Opera browser did a lot for the modern looks and feels of many browser: the speed-dial was its trademark, the performance was nice and it had a lot of features ahead of its time, like the built-in bittorrent, mail and RSS clients. A part of the Opera browser developments team was not very happy with what has been done to the "Big Red O" browser in recent years. Here's where Vivaldi comes on stage: a new browser that promises advance functionality right out of the box.

There's been an abundance of new browsers lately: Yandex, Citrio, and of course, the upcoming Project Spartan Browser. However, there seems to be a place for yet another one. The Tech Preview for the Vivaldi browser became available today. Despite the "Preview" part, it has some tricks to show and we can expect a lot more in future.

Vivaldi is based on Chromium, just like the current Opera. It actually shares a lot of common features with its spiritual predecessor, while bringing some new ones. Here's what you might like when Vivaldi will be fully released.

Design

Vivaldi looks good according to the current flat/minimalist fashion. The first thing you'll probably notice is that tabs and menus change color based on the dominant palette of your active page. This "chameleon" effect looks fresh at least. It can be turned off if it doesn't suit your tastes.

Another great thing that everyone loved about Opera was the Speed Dial. Of course it's present in Vivaldi. There might be nothing special about it, but it saves you pains of installing a speed dial extension if you can't live without one.

Quick Commands/Navigation

If you're mostly a keyboard user and embrace shortcuts, then Vivaldi is definitely for you. Key shortcuts are highly customizable and might save you the need to reach for the mouse whenever you need to open a particular tab or launch a specific feature in Vivaldi.

Page Actions

This one is something new. Vivaldi features a lot of so called page actions. A half of them are filters, so if you think that a "normal" website is too mainstream and CNN should be only in sepia, then it's your lucky day.

This menu also allows you to enable ad blocking, highlight elements on hover, skew images and to apply some other cosmetic changes.

Notes

It's the new trend to allow note taking on the web pages and Vivaldi tries to follow it. You can write notes to any page you visit and save those notes for future reference in the sidebar. It's not exactly as if you'll be writing directly on a page and save it as a screenshot of some kind. Vivaldi's note taking is more like an advance bookmarking with references to why, for example, you've deemed this page interesting.

Built-In Mail and Extensions

Since this is a technical preview, some features are yet absent, but they'll catch for the final release. On such features is a built-in mail client. This was in the previous versions of Opera and it's hard to say how good it'll be in Vivaldi, but a mail client for your multiple inboxes (maybe not the most important ones) is a nice addition.

As Vivaldi is based on Chromium, it will support Chrome extensions. So, even though the developers promise it to be a powerful and feature-rich browser, nothing prevents you from expanding its functionality.

Final Thoughts

It's yet too early to judge Vivaldi, but it's safe to say that it's a nice refuge for all the fans of the original Opera. The performance is good, but nothing light-speed fast. The improvements are to be expected, but so far it's no worse than your typical Chrome. Vivaldi is currently being developed for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux with future plans for the mobile version.

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