Vivaldi May Be The Real Chrome-Killer
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.
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.
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...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 26 Feb 2018
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