Vivaldi May Be The Real Chrome-Killer

Category: Browsers

I received so many comments mentioning the Vivaldi browser on my article about Opera that I just had to take it for a week-long test drive. The short story: Vivaldi is an excellent alternative to Chrome! I would switch to Vivaldi permanently if not for one shortcoming, which may not matter to you at all. Read on to learn why I highly recommend Vivaldi and what that shortcoming is...

Vivaldi - Music to Your Eyes

Recently, I wrote about the Opera browser in my article Earth to Opera... The Browser War is Over (and you lost). Some Opera users thought my tone was too harsh, but secretly I was hoping to elicit positive comments from its passionate defenders. That did happen, but quite a few others mentioned that I really should do a review of Vivaldi, which, as it happens, exists only because a bunch of people were unhappy with Opera. So here we are, delving into another browser with a musical moniker. (For extra credit, can you name three others?)

Vivaldi was launched on April 12, 2016; as of January, 2017, it had over 1 million users. The history of Vivaldi’s birth is an interesting tale of what happens when the leadership of a company dismisses a small but powerful group of its loyal customers. You can read all about it at Wikipedia. (Frankly, Opera Software, I think you wrote your doom that day.)

Vivaldi was developed by and for “power users,” people who live and do serious work in their web browsers. The initial influx of Vivaldi users were disgruntled Opera fans, upset by changes to that browser which eliminated some popular features. This demographic has helped Vivaldi with excellent feedback, enabling the browser to evolve, improve, and grow in users very rapidly.

Vivaldi Browser - Time to Switch

But Vivaldi also works very well for “clueless newbies” and regular users who just want a Chrome-compatible browser that doesn’t hog system resources (with one accidental exception described below) and doesn’t break all the time.

During my week-long affair with Vivaldi, I was unable to find a website that did not behave as it should. My survey included Facebook (*), Twitter, and other social media sites; banks and stock brokerages and even cryptocurrency exchanges; Amazon, eBay, and many humbler e-commerce sites; Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, and other entertainment, music, and streaming media sites. If any of you valued readers can show me a site that Vivaldi cannot render properly, I would be grateful to you.

(* Even Social Fixer, the monumental feat of Javascript programming constantly updated by one of my heroes, Matt Kruze, works flawlessly with Vivaldi. I am profoundly impressed by that!)

Vivaldi’s approach to bookmarks is completely different from any I have ever seen, and it caused me learning pain. But the short, elegantly clear and simple video tutorials in Vivaldi’s Help site quickly relieved that minor suffering.

A Series of Unfortunate Extensions

Because it uses the same Blink page-rendering software as Google Chrome, Vivaldi users can install browser extensions directly from the Chrome Web Store. In most cases, they will work the same, according the Vivaldi developers. But unfortunately, my experience did not bear that out.

The one reason I reluctantly left Vivaldi and returned to Chrome is that the former works with only one of the half-dozen or so browser extensions that I love and depend upon for my work. That may be due to sloppy programming of those extensions, or just an incompatibility with Vivaldi. Perhaps that will change, but it presented a roadblock for me. So for now, alas, my sweet, slim, lovely Vivaldi, I must bid you adieu until this problem is resolved.

A Happy Accident

Remember that “accidental exception” I mentioned earlier? Vivaldi’s parsimonious use of system resources turns out to be a blessing. I use Avast as my primary security suite. I run it in “silent gaming mode” to suppress all annoying popup notifications -- except the ones that urge me to upgrade to the urgings-free premium version, of course. But that’s the price of free software. Shortly after I installed Vivaldi, I had a reason to check Avast’s logs and found that Avast had classifed Vivaldi as a game!

“Stupid Avast, that isn’t right,” I grumbled to myself as I searched Avast’s help files to see how to correct this error. Then I read the full story of what Avast does when a game is run while Avast is in silent gaming mode. “I apologize, Avast. That’s actually good; really, really GOOD!” I exclaimed right out loud.

Besides quelling popups, Avast also puts to sleep other programs running in the background while a game is in use. Avast frees as much memory and CPU cycles as possible and gives every bit of power to the "game" that is running in the foreground. This happy accident makes Vivaldi as fast as it can possibly be!

This “misclassification” of Vivaldi by Avast is great for people like me. I live and work in my web browser, so if it is faster I am happier. I wager a Jackson ($20 bill) that Vivaldi’s developers did something clever that caused it to be “misclassified” as a game. I suspect the same thing will happen in other security suites that have “gaming mode” enabled. Please try it with Vivaldi and your security suite, and let me know.

Your thoughts on Vivaldi and other alternative browsers are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Vivaldi May Be The Real Chrome-Killer"

(See all 32 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

26 Feb 2018

You've done it again, Bob.
I've been using Opera for a couple of months, uniquely for Facebook (stops Facebook snooping on my main browser history) but found it slow, and several videos stalled part way through. I was ready to try a new browser, and lo! you came up with a recommendation for Vivaldi.
Easy download, painless set-up, smooth videos and no load delays. Thank you.

Posted by:

26 Feb 2018

I use Maxthon - it came with my Lenovo laptop - so far without any trouble.

Posted by:

26 Feb 2018

Thanks Bob. I will give it a try. I went off Firefox when it would only open links by right clicking then clicking open link in new tab. I went back to Chrome which is doing all I need but if Vivaldi is lighter on resources and quicker then that will be a good thing.
Thanks again for providing a great service to your readers.

Posted by:

joe s
26 Feb 2018

I hate that when I open a page in a new tab Vivaldi goes to the new tab instead of allowing me to do that later, as in Opera, which I like regardless of what anyone else says. I have been unable to find a menu switch to alter this behavior. My online searches failed to turn up a way either. In all fairness I dislike that Opera does not have a home page or start page button and I have not been able to find a solution for that either. But it is less of an issue for me than the Vivaldi thing.

Posted by:

Lady Fitzgerald
26 Feb 2018

I have yet to find any browser that still manages cookies as well and as easily as IE11, which is why I still use it. I'm going to miss it when I switch to Linux in a year or so.

Posted by:

27 Feb 2018

Sadly, it failed my simple test. I play a lot of games, Sudoku, Crosswords, etc. Nothing complicated. About halfway through the game, it hangs and gets worse. It hangs for 3-5 seconds between keystrokes, and then 20 [no kidding] then just freezes.

What browser works for simple games? Right now, Chrome does the best, but still not very good.

Posted by:

27 Feb 2018

I just downloaded and installed Vivaldi ... Yes there were a few "things" - I'll have to play & find the settings... But so far it has been like "greased lightning" opening and browsing ....

Posted by:

27 Feb 2018

I just downloaded and installed Vivaldi ... Yes there were a few "things" - I'll have to play & find the settings... But so far it has been like "greased lightning" opening and browsing ....

Posted by:

27 Feb 2018

I have been using Vivaldi since Bob first mentioned it a couple years back although I would not describe myself either as a power user or a newbie (22 years online and 33 at the keyboard).

In answer to Curt, the current 1.14 version seems not to work with Privacy Badger.

I have had problems with video links as well as Youtube Autoplay not working so for the time being Chrome is my default but I doubt that will continue for long.

Another plus, you get a human response to a bug issue almost immediately!

Posted by:

27 Feb 2018

I installed it on my windows 10 desktop and am very pleased with the performance. Any chance it will become available for the Chrome Book and android phone?

Posted by:

27 Feb 2018

Bob, I tried to install Vivaldi on Win XP and got the following error message. Entry point not found, could not locate KERNEL32.dll. Thanks Gary

Posted by:

John O
27 Feb 2018

What else do you get with Opera? And who sold it to who them ? Vivaldi sold most of Opera as follows. Talked to your Samsung TV lately?

Posted by:

Gordon Cutler
27 Feb 2018

I downloaded Vivaldi after reading your review of it yesterday and love its speed and the ease of sorting and moving bookmarks.

Alas, Webroot's web filters won't work with it and according to their Support team, there are no immediate plans to change that.

Posted by:

Jerome Rosen
27 Feb 2018

Good article on Vivaldi- would love to know which five browser extensions that Vivaldi couldn't handle. Thank you.

Posted by:

28 Feb 2018

Another bonus for those that don't like the default browser at work is that like Chrome, Vivaldi can be installed without admin rights. (Doesn't change registry settings.) Nice if your IT department has your computer locked down like ours does.

Posted by:

28 Feb 2018

From your article on Firefox recently, I began using Slimjet browser ( Flashpeak ). It is based on Chromium like Chrome but uses tons less RAM and processor. It has its own AdBlocker built in. Besides being slightly less pretty and having a name that reminds me of some slimy 'helper' programs, it is awesome! I use it every day and have Chrome extensions running well. I've recommended it to others and heard positive feedback.

I'll try Vivaldi. Nice name anyway, but will take allot to beat Slimjet!

Posted by:

28 Feb 2018

I am an imbecile!
Not that I have a single issue w/my trusted Firefox; I figured maybe Vivaldi was my real salvation.
For the life of me, I could not figure out how to open it with my homepage launching 3 separate and populated tabs (e.g. facebook, amazon, twitter). I tried every configuration/combination possible in the Settings/Startup menu (Homepage;StartupWith;StartupPages).
I used commas, semi-colons, colons, pipes, spaces between the 3 pages I want Vivaldi to open to:
I was liking what I saw but maybe Vivaldi was not meant for retarded peeps like me!

Posted by:

28 Feb 2018

As you suggested I tried it on my Pclinuxos system and liked it over Firefox and Chrome. I had a problem importing bookmarks from Firefox so I moved them to Chrome and got them from there. Then I had a hell of a time getting them to load I a toolbar and spent much time until I got it to work but ultimately succeeded. I felt somewhat better after rereading your article.

This is my 2nd attempt to complete this post as when I neared the end the 1st time this text box became inactive. I made sure my keyboard USB was OK so I opened another tab with a text box and it was OK. Then the screen went black but other tabs were OK. I'm no expert but apparently something caused the page to crap out. Hope it's a one off.

Posted by:

12 Mar 2018

Loaded Vivaldi for Linux. Liked it very much, fast light, no problems importing bookmarks from Firefox, liked a lot of the features. However, it kept locking up my system. After about 4 days of it, 2 to 3 times a day, that was enough and I uninstalled it. Maybe I'll try a future version to see if some of those problems clear.

Posted by:

05 Aug 2018

I'll use Firefox till the end of the Earth!

Currently running the developer channel so far no complaints, its fast updated frequently and full of features out of the box. That said its naturally setup for developers, luckily you can change this and set it to classic Firefox look.

Another win for Firefox? Almost all new browsers use FF plugins, so well lets just leave it there.

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