The browsers are becoming boring. Things have slowed down after a lot of innovation around Chrome’s launch. While we’ve witnessed some interesting experimentation from small players such as Yandex or Brave, the majority of large players have remained true to their original script. Opera was bought by a group of Chinese companies in 2013. Now, Opera is trying to shake things up with Opera Neon. This experimental desktop browser is for Windows and Mac. It tries to reinvent what a modern browser looks like.
Neon isn’t your typical browser. The browser does not have a bookmarks or task bar, although the team did keep the URL bar in mind. You no longer see tabs at top; instead, there are round bubbles to the right. The program automatically captures the background of your desktop and makes it your tabs page’s background.
You can access the sidebar to control audio/video playback. This can be popped out from other tabs so that you can view it while surfing. The same sidebar offers a tool for screenshotting and access to recent downloaded files.
Opera Neon allows for two tabs to be placed side-by-side in the same browser window, similar to split screen view on Android or iOS.
Opera Neon was my last-day plaything. It isn’t the best browser, but I do like Opera Neon. The tabs to the side are fine with me, although I have never been able to get used the Chrome or Firefox side-tab plugins (though they certainly have many fans). Opera’s pop-out video features are also very popular with me. Neon works just like Opera’s desktop browser. It uses the Blink engine so that it is fast.
Although I don’t like Neons’ new tab page (which is also your bookmarks pages), I am not convinced I do. It would be easier to find my bookmarks than opening a new tab. You will need to open another tab, even if it isn’t necessary. Then you can open the bookmark you want in that tab. This can quickly lead to more tabs open than you need if your bookmarks, and especially your bookmarks bars are heavily relied upon. Opera Neon doesn’t allow me to organize my bookmarks in folders. Neon doesn’t claim to be a platform for power users, but Opera’s ex-CEO started Vivaldi.
Opera emphasizes that the concept browser is not meant to replace Opera’s current browser. Opera will be getting some new features this spring, Opera’s company announced today.