Opera Neon is an alternative, experimental browser from Opera that wants to give us a glimpse into the future of computing.
It’s the design of Opera Neon that instantly catches your attention. While opening a traditional browser like Google Chrome or even regular Opera feels like you’ve opened an app, Opera Neon feels like a new interface for interacting with your computer. The only comparison that springs to mind is switching to, say, Unity Desktop after spending years in Gnome Desktop.
It feels like a desktop.
The whole UI is all bubbles. Speed dial is replaced with a handful of bubbles, each one representing a web page. New tabs show up as bubbles on the side of the browser and visual elements like progress bars are also bubbles.
Neon’s UI feels great. It’s visually pleasing and very distinct, especially after you come from the utilitarian efficiency of Chrome. I like the fact that browser tabs pop on the side rather than on top, it’s actually a more convenient place to put them, and in-browser split-screen modes, pop-out video playback and other such features are all nice to use.
My favourite feature is the snap-to-gallery feature. You tap the snap button on the browser, drag a box around whatever it is you want to capture and voila! A snapshot of the area you selected is automatically dumped in an easy-to-access tab. Better still, the image will also link to the source site, so a snapshot of a YouTube video will link to that YouTube video, for example.
I noticed that Neon took my desktop wallpaper as the browser background, this, and the overall design, add to the effect that you’re using a new desktop UI than something that is just a browser.
The large icons also mean that the UI is touch-friendly, so there’s no need to switch between desktop and tablet mode on devices like 2-in-1s.
All things considered, Neon is a great demo of what a browser can be.
It’s not as powerful as something like Chrome or Vivaldi (no extensions, tab and file management issues, etc.), but it’s a very pleasant, refreshing browser that I can see myself using while I laze about on the couch.
You can download Opera Neon here. Let us know what you think in the comments section below!