Review of the Vivaldi Web Browser

by Sanjeeva Wijeyesakere

Published on 1st February 2015

It isn't often that a new browser comes to the attention of the web at-large. This week, we heard about the launch of Vivaldi, a new browser being developed by a team of developers headed by Jon von Tetzchner, the co-founder of the Opera browser. Like recent versions of Opera, Vivialdi uses Google's Blink rendering engine, which itself is a fork of the Webkit project. While some features of Vivaldi (such as the mail client) are still under development, this review looks at the browser's technical preview release.

vivaldi

Figure 1: The Vivaldi browser

I installed Vivaldi under Windows and set is as the default browser. Overall, the installation went smoothly. When launched, you are taken to a rather spartan interface that places the website you're viewing at the forefront. The browser's interface is similar to that seen in competing products like Chrome and Firefox.

vivaldi-speed_dial

Figure 2:Vivaldi's speed dial page

Like Opera, Vivaldi has a speed dial page where you can pin frequently visited sites. Personally, I find having a static speed dial page to be more useful than the 'Top Sites" option in Chrome.

vivaldi_settings

Figure 3: Vivaldi's settings page

The developers of Vivaldi have said that this browser is aimed at power users. However, the customization options and available extensions are currently somewhat spartan. Furthermore, while you can change the default search engine to DuckDuckGo, eBay and others, Bing is noticeably absent. Hopefully these shortcomings and omissions will be rectified in a future beta release.

vivaldi_acid3

Figure 4: Vivaldi passes the Acid3 test with flying colors

Technically, Vivaldi passes the Acid3 test and I didn't experience any problems accessing popular websites such as CNN, the BBC, etc. An interesting UI feature is that the tab colors change to match the color scheme of the website you're visiting. This is how the browser's tabs are colorized when visiting bing.com versus microsoft.com:

vivaldi_tab_colors

Figure 4: Vivaldi's changing color schemes

Overall, Vivaldi represents a refreshing new browser. While it is still under development, the browser is stable and appears to be a viable alternative to the current crop of web browsers.

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