Competing with dominant browsers like Chrome and Firefox, Opera differentiates itself with a bunch of additional features, like a built-in ad blocker and unlimited VPN. With the last major build released in December, the browser got the ability to darken web pages in addition to the app UI. This week Opera's releasing its v56 update, delivering a proper reader mode to help declutter the sites you read, along with a couple other handy features.

Most prominent of all is this reader mode, which now appears as an icon in the address bar up top. It only pops up when the current page can be simplified — you won't see it on the Android Police home page, for instance, but you will inside a news post like this. The feature also comes handy when browsing a website stuck in the desktop mode, saving you from having to scroll horizontally repeatedly. Previous browser builds did include a reader mode, but it only worked in Opera’s curated news section.

 

Left: v55, Center: v56, Right: Webpage in reader mode

If the browser is set to dark mode, the web page will also invert colors to make the whites less straining for your eyes. In our experience, enabling the reader mode didn’t shake the page formatting much either. The latest update also gives you the option to replace the reader mode icon in the address bar with alternatives like 'reload' or 'share,' as per your preference. You’ll additionally get a list of recently closed tabs to help quickly restore a previously visited page.

It's great to see this new functionality arriving, but it's also increasingly hard to trust your browsing data with a company that was recently called out for being involved in giving loans at predatory rates to those in developing markets of Africa and Asia, not to mention flouting Play Store rules. If you're still on team Opera after all that, you can give the browser a try by downloading the latest update from the Play Store or APK Mirror.

Opera browser with free VPN
Opera browser with free VPN
Developer: Opera
Price: Free