Opera is one of the more innovative browser developers out there – in 2016 it upped the stakes when its Opera browser added in new features like built-in VPN, battery saver and (more controversially) ad-blocker. But despite all this, Opera and its rivals' basic user interface all hark back to the web’s early years, where it was primarily web pages and documents.
That’s the reasoning behind this "concept browser", which Opera says will allow you to focus on the myriad of different content the web provides. Fire it up, and you’re immediately presented with a streamlined start page, with your desktop background mirrored and an omnibox supporting both direct links and multiple search engines.
After entering your link or search terms a window-within-a-window pops up with the page’s contents displayed – you’ll also see an icon appear on the right representing that page’s tab. You can minimise to return to the start page to open more tabs. Tabs aren’t static, but managed to ensure more frequently used tabs rise to the top of the list. Drag a tab on to the Start page to pin the website to it for easier access going forward.
Opera Neon also supports a split-screen view, allowing you to view and use two pages side-by-side, which is less innovative (Vivaldi already employs a superior means of grouping and viewing pages in tandem). To use this feature, simply open one tab, then drag your second tab to the top of the open tab window and hold before choosing where to place it.
There’s a sidebar on the left providing one-click shortcuts to a video player, image gallery, snapshot tool, and download manager. The video player pops out and allows you to watch video from a resizable always-on-top window while consuming content from other pages.
The browser is not designed to replace Opera, although it’s surprisingly polished and could easily be used as such with support for bookmarks, developers and more. Instead, expect to see some of its features transition to Opera’s desktop line throughout 2017.
An interesting twist on the modern web browser, Opera Neon is surprisingly functional as well as reasonably fresh, although it's not quite as innovative as you might think.