A screenshot of Vivaldi browser, showing its settings menu, with the theme configuration currently active.
Screenshot by Vivaldi

I love Firefox, and I adore Mozilla as a com¬≠pany do¬≠ing the right things for the health and longevity of an open web — even when no one else seems to care.

However, I have long com­plained of its per­for­mance on desk­top (to my­self, or pub­licly) for a num­ber of times now. Pages ren­der so slowly, and the whole af­fair seems janky at the least. It’s prob­a­bly the Gecko en­gine at play here, and WebRender should help mat­ters.

At the mo­ment how­ever, I can say Blink feels re­ally, re­ally fast. I’m forced to pri­or­i­tize my pro­duc­tiv­ity for once.

Well, is two days enough for a judge­ment? Probably. I spend a lot of time on the web, so eval­u­at­ing a browser in such a time-frame is ac­cept­able to me.

Likes

  • After im¬≠port¬≠ing my book¬≠marks from Firefox, I was sim¬≠ply able to hit a Get thumbnails but¬≠ton to fetch thumb¬≠nails for all the book¬≠marks. Why is¬≠n‚Äôt this a thing in every browser?

  • The web felt fast again. It‚Äôs nice know¬≠ing I can just quickly open a page and close it and be on my way. With Firefox, I usu¬≠ally open a link, wait, wait‚Ķ lose con¬≠text (and pa¬≠tience), and then con¬≠nect with the lost con¬≠text again. Not fun.

  • Customization. I re¬≠ally en¬≠joyed hav¬≠ing a proper menu bar at the top. I wish Firefox had this op¬≠tion.

  • Absolutely adorable was the browser chang¬≠ing its ac¬≠cent based on the tab open. It made the web feel a lit¬≠tle more fun and per¬≠sonal. ūüėÄ

  • The way the vis¬≠i¬≠bil¬≠ity of hid¬≠den add-ons is han¬≠dled! Click a tog¬≠gle, and they pop up amongst the other per¬≠ma¬≠nently vis¬≠i¬≠ble add-ons. No con¬≠text loss. No search¬≠ing in an¬≠other menu.

Dislikes

  • I had to spend 5 min¬≠utes dis¬≠abling a lot of fluff: the speed dial, Vivaldi icon as the menu but¬≠ton with a ver¬≠ti¬≠cal drop¬≠down menu (instead opt¬≠ing for a ham¬≠burger icon with a hor¬≠i¬≠zon¬≠tal menu), a clock at the bot¬≠tom right of the browser in the sta¬≠tus bar, and so on. Nothing too bad. Vivaldi does of¬≠fer a lot of tog¬≠gles so thank¬≠fully I was not tied in to the de¬≠fault ex¬≠pe¬≠ri¬≠ence.
  • Browser is un¬≠able to in¬≠fer its theme from the sys¬≠tem dark mode. A known bug in the Chromium pro¬≠ject, but no telling how long this takes. Consequently, even web¬≠sites which have added ex¬≠tra CSS for prefers-color-scheme(dark) do not work on Vivaldi. Linux users - stick with Firefox if dark mode is im¬≠por¬≠tant to you.
  • No DNS over HTTPS, and a very con¬≠fus¬≠ing and high-horse re¬≠sponse from the com¬≠mu¬≠nity. Unfortunately, not every¬≠one can or do trust their ISP for their DNS queries. The bar¬≠rier to sug¬≠gested al¬≠ter¬≠na¬≠tives is high enough for me to in¬≠stead just use a VPN. I would ex¬≠pect an easy tog¬≠gle - both Chrome and Firefox of¬≠fer this.
  • BitWarden‚Äôs auto-fill key¬≠board short¬≠cut is bro¬≠ken. Even worse, BitWarden does¬≠n‚Äôt work on Vivaldi for Android, which is a huge no-go. Copying pass¬≠words to paste them in de¬≠feats the point of us¬≠ing a pass¬≠word man¬≠ager. With so much clip¬≠board ‚Äúbugs‚ÄĚ com¬≠ing out in the open, this feels un¬≠safe.
  • The page zoom can be set per tab, but not per do¬≠main.

Will I stick with Vivaldi?

Unfortunately, no. Non-existent dark mode sup­port and BitWarden’s auto-fill key­board short­cut not work­ing are clear deal break­ers.

I‚Äôve moved on to Brave, some¬≠thing I had dis¬≠qual¬≠i¬≠fied on ac¬≠count of their shenani¬≠gans in the re¬≠cent past. While I dearly miss the dy¬≠namic ac¬≠cent color, I‚Äôm go¬≠ing to have to live with¬≠out it. ūüė≠


Update (2020/08/14): Vivaldi is cur­rently my pri­mary browser. BitWarden’s short­cut not work­ing has a workaround and you can con­fig­ure page zoom per site. I still use Firefox on mo­bile, so I’ve set up a self-hosted book­mark ser­vice, linkd­ing. Native dark mode sup­port is still a big miss, but I get by with Dark Reader.