Aside from phones, web browsers are perhaps our most personal tools. A browser needs to be 100% customizable if you want to make it truly yours, but sadly that’s not the case with the ones available today. Many people sometimes resort to using two browsers to get the best of all worlds. But there is one new contender that promises to live up to everyone’s expectations for the first time in browser history.
Promoted with the tagline, “a browser for our friends,” Vivaldi is the brainchild of former Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner. Along with a dedicated engineering team, he achieved what can be considered the most customizable and usable browser yet. Vivaldi is approaching its 1.0 release (currently at Technical Preview 3), and I’m eager to tell you about this amazing product I’ve just discovered.
Built with the power user in mind
Vivaldi is primarily aimed at savvy types, but it’s just as usable by novices. In fact, it’s the most intuitive modern web browser I’ve come across. It’s also amazingly flexible. You can customize nearly everything from the tabs and the URL bar placement to the actual keyboard shortcuts and mouse gestures. That’s right, those who liked Opera in the good old days will fall in love with Vivaldi. It takes quite a few ques from its so-called predecessor. If you prefer keeping both hands on the keyboard, you get a user-definable shortcut for just about anything.
The GUI takes on the colors of the site you’re currently browsing – which is more awesome than you think – and you can stack tabs together and see the pages as tiles for a more organized experience (good for comparing things from multiple sites, working in two different social mediums simultaneously, and the list goes on).
Handy built-in apps
You can use Vivaldi to take screenshots and make quick annotations, as well as jot down snippets in a convenient Notes area. It has a built-in email client, and it syncs your everything (coming soon, says the official web site).
However, it’s not all good (yet). Unfortunately Vivaldy doesn’t quite live up to my expectations as a primary browsing tool. Despite being impressive from every other standpoint, it’s slow and unresponsive most of the time. It’s nothing you wouldn’t expect from a beta, but clearly there’s much more work to be done behind the scenes to iron out the bugs and optimize resource consumption.
The software runs on Windows, OS X and Linux. I encourage everyone to download Vivaldi and test it out. Personally, I’m waiting for the final release to consider ditching my Chrome & Firefox combo.
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