Vivaldi is a new web browser, released April 6, 2016. Vivaldi is the brain child of Vivaldi Technologies. The Opera co-founder John von Tetzchner launched the browser back in January 2015. The web browser runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. There are 32-bit or 64-bit versions available for Windows and Linux users.
Unlike Google Chrome the interface is not restricted. Most Chromium-based browsers share the same interface, but on first use the differences in Vivaldi are clear and refreshing.
Similarities between Vivaldi and other Chromium-based browsers are still visible; For example, the menu at the top left, merging of tabs with the title bar and the zoom & image options toggle in the status bar. This is where the similarities stop though. Vivaldi shows different tools in the address bar and a side panel you can show or hide.
Vivaldi’s Side Panel
The side panel allows you to display bookmarks, downloads, notes and web panels. Web panels can display any website directly in the side bar.
Vivaldi has a dedicated search field. One of the reasons I’ve been using Firefox all these years and a feature I desperately missed from other chromium-based browsers. It is features like this that can make an ordinary web browser, great.
Loading information is displayed in the address bar that indicates progress, size of the page and number of page elements loaded. I find this to be one of Vivaldi’s coolest features.
Exclusive Vivaldi Features
In this article we will discuss some of the features that make Vivaldi stand out from the crowd. Some features may be supported by other browsers, but that would be a small percentage. Vivaldi has many features that sets it apart from other browsers.
However, features like; speed dial, tabbed browsing, tab pinning and HTML5 support will not be mentioned here, because those features are supported by most modern browsers.
To help with the clutter that sometimes can occur when using a web browser, Vivaldi has tab stacking functionality. Google Chrome supported tab stacking before, but for some unforced reason they removed it.
Stacking tabs in Vivaldi is pretty straight forward; simply drag and drop one tab on the other. There is no limit to how many tabs you can have in a stack, but I will guess that too many tabs could make a stack unusable.
You will notice that the tab stack takes up the same space as a single tab. Toggling between tabs in a stack is as simple as clicking on the tab.
Tab tiling gives you the option to display all sites and services in a tab stack at the same time. To do this, right-click on the Tab Stack you would like to tile and select Tile Tab Stack. The tiles will be displayed side by side by default. You can however use shortcuts to change the layout of the tiles.
The following shortcuts will change the layout of the tiles in a tab stack.
Ctrl-F7 tiles all tabs to a grid
Ctrl-F8 tiles all tabs horizontally
Ctrl-F9 tiles all tabs vertically
When you hibernate tabs, Vivaldi will unload the sites, but keep the tabs listed in the browser. This allows the user to free up some much needed memory used by the browser.
You can hibernate individual tabs or all background tabs. To hibernate background tabs; right-click on the active tab and select Hibernate Background Tabs. All the tabs will be hibernated except the active tab.
To hibernate individual tabs; right-click on the tab you would like to hibernate and select Hibernate Tab. For obvious reasons, this option is not available when you right-click on the active tab.
Vivaldi has a convenient note taking feature. You can highlight any text on any website and add it to a note for safe keeping. I can think of a few hundred situations where this could be useful.
To add text from a website to a new note, select the text you would like to add, right-click on the selection and then select Add Selection as New Note from the context menu.
Notes can also be viewed and created using the Notes panel. When creating a note in the Notes Panel, date and time will automatically be added to each note.
When creating a new note from a website, Vivaldi will add the date, time and URL to the note automatically.
You can add attachments, screenshots and website address to a note. This is a power surfer’s dream come true.
In the browser window, press F2 to display the Qucik Commands interface that lists frequently used activities, like; New Windows, New Private Window, Close Window and Toggle Fullscreen Mode.
In the Quick Commands interface, simply type a few letters of what you would like to do and use the keyboard (Enter) or Mouse (Click) to select the option. This method of running a command is not faster than using keyboard shortcuts, but this interface is still useful, because some options do not have any hotkeys associated with them.
Vivaldi has some interesting appearance options worth taking a look at. To open the Appearance settings dialog, go to the Vivaldi menu, then Tools and select Settings. On the Settings dialog, select the Appearance Tab on the left-hand-side. Below is a list of the most important appearance settings.
Show or hide the status bar.
Show or hide the tab bar, and display it at the top, left or right side, or bottom.
Show or hide the address bar, and display it at the top or bottom.
Display the panel on the left or right, or hide its toggle.
Select a light, dark, or page theme color-based interface color.
Set a background color or image.
Below are some general settings worth taking a look at.
Tabs: Define how tabs are cycled, and enable or disable tab previews.
Keyboard: Learn about keyboard shortcuts, and change shortcuts
Mouse: Enable and learn about supported mouse gestures.
Webpages: Set default web page zoom level (valid for all sites).
Webpages: Set minimum font size.
To access experimental features, go to the vivaldi://flags page.
The same as Opera and other Chromium-based browsers, Vivaldi supports Google Chrome extensions.
This claim is supported when you open the extensions management screen (vivaldi://extensions). The “get more extensions” link point to the Google Chrome Web Store.
The procedure to install an extension is the same as in Chrome. When you found an extension you would like to install, press the “add to chrome” button to install the extension directly. The same Chrome dialog detailing all the permissions that the extension requires to run will be displayed.
Once you accept, the extension will be installed. Extensions can be removed from the extensions management screen. Like Chrome there is a Developer Mode allowing you to sideload extensions.
Extensions that leverage Chrome-specific code might not work, but the majority of extensions should work just fine.
Web Browser Benchmark 2016
An important question is, “How does Vivaldi compare to Opera, Chrome, Edge and Firefox”. I ran some benchmarks on all the major browsers available against Vivaldi. The results are posted below. Feel free to run the benchmarks yourself, and compare your results to mine. The services I used is; HTML5Test, Kraken, Octane and Browsermark. Higher values are better except for Kraken were lower values are better.
After being forced to update my Java version, I finally got around testing Internet Explorer.
What can we expect from Vivaldi?
Here’s what Jon von Tetzchner had to say about the future of the Vivaldi Web Browser.
Moving forward we will continue to focus on end user requests. As part of that we will be providing a full mail client. Advanced Internet users continue to use many mail accounts and we feel that there is a significant hole in the market there. But generally we will continue to improve and innovate, based on end user demand and requirements.
User feedback, and the feature-richness of classic Opera are the two driving factors that drive the browser’s development.
Although I love Vivaldi, I found reverting back to Firefox quickly. But this is my preference, and not because Vivaldi is an inadequate browser. Give it a try, you never know; this could become your favorite browser.