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  1. #1
    Jun 2012

    Review: Vivaldi browser

    Are you a disgruntled Opera user, upset with what Presto and Blink did to the browser? Well, if you are, youíre not alone Ė weíve found the other two upset users (ZING!). Iím joking! In truth, Iíve stumbled across another web browser that you (and many other people) should check out.

    Along comes Vivaldi, brought to you by Vivaldi Enterprises (I havenít been able to find any link or relationship to the prolific composer). Vivaldi is the brain-child of former Opera Co-Founder, Jon Stephenson Von Tetzhner, and former Opera CEO, Tatsuki Tomita. Their single mission: give the webís most discerning users the browser they deserve.

    As of this review, Vivaldi is on version 1.3.551.38.

    After downloading the 38MB file, the first thing you notice is that Vivaldi wants you to have it your way.
    Prior to browsing, you have to complete three steps which set up the interface. From there, youíll be greeted by the Start Page which is populated by Speed Dial Ė a series of tiles you can "customize" (an on-going theme with Vivaldi) that are basically hyperlinks Ė you can remove the defaults, add your own, etc. By default, you see Speed Dial whenever you open a new tab.

    Donít like Speed Dial? Donít worry, you can turn it off Ė thatís one of the many settings you can tinker with as you set up Vivaldi to your liking.

    Unlike Brave, which has only a handful of settings you can adjust, there are very few things you canít adjust within Vivaldiís settings:

    You canít turn around in Vivaldi without hitting a feature or option you can adjust.

    I could spend hours going through each one of these, but I wonít. Instead, Iíll hit on a few of the main features I think will pique most peopleís interest.

    Tab Stacking & Tiling Stacked Tabs
    Select a tab and hover it over a separate tab until the second tab starts to gray then release it. Congratulations, youíve just stacked your first set of tabs.

    Once the second tab turns gray, release the first tab and youíve successfully stacked tabs.

    Click on the preview to switch between tabs

    But the real cool feature is you can now Tile the stacked tabs. Right click to bring up the contextual menu to find the Tile Tab Stack feature:

    Both webpages are visible and accessible while tiled

    Now, both pages are sharing the same browser page. This can be done with more than two and the presentation will vary depending on the number of pages (e.g., four pages will result in the four corner presentation). You can then unbind the pages individually or entirely.

    NOTE: Vivaldi also has a feature, Web Panel, which essentially does the same thing but can be used across multiple tabs.

    Vivaldi has a panel where you can view your Bookmarks, Downloads, and the aforementioned Web Panel; you can also add, review and organize your notes. Just like it sounds, notes are your personal comments that you can add while browsing. Within each note, you can add a URL, a screen shot, or even an attachment. By default, Vivaldi expects the attachment to be an image file, however you can add any file type.

    Fast Forward & Rapid Rewind
    This feature allows you to jump to the next page in a sequence Ė think search results. Instead of clicking the page hyperlink at the bottom of the search page you can use fast forward to do this. TEASER! Continue reading to see what I dislike about this feature.

    Tired of scrolling to the bottom and selecting the next page when searching? Use the Fast Forward button to do exactly that.

    Initial Thoughts
    • While I liked Braveís tab preview feature, the tab stacking and tiling kicks it up a notch. At work, this would be a tremendous asset. Even in my personal use, I see this being highly beneficial. Like mentioned earlier, the Web Panel performs a similar function but adds a little more flexibility in sizing and can be used across multiple tabs. In my book, this is a game changer
    • When loading pages, the address bar indicates how much has downloaded, as well as a count of objects. More informational than functional, itís an interesting feature, but it can also add to the perception that the browser is slow, particularly when the object counter pauses on a larger object. Indeed, the browser may not be slow, but when you see the counter suddenly stop moving, the implied message is that itís stalled and slowed down

    Almost done Ė Vivaldiís telling me 83 of 91 objects are downloaded.

    • There are still some kinks to work out. the tab preview is pretty wonky, most often not showing a preview but sometime showing the incorrect one. Tabs have crashed resulting in a ďdead birdĒ icon. Also, the Home button takes you to Vivaldiís web page, not your established startup pages like most browsers. This may be intentional, but itís certainly not what I expected

    Oops! Tab preview is showing PCGamer for the PC Perspective tab

    This is what you see when a tab crashes. Good news: I saw fewer and fewer of these as time went by

    • The number of settings you can activate/deactivate/move/change are overwhelming. I tried to change the toolbar format (i.e., group some buttons together, remove some I donít want) and I couldnít do it. Problem is: I donít know if itís something Vivaldi doesnít let me do, or if I just canít find it in all the settings
    • In the mouse settings, Vivaldi allows for ďgesturesĒ Ė holding the right mouse button while moving the mouse in certain patterns will perform specific tasks (close tabs, go back, etc.). Some default gestures are already established and, of course, you can modify or add your own if you want
    • Iím not sure how beneficial Fast Forward will be. Itís nice the buttons will be consistently in the same location, but if Iím reviewing search results, I have to scroll down anyways. Plus, the fast forward will advance you one page at a time, but the rapid rewind takes you all the way back to your initial starting point. It was confusing and frustrating when I expected the two features to act similarly only to find out they donít
    • When initially tested, Vivaldi was not supporting Adobe flashplayerÖhowever, with one of the recent releases it is now working. Even with its faults, I think allowing flashplayer has more benefits than disadvantages

    Thanks to a recent update in Vivaldi, I get to enjoy PC Perspective in all its flashplayer-y glory

    Using, I tested Vivaldi against Firefox (my default browser) - Firefox edged out Vivaldi in the overall score (756 vs. 655 where higher is better).

    Conclusion: 8 (out of 10)
    Iím at a loss for what to say. Vivaldi impressed me so much that I seriously contemplated giving it a rating of 9. The tab stacking and tiling are reason enough to drop your current browser and start using Vivaldi. On the flip side, the amount of customization leaves me dazed and confused, and there are just enough minor irritations that I couldn't justify the higher rating.

    Bottom line: this is a good browser that has the potential to be an outstanding one as it improves and matures. Even if youíre content with your current browser, I highly recommend you spend a little bit of time with Vivaldi.


    Washed Up: Tab stacking and tiling are excellent; tons of customization

    Washed Out: Still a work in progress; tons of customization

  2. #2
    Aug 2016

    Re: Review: Vivaldi browser

    I have read reviews that it gets cluttered if you enable all of its tools. Especially cannnot manage extensions. Any leads?

  3. #3
    Jun 2012

    Re: Review: Vivaldi browser

    Quote Originally Posted by wendy oltman View Post
    I have read reviews that it gets cluttered if you enable all of its tools. Especially cannnot manage extensions. Any leads?
    Let me tackle the latter part first. As for extensions, except for an Ad Blocker, I did not test any extensions. When initially testing it, there was a beta build that allowed for more color in the tabs - I did download down that but decided I wanted to keep as clean an experience as possible, so I uninstalled Vivaldi and reinstalled sans beta update.

    As to a cluttered appearance, I believe there would be several factors at play, namely screen size and resolution that would impact appearance more than turning on tools. Also, with the exception of the Panel (which I'll describe in more detail in an upcoming post), I didn't come across other tools that took significant real estate. I'm not saying they don't exist, just that I don't remember seeing any during my testing.

  4. #4
    Jun 2012

    Re: Review: Vivaldi browser

    I mentioned the Web Panel earlier and wanted to address it further in this post since I cut out much of my comments in the orginal thread.

    Technically, the 'whole' section would be "the Panel" since it includes more than the web panel:

    In descending order, the Panel displays Bookmarks, Downloads, Notes and Web Panel. The Panel allows you to have multiple Web Panels. Regardless of which one you select, only one is displayed at a time

    The above picture shows the default setting for the Panel. I don't have exact measurements, but I would estimate it's no more than 20% of the display's real estate. Wendy Oltman asked whether the interface gets cluttered with all the tools enabled. In regards to the Panel, you can only see one option at a time, meaning you can't have a Panel showing Bookmarks and a separate panel showing your notes (though with Vivaldi's endless stream of options, I wouldn't be surprised if you could enable it, however it is not the default setting).

    As mentioned in the original post, the Web Panel is similar to tiling stacked tabs, except the Web Panel is static and will remain the same even as you flip through the tabs. Keep in mind, the Web Panel is still accessible and you treat it like any other tab. Its size is also adjustable, as I've done below:

    Here, I've dragged the dividing bar to expand the Web Panel to roughly 40% of the display making the appearance cleaner and easier to read

    I won't dwell on it longer - I just wanted to demonstrate the difference between a Web Panel and tiling stacked tabs as well as address Wendy's question.

  5. #5
    Feb 2017

    Re: Review: Vivaldi browser

    Tried it myself quite liked it but it has some issues that made me drop it sorry cant remember the details but it was serious enough to put me off it

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