BY DIA ALTIERI: First announced on the same day of E3 2019, Opera GX finally went into early access February 2021. Admittedly, like many other users, Google Chrome has been my go-to for many many years, so to earn the coveted “Default Browser” position, Opera GX would have to really make and impact. Spoiler alert: it totally did.
To keep this article totally transparent and accurate, I am obviously not sponsored or affiliated with Opera in any way and my review is after about a month of daily use. Actually, I’m using it right now to write this article.
Ease of Transfer 10/10
Let’s get this ball rolling with how easy it was to make the switch. Opera GX was super easy to move to since you can import all of your bookmarks, favorites, and saved passwords from Chrome with a single click of a button. You can also set your default search engine easily with options such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and even DuckDuckGo and Amazon.
Between being able to import all of my data, not being forced to use an in-house search engine, and a whole host of other customization options, I was genuinely surprised and will now hold every browser to this standard from today on.
When setting up a browser (or anything to be honest) I first set it up in dark mode because I prefer my retinas to remain unscathed when I inevitably go online at 3 am when I tell myself I’m going to bed early.
Opera GX (from here on out referred to as “Opera”) makes this a possibility for every site with an option for “Force dark mode”. This feature is still in beta form, so you may encounter the occasional site that doesn’t quite work, but for a large majority of the internet it will work just fine.
Customizing the look of Opera is also pretty fun and comprehensive. You can adjust the colors to create a custom theme, add an animated background, have background music, splash screens, and even sync your chroma to it. Everyone knows RGB makes everything better when it comes to gaming setups, so why not your gaming browser. +500 fps.
I removed a couple stars because you cannot have custom background music and the chroma sync is one way GX to Razer (at least in my case), meaning the browser overrides your existing chroma layout. These features are still great but I would like to be able to import my own music and have my existing chroma affect the color of the browser in the future.
The sidebar is where the majority of Opera GX’s features come in, and where the browser really sets itself apart for gamers. Since this is a huge section, I will break it down into technical features and application features. These will make more sense in a second.
GX Cleaner 6/10: a quick and simple feature that removes excess files and cache data that may be taking up hard drive space. Nothing really to say here, there are a million programs like it that all do the same thing. It works and is integrated, so that’s what matters.
GX Control 9/10: This feature is a little more useful for the average person, but immensely helpful for gamers. I often keep my browser open when playing games because I usually have to look up a crafting recipe at some point or have a video to watch when mindlessly grinding for materials. Streaming content can suck up resources and if you have ever played an online game, you know it doesn’t take much to send your ping through the roof and make the game stutter. At least if you have bad internet like me.
Control allows you to limit the amount of RAM, CPU, and bandwidth that Opera is allowed to take. It also shows the amount of resources each tab is taking so you can really optimize and micromanage your usage.
I originally didn’t think this feature would matter that much, but after using it while playing online games, I really came to love it.
Opera Flow 4/10: Flow allows you to freely send things between your phone and computer using Opera GX and Opera Touch apps. I didn’t personally use this feature at all, but I can see the appeal if you are into that sort of thing.
GX Corner 100/10: This feature is more about information than about it actually doing something. GX corner is a homepage of sorts that shows a release calendar that is filterable by platform as well as listings for free/discounted games and news articles. As most, if not all, pc gamers know, stores like Epic have rotating deals allowing you to snag a variety of games for no cost. It is a great way to build your library without a huge investment. GX corner lets you see what games are on offer, saving you the time of checking each store manually for deals.
Besides showcasing free games, it also highlights games that are on sale, making it easy to get the best deal. Filter by store for even more deals.
This page also shows trending gaming articles from major news sources like Verge or Game Informer.
Twitch/Discord Integration 10/10: Admittedly, I don’t watch Twitch as much as some, but Discord is my everyday (or rather every minute) communication method. Having it just there is so helpful without having to launch the desktop application. When playing an online game, having as few apps open as possible makes a world of difference. Paired with the aforementioned GX Control, and you can stream and communicate with as little impact on your gaming experience.
I have used the Opera extension for voice and video calling and have seen no drop in stability or call quality.
Social Media Integration 6/10: It’s solid. I give this a six because although well done and helpful, it isn’t groundbreaking or anything. Currently, I have WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook Messenger linked, but Instagram is also available.
Music Player 8/10: This feature is fantastic. Currently, it solely uses YouTube music. Simply click the button on the sidebar, choose your music and let it play in the background. It also auto-pauses the music if you play a video on whatever webpage you are on, resuming play when it finishes. Honestly, the only reason this isn’t a 10/10 is that it only uses YouTube Music, should it add Spotify or Amazon Music, it would definitely become a 15/10.
Opera, much like Google, has an extension store that can add a wide variety of functionality to your browser. Currently, I don’t find the selection all that applicable to myself, but as more users make the switch to Opera GX, the extension store will increase its offerings.
Opera GX is a solid browser, competing directly with Google Chrome while offering a slew of tools and features that gamers are sure to love and use. I made the switch, so I recommend at least giving it a try.