Opera Tips Its Latest Browser Redesign

Posted on February 14, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud with 16 Comments

Opera has a major design change coming in its next web browser release, and it’s available now in a developer preview. Dubbed R3 for “Reborn 3,” the next version of Opera will feature a redefined look and feel, plus new functionality.

“We believe a browser should provide such a frame for the web,” Opera’s Joanna Czajka writes in what seems like a familiar refrain about this type of application. “With R3, we put web content at center stage. We’ve removed dividing lines between sections so you can browse without borders and unhindered by unnecessary distractions. And, just as no one frame is effective for every picture or in every lighting, we’ve given the browser two distinct themes, light and dark.”

The new design is indeed modern-looking. And its sharp edges stand in, ahem, sharp contrast to the curved borders we now see in Google Chrome, the most popular web browser. Opera says that its design changes were inspired by photography, where the new light theme is bright and clean and the new dark theme is elegant and focused.

I like the look. And I like Opera’s notion that a web browser should be a minimalist application, visually.

“Minimalism is more than a look; it serves a specific purpose,” Czajka says. It’s easy to achieve a minimalist design by stripping down features, resulting in a cleaner looking but less functional browser. This was not our goal with R3 … What we’ve done with R3 is to refine our features and place them in a way that they are fully accessible without getting in your way. Our vision of minimalism is such that your browser is more functional for your daily use, not less.”

If you’re interested in checking out the new design, and Opera R3’s other new features, like its integrated crypto-wallet, you can download the developer release using the links below. Opera expects to ship R3 sometime in March.

Opera R3 developer for Windows

Opera R3 developer for Windows (portable)

Opera R3 developer for Mac

Opera R3 developer for Linux deb

Opera R3 developer for Linux RPM

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Opera Tips Its Latest Browser Redesign”

  1. locust infested orchard inc

    I personally despise minimalism when attributed to web browsers, as web sites by their very nature are dynamic and increasingly complex.


    To able to keep the web sites browsed in-check (often with superfluous web-elements, e.g. ads, web-beacons, extraneous and nosey JavaScripts, social-media trackbacks, etc), the web browser needs to be configured in order to remove all these unnecessary overheads from web-pages on-the-fly prior to being rendered.


    For any modern web browser to embrace minimalism is an act of Chrime.

    • skborders

      In reply to locust infested orchard inc:

      Minimalism in design, does not necessarily mean in function. You can have all the function without visual clutter.

      • locust infested orchard inc

        In reply to skborders:


        Yes indeed, and I believe you could be correct. Quoting from the article above:


        “Minimalism is more than a look; it serves a specific purpose,” Czajka says. It’s easy to achieve a minimalist design by stripping down features, resulting in a cleaner looking but less functional browser. This was not our goal with R3 … What we’ve done with R3 is to refine our features and place them in a way that they are fully accessible without getting in your way. Our vision of minimalism is such that your browser is more functional for your daily use, not less.”


        I'll believe it when I've tried Opera R3 for myself, but I am one of those who expects to have a full single row toolbar with a myriad of buttons that are configured for a specific function, and I demand the presence of a status bar (unless the address bar can double-up as one).


        In the address bar the full protocol needs to be displayed (i.e., FTP:// HTTPS://, gopher://), the web domain, port number if not 80, the file path, along with the query string.


        It repulses me to see the standard stuff being neglected in today's web browsers that are critical for the safety and security of the netizen.


        Keeping the basic stuff is elementary.

  2. ubelhorj

    I used to be all about Opera back in the day, but not anymore. It's OK, but why use it over Chrome?

    Also, it seems like every time I open it they've pinned garbage onto the new tab screen that I don't want and they've clearly been paid to do. That offence alone is grounds to not make it my daily driver.


    Vivaldi is much closer to what old Opera used to be. I wish they'd hurry up with the mobile version.

    • docpaul

      In reply to UbelhorJ:

      I agree about the pinning of unwanted garbage. Unbelievably tacky. Still, I continue to use it primarily.


      Also, if you really want to minimalize your design Opera, get rid if the redundant Google search bar in the speed dial.

  3. Bats

    Opera always had a great approach to design. Even though, Microsoft tried so hard to "beautify" Internet Explorer and Edge (Remember their "beautiful web" campaign?), Opera was always a significant number of steps ahead of them and much more with Chrome and Firefox. However, overall functionality, as well as the Google "ecosystem" makes Chrome still the best browser to use.


    To be honest, I like Opera. I even like it better than Firefox....always have. It's my hopes that Google steals some things from Opera and make it their own. For instance, the sidebar. Joanna Czajika said it best when she stated that the browser should be a "frame" for the web. Why can't Google make use of all 4 sides of the browser, rather than just the one top part? I know I could use a Chrome extension for that, but it would better if was already natively built in. 

  4. david.thunderbird

    I'm just happy that it is linux able, was not thrilled with chromium and firefox is a pain on linux for me.


  5. ianhead

    I find it a bit weird for Opera to tout minimalism and then stick a dirty big bar on the left hand side of the content you're there for.

  6. IanYates82

    In all the discussion from Windows Weekly about Microsoft Edge moving to a Chrome backend I'm surprised that Opera doesn't get more of a mention. I see Microsoft doing to Chromium effectively what Opera do with it - they put their own GUI wrapper around the core rendering & JS engines.


    I think Microsoft will want to go a bit further in terms of enterprise support for group policy (or InTune) preferences. There's also a lot of "Google" & "Chrome" showing through in Opera - just use the dev tools to see some examples. Microsoft may work harder to hide some of that.


    But fundamentally I think MS are going to be not that different from what Opera, or Brave & others, do.


    As for improvements to performance & battery life on Windows... They're going to come from improvements in the core engines (Blink rendering & V8 JS) so, happily for us consumers, may well be made in Chromium itself and thus benefit the wider browser market.

    • IanYates82

      In reply to IanYates82:

      And maybe those improvements could even find their way over to Electron apps!!!!

    • cheetahdriver

      In reply to IanYates82:

      I agree, I was surprised by all the mentions of Brave and not one bow to Opera in the house. During one of Firefox's issues with processor and memory, I started running Firefox, Edge and Opera all at the same time to see how they compared. Edge was quickly discarded, but Opera has become my goto for anything in the Google ecosystem (which since my company uses Google suites is typically 10 tabs or more). Firefox Ihave kept around, but I keep the usage light (3-5 tabs) to keep the demands down.


      I have found Opera to be light on memory and processor, and yet not sending Google all my data (especially since I have it locked down with Noscript and uBlock Origin). I also found it odd nobody mentioned the Manifest V3 controversy. That in and of itself should give Microsoft pause.

  7. chaoticbastian

    It's a shame Opera gets little love compared to others that I think it would eventually disappear or get bought out without other ways to push itself forward. I would love to have seen Microsoft go the Opera direction to be honest they could have bought the company from the beginning and we would never had had the nonsense that is ie and edge

  8. Piras

    Thanks for throwing in the links for the Linux (Future of Windows) builds ;)

  9. Hoomgar

    I read this yesterday and immediately installed it.  Have been using it since.  I have tried it several times over the last decade+ and always seem to end up discontinuing it's use.  Time will tell but so far I am really liking what they have done.  It's definitely fast and lightweight.  It installed in like 2 seconds and opens web pages like opening a flat file in Notepad.  Kudos.

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