What a surprise. Vivaldi Technologies, maker of the highly customizable Vivaldi web browser, have released a first technical preview of the long awaited mail component. When we interviewed Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner in 2018, he revealed that Mail was something the company did work on to close another feature users liked about the classic Opera web browser.
Today, Vivaldi Technologies announced that Vivaldi Mail is ready for public testing. Launched as a technical preview, it is integrated into the latest snapshot of the Vivaldi web browser. Users need to enable the mail component manually for the time being to start using it.
Here is how you enable Vivaldi Mail right now:
Select Mail from the sidebar panel and click on the button to add your first account. Adding an account is quite easy, all it takes most of the time is to enter the email address and in the second step the account password.
You do get a handful of options, e.g. to enable prefetch or add a sender name and signature.
The new component combines a mail client, a feed reader and a calendar. Vivaldi Mail supports IMAP and POP3, and that means that you can integrate any email client in Vivaldi Mail provided that it supports one of the two standards. The option to create a Vivaldi account and integrate it in Vivaldi Mail is also provided.
The mail component supports multiple email accounts that you can all add to the client, similarly to how you can add multiple accounts to Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird.
Vivaldi Mail uses a layout with three panes. The left sidebar, called the Mail panel, displays mail folders and accounts, and feeds. All mails of the selected folder are listed at the top and the selected mail is displayed at the bottom of the interface. Options to change the default view modes are provided, e.g. to switch to a horizontally split layout instead of the default three-columns layout.
You can toggle a lot of what is displayed by default to hide certain components; this is true for custom folders, mailing lists, Feeds, junk and trash buttons. Additionally, you may select to only display unread emails by default to better focus on these.
The Mail Panel displays unseen and unread counters for all folders that it displays; the difference between the two is that unseen refers to new emails that you have never seen before while unread refers to seen emails that you have not dealt with yet. In other words, unseen is the number for all new emails, unread for all emails that you have not marked as read yet.
Vivaldi Mail supports saving searches as filters; useful if you run the same search over and over again and want to speed things up a bit in the future. Labels are supported as well and they do get synced, even if you use a different client, e.g. Thunderbird, on another device.
Adding feeds is not as intuitive as it could be, as this can only be done in the Settings and not directly from the mail interface. Another thing that needs to be supported is the importing and exporting of OPML files so that users can migrate from another feed reader to Vivaldi Mail or export their feeds. Since it is a preview, it is possible that these smaller usability issues will get addressed in future versions.
The feed reader works really well and is easy to use. Some features of the mail component can be used here as well, e.g. to add flags to specific feed posts or labels.
The engineers have added keyboard shortcuts to Vivaldi Mail to speed up things for users who prefer to use the keyboard. You can reply with a tap on "R", forward emails with "F", mark emails "K" or entire threads "M" as read, or perma-delete emails with the shortcut Shift-M.
Another handy feature is that Vivaldi keeps track of the history so that you can go back and forth in mail folders using the history buttons.
Mails can be send right away, or you may queue them to bulk-send once you are done.
The calendar is the third and final component of Vivaldi Mail. It supports syncing through a Vivaldi account or any other CalDAV calender. Users may select to keep all the data local, but syncing is supported if required.
The calender supports a number of useful features including inline editing, simple creation of events, different layouts to view the data, a handy year overview option, full keyboard accessibility and more.
You can check out the very detailed blog post on the Vivaldi blog for additional details.
Vivaldi will be one of the few web browsers with a mail component once it launches in stable; this alone sets it apart from major browsers who don't offer these components. While you can add feed support via extensions to some, mail is not something that you may add using extensions.
The technical preview looks good already and it works fine. The feed reader is fast, but it needs a bit of work on the usability side, and it remains to be seen if it is capable of managing hundreds of feed subscriptions without performance issues.
All in all, it is a very promising start for Vivaldi Mail.
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