The browser sports a refreshed user interface and is much cleaner in terms of design, compared to the previous versions. Opera also mentions that the new Blink rendering engine (used in the Chromium project) facilitates faster loading of websites and smoother Web browsing because of improved site compatibility. The preview version of the browser, referred to as Next 15 was released in May.
The browser’s new look features new minimalistic icons, a new tab bar and other UI elements including the Speed Dial feature. The Speed Dial now includes a search box added at the top and web pages can now also be categorised into folders. This feature helps in staying organised and has been already there on Opera’s Android Browser. The browser also features Stash, this is a new feature that helps users save links they might want to revisit later. The feature can come in handy to save stuff for future reading.
Opera 15 adds the Discover tab that lets users ‘discover’ content according to your location and interests. Categories such as Top News, Business, Entertainment and Technology are offered for browsing. In every category, the stories are presented in a neat tile-like interface.
The Off-Road Mode (previously called Opera Turbo), which according to Opera is meant for ‘rough times’ (i.e. when you are on a slow connection) enables pages to load faster. It uses data compression and server side rendering letting users save on data costs. The Off-Road Mode is turned off by default.
Opera had announced the transition to the WebKit rendering engine, abandoning Presto, in February. The same rendering engine was used by Google for its Chrome web browser. However, Google announced that it was shifting to Blink, a new rendering engine that’s a fork of WebKit, for the Chromium project and, in turn, the Chrome browser which is based on Chromium. Opera, in turn, confirmed that its new browser will be based on Blink, and not core WebKit, and the project has finally seen the light of day with the public release of Opera 15.