Vivaldi is the latest in the series of web browsers to take the internet by storm. It is based on the open source Chromium browser and has a mix of Opera in it. This is not surprising because one of the founders of Vivaldi Technologies is John Stephenson Tetzchner, the co founder of Opera Software. The split apparently came when Opera switched to the Blink layout engine from its older Presto engine, and since then Vivaldi was launched as a technical preview first and then came out as a beta last year. Now, with a stable release and updates every week – Vivaldi is a serious contender in the battle of the browsers.
The best browser of both worlds
Of course, since most of the internet users use Google Chrome, you might be wondering what you stand to lose in case you are using Vivaldi. Well, truth is – not much. Yes, the built in user profile option and the automatic syncing of user settings, profiles, passwords etc that comes with it are missing, but that should not take away perks of being able to use all the plugins, and extensions of Google Chrome. Since it’s built on the Chromium platform, you can use the Chrome shortcuts as well. Like to get to the Apps page, just type in chrome://apps in the address bar.
So here are the pros of using Vivaldi, as I discovered.
- Clutter free tab management – The coolest feature of this web browser. It does make organizing tabs much easier. They are functional, work great, can be tiled, have previews and stack well and intuitively. There is no learning curve whatsoever.
- Ability to use Chrome Web Store – This is not surprising. The browser uses the open source Chromium project. That ensures that the browser itself it relatively stable and reliable. The best thing is that all the goodies of the Chrome Web Store is available to you. Except for the Chrome themes. They don’t work, except changing the background of your Apps page. You can check them out like shown below.
- Simple setup – The installation is no hassle and is an absolute no brainer. The bookmarks from all browsers can be imported without any trouble. You can set your theme right away. Of course, you can change that later.Also do check out the Quick Commands feature. Probably the second best feature of the browser – it gives you a dashboard type of interface for quick links to common commands like opening notes and so on.
- Chance to truly customize almost everything – Don’t like the positioning of the tabs on the top and wish to keep them in the left pane? You can do that from Settings. Want to remove plugins or extensions? Can do. Web panels are also great. You can load small snippets in the the left panel (which can be customized as well). It smartly loads the mobile version of the page – for a quick look from time to time. The notes feature did not work great for me, may be a future update can fix that.
- Download efficiency – Even in when working with low Internet speed – This is pretty much inexplicable. The address bar showed the load progress of the websites, always a nifty feature in itself. But testing sites in Chrome led to crashes or the page just kept loading. Not sure why, but in my tests the page load efficiency was good on lower speeds as well.
And these were the not so great things about Vivaldi –
- As much of a memory hog – It keeps the Chromium projects biggest complaints. It is a memory hog. As much as Chrome is.
- Only three themes so far – The number of themes are limited. Of course, you can add Chrome themes, but that only changes the Apps background theme which is not visible other that when you manually type in the chrome flag pages.
- No way to sync passwords, settings, bookmarks online – Not yet at least. This is hopefully set to change.
Of course, the negatives are being removed as we speak. There is a rumor that Vivaldi sync is on its way. But even without that, Vivaldi does strike a chord.
Vivaldi is good. Probably a better alternative to Mozilla, Opera and Edge. But vis a vis Chrome, I am not yet convinced entirely. For instance, I do use it from time to time and especially on slower connections Vivaldi performs very well. But otherwise, I will still settle for Chrome.