If you're going to use a Chromium browser, why not give Vivaldi a try?

With Microsoft Edge switching over to the Chromium engine in the future, some users may be on the lookout for a new browser. After all, if you're going to use a browser based on the Chromium engine, why not shop around?

Vivaldi is a customizable browser with a number of unique features. It has many of the benefits of Chrome, including support for Chrome extensions, but doesn't have the direct tie into Google services that some users want to avoid.

Vivaldi is available for free on Windows 10, Linux, and MacOS. Ironically, it isn't available through the Microsoft Store even though it's powered by the same engine that Edge will be in the future. Instead, you can download it through Vivaldi's website.

Since Vivaldi is a fully-fledged web browser I won't go through every feature it has. Instead, I'll highlight some core features that stand out and make it unique and worth trying out. You can get a full feature list on Vivaldi's website.

Get at Vivaldi

Customizing the web

Vivaldi doesn't just have one unique layout. You have a number of customization options that allow you to navigate the web the way you'd like. You can move elements around, hide them entirely, pick your own theme, and personalize the browser's colors.

I admit that I'm partial to the look of Edge. In fact, I still prefer Edge's clean look to Vivaldi's even after the latter is customized, but I love the number of options Vivaldi has. Everything from tab behavior to the default size of the UI can be tweaked. You could spend ages making Vivaldi specific to yourself. Whether you think that's a good thing or not depends on how much you like playing in settings sections. Personally, I'm a big fan.

More than a Chrome clone

One of the most important things to know about Vivaldi is that it isn't just a clone of Google Chrome. It does have the same engine and with that come many similarities, but Vivaldi has a personality and feature set of its own.

For example, Vivaldi has a take on tabs I haven't used before. You can drag tabs into tab stacks, split those tabs within the same window, and hibernate tabs or groups of tabs. This makes navigating large groups of websites easier to navigate and also doesn't eat up RAM, something that power users will appreciate.

You can also use the browser's side panel to open websites on the side of your screen without switching tabs. I use this to open the mobile version of Twitter without having to leave a webpage. It's perfect for PWAs and sites that scale down well.

Taking advantage of extensions

While Vivaldi isn't just a Chrome clone, it does share many of the same benefits of the world's most used browser. Vivaldi can use extensions built for Chrome. Developers don't need to recompile their extensions or put them into a Vivaldi store. In fact, I literally downloaded a number of extensions, including one made by Google, from the chrome web store.

This is one of the biggest draws of using any Chromium browser. Want Google's picture-in-picture extension? It's there. Want Office Online? It's a few clicks away. There's a wide ecosystem of extensions that are now at your fingertips even though you aren't using Google Chrome.

Overall thoughts on Vivaldi

It's hard to not like Vivaldi. It's a customizable browser that has access to a massive ecosystem of extensions. It has enough features to differentiate itself from Chrome and it's absolutely worth a look if you're considering switching browser.

The biggest knock on Vivaldi is that it's not available on mobile devices yet. That means password syncing and similar things won't extend between mediums.

I went into testing assuming that a Chromium-based browser would gobble up RAM but I found Vivaldi and Edge to have almost exactly the same usage when they had the same websites open. Though I admit that both devices I tested it on have a large amount of RAM, so I wouldn't have noticed if it was chewing it up. If RAM usage is an issue, remember to use tab hibernation, it makes a huge difference.

In many ways, Vivaldi is what Edge should aspire to be. It's proof that a company can use the Chromium engine but still create their own browser. I hope that Microsoft is taking notes.

Pros

  • Chome extension support.
  • Customizable design.
  • Clever tab management.
  • Unique side panel.

Cons

  • Not available on mobile devices.

Get at Vivaldi

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

23 Comments
  • If I was the PLM for Edge I'd be seriously considering an acquisition. This could give them a huge head start.
  • That infact would infact be wise.
  • And then lose all the assets I have in and the advantages with the Microsoft cloud? No, I am not that stupid.
  • They would of course reintroduce their own integrations into this browser. that's a given.
  • Opera for life.
  • Vivaldi is by the guy who started Opera, its like Opera without the spying :/
  • I use the Chromium based Samsung Browser on my Android phone and LOVE IT! I use Firefox on Windows. Perhaps I will give Vivaldi a try....
  • Hopefully this puts to rest all those folks out there worried that having a Chromium engine automatically means being forced to have all the Google tie ins. Simply not the case. As Vivaldi illustrates, Chromium based browsers can have features as different from one another as one human is from another. I think the new (and improved) Edge, with unique Microsoft account and Office tie ins will position it well as the defacto browser for enterprise customers, once the rendering engine dust settles. And there will be many prosumers that will stick with Edge for that reason too. Me for one.
  • I was at a bank the other day, the pc was running windows 10, but they were still using IE! Like seriously, edge isn't that bad where you still need to use IE. I think the ONLY websites that I absolutely cannot use edge on are usually video and gif heavy (such as 9gag.com).
  • Those of us in a corporate environment would prefer to not use IE, we just don't have a choice. Even when I go to an internal site in Edge, it automatically opens IE for me. So much legacy crap that we need to use that I am not sure when or even if we will move off of IE.
  • Agreed stupid legacy sites that need activex or silverlight keep us on IE -_- would much rather use a modern browser. We can't even switch over to Edge as default and use ie for legacy sites because our web proxy / filter and our SSO product don't support Edge....
  • Hah, many CRMs are still heavily focused on Active X controls. I still remember the pain I had with Caldes... that CRM was a piece of garbage. It worked on nothing but IE. Jupix was easier to use and was able use it on Wp8 and WM10. Albeit Jupix did lack some common sense features when I last used it a few years ago.
  • The only issue I have with Vivaldi is that I use the browser on my surface pro heavily, and unlike microsoft edge and chrome, vivaldi does not open the soft keyboard automatically when you touch inside of the address bar and other fields. Super annoying. I use adnauseam on vivaldi, love it.
  • Have you submitted a bug report? Vivaldi probably doesn't have many users on laptop tablet hybrids, so they may not know about that issue yet.
  • **** you guys! There is NO SUPPORT FROM THIS COMMUNITY A REPEAT NO SUPPORT! Goodby win...Chromecentral! A big shame!
  • wth are you even talking about?
  • To put it in South Park terms, I think his point is "Drugs are bad, m'kay?"
  • It still feels sluggish compared to Opera.
  • Without an Android client to sync bookmarks with its pointless. Opera is the best chromium browser anyway.
  • If I want a secure browser, I use BRAVE. Faster than just about anything out there and ad and tracker free to boot.
  • Tried it, no support for Estonian ID cards, so it can't be a default browser. Plus touch experience is subpar.
  • It probably works with with the Estonian ID cards, but the site designer is not allowing it. Directvnow is similar in that it says I have to use only Chrome or Safari even though it works perfectly if I change the user agent to make Directvnow think I am on Chrome. Developers just look for chrome they don't seem to understand that the rendering engine is the same and therefore the effective functionality is the same. Most site developers who think they need Chrome don't actually need it, they need chromium, but they don't understand the difference.
  • I use Vivaldi because it has built in gesture support that is far superior to anything else. I used gestures in Opera for as long as I can remember until Opera decided to throw in the towel and completely restart their browser. Going from original Opera to the "new" one was like going from older Mercedes to shiny new bicycle - it is new but has zero features.
    Vivaldi tries to resurrect that side of Opera - many great builtin features.