Because Opera is also based on Blink, I almost never run into a website, plugin, script, or video that doesn't work flawlessly on it. In fact, Opera works almost exactly like Chrome, except without the resource hogging that makes me want to throw my computer against a brick wall.This is exactly the point, according to Opera spokesperson Jan Standal: "What we're doing is an optimized version of Chrome," he said. "Web developers optimize most for the browser with the biggest market share, which happens to be Chrome. We benefit from the work of that optimization."Why I can't use Chrome anymoreOne of the original draws of Chrome was that it handles each tab as a separate process. This means that if one tab crashes, it doesn't crash the whole browser. This innovation—once the selling point of the browser—is one of the reasons why Chrome is a nightmare to use today. As we started running powerful applications within tabs and as websites became bloated with autoplaying videos, tracking scripts, and ads, each individual tab we open has the potential to be a resource hog. That's how you end up with a couple tabs using multiple gigs of RAM. Though I've tried extensions like the Great Suspender and OneTab, these never felt like full solutions and neither did much to help my problem.
"We thought, if we don't optimize to be careful about resource consumption, we'll crash the devices they're used on."
The result is that at any given moment, your computer can completely seize up as it runs completely out of RAM (and even hard disk space as Chrome begins using up your cache), necessitating various serious force-quitting maneuvers that, depending on how bad you've fucked up, can take anywhere from 30 seconds to a half hour. (Anecdotally and with no real evidence besides my own browsing experience, Chrome on Windows seems to handle resources a little bit better.)
"There's differences in philosophy between us and Chrome."
- Its built-in adblocker seems to work fine. Standal says it's built in house and that, because it's built into the browser itself, it uses less resources than extension-based adblockers.
- It has Chrome's "Omnibar," which combines direct URL entering and searching in one box and works exactly the same as it does on Chrome.
- Lastpass, Pocket, and other extensions I use work instantly.
- It ported over my browser history from Chrome without any fuss (Vivaldi doesn't seem to have this option, which is important if you don't want any friction at all when switching browsers). Even though I'm pretty deep into Google's ecosystem, switching to Opera took, at most, a couple minutes.
- It has a built in VPN that I don't use because I personally feel it's safer to pay for one, but it's there if you want it. Worth noting: The VPN is browser-based (duh) and so it doesn't put your entire internet connection behind the VPN, meaning it doesn't work for torrenting and the like.
- It was purchased by a Chinese consortium last year for $600 million, which makes me worry about how or if that consortium will try to monetize user data (Standal says Opera is subject to European Union privacy laws, which are stricter than American ones).
- It doesn't run every single website flawlessly; its compatibility problems are less frequent than Safari and Firefox, but maybe once or twice a month I'm forced to open Chrome to operate some weird form or play some type of media I don't run into often.