Opera Max App Review

by: Joe HindyMarch 30, 2014
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Opera Max is being released in open beta to users around the world. It’s from the makers of the popular Opera Browser and they’re known for coming out with some pretty good applications. Is this app worth your time? In this review, we’ll find out. As usual, you can read it below or watch it above.

Opera Max


Okay so what does Opera Max actually do? It is a standalone application that routes your internet traffic through its servers and compresses the data before it gets sent to your phone. This sounds complicated but it really isn’t. When browsing the web, you are essentially just downloading a bunch of stuff. Videos, images, advertisements, webpages, etc are all downloaded to your device using your data connection and then displayed for you.

What Opera Max does is it takes all that stuff and makes it smaller before sending it to your device. That means you use less of your data to get essentially the same content. This may not sound like a big deal but when you’re on a 1GB/month data plan, anything that helps stretch that data further is something that could be useful and in this case, it’s Opera Max.

Along with the data compression service, Opera Max lets you see what apps are using data and when. There are time stamps to show when apps use data so you know if something is borrowing your data connection when you’re not using it. There is also a function to block apps from using data so ones that update frequently –we’re looking at your Facebook- can be kept under control.

That’s really it folks. You install it, open it, and enable it and it pretty much takes care of everything else. It should be noted that it cannot save you data on encrypted apps because encrypted data is not routed through Opera servers. That stuff gets sent straight to your device.

Opera Max 2

How can I use this?

So how can you use this? It’s very simple, really. This is a classic “fire and forget” application so there’s really not much for you to do. You enable Opera Max and it essentially just works in the background to save you data. You can then use the app to block access from apps that you don’t want using your data all the time and overall it gives you more control over your own data usage.

As we noted earlier, it does not work on encrypted apps. So in order to get the full benefit of Opera Max, you may have to relegate a lot of your activity to your browser. This means using the browser for things like YouTube, Facebook and others that the app itself may not fully support. That way the data can be compressed and you can start using less data on more stuff.

Opera Max 3

The good

Okay so here’s what we liked.

  • It’s a really good idea for an app. We still live in a world where many carriers restrict how much data you can use and sometimes a couple of GB per month won’t cut it and for many, Opera Max can help.
  • We really liked the Block Apps feature. Even if it can’t save you data on encrypted apps, it can still prevent them from accessing the internet without your permission and this alone can save you hundreds of MB per month. Especially from social media apps that like to update constantly.
  • For the most part, it’s fairly easy to use. You open the app, you enable it, and then you go about your business as usual. There are no overcomplicated set up processes.
  • Lastly, we liked the level of information it gives you. You can see exactly which apps use what data and when. This can be a real eye opener for people because a lot of apps use more data that they would initially think or use a lot of data in the background without their knowledge. Even if you don’t engage in Opera Max’s data saving services, it’s still pretty nifty to see what is using your connection.

The bad

And here’s what we didn’t like so much.

  • It doesn’t support IPv6 and this can be a real bummer. When it detects that you have that, it suggests that you simply change your APN settings. For some this won’t be a big deal but for many this is a complicated task. You can still use the other features of the app, but you won’t get any data savings until they either support IPv6 or you decide to go through with learning how to change your APN.
  • There isn’t a readily available list of popular apps that are encrypted and even the screenshots are a little ambiguous. So figuring out when and how to save data can be a bit of a pain. In that same vein, most savings take place in the mobile web browser and not as much in applications so many may be turned off by the prospect of using their mobile browser instead of applications for more things.
  • Since the app is essentially a VPN service, you may experience slower web browsing depending on things like your distance from the nearest server. Also, because it does compress data, you may also notice some lower quality images and video.

Opera Max 4

Final thoughts

Overall, Opera Max is a solid app. It has its problems but none of them are bad enough to decrease the overall value. If used properly, this app can save you a lot of data. If you’re on a limited data plan and are on a carrier than uses overage charges, this app may very well actually save you money and that’s never a bad thing.

Even without the data saving mechanism, the app is still pretty useful. Being able to block apps from using your data alone makes it worth checking out because we all use apps that use our data religiously for updates. Best of all, it’s free to use so there’s really no reason not to check it out. Use the button below to get started.
Get it on Google Play


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  • Sanyi

    So, what’s the difference between Opera Max and Mini? To me it’s 90% same

    • not really, The Opera Mini is just a web browser and the data savings only occur when you are using the opera mini app to browse, while The Opera Max allows you to save data on almost any app

      • kirakira

        so does that mean you no longer need opera mini?

        • Diego Caballero

          Indeed it does. It’s either Opera Mini (or other Opera browsers with same feature like Opera Classic etc) or Opera Max + random browser.

          The again, Opera browsers do have other functionalities some others might lack, like Text Reflow or quick-scroll up/down, desktop browser sync, speed, neat interface etc.

        • Kind of, it all depends on how much data you wanna save. Opera Mini gives you more savings but at the risk of losing some functionality like javascript in most web pages.

          Opera Max lets you use most of these without losing any of the functionality but uses more data that way

  • bakakun028

    I don’t know if this just occurs to me or not but upon every boot I have to reauthorize the app to connect to vpn service. Does this happen to anyone else?

    • JosephHindy

      Yes it happens to most people. It doesn’t have an “enable on boot” option.

  • melhiore

    Joseph. Delay does not have anything to do with VPN. Please educate your self within this subject. Delay is coming from compression/decompression process on the servers and local machine…

    • JosephHindy

      If you’ll notice, I said “things such as” implying that there are multiple reasons. The one I gave was one that Opera gave to one of their users in the Play Store reviews.

      • melhiore

        “Since the app is essentially a VPN service, you may experience slower web browsing depending on things like your distance from the nearest server. Also, because it does compress data, you may also notice some lower quality images and video.” – sorry, I see simple statement here… And actually I would even call this service more like PROXY and use it as BIG BAD thing as all my data is going through someones machines…

        • JosephHindy

          I don’t understand why you are so angry. If you don’t like the app, then you have every option to not use it and that means all the problems you have with this app won’t apply to you. I was told that it can decrease browsing speeds. Opera said it was likely due to server location among other things, so that’s what I told people. If you have a problem with that solution, you should be taking it up with Opera and not with me.

          Also, Opera Max directly states that it’s a VPN service. Check the screenshots above, I have an image of the actual dialogue box that says this. If you think that “VPN” should be defined in a different manner, I recommend consulting the folks at Wikipedia, various dictionary agencies, etc because I also cannot do anything about definitions of words.

          TL;DR I don’t know why you’re angry at me, I didn’t do anything wrong.

          • Flip Jumpman

            Guess he didn’t have his big-ass-cup of coffee yet?

          • JosephHindy

            Lol I guess not.

  • Heisenberg

    How is this app different from Onavo??

    • JosephHindy

      Onavo simply monitors data while this does other things.

      • Liam

        Onavo Extend has done what this app has done for a long time; route data through a VPN to compress and reduce data usage.

  • martyhalpern

    Does Opera Max work with any web browser or must I use Opera?

    • Flip Jumpman

      I have the same question too?

      Also, since the Chrome browser compresses data and you use this app is it like double-dipping on data savings?

      • JosephHindy

        Guys I only used this app with Chrome browser. It works with _any apps that don’t use encrypted data_ whether it be web browsers, social media, etc.

        • Flip Jumpman

          Got it. Thanks for the reply.

          Now to the real question. Did I win the M8/S5/Z2 giveaway? Please ship me any one of them… Thanks Mr. Hindy :)

          • JosephHindy

            Hahaha I am not a part of the selection process (I hear it’s just a random generator anyway). You’ll know next week!

  • DevTheDev

    How is this different from what Pied Piper and Hooli are offering?

    • Allice Willard

      It doesn’t involved middle-to-out jerking of penises

  • amine
  • I don’t get it: there’s no such thing as free meal — they have to pay for their infrastructure, right? What does they gain, what’s their business model? Do they syphon our data in order to profile us and sell statistics to other business? Why none article about OM address this issue?