.

Speaking of watching YouTube, when you are watching a YouTube video and you minimize the window, it displays the video in a little PNP window so you can continue watching it while you do other things.

The next feature is for people who are more concerned with security or just want a truly private browsing experience. When you open a "New private window" in Opera GX, there is an option near the address bar to enable the built in VPN. So you not only can browse in a private window, but you can also encrypt all your browsing traffic from that window as well.

The last feature I wanted to mention was something I found interesting, but not sure I would us it much. Opera GX has a Background music feature which seems to be mostly just instrumental music for background noise that isn't too overbearing on your senses and still gives you some noise while you work.

The Bad

On the most part the Force Dark Pages feature works nicely. There are some sites where it does hinder functionality.

I use BitWarden for passwords. When I use the apps, I can't use BitWarden to populate the username and password. This means I usually copy my password out of BitWarden when I look it up. I then type in my username and paste my password so that I can log in. Probably more of a plugin issue, but not a fan.

Some of the plugins and apps also have what i would consider some quirky behavior. Some apps just display a little off in the browser. Another quirky behavior happened when I was using Microsoft Teams in the browser. When I switched to another window one time, Teams popped out to a popup window.

While the apps have some quirky behavior, I would definitely like to see more of them. One in particular I would like is a Google Chat app so I don't have to keep Gmail open. On the most part, I really so like this functionality. It just really needs some polishing.

The Ugly

One thing the Google Chrome does well and Microsoft Edge does very well is the ability to switch users in the browser. Opera GX has no easy way that I could find to flip between logged in users. I actually can only log in with a single user.

For work, I switch between users a lot. Since I can't do this, I have been pretty much using this for my personal day to day browser instead of for work. The browser I use the most for work is Microsoft Edge. Despite I have been pretty anti Microsoft browsers over the years, most companies I work with use Microsoft accounts. Edge has the ability to easily swap between users like Chrome does, but Edge does it a little better and also the accounts you sign in with in Edge are Microsoft accounts instead of Google accounts. This allows me to have multiple browsers open for different clients and each browser is signed in with the corresponding user account for that client. It makes life so much easier since I work a lot with Power BI and other tools where you have to sign into them in a browser with a Microsoft Account. Opera GX's lack of ability to switch between users just seems like a big miss. They may have some particular reason they don't have this functionality, but I find this to be a miss.

I have already touched on this a little bit, but I wanted to dive into this a little more. There are some really nice extensions that integrate well, but it looks like there is still a lack of compatibility with Google Chrome Extensions. There are some workarounds available on some extensions, but it doesn't work for all of them. Overall, I find this to be more of an inconvenience than anything. It isn't a big miss necessarily, but this is something I would expect from a more mature browser that has been around for a while.

The last major annoyance I have with this browser is the way it handles opening Zoom meetings. Instead of opening the meeting, by default it treats the file as a download and doesn't open the meeting. I am sure their is a way around this, but for default behavior it is quite annoying.

Final Consensus

There were other features which I didn't review here due to I haven't messed with them enough to form an opinion of them. One in particular that looks interesting is the Opera My Flow. It supposedly not only allows you to sync up settings between devices, but also send pages from one device to another. I tend to read a lot of news on my phone and come across articles I want to save for later. I often send them to myself over Google Hangouts so I have the link. This sounds like a much better way of managing this, but I haven't had a chance to mess with it yet to know for sure.

Overall, I really like the Opera GX browser despite there being a few things I am not fond of. The integrated features and the level of customizations you can make to it are very appealing. I am probably going to continue to use this as my daily browser for most things.

I don't have a comments section yet, so feel free to send me feedback on this blog.

Kevin Williams

Kevin is a data engineer and is the Business Intelligence Practice Lead at Software Design Partners specializing in data warehousing. He is a father, an occasional gamer, and lover of many different types of music.

The opinions expressed on this site are my own and may not represent my employer's view.
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About this blog...

Ever wonder if there are other browsers out there worth checking out besides Chrome, Edge, and Safari? Let's take a look at Opera GX, the gaming browser that is great for everyday use.


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