Opera published the first build of its Reborn update all the way back in February this year, bringing some tweaks to the interface as well as a couple of features borrowed from its experimental Neon browser. Today, the Reborn update is available for all, as Opera 45.
The Reborn update is an attempt at bringing some of the best ideas from Neon into Opera, and thus, intriguingly, the browser is now capable of pinning WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger in its sidebar. Opera says that browsing and chatting simultaneously remains “cumbersome and inefficient”, and this seems to be the solution to that problem.
It’s an interesting idea, and one that can be customized quite a bit; the sidebar is now accessible from the browser window rather than just the Speed Dial page like before. Optionally, it's possible to hide the sidebar as well.
The messaging services open in a flyout, which can optionally be pinned next to the current tab. It's also possible to remove certain services from the sidebar.
The browser also integrates with these services to some degree – dragging and dropping an image from a webpage into the Messenger lets you share it instantly, for example. Besides messaging, the sidebar also provides access to history, bookmarks, extensions, and more.
In addition to that, the browser now offers a dark theme, and updates iconography across the browser with newer high-DPI icons, along with quite a few animations. Animations, per Opera, “make the Reborn interface more alive and playful”.
Lastly, there are some performance and security updates as well. Aside from using Chromium 58 and coming with quite a few changes for web developers, the browser will now warn users when entering passwords or credit card information on non-HTTPS webpages. It will also handle videos on Windows more efficiently, and offload more of the work to the GPU, resulting in “significantly higher framerate, higher resolution, and lower battery usage”.
In an attempt to “rethink the browser”, Opera seems to have delivered a farrago of changes, and yet focus on one thing: the experience; dark mode, and smooth animations are small things, but they make for a decent update. The enhanced sidebar and its integration with messaging services might be able to attract a couple of users as well.