A screenshot from brave.com showing Brave browser on macOS and a mobile device, both laid out on top of a purple-red gradient.
Screenshot from brave.com as on 2020-08-08

Update (2020-08-09): Brave’s CEO has in the past do­nated to anti-LGBT causes and I no longer use Brave or rec­om­mend it.


Honestly, I was­n’t sure if this ar­ti­cle was go­ing to make it. Brave just has­n’t got a lot go­ing for me to write about.

It does of­fer some­thing call­ing Brave Rewards but I had dis­abled it quickly. I would love a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Brave and Mozilla to use the lat­ter’s Firefox for Better Web Test Pilot if and when it launches.

They claim to be up to six times faster at open­ing news sites com­pared to Chrome, Safari, and Firefox on mo­bile and desk­top. Which is kind of weird. Why news sites in par­tic­u­lar?

I’ve spent per­haps roughly 3 to 4 days us­ing it. Here’s my thoughts.

Likes

  • Sync v1 did not re¬≠quire me to cre¬≠ate an ac¬≠count. I could set up a sync-chain be¬≠tween my de¬≠vices. Less in¬≠for¬≠ma¬≠tion to sur¬≠ren¬≠der is al¬≠ways a good ap¬≠proach to things.
  • Private win¬≠dow ad¬≠di¬≠tion¬≠ally of¬≠fers ac¬≠cess to Tor-based brows¬≠ing. Reducing the bar¬≠rier to pri¬≠vacy-strength¬≠en¬≠ing tech¬≠nolo¬≠gies is great.
  • It‚Äôs fast - both the browser in¬≠ter¬≠face and the web. Zero com¬≠plaints here. I‚Äôve thrown a bunch of add-ons at it and it‚Äôs not slowed down an inch, at least per¬≠cep¬≠ti¬≠bly.
  • Open source. A base¬≠line cri¬≠te¬≠ria for many so it‚Äôs worth a men¬≠tion here.

Dislikes

  • Sync v2 is cur¬≠rently in de¬≠vel¬≠op¬≠ment. Sync v1 mean¬≠while has been dep¬≠re¬≠cated and is an ex¬≠per¬≠i¬≠men¬≠tal fea¬≠ture. Upon en¬≠abling it, my browser just kept on crash¬≠ing within a minute or two of start¬≠ing. So‚Ķ I am left with¬≠out book¬≠marks sync¬≠ing be¬≠tween my two pri¬≠mary de¬≠vices.
  • Zan had men¬≠tioned it on Fosstodon - there is no way to dis¬≠able, at least from the UI, the back¬≠ground for a new tab. Either you stick to a Brave-themed gra¬≠di¬≠ent, which I imag¬≠ine is too strong for most peo¬≠ple‚Äôs taste, or scenic pho¬≠tos. The gra¬≠di¬≠ent would be some¬≠thing sim¬≠i¬≠lar to what you see on the cover pic¬≠ture of this post. Personally, I don‚Äôt mind the scenic pho¬≠tos - though I do dis¬≠like the sec¬≠ond or two it takes for one to fade in.
  • No DNS over HTTPS. Just like Vivaldi, Brave too fails in im¬≠ple¬≠ment¬≠ing this and is not a se¬≠ri¬≠ous con¬≠tender for my long term use.
  • It does¬≠n‚Äôt have an op¬≠tion to switch be¬≠tween day and night themes au¬≠to¬≠mat¬≠i¬≠cally based on sys¬≠tem theme. However, its dark theme does trig¬≠ger dark mode for sup¬≠ported sites (through CSS‚Äôs me¬≠dia query prefers-color-scheme) so it does meet half-way.
  • No zoom con¬≠trols for the browser UI. The tabs in¬≠ter¬≠face is tiny on my full HD screen. Both Firefox and Vivaldi feel very com¬≠fort¬≠able here.
  • Brave Shield blocks Plausible Analytics by de¬≠fault. This is on a stan¬≠dard set¬≠ting! I don‚Äôt know how to fix this. I usu¬≠ally like to let Plausible ‚Äúwork‚ÄĚ be¬≠cause it does¬≠n‚Äôt col¬≠lect a lot of in¬≠for¬≠ma¬≠tion any¬≠way.

Verdict

Compared to Vivaldi, Brave is a very vanilla Chromium ex¬≠pe¬≠ri¬≠ence. For the most part, it just feels like a skinned Chromium with a few ma¬≠jor ad¬≠di¬≠tions that could well have been ex¬≠ten¬≠sions. This is not a bad ap¬≠proach by any means — mak¬≠ing these ex¬≠ten¬≠sions first-party of course of¬≠fers a much tighter and uni¬≠fied ex¬≠pe¬≠ri¬≠ence.

Compared to Firefox, I sup­pose the only sell­ing point is speed. Which is not re­ally down to Brave as much as it is to the Chromium en­gine, Blink. Yet, this works. I am usu­ally not reach­ing for the set­tings page. BitWarden works - both on desk­top and mo­bile. I’m prob­a­bly go­ing to stick to us­ing Brave for a while.

Better this than Microsoft’s Edge which is ex­pected to be avail­able on Linux soon.