I came across this unloved browser and now Google Chrome looks even worse

Recently I came across a relatively new browser (initially created in 2019), or more like a special version of the main Opera browser, called Opera GX. 

It touts that it’s a “browser for gamers” and while that’s clearly a bit of an exaggeration, it has plenty of features that gamers would benefit from. Not to mention that the interface alone bears a strong resemblance to anything you’d find in Cyberpunk 2077.

From controlling how much of any given resource websites can use to built-in adblocker to its tight integrations with Discord, YouTube Music, and more directly through the browser interface, there are near endless ways users can augment their experience with Opera GX. You can even customizing browser backgrounds and music.

With such a wide breadth of options and enhancements, everyone, but especially the gamers that Opera is clearly targeted, should give Opera GX a try. After all, if a staunch supporter of Mozilla Firefox like myself can be impressed, then you just might find yourself as pleasantly surprised as I did.

 GX Control

The Opera GX browser on a gaming PC

(Image credit: Opera)

One of Opera GX’s main features is the CPU, RAM, network limiters, and hot tab killer which allow users to control how much of those resources are impacted by the browser, even letting you automatically shut down particular tabs that hog too much of those values. It’s a simple set of features that offers specialized control over your internet experience that you can’t even get from the best Google Chrome extensions, at least not easily.

Being able to put this kind of limit on a browser is critial, since they can quickly start eating up a surprising amount of your system’s resources. Opera GX’s has a soft and hard toggleable option for the limiter, with the soft option meaning that there’s some wiggle room within your set limit while the hard edge means that tabs will be dropped as soon as you hit that set limit.

This is something that gamers who have browsers open in the background that they might switch to for walkthroughs, guides, or any number of gaming related topics can seriously benefit from by keeping the browser from impacting gaming performance. If you’re a gamer who’s found that keeping Google Chrome open in the background is cutting into your frame rates, Opera GX might be the solution you never knew you needed.

 GX Cleaner

The Opera GX browser on a gaming PC

(Image credit: Opera)

Most browsers have options to be able to clean out caches, cookies, and other ‘build-up’ that accumulates over time, but those tend to be buried deep within options menus and are not particularly user-friendly. Opera GX, however, has the feature front and center in its Sidebar, where the GX Control and social media integration live as well.

You simply click on the icon and then choose between three options, which control what needs purging, or customize it yourself including the age of those unwanted files. It’s a great tool that makes browser clean-up so much easier, especially since it can have a dramatic impact on how quickly your browser runs and how much memory it gobbles up.

Built-in AdBlock and VPN 

Internet privacy has become more important in our lives as it becomes something that is harder to enforce. And while Opera GX runs on Chromium and isn’t the top-tier mainstream browser for privacy (that would be Mozilla Firefox), it still offers quite a variety of tools that you can use to customize your privacy experience.

Built within the browser is both a VPN and AdBlock, which you can toggle off and on through the sidebar menu as well as customize what sites are exceptions for these tools. Trying it out, they both work quite well, blocking some of the biggest online trackers out there while allowing you to choose what region your IP address is registered.

Of course, it’s not perfect, as both the VPN and AdBlock can interfere with websites as well as other GX features, but the fact that they come completely integrated and – in the VPN’s case – completely free is an absolute boon.

You also have the option of downloading your own tools like uBlock Origins, as well as plenty of other addons and extensions that protect your privacy. And while these options aren’t as robust as Firefox’s offerings, it’s still a healthy amount that allows you to better tailor your experience.

Direct social and media integration

The aforementioned Sidebar features some pretty impressive integrations built into it, such as having instant access to tons of sites such as Twitch, Discord, Twitter, various messenger apps, Instagram, and more. 

There’s also a music player that functions similarly and allows you to play music from sites like YouTube Music, Apple Music, Deezer, Soundcloud, Tidal, and Spotify right from the browser.

In any of these cases, you can use these sites by watching, listening to, or viewing content from them while using the main browser. And none of these use additional tabs either, which frees up resources. As I’m writing this, I’m using the YouTube Music player to listen to a video game music playlist while I type away and it works perfectly.

Other cool features 

The Opera GX browser on a gaming PC

(Image credit: Opera)

There are some other really nifty features that let you augment Opera GX to your exact visual and audio specifications. 

For instance, you can turn on RGB lighting through Razer Chroma, Logitech G Lightsync RGB, and Corsair iCue, as well as choose from tons of user-made backgrounds (including animated ones!) to make your browser your own. You can also set sound effects for typing, as well as choose background music to play while you’re browsing.

You can organize your tabs into groups or Workspaces, which is especially handy for tabs that you may need to keep open and track of long-term like for work or school assignments. There’s also Opera Flow, which syncs content between the Opera GX desktop browser and mobile versions. It’s essentially an instant messenger that lets you share links, files, or texts between your PC and phone.

All in all, Opera GX is a browser that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but it is possibly the best web browser for gamers out there and a fantastic alternative to Google Chrome if you’re not quite ready to ditch a Chromium-based browser just yet.

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