Some time ago I was searching for mature, customizable, keyboard focused browser. I wanted to it to look good, have a mobile version, have support for a lot of extensions, have sync functionality and be usable, both with and without the keyboard. Another requirement was that the browser to be different than Chrome because I wanted to try something new and with more powerful customizability features. So a stumbled upon Vivaldi.
Vivaldi “is a free, fast web browser designed for power-users”. It’s build using Chromium, which means it’s compatible with some Chrome extensions. However, it isn’t fully open source as Chromium. The founder of Vivaldi also cofounded Opera, so there are a lot of common features between the two browsers.
Vivaldi offers a lot of things out of the box, like session management, note taking, shortcut editing, putting unused tabs in the background to save RAM. It also offers some novel features like tab stacking, mouse gestures, “page actions”, tabs in the sidebar. The majority of this features though can be achieved using add-ons in Chrome. Also, other browsers like Opera and Firefox have similar features.
My experience with it was not one of the best. It was noticeably slower than chrome. It was also pretty unstable and crashed quite frequently. Also, the lack of a mobile app is a big disadvantage. The big advantage of Vivaldi is that it offers a lot of features out of the box, in comparison with other browsers.
Replicating some Vivaldi browser’s functionality with Chrome add-ons
- Session management - Session Buddy
- Customizable keyboard shortcuts - Shortkeys
- Suspend inactive tabs - The Great Suspender
- Note tacking - Google Notes (or the like)
- Chrome (obviously) + Plugins
- Firefox + Plugins. As Mozilla deprecated the XUL add-ons (in favor of WebExtensions), there is no point in using Firefox as a lot of powerful and useful plugins (like Pentadactyl) will no longer work.
- Qutebrowser. Good keyboard support. Few add-ons. No android app.
In conclusion, the experience made me appreciate more Chrome. Maybe as Vivaldi will evolve and it will become usable enough for daily use, maybe I’ll consider it one more time.