Opera Software buried their good, old Opera 12 browser and started working on a very simplified (and far more useless) modern Opera version. I was a big fan of the classic Opera browser. In search of a decent replacement for it, I came to know about Vivaldi, a new browser from Opera's co-founder and his team. Even if this browser is at the early "Technical Preview" stage, it looks very promising. Let's take a closer look.
Unlike Opera 12 which had its own rendering engine called "Presto", the new Vivaldi browser is built on the Blink/WebKit engine, i.e. it is based on Chromium. However, unlike the new Opera which is dumbed down, it intends to be feature-rich and is already more powerful than the existing
Chropera Opera browser. Because power users are stated as the target audience, Ia am interested in this for now.
On the developer's page, you will find the following statement for Vivaldi:
In 1994, two programmers started working on a web browser. Our idea was to make a really fast browser, capable of running on limited hardware, keeping in mind that users are individuals with their own requirements and wishes. Opera was born. Our little piece of software gained traction, our group grew and a community was created. We stayed close to our users and to our roots. We kept improving our software, based on our users feedback, as well as our own ideas on how to make a great browser. We innovated and we strove for excellence.
Fast forward to 2015, the browser we once loved has changed its direction. Sadly, it is no longer serving its community of users and contributors who helped build the browser in the first place.
SO WE CAME TO A NATURAL CONCLUSION:
We must make a new browser. A browser for ourselves and a browser for our friends. A browser that is fast, but also a browser that is rich in functionality, highly flexible and puts the user first. A browser that is made for you.
Here are the key features of the Vivaldi browser:
Preview thumbnails for tabs
When you hover over an inactive tab, you will see its thumbnail, like in Opera 12:
Speed Dial with grouping
The Speed Dial page allows you to reorder thumbnails manually by adding new items and changing their position with drag and drop. Also, you can create folders for thumbnails, which is a unique feature of the Vivaldi browser. It is very useful to organize your startup page.
When you click the folder in Speed Dial, you will notice the "Up" label which will allow you to return to the main Speed Dial page:
This is yet another old Opera-like feature, a sidebar on the left. The F4 hotkey to expand or hide it also works! They are even going to implement the built-in Mail app:
From the left panel, you can access bookmarks, downloads, history and so on:
The Download manager
Vivaldi features a download manager built into the left sidebar. Right now, there is no torrent download feature like in Opera 12 though.
Show/hide images button
With Vivaldi, it is possible again to toggle images quickly - there is a button on the status bar for doing this:
The only bad thing about this button is that it forces the page to be reloaded. However, this is a limitation of the Chromium engine.
Vivaldi has a notes feature, so you can leave a short note for an opened page. This feature was in Opera 12 too, but the Chrome-based Opera has no such feature.
You can attach a URL and also a thumbnail/screenshot for every note you add.
Customizable tabs out-of-the-box
With Vivaldi, you will get tab grouping (like Opera 12), and can adjust tab placement and even more.
What about extensions in Vivaldi?
Well, extensions will come officially in the near future, but you can try them now as well. Type the following in the address bar:
You will get the "Chrome extensions" page.
To install some add-on, you need to know its Chrome App Store URL. For example, I installed the popular AdBlock extension using the following url:
It works without issues.
Other nice stuff
- Every tab uses the dominant color of the page. See this in the screenshot below:
- Customizable hotkeys:
- Customizable search engines.
- Cookie manager:
- Pages actions, which can apply various effects to the opened page, e.g. make it grayscale:
- Lots of settings!
The Vivaldi browser can be a real alternative to existing "simplified" browsers such as Google Chrome and its various forks, as well as Mozilla Firefox, which is also oversimplified without add-ons to supplement it. The Vivaldi team has made it their goal to take the place of the old Opera 12 browser. They promise to implement bookmarks sync, the email client and full-featured extensions support. Besides these, personally I would also like to see something like "Opera Links" and F12 Quick access menu from the old Opera browser. Those were two of my favorite features of the now abandoned browser. What do you think about Vivaldi? Do you think it has potential? What features do you expect from it?
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