Browsers all have their stereotypes, be they true, false, or radically unfair. Chrome is for hipsters. Firefox is for techies. Safari is basic. Internet Explorer is for grandma.
But then there’s Opera — if you’ve heard of it, you may think it’s an offbeat, nerdy browser for tech-forward types.[contextly_auto_sidebar id=”5nJyrmhqBxHksN8g94BsSvfy2B6Lk1em”]Now, the founders of Opera, displeased with its direction, are launching a new browser called Vivaldi, which in its pre-beta phase has already been downloaded over 400,000 times — more than occupants in the founder’s home country Iceland.
Make that 400,001, at least, because we’ve tested it out for those who are curious.
What it’s like
Vivaldi has a flat, clean, sharp design not unlike i08 operating system. Flat design is very of the moment, but who is to say it’s just a trend?
The interface is minimalist, friendly, and intuitive. It feels incredibly lightweight, and seems pretty fast too. In fact, it’s speed, even in technical stages, is competitive with other browsers.
When you open the browser, Vivaldi’s website lays out the basics you need to know, including their story, what users can expect, current features, and what they’re working on.
The Vivaldi team calls it “a new browser for our friends.” This seems fitting, as Vivaldi is, by the makers’ account, a browser that puts the user first through speed, flexibility, and customization.
What it does
Most browsers are pared-down to the basics, meaning users must add extensions to get more features.
Vivaldi suggests that making the browser disappear may not always best for the user in terms of functionality. By making a feature-rich browser that builds both upon and away from software of browsers past, Vivaldi targets “power users” that want to gain more from their browsing experience.
Some of its current features include:
- Tab stack: You might be familiar with the infinite line of tabs that tend to accumulate atop popular browsers, until the tabs aren’t tab-like at all, but rather, a line of tiny and indistinguishable slivers.
With Vivaldi, the features make it so that you can stack and sort tabs wherever you like them to keep things organized and stress-free.
- Notes: Vivaldi has a convenient sidebar that allows users to take notes, among other options. Just jot down what’s on your mind while browsing, and Vivaldi will remember the location. You can also add screenshots and tags to notes to organize them.
- Quick Commands: Vivaldi has its own set of keyboard commands for fast actions like opening tabs and bookmarking websites. You can apparently customize commands as well. An attempt to use the Ctrl P command to get a toggle view still prompts a print job, so some more work may be needed on either our part of Vivaldi’s.
- Speed Dial: Don’t worry, this kind is not privy to butt dialing. Adopted from Opera, this function lets you organize your favorite websites by interest on one page, making for quick and painless navigation.
Where’s it going
Let’s keep in mind, this is only the technical preview — a snippet intended only to give us a taste for the direction of the product. In the work features are a Vivaldi email option, syncing notes, bookmarks, and history across devices, spatial navigation, and extension support.