Vivaldi, Iconic Composer, Now an Iconic Browser?

Vivaldi, Iconic Composer, Now an Iconic Browser?

For those of you who haven’t come across Vivaldi, it’s a new to market browser targeted for the power users out there. At its core it isn’t especially different from other browsers: it’s built on Chromium and so utilises Chrome’s rendering engine. This is a tick straight away as if you read last week’s blog, then you already know most web users have this browser and so a large number of pages are optimised for this.

The initial onboarding process is a little longer than its counterparts, but not excessively so and how can anyone expect a tailored layout without making custom choices?

Vivaldi Screenshot Onboarding
With everything set up, it was time to play. My initial reaction was that the preview screen on the left side (a choice I made) was a great feature.

Vivaldi Screenshot Preview

But sadly I learnt that this function, either due to being in its early stages or to protect private data, wouldn’t show data on a lot of windows in the preview. Below is an example of this issue occurring with Chrome store but I did encounter the same problem with the likes of Asana and Gmail.

Vivaldi Screenshot not working

That’s not to say that Vivaldi’s other widgets aren’t of a higher standard. Some features such as the notation tool are quite effective and easy to use.

Vivaldi Screenshot Notes
This isn’t the case for Facebook, which is a lacklustre feature in the side bar as it can’t display messenger, only the main feed.

Vivialdi Screenshot Facebook

The downside of these side bars is that things start to get cluttered rather quickly. They can be enhanced with a large number of the Chrome Store’s plug-ins working on Vivaldi. There are handy zoom controls in the bottom right of the screen and a fast forward button in the top left.

The browser was only released in Beta in November 2015 and officially launched in early April 2016 (21 days ago). In its Beta period, it was downloaded 2 million times and has already had a large number of patches and a new update to version 1.1. What does all this mean? There’s definitely a large user base interested in Vivaldi and that there is a team of dedicated developers serving this demand at a rapid rate.

Vivaldi goes against the trends of modern browsers, and even operating systems, which all focus on minimisation and simplicity. Further proof of this tradition breaking methodology can be seen even in their logo. All mainstream browser logos except one are circular, resembling the world and the global connectivity that the internet brings. Vivaldi tries to be a box that packages all different services into one customisable screen.Vivaldi Logo

Concluding Thoughts on Vivaldi

Did Vivaldi impress? I can safely say that I wont be switching to Vivaldi today, to me it’s a cluttered browser that offers nothing more than Chrome. The tiling element, its main feature, is something that for now I am happy to replace with the Magnet software on my Mac as it allows me to tile my browser and other apps in the blink of an eye.

At the rate Vivaldi is improving, I would definitely not be adverse to trying it again in the near future. It has great potential and whilst at the moment it isn’t my cup of tea, I can see that a lot of people will appreciate it much more than I do – such as Wired’s Clive Thompson “I’ve become addicted to Vivaldi – it has brilliant tab-management features, including a search box that lets you find an open tab by typing in keywords and a “tiling” view that lets you see several tabs side by side.”

Want to have a play with Vivaldi? Click here to go to the official download page.

Stephen Collins