Opera 15: Good Chrome Alternative Browser with Extensions for Windows and Mac

Opera 15 browser - Speed Dial

Opera 15 browser – Speed Dial

Opera 15, the latest desktop web browser has been released for Windows and Mac. It is a big leap from Opera 12. The new Opera desktop browser is “made from scratch” based on Chromium, the open-source project behind Google Chrome browser and Google Chrome OS. No surprise that Opera 15 user interface looks very much like Chrome browser. In case you are wondering, Opera 15 is yet available for Linux OS.

What’s new?

Beside a new look, Opera 15 has several changes and improvements:

  • Speed Dial is your start page with shortcuts to your favorite websites. Drag and drop one Speed Dial site on top of another will create a “Speed Dial folder”.
  • Discover is your online news portal. You can customise it to display news in selected categories happened in your country.
  • Stash is your “save for later” server builded right in the Opera 15 browser. It allows you to save a web pages for later references with resizable page preview. If you are a Pocket user already, the Stash feature should look familiar to you.
  • Search – Like in Chrome, Opera 15 combined address and search bar become single Omnibox. You can pick one of the default 5 search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Amazon, Wikipedia) after typed in your search query.

Opera 15 is fast!

As a long time Chrome user, I am glad to see Opera switch to Chromium for its desktop browser. The first impression was good, web page loading is fast, if not faster than Google Chrome (need to do serious benchmark about it).

No bookmark manager?!

While I like the Speed Dial folders, I could not find bookmark manager in Opera 15. Has the new Speed Dial replace bookmark manager? The “bookmark importer” menu is also grey out. (Update: According to Opera Help page, you can import Opera 12 bookmarks into Opera 15 as Speed Dial.) Opera 15 needs to be able import bookmarks from other browsers, either automatically or manually using bookmark export file bookmark.html.

Support Chrome extensions!

One of the main reason I did not use Opera browser is because of lack of browser extensions. The problem is fixed in Opera 15! The new browser already have many extensions available to extend Opera 15’s functions. In fact, you can install any Chrome extensions on Opera 15 by installing an extension named “Download Chrome Extension”. (Since both Chrome browser and Opera 15 are based on Chromium)

Will I switch from Chrome?

I would like to use Opera 15 full-time on my desktop computer, provided it offers a simple way to import my Chrome bookmarks. Also, Opera Link, Opera’s browser data sync service, is yet compatible with Opera 15. It is not good if you want to use Opera browser on multiple computers and phones.

Therefore, though I feel that Opera 15 is faster browser than Chrome on Mac OS X but I  am still using Chrome now. However, I will recommend Opera 15 to friends who dislike Chrome (I don’t know what they are thinking, anyway).

Check out Opera 15 video below:

Have you install Opera 15? What do you like/dislike about the new browser?

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