- Extensive customization options
- Good privacy controls
- Supports Chrome extensions
- Not available on iOS
Vivaldi was created in 2016 by the former CEO of Opera with the objective of giving full control to the user. It provides one of the highest amounts of customization in the browser industry giving you the possibility to arrange everything, from tab positions to gesture mapping – making sure you end up with a browser that feels like your own. In fact, after you go over all the settings and tweak every single detail, Vivaldi won't even seem like it's based on Chromium at all. Moreover, it comes with so many features that you won't need to lose time hunting for extensions as you’ll already be getting a practical browser that’s perfect for multitasking. All of this, while still providing a certain amount of privacy since Vivaldi does not store its users' browsing history and uses end-to-end encryption when sending browser data between devices through its syncing feature. When it was originally released, Vivaldi was only available for desktop but in 2019 it released a beta version for Android.
Features & Extensions
Since Vivaldi is Chromium-based, you can add most of the extensions you can find on the Chrome Web Store. However, you’ll quickly see that there's a lot that can be done without needing to install any add-ons.
Saving Time Through the Notes Feature
Vivaldi lets you quickly add notes and take screenshots while you are browsing the internet, which is perfect when you are doing research and want to save some thoughts for later. The notes feature is pretty neat and thorough; you can create folders that let you aggregate notes by topic, add the web address, add screenshots of the full webpage or the selected area you want, as well as attach images from your computer. This feature will, without a doubt, save you a considerable amount of time since you can do all of this without leaving the browser.
You can also capture print screens to save on your computer or to the clipboard by clicking on the camera button at the bottom of Vivaldi. Although that's not a new thing, what caught our attention the most is how many settings you can tweak that will save you a lot of time later, especially the option to change the automatic name of the screenshots, where you can add various fields such as timestamp, hostname and page title.
Reading With No Interruptions
If you love to read articles on the internet, you’ll love Vivaldi; it comes with a reader view mode that opens webpages presenting only the article's body. In other words, annoying pop-ups, advertisement, sidebars, among others will completely disappear, and you’ll be able to focus on your reading without any obstructions. Besides the text, Vivaldi will show images within the article but not videos. As always with Vivaldi, you can tweak a ton of features regarding the reader view mode like the font, the theme (dark mode is available), as well as vertical reader mode.
Customization is one of the most important aspects of using Vivaldi and you can start building your interface by adjusting the tabs layout. There are settings to change the tabs bar position, where you want your new tabs to appear, the minimum width of the active tab, and everything else you can think of. Moreover, you can also use one of the themes that comes with Vivaldi or install your favorite from the Chrome Web Store. Interestingly, Vivaldi comes with a theme scheduler as well where you can make the browser change themes at specific hours. For example, you can have your default theme during the day and the dark one to start automatically at 9 p.m.
On top of that, Vivaldi also has Razer Chroma integration, which will change your browser's color depending on the website you are visiting, as well as any hardware compatible with the software such as keyboard, mousepad, headphones, etc. For instance, if you have this option enabled and visit Twitter, the color will change to blue; if you visit Reddit, the color changes to orange and so on. However, customization does not end there since you can also change any keyboard shortcuts, quick commands, and mouse gestures so that everything works as you want it to.
With so many types of customization, you may wonder what happens if you share your computer with someone since you may have a different opinion on how Vivaldi should look and work. Well, Vivaldi offers a profile manager where multiple users can share one Vivaldi installation. Each profile can have a different set of extensions, bookmarks, history, etc. as well as its own look and configuration.
Of course, the more customization you throw in, the heavier the browser will become. However, Vivaldi gives options such as tab hibernation and lazy loading to use as few computer resources as possible, making it a fast and reliable browser.
Privacy & Security
When companies have such simple and easy-to-read privacy policies as Vivaldi does, it usually means that they care about your privacy and want to make sure you know what kind of data is being sent to their browsers. Typically, it also means that they don't take much personal information, and Vivaldi is an example of that.
The only thing Vivaldi does is phone home daily where it will receive your user ID, CPU architecture, screen resolution, and time since the last message. Moreover, your IP will be disguised since Vivaldi removes the last octet of the IP address. Your browsing information such as visited URLs, typed search keywords, and downloaded content is stored in your client profile, and Vivaldi has no access to it. On top of that, the syncing feature uses end-to-end encryption, making sure nobody can get access to your data while your user data is going from one device to another.
However, just because Vivaldi does not store your browsing data doesn't mean other third parties won't. Vivaldi uses several Google features that are enabled by default, such as auto-fill, search suggestions, and safe browsing, which send your user data to Google. Although you can easily disable this in the settings, we feel that tweaking those settings should be a part of the first steps of the welcoming screen. Vivaldi does not offer an anti-tracking option and although you’re able to enable a setting that will ask websites not to track you, following this request is entirely up to the websites themselves.
As stated before, Vivaldi uses Google Safe Browsing, which will protect you from malware and phishing websites. Moreover, it uses sandbox software which isolates webpages you are visiting so that malware, virus, and other nefarious software are not able to infect other applications in your computer.
When you're accessing a website over an unsecure HTTP connection, Vivaldi alerts you by showing a warning sign as well as text stating “not secure” in the left side of the address bar. However, it does not enforce websites to use HTTPS.
Customization is what makes Vivaldi one of the most fun browsers to use on the market. On desktop, you can tweak all the settings you want on Windows (7 and later), macOS (OS X 10.10 onwards), and Linux. On mobile though, you can only use it on Android through its beta version.
Although the Vivaldi mobile version is an excellent browser app that presents a clean and user-friendly interface as well as providing most of Vivaldi's desktop features, it does not offer the same level of customization. However, that's no surprise since the desktop version of Vivaldi lets you practically build your personal browser with your favorite layout.
Like most other popular browsers, Vivaldi does not have a live chat or 24/7 customer support. However, you can find solutions to your issues on a decent variety of channels. The FAQ is always a reliable place to start where you can view entries about the various features Vivaldi has to offer, different how-to guides, and information about customization, recovering your account, among many others. If you can't find what you are looking for, you also have the community forum, which has more than 20,000 topics dedicated to the browser. On top of that, you can get in touch with Vivaldi's team through email or social media, via Twitter and Facebook.
If you love customization and organizing everything in your own way, Vivaldi is, without a doubt, the browser you should be using. Not only you can change the layout altogether, but you can also modify mouse gestures and keyboard shortcuts to whatever you prefer. If you’re spending a lot of time researching and taking notes from websites then Vivaldi has your back, making it extremely easy and straightforward to multitask. However, it does not offer the best privacy settings by default since it uses several features that send information to Google and it does not have the option to block websites from tracking you entirely. Nevertheless, it's a well-rounded browser that will look exactly as you want.