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 com­pany do­ing 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 im­port­ing my book­marks from Firefox, I was sim­ply able to hit a Get thumbnails but­ton to fetch thumb­nails for all the book­marks. Why is­n’t this a thing in every browser?

  • The web felt fast again. It’s nice know­ing I can just quickly open a page and close it and be on my way. With Firefox, I usu­ally open a link, wait, wait… lose con­text (and pa­tience), and then con­nect with the lost con­text again. Not fun.

  • Customization. I re­ally en­joyed hav­ing a proper menu bar at the top. I wish Firefox had this op­tion.

  • Absolutely adorable was the browser chang­ing its ac­cent based on the tab open. It made the web feel a lit­tle more fun and per­sonal. 😀

  • The way the vis­i­bil­ity of hid­den add-ons is han­dled! Click a tog­gle, and they pop up amongst the other per­ma­nently vis­i­ble add-ons. No con­text loss. No search­ing in an­other menu.

Dislikes

  • I had to spend 5 min­utes dis­abling a lot of fluff: the speed dial, Vivaldi icon as the menu but­ton with a ver­ti­cal drop­down menu (instead opt­ing for a ham­burger icon with a hor­i­zon­tal menu), a clock at the bot­tom right of the browser in the sta­tus bar, and so on. Nothing too bad. Vivaldi does of­fer a lot of tog­gles so thank­fully I was not tied in to the de­fault ex­pe­ri­ence.
  • Browser is un­able to in­fer its theme from the sys­tem dark mode. A known bug in the Chromium pro­ject, but no telling how long this takes. Consequently, even web­sites which have added ex­tra CSS for prefers-color-scheme(dark) do not work on Vivaldi. Linux users - stick with Firefox if dark mode is im­por­tant to you.
  • No DNS over HTTPS, and a very con­fus­ing and high-horse re­sponse from the com­mu­nity. Unfortunately, not every­one can or do trust their ISP for their DNS queries. The bar­rier to sug­gested al­ter­na­tives is high enough for me to in­stead just use a VPN. I would ex­pect an easy tog­gle - both Chrome and Firefox of­fer this.
  • BitWarden’s auto-fill key­board short­cut is bro­ken. Even worse, BitWarden does­n’t work on Vivaldi for Android, which is a huge no-go. Copying pass­words to paste them in de­feats the point of us­ing a pass­word man­ager. With so much clip­board bugs” com­ing out in the open, this feels un­safe.
  • The page zoom can be set per tab, but not per do­main.

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’ve moved on to Brave, some­thing I had dis­qual­i­fied on ac­count of their shenani­gans in the re­cent past. While I dearly miss the dy­namic ac­cent color, I’m go­ing to have to live with­out it. 😭


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.