As people whose entire job is about delivering software to web browsers, we spend a lot of our lives right here in the browser. Anything that allows us to work more comfortably and efficiently piques our interest. While we might be a little jaded from trying too many lackluster alternatives, we’ve definitely found our hands-down winner.
If you’ve not heard of Vivaldi, then please allow us to introduce you to the best browser we’ve ever used.
Note: we’re not affiliated with the Vivaldi project in any way; we’re sharing here because it’s a great product and we’re just spreading the word.
Vivaldi is based on the open-source Chromium browser, just like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. This means that your favorite Chrome extensions will probably work with Vivaldi (I’ve not had anything yet that hasn’t). It also means most websites will display as intended in Vivaldi.
And that’s about where the similarities end.
I usually end up with a ton of open tabs, and when I’m in a browser like Google Chrome, that means I see something like this:
Vivaldi allows you to have vertical tabs (left or right) as well as the traditional horizontal flavor (top or bottom). (To its credit, Microsoft Edge allows for vertical tabs as well.) Having the tabs on either side means you can see more of the text associated with a given tab, and I find that very helpful:
Vivaldi also supports tab groups, which allow you to (as you might have guessed) group related tabs together in a sub-sidebar (or top/bottom bar if that’s your preference) giving you separate workspaces for related tasks. For instance, when I’m working on something specific I am constantly searching to pull up documentation, tutorials, etc. I can keep those tabs in the forefront when I’m using them, then neatly tuck them into a stack when I need to switch off for a bit.
Vivaldi provides a thin icon strip which they refer to as “the panel.” You can turn options on and off. In my case, they’re all on. You have the expected things that a browser should make accessible—like bookmarks, history, and downloads—but they’re in this extra side-strip where they are convenient, but not in the way. However, the nice thing about the panel items is that when you click, it slides out to meet you:
If you want to turn on some of the optional panel settings, you can also see your email, your calendar, and RSS feeds in the same unobtrusive way. One click and they fly out. Click again and they slide back from whence they came.
It’s the little things
The big difference with Vivaldi isn’t —in my opinion —a single killer feature, but the fact that there are little things, over and over, everywhere. It’s kind of like the differences in a five-star hotel vs. a three-star, or a luxury car versus one that I can actually afford. At every turn, I have found nice little surprises.
For instance, there’s a “Notes” section in the side panel. Open it and a panel flies out to let you take a quick note. But it’s a note with buttons with which to add a screenshot (or a portion of a screen), or a portion of a screenshot. Oh, and attach files. And use markdown. And did I mention that the notes sync among your devices?
You can add your own things to the side panel as well. For example, our company’s internal knowledge base is part of my panel allow for super-quick access and searching. Fully responsive sites are best here, because of the minimal real estate.
Interested in trying Vivaldi yourself? Download it here for all major platforms.
If you try it, or if you’re already using it, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.