Opera co-founder launches Vivaldi web browser

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 27, 2015
Updated • Jun 27, 2017
Internet, Vivaldi

The technical preview of Vivaldi, a Chromium/Blink based web browser by Opera co-founder and former CEO John von Tetzchner is now available.

The Opera browser is best known for innovations that Opera Software introduced to the browser, and while not all of them stuck, many were copied by other browsers in the end.

The browser never managed to get significant market share on the desktop and things changed completely when the company announced that it would move to Blink used by Google Chrome.

The excitement was lost and it may never return. Is it the same for Vivaldi? Lets find out.

Vivaldi is based on Chromium/Blink which shows in numerous ways. You may see it in the interface when it first launches even though it looks quite different from your standard Google Chrome installation.

The big visible differences are the small sidebar panel and the status bar that the browser displays. The menu is on the left side just like it is in Opera.

vivaldi web browser

The panel on the left links to often used features such as bookmarking and downloads. Users who don't want it there can hide it so that it does not show or move it to the right side instead.

Vivaldi ships with a fully integrated bookmarking manager that is accessible from the sidebar menu and the New Tab Page.

There you can create folders, move bookmarks around and manage them in various ways. Even the nickname (keyword) functionality is available that you can use to assign short codes for bookmarks to open them faster using those codes.

vivaldi bookmarks

A click on the second icon in the panel offers another surprise: Vivaldi Mail. It is unfortunately not available in this release but the company wants to integrate mail functionality right into its browser. This is similar to how the classic Opera browser handled this.

The other three panels that are currently displayed in the sidebar are people, downloads and notes. Notes is probably the most interesting feature of the three as it enables you to add text notes in the browser directly.

Once you start switching between tabs you will notice another new feature. Vivaldi changes the tab and main address bar color based on dominant colors of the website that is open.

You can disable that in the options by unchecking "Color Tabs" there. There you also find other interesting options that barely any browser offers these days. You can change the position of tabs, so that tabs are not shown at the top but at the bottom or left/right side.

Users who use the keyboard exclusively can hide tabs completely in the browser as well.

Opera's excellent tab stacking feature has been integrated as well. It allows you to drag one tab on top of another to stack them.

tab stacking

Page Actions, which you find listed in the status bar next to the allow or block images switch is another new feature.

It allows you to select actions that you want to apply to the current page. You can set a filter, grayscale or invert for example, on the page, change fonts or enable a content blocker.

Other features of note are keyboard shortcuts that you can change for most features, mouse gestures, support for browser extensions and several other comfortable features like a zoom slider in the status bar.

Quick Benchmark results

Vivaldi Firefox 35.0.1 Opera 28
HTML5Test (max 555) 511 449 507
Octane (higher better) 20055 19095 20548
Oortonline (higher better) 6710 4500 8260
SunSpider (lower better) 220.2 201.8 215.3
Kraken (lower better) 1717.9 1589.8 1669.7

Closing Words

Vivaldi is an excellent browser even at this early stage. It offers more customization options than other Chromium-based browsers including the new Opera, and re-introduces features such as a status bar, different tab bar positions or nickname support that were essential parts of the classic Opera browser.

With Mail and other features are still in the works it will be interesting to see how the browser turns out in the end. For now, it looks very promising. This is how the Opera re-launch should have looked like in first place.

Vivaldi is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

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  1. CHEF-KOCH said on April 26, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    New Vivaldi version is out now + New PaleMoon Version.

    I still prefer myself Cyberfox, it’s based on Firefox + some customize gimmicks but under the hood it’s compiled and optimized for newer processors and works with all normal Firefox extensions/addons/plugins.

    I really hate the thing that there are only 5 big engines left and now every popup with there own useless mod with no addition benefits. I only can hope more engines are in development right now.

  2. guy said on February 8, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    another crome copy?

  3. Patrick Dreier said on January 29, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Vivaldi has not new private tab, new tab, Opera 12.16 is runing hight compatibility.

    With king regards!

  4. Mountainking said on January 29, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Using 7zip it is possible to extract the contents of the installer. It seems that it will work right off the bat doing this..And yes Martin, it runs blink but I was fiddling with it at work and didnot get time to look for this. It definetely handles nice and light.

  5. GodHatesFigs said on January 29, 2015 at 8:51 am

    I see the default News bookmarks are the usual Chicago Jesus worshipping,jihadi worshipping,queer agenda worshipping leftist shite like the Huff Post,Guardian etc.

  6. anon said on January 28, 2015 at 2:23 am

    Dear author,

    HTML5test is a scam. All it does is ask the browser if it supports something listed on the website and give an arbitrary score based on the amount of “yes”-like answers. It does not check if something is even a standard, specification, or feature, much less if it’s part of HTML5. It also does not verify the implementation for bugs in the stuff listed by the website.

    A real site to compare standards support in browsers is caniuse.com

    Thank you for your time.

  7. insanelyapple said on January 28, 2015 at 1:40 am

    As I said on some other site: I hope they didn’t so far and won’t in nearest future add some data collecting components like Chrome has. If yes, then Vivaldi it’s not worth my time.

    There’s only thing that Google could do for sake of all its forks: allowing access to their extensions site (or at least allowing use without stupid sign-in process) because from what I saw on Opera’s case – making own extensions hub is rather waste of time, these either aren’t updated or even ported to the specific browser. But this is rather a silly wishful thinking.

  8. Jupster said on January 27, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    I tried Opera, as i tend to do on a yearly basis, and really like it. It still has some quirks though, and not being able to re-arrange the extension icons ala Chrome is maddening.

    While give this a go while waiting on Spartan, which looks very promising.

  9. Dwight Stegall said on January 27, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Without a bookmarks toolbar you can’t use your bookmarklets that make changes to HTML pages. :(

  10. David (2) said on January 27, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    I’ve written two reasonably popular 5-star Firefox extensions since I switched after Opera’s demise, and I submitted a bug fix to Bugzilla that’s now resolved. I did something that helps others and I feel good for doing it. Everyone wins.

    If ten other people in the world had done the same then all of Opera’s unique features would now be in Firefox and you’d all be happy. What does everyone else do all evening? TV?

  11. Xi said on January 27, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    If its Presto based browser, I’d love to install and use it as Opera 12.17 alternate. I’d like to inform ghacks[Martin Brinkmann] that many[millions] are awaiting a new alternate browser based on Presto with all possible old opera features. But not sure when it’ll happen…

    1. anon said on January 27, 2015 at 7:01 pm

      It’s probably impossible to see Presto again unless Vivaldi or someone who’s a presto fan and also happen to be filthy rich acquire Opera Software.

  12. Dwight Stegall said on January 27, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    I used to use Opera for one thing only. I liked tiling and cascading tabs so I could watch 4 ip video cameras at once.

  13. ACow said on January 27, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Yet another Chromium skin that’s just as configurable as Chrome and won’t even let me use Chrome extension. It seems like we’re bound to be stuck with this crappy Chrome-like interface for the foreseeable future. Do yourselves a favor and give Yandex a try instead. Opera is dead.

    1. NN said on January 28, 2015 at 10:42 am

      It DOES support Chrome extensions.
      Just go to vivaldi://chrome/extensions

    2. anon said on January 27, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      This technical preview release is already far more usable with more features than Chrome and Yandex is based on Chromium too. Nice try.

      1. Spade said on January 31, 2015 at 6:39 pm

        And while you’re at it, get off ACow’s lawn! Darn kids these days…

      2. ACow said on January 27, 2015 at 7:29 pm

        Those are non-features. If you were around during Opera’s prime I wouldn’t have to keep explaining basics to you. The problem is, you don’t understand what made Opera a relevant competitor for so many years. Do some research on how the internet looks like outside of (and before) Facebook and get back to me then, so we might maybe have a discussion where you have something worthwhile to add.

      3. anon said on January 27, 2015 at 6:59 pm

        Memo, trash bin, the side bar, the zoom slider and the no-image toggle on the status bar already made it infinitely more usable than Chrome.

        By usable I don’t mean that it can render web page correctly, smartass. But keep trying. Yandex is also older by few years to this “technical preview” release. I repeat, technical preview, hope you can read that.

      4. ACow said on January 27, 2015 at 6:00 pm

        In what way is it more usable than Chrome? So you can move your tabs to the side. Whoop-dee-fucking-do. Of course the technical preview release is usable. That’s because they’re using a well developed, tested and working browser as its base. Just like post-12.xx Opera, this is a glorified theme. In any case, it ceases to have more features the minute you visit the Chrome Web Store using your Chrome browser and install whatever extensions. Yandex is based on Chromium, that is correct. Research well done. Thing is, though, it a) offers something new UI-wise, doesn’t look like Chrome and b) lets you install extensions.

  14. anon said on January 27, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Shooting through the real “Opera”, already in its, what? 50th version?

  15. bartoj said on January 27, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Martin – any idea if there are plans for this to be offered in a portable format (like presto-based Opera was)? Thank you!

    1. vinczej said on January 28, 2015 at 9:20 am

      I have the same problem with restriction. I haven’t administrator rights, so I can’t install it on my workplace.

      1. vinczej said on January 29, 2015 at 10:12 pm

        I resolved the problem. In Virtual PC I installed as Standalone, copied to the “restricted” area, and edited the stp.viv, and I can use the browser.

        And great, that more Chrome extensions I can install. :)

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 27, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      Have not heard anything yet, sorry.

      1. bartoj said on January 27, 2015 at 3:36 pm

        My error – trying to download it on a restricted machine. Once you are able to open the initial dialogue box it is possible to select the option to install as a stand-alone programme – just like the old Opera. Thanks for replying above.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 27, 2015 at 3:39 pm

        Oh, did not notice that option, great!

  16. Dave said on January 27, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    I think I’m unlikely to even try this based on the basic UI failures.

    1. anon said on January 27, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      You’ll be surprised at how useful those “failures” are. The trash bin alone is a feature no other browser replicate, once you get used to it there is simply no going back and I’ve yet to scratch the surface of something you’ve never imagined before if all you’ve ever used is chrome or firefox.

      1. Dave (2) said on January 27, 2015 at 9:39 pm

        That’s wrong and presumptuous. Opera-Presto had a trash bin, and Firefox has the same thing, it’s just indicated by a down-pointing triangle instead. Back in 2004 you could get the feature by a Firefox extension. It’s also in SeaMonkey. In fact I can’t remember not having this feature at any point in the last decade. Even the Otter project had it, although it didn’t work. What have you been using that doesn’t do that?

        Using a trash bin icon doesn’t make it a new feature, but the icon is almost identical to the Opera 11 one anyway. So there’s nothing valid in that reply. Now try to guess how many browsers I used this week alone.

  17. Uhtred said on January 27, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    on win7 and straight out the box & browsing vivaldi home to ghacks.net and I have 4 vivaldi.exe processes on the go, working set memory:
    122 mb
    124 mb
    92 mb
    16 mb

  18. Operafan said on January 27, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Treestyletabs is a pretty decent tab stacking addon for firefox, although the drag and drop is somewhat fiddly.

    Vivaldi looks intriguing, I do hope this will also cater to the privacy minded users and remove all tracking mechanisms built into the Blink engine.

    1. Aram said on January 28, 2015 at 4:40 pm

      Can you please provide any proof and or documentation about built-in tracking mechanisms into the Blink engine itself?

      Thank you.

  19. Alex said on January 27, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I hope this browser influences a firefox developer to make a tab stacking addon. Panorama is a usability joke.

    1. David said on January 27, 2015 at 2:24 pm


  20. Doh said on January 27, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Yes, seems interesting, have the new Opera installed but see no reason to use it. Have customised Chrome now so that I can live with it. Will give this a shot when out of preview. Hope it can run Chrome extensions, as the new Opera can. Sync in Chrome is a feature I use when travelling, so would be a deal breaker for me.

  21. Ray said on January 27, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    I just downloaded it and gave it a try. It feel breezy and speedy – this is impressive for a technical preview.

  22. intrnetfan said on January 27, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Never expected to hear such good news ! this restores my faith in Opera again ! I will definitely watch how this goes and start using it for those common sites, facebook,hotmail,gmail etc… I still use Opera 12.17 for real browsing (customizable keyboard shortcuts,rss,mail)

    I wish only the best for this project !

  23. Cassandra said on January 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Yesssss, that is much more like it. I uninstalled the new Opera but this might soon join Chrome on my machines. Performance needs a bit of work as configuring seems quite sluggish but it is definitely heading in the right direction. (Fingers crossed for the no-images/cached-images/all-images toggle function)

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