Opera has been a stalwart of the desktop browser wars for many years now. It was besting Microsoft back when it was a viable business model to sell desktop browser licenses for cash money. The company has had some issues more recently, but mobile apps could be the bright spot, especially on days like today. Opera for Android has been updated to v15 with a ton of new features. It also brings a new version of the Chromium-based Ice platform.

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This version of Opera is based on open source Chromium 28, which is the same build the Android Chrome Beta is on. This puts Opera's mobile Presto engine firmly in the past (version 14 also used a version of Chromium). The change to WebKit should make the browser a bit better at rendering pages, but Opera is still customizing its app with bandwidth saving features, and the useful Smart Dial start page. Here's the full changelog:

  • Based on Chromium 28
  • Improved startup-time
  • Download video. Possible to download video files that can be played in Opera
  • Set download location (where your files are downloaded to)
  • Improved tab-UI animations
  • Opening files from external SD Card now possible
  • New "open in private tab" context menu
  • Cookie clearing mechanism improved
  • Fix for bug causing Opera to be uninstalled from selected Samsung devices
  • Memory leaks plugged and general stability improvements.

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There's a lot of good stuff going on in this update. If you haven't used Opera for a while, take a look – it's improved dramatically. This looks like it could be a staged rollout, but I was able to push v15 to devices.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • Pascal

    Classic opera mobile is still better.

    • dilharo

      classic was getting old in terms of technology

    • MasterMuffin


      • Pascal

        Yes, better and faster zoom, better text wrap, faster tab switching, not rendering again after every zoom etc...

  • le_lutin

    Been trying out loads of browsers lately and I've settled, for the moment, on maxthon. Really good full screen experience. Very fast and it caches the last few pages which means that when you press the back button, the last page loads instantly.

    I do like Opera though, but I wish it would allow full screen (currently the status bar always shows)

    • MasterMuffin

      Yeah, gotta love the quick back feature

      • le_lutin

        My main gripe with maxthon is the fact that it opens favourites in a new tab all the time. Quite frustrating. That, and clicking on the address bar doesn't select the URL as it does in other browsers.

        • MasterMuffin

          That favourite thing is annoying! I don't mind about the URL thingy. They could update the desing and get rid of the tab bar taking space, but then again that's what the full screen mode is for

          • le_lutin

            I wish the address bar worked the same as opera/chrome where scrolling down hides it and scrolling up makes it reappear

          • Ralph1001

            Go to settings and turn Navigation Bar off. You can also turn off the status bar in settings.

          • le_lutin

            Ralph, are you talking about Opera or Maxthon (my fault for the confusion as I speak about both in this thread)?

            I assume you're talking about Opera though - I can't see any options in the settings to turn off the status bar.

          • MasterMuffin

            There should at least be an option for it

  • Luis

    For me is: Chrome on Wifi and Opera on 3G (to save data)

    • IamTheFij

      Chrome Beta has compression now, just like Opera. My savings are about 11%.

      • Darren Henderson

        Chrome Beta takes so long to load up initially on my GNEX, makes it unbearable to use.

        • IamTheFij

          Wow. I have the Nexus 4 and even if I kill the app it opens instantly for me. Might be something just disagreeing with it on your device. It is Beta.

          • Darren Henderson

            Oh, the regular chrome channel is slow too. I just like the AOSP stock browser and it's quick controls (pie) anyways. It's still a fantastic browser.

    • thartist

      My setup exactly! Until Chrome brings compression on the stable channel.

  • MasterMuffin

    Webkit? Don't you mean Blink ;) And before anyone comes raging, yes I know they're pretty much the same currently

    • mark

      Blink is at least 4m lines of code smaller. Opera is a fine browser ( v15 desktop &mobile). The just need to get sync implemented.

      • MasterMuffin

        I know, Google took all the "crap" out of there which they didn't need in Chrome. I prefer Chrome Beta on desktop because it is currently the best performing web browser. Only downside to Chrome is no 64-bit for Windows yet

  • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

    I love the bottom bar positioning you can choose in the settings it's great for single handed use, text wrap, Speed Dial and the nice little touches like when you scroll fast up or down it displays a button to go to the top or bottom of the page instantly.

    I tried Chrome and Firefox recently but their UIs are very bad... Opera rocks!!

    • Ramsey

      I really do like Opera and I want to try out this update. I used the classic one for a long time, but after switching to jelly bean, I found that it doesn't match the smoothness of the Android Browser and other browsers. I found two others that have that smoothness, Naked Browser and Boat Browser. Boat Browser is great, many features and customizations, included that scroll fast up or down. I can't stand Firefox's UI on mobile :(, and Chrome was slow in zooming in and out.

      • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

        Boat and Naked use the integrated Android Web View from the stock browser to render pages so I prefer Opera which supports the latest updated web technologies.

        Firefox UI is really terrible, and I think Chrome is too.

        The performance of the new Opera is very similar to Chrome, which means not 10/10 but I expect it to improve over time principally now that Opera Software is contributing to the Chromium project.

  • kabloink

    Still no Opera Link support. The settings option is just a bookmark for the Link web page.

  • Paul Troy

    Still not as good as opera classic..

  • Sarang Pitale

    Are there any browser comparison tools out there which compare the data savings?
    I use Google Currents to read my favorite android blogs/website including AP.
    I prefer Google Currents to browsers since it allows me to read just the plain article without the ads and other stuff surrounding it on websites.
    But if my favorite blogs/websites have a mobile version of there site and the browser really does save lots of data, plus it can block ads, then i would wish goodbye to Google Currents.

  • Marcus

    Looks like this update makes it no longer compatible with Gingerbread. That is too bad was a good modern browser for older phones.

  • shonangreg

    How is it that this can do youtube downloads? The Video DownloadHelper plugin for Firefox says that their stuff won't work on android because google prohibits such downloaders from google Play.

    I just downloaded one video, and then played it from the storage of my Nexus 7 to BS Player. There was a down arrow at the bottom right of the video from what was I guess was a youtube player inside Opera.

    However, when I tried to do the same with a popular music video, I couldn't even get the same player interface in Opera. It just had links that opened in the regular youtube player.

    • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

      It depends, you can download when the player is embedded in the page in HTML5.

  • เกรียนเทพ ดี อันลิมิเตด

    I really want to use Opera as my primary browser on Android, but their desktop counterpart isn't anywhere near Chrome. I can't afford to lose sync capacity just for Opera on Android. Especially, they don't release Opera 15 on Ubuntu yet.