Opera 15 preview released, Mail becomes separate product

Martin Brinkmann
May 28, 2013
Updated • May 22, 2018

Opera Software announced a few months ago that it would integrate WebKit, the engine used by Google Chrome and Safari into its browsers. Later on it announced that it would use the Blink fork of Webkit instead together with Google.

Today, the first preview version of Opera 15 powered by the new engine has been released. You can download the release directly from the Opera desktop team website where it is available for Windows and Macintosh systems. According to Opera, a Linux version will be released today as well.

You may ask yourself why it has been released as Opera 15. The most likely explanation is to merge the version of the Android and desktop versions. The Android version of Opera has recently been released as Opera 14.

One of the things that you may notice right away is that Opera decided to separate the Mail client M2 from the browser. If you have been using Opera Mail before, you need to download the separate product from the same website to continue using it.

Note: Both products are preview versions which means that they may contain more bugs and issues than stable releases. It is not recommended to install them in productive environments.

opera 15 next


So how different is Opera 15 from Opera 12.15, the latest stable desktop version? You may not notice that many changes on first glance but there are many if you look deeper.

  1. The icons in the bottom bar including the zoom slider are not there anymore.
  2. You cannot open a small sidebar panel with often used icons anymore.
  3. The appearance menu is not available anymore. It seems that you cannot customize the look and feel of the browser anymore. This includes toolbars, icons and their position and visibility in the browser. No tabs on side.
  4. The browser settings are limited.  Examples of removed preferences include selecting helper applications for selected programs, font selection, all tabs options and file type actions.
  5. The opera:config page is no longer available.
  6. Chromium developer tools are now used. Bye bye Dragonfly.
  7. Opera Notes is not available.
  8. Custom shortcuts and many mouse gestures missing.
  9. Bookmarks not available yet.
  10. No RSS.
  11. Opera Extensions are not supported.

Features carried over

Some features have been carried over by the team.

  1. Opera Link, the browser's synchronization service is included in Opera 15.
  2. Opera Turbo, now called Off Road mode is also included.

Quick benchmarks / tests

  • HTML5 Test: Opera 15: 433 and 9 bonus points. An increase of 29 points over Opera 12.15


Closing Words

Opera 15 Next is a preview version and not a final product. It is therefore theoretically possible that Opera Software will integrate some of the missing features into the new browser version.

Existing Opera users will likely be disappointed in regards to the cuts that have been made as several important features, customizing the appearance for instance, are no longer available.

Speed and compatibility on the other hand has increased a lot. Especially the JavaScript performance needs to be mentioned in this regard as you can see from the benchmark results.

The main question though is if Opera Software manages to carry over enough unique features that distinguish Opera from Chrome so that users see a point in using the browser.

Opera 15 preview released, Mail becomes separate product
Article Name
Opera 15 preview released, Mail becomes separate product
Today, the first preview version of Opera 15 powered by the new engine has been released. You can download the release directly from the Opera desktop team website where it is available for Windows and Macintosh systems.
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  1. humpty said on July 30, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Opera is taking a big risk here. Chrome is a cpu and resource hog.
    It seems the decision to go with webkit might backfire for them, unless
    they can make it look excatly like 12.xx. They sure did get suckered in.
    Why didn’t they just develop their own engine ?

  2. nykk said on June 7, 2013 at 1:12 am

    I am very dissapointed:

    – No super-smooth page scroll anymore only available on Opera
    – No single key shortcuts [now it acts like all other boring browsers]
    – No any shortcuts as we used to like in past [ctrl+shift+h – hide Opera in taskbar and others]
    – what is the point of using Opera instead Chrome or so when it is all the same now?

    :( Damn…

  3. brian said on June 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    The new Opera? Nothing about it is the Opera browser any of us know. If you’ve used Opera over the years for it’s various features (MAIL / UNITE / IRC / NOTES / BOOKMARKS / ETC.) than you would surely know what a piece of crap Opera 15 is. I’m hoping some ex-Opera worker will hack v11.64 or v12.15 and update them to fix security issues and bugs. Those are the only two Opera browsers I will continue to use. It’s too bad Opera won’t make Presto opensource! Opera 15 is the worst decision the company has ever made. I feel bad for their stockholders.

  4. Rocky said on May 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I agree with BobbyPhoenix. I like the new Opera – Ok a bit short on settings etc but it is clean and streamlined . Remember it is only a preview/beta and todays blog states that more features will be added. I tried the old Opera several times but each time ended up uninstalling it because it was too idiosyncratic and too far removed from look the look and feel of other browsers

    I like the seperation of OperaMail into a seperate program.

    For me the best is the possibility of having chrome type speed / security without having to directly use a Google product

  5. Justin B. said on May 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    It looks like bookmarks still exist, but they it as “stash” which you can find on the speed dial. Another feature gone now that I really liked was being able to make a private tab without having to make a whole window private.

  6. kalmly said on May 29, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Hmmm. I posted here day before yesterday. I didn’t say anything brilliant, but my post is gone. Is it because I’m using Opera??? Just a thought . . .

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 29, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      Was it published on site? I cannot find it in the spam.

  7. Pierre said on May 29, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Facebook identifies it as Chrome !

    I didn’t like Opera, I love this new version !

  8. Anonymous said on May 29, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Very interesting browser. very few customizations, less even than Chrome. Bookmarks have desappeared : why not ?

  9. Pierre said on May 29, 2013 at 10:34 am
  10. Pierre said on May 29, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Has Opera windows 64 bits desappeared ?
    I am looking for Opera 15 Next windows 64 bits and I no longer find it.
    It was one of the interests of Opera…

  11. Rick said on May 29, 2013 at 1:43 am

    I quickly took a look at Opera Mail – liked the look and speed; however, I imported just 3 of my emails from Thunderbird:

    portable thunderbird – entire database 770Mb (yes, I know, I should really clean out the 1998 emails I still have)

    Opera Mail – just three accounts representing about 50% of the email volume – database 1.6G

    Doubling up the size, and there doesn’t seem to be an ability to make Opera Mail truly portable (yes you can make the app portable, but the datafiles are stored in users/local without an apparent settings file or settings that can change the location)…

    Half-baked release on both the browser and mail side. I don’t understand their rush to push-out what is clearly an alpha product at best.

    Consolation I guess that Mozilla isn’t the only game in town that can’t help to race to dumb-ass decisions.

    1. KK said on May 29, 2013 at 11:22 am

      “there doesn’t seem to be an ability to make Opera Mail truly portable (yes you can make the app portable, but the datafiles are stored in users/local without an apparent settings file or settings that can change the location)…”

      Opera Mail is actually truly portable.

      After the “Standalone USB” option is set, you choose the location of files in the pulldown box below. There is even a tooltip note from Opera that says USB install “does not touch the hard drive” at all.

      I’m running it that way. Works perfect feature wise.
      It’s slower than Thunderbird. Seems to hit the USB stick more causing tiny lags.

      So glad they made M2 standalone. Should have done that years ago.

      And to the Opera detractors…
      Remember, web browsers are a “free” product.
      I’m sure it was an uphill, money losing battle to keep old Opera going.

      You are lucky to get *anything* that works these days.
      It’s amazing that things like free browsers and Linux even exist.

    2. BobbyPhoenix said on May 29, 2013 at 8:36 am

      “Half-baked release on both the browser and mail side. I don’t understand their rush to push-out what is clearly an alpha product at best.” Half-baked is more than enough to release this version. It is the first release of its kind. It’s a PREVIEW, not a full release to be used as a daily driver. It’s really just meant to get it out there as a foundation to build on, and as that, it works great. All the complaints are making me laugh. It’s like complaining about installing a new OS on your computer. “Geez I just installed Windows 8 from scratch. It sucks. I don’t have my favorite browser. I don’t have all my programs. I can’t open Office files. Man it doesn’t do anything my Windows 7 does with all my customizations I made to it!” LMAO Give it time people.

  12. Andrew said on May 28, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    The more I thought about it, the more I remember that this is an alpha stage browser, primarily to try out the engine I believe. I read through a few of the comments on the opera site and people were not happy. I think really it comes to this for me:

    If the final version is Opera with webkit/blink, then I will make it my primary browser as I always ran into issues on some sites.

    If the final version is chrome with an opera face, then I will drop it. Opera’s features were what set it apart from other browsers. Without them, the browser is no different than Netscape 9 was to firefox.

    Regardless, the plus side is I will get to remove one browser off my computer and have to test sites with one less browser :)

  13. Vítor Inácio said on May 28, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Google destroying everything. R.I.P. Opera.

  14. Hoborg said on May 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm


    there’s nothing left of “Opera” in there! No Mail and RSS, No IRC, No Sidebar, No Notes, No Content Blocker, No Customizable UI, No Tab Stacking, No Advanced Features and Options, No Nothing…

    This is totally BS guys; I wouldn’t have used Opera as my main browser for over a decade if i wanted to use chrome or some shit like that… >:/

    and this is the end of the greatest web browser ever made in the history of man-kind. :’/

  15. Matias Aquino said on May 28, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    As a hardcore Opera user, I´m really sad today. Everything that made me choose Opera over other browsers is being taken away. After all those years, maybe I´ll have to become a permanent Firefox user… I´m forced to use it now to be able to read my email at Outlook.com, since Opera compatibility with websites was never 100%, but the advantages where always far greater!

  16. Phil said on May 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    It Just hurts.
    Mail Client gone. Dragonfly gone. Notes gone. Sidebar gone. No customization.
    Chrome Look. I don’t want no chrome.
    Why? Just Why? Opera was kind of perfect.
    How is it even possible to mess up something that hard?
    I dont need that speed. I don’t give a **** about those milliseconds.
    But what I need are those features. All in one.
    Won’t Upgrade. Never.

  17. Andrew said on May 28, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Wow, this is a shame. Opera really is an amazing browser.

  18. Tim said on May 28, 2013 at 10:33 am

    What do corporates have against RSS feeds and why are they dropping them? Is it because they don’t make profit from them?

    1. anon said on May 28, 2013 at 11:02 am

      Why else?

    2. KK said on May 28, 2013 at 10:35 am

      Corporations don’t have brains. Literally.

      Kind of a zombie creation on paper.

  19. KK said on May 28, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Well, just like Chrome you can’t save as .MHT anymore.
    Firefox and IE are now the only browsers to let you save pages as “web archives”.
    IE only supports .MHT

    Firefox has the Mozilla MAFF addon that does .MHT and .MAFF
    Critical for internet archiving/research.

    The save as “Webpage, Complete” is total junk.
    Makes an .htm file and a matching folder to clutter up your hard drive with confusion.

    Firefox makes a single .MAFF file with page title. It’s actually a .ZIP archive so the .html file and related folder with page graphics etc is neatly packaged. Can be opened by anything in the future. I wonder why all these other browsers are so behind the times on this?

    Why not build this into Chrome etc. ?
    It can read .MHT now (after many years of the others doing so).

    Firefox still rules.

    1. KK said on May 28, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Oh yeah, standalone Opera Mail is a cool idea. Should have done that years ago.

      It’s not as full featured as Thunderbird, but has other cool stuff. Less cluttered.

  20. SubgeniusD said on May 28, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I considered myself something of an Opera fanatic/power user but this guy makes me look like a casual noob. His 2 very long lists of defects, quirky bugs and important missing functions are just plain depressing.


    And as Negative_Torque on the Reddit thread mentioned – there’s rarely a big difference between Alpha release and final product. So hope for the best but expect the worst.

  21. BobbyPhoenix said on May 28, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I love it! I only need my bookmarks, and I’m all set. So far it’s super fast, and very usable for the first version. It’s going to get exciting soon as we should see Chrome’s extension base start coming over to Opera.

    1. anon said on May 28, 2013 at 9:53 am

      Use Chrome instead if you like it.

      Seriously, I can’t even disable smooth scrolling. WTF.

  22. Maou said on May 28, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Sad news indeed…
    The next news will be “google buys Opera”
    R.I.P opera.

  23. Paul B. said on May 28, 2013 at 8:21 am

    I was thinking that the move to webkit was brilliant, because in one step it would eliminate so many of opera’s core problems. But I was assuming minimal changes to opera’s user configurability philosophy. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Chrome has been dominating the browser scene, even down to the adoption of its absurdly wanton version numbering scheme. In the last build, 12.15, opera even insisted on resetting google as the default search engine every time the browser was reopened, so it seems opera’s corporate submission to google is complete.

    If M2 is separated from the browser, and especially if dropping RSS is a permanent change, why should anyone use it rather than outlook?

    The move to webkit could have been done with opera’s independence intact, but that does not seem to be the game plan. A lot could change between now and Final, but the only advantage I see to opera over chrome at this point is privacy protection from google. And even that is not certain.

    Yet another case of opera shooting itself in the foot. The ironic thing is that opera desktop has been the company’s greatest money maker. So why not obliterate it, right?

  24. operaised said on May 28, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Opera extensions from versions 12 and before are NOT supported

    see supported APIs on the bottom of this page

    so no Opera specific options from previous versions and not the whole Chrome API

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 28, 2013 at 8:43 am

      Thanks, corrected it.

  25. lolwut said on May 28, 2013 at 7:40 am

    No M2 anymore?
    No custom shortcuts?
    No more Dragonfly?

    They can’t be serious, these were the main aspects of having Opera over other browsers.
    If they stick to that, I’ll be off to Chrome. Why bother using a clone when you can have the original…

  26. anon said on May 28, 2013 at 7:38 am

    So it really looks like they’re going to become yet another chrome clone.

    Bye bye opera. Looking for complete replacement will be tough. :/

  27. JohnP said on May 28, 2013 at 6:57 am

    I was hoping to switch my third browser Iron to Opera since I like Opera’s customization. Well, there goes any hope that’ll happen.

  28. Dukislav said on May 28, 2013 at 6:08 am

    Look on the bright side: this is the end of the famous “Opera hangs on the last element” ..

  29. SubgeniusD said on May 28, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Well predictably this renovation (or demolition) is producing a lot of outrage. They’d better release a road map that includes the projected final feature set or they’ll see a lot of users jumping ship.



    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 28, 2013 at 5:54 am

      I agree. It would be helpful to keep users calm if they plan to integrate the customization features again. I’m not entirely sure about that though.

      They need to create features that distinguish the browser from Chrome. Why would anyone use Opera if Chrome offers the same feature set and a very similar look and feel? Because of Opera Link? I highly doubt that.

  30. Dukislav said on May 28, 2013 at 4:52 am

    Opera has definitely become Chromium clone, I could not believe it until I saw with my own eyes … This is not necessarily bad for the users, on the contrary. Funny, looks like “Yandex” browser …

    1. anon said on May 29, 2013 at 12:35 am

      Why is it not bad? Chrome may be the fastest in rendering the webpage but it’s slowest of the bunch when it came to actually navigating the page, and it take much more cpu power too just scrolling around.

    2. Smy said on May 28, 2013 at 4:54 am

      Maybe not for the chromium users.. :/

  31. Smy said on May 28, 2013 at 4:45 am

    The death of opera..

  32. Peter (NL) said on May 28, 2013 at 4:13 am

    Thanks Martin for this article.
    Well, I am very interested what these changes will mean for the acceptance of the Opera desktop browser. What I understand is that the Opera team stripped it significantly. And my understanding was that Opera users just used this browser for all the ‘unique’ features (a real browser).

    I think it is not good that Opera (and also Mozilla) want to clone their browser to Google’s Chrome.

    1. ACow said on May 28, 2013 at 5:44 am

      Yep, if the customization features don’t come back, it’s bye bye to Opera for good this time. Seeing as every Chromium-based browser looks and behaves pretty much the same, they most likely won’t.

      Firefox trying to look like Chrome and now good ol’ Opera’s gone. Disappointing.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on May 28, 2013 at 4:20 am

      It is too early to tell but if Opera does not implement features that existing users hold dearly, like customization options, then it is very likely that part of the userbase won’t upgrade to Opera 15 or switch to Firefox.

      It may still pay off for Opera though if they manage to increase the browser’s userbase over all. Maybe they have some leverage because of the greater exposure of their mobile browser’s.

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