Back in the day, there was just Internet Explorer. It was supposed to be the best but things changed with the launch of Firefox and Chrome. It is then when netizens realized how better a browser can really be. Chrome was built upon Chromium, an open source platform web project. With the launch of Chromium came a slew of 3rd party browsers like Opera and Vivaldi among others who are looking to beat Chrome at its own game.
These browsers are more private and secure, or so they claim and we will soon find out, and offer features that are worth looking at twice. Opera has long been a favorite, even when it used its own Presto browser engine. Vivaldi, on the other hand, is looking to grab a share of the growing Internet users across the world.
Let’s see how these two browsers compare and what they each got to offer in terms of privacy, security, features, and platform support.
Opera vs. Vivaldi
1. Platforms Supported
Opera is available for all popular mobile and desktop operating systems like Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and even java based basic smartphones. You can also install Opera on a USB stick and carry around in your pocket. Opera was always popular among basic and low-end smartphone users. Plus, it has some other flavors to offer like Opera Touch, an award-winning mobile browser which is light and fast. Then there is Opera Mini which was designed for low-end Android smartphones.
Vivaldi is the new kid on the block and is available on only desktop operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Because Vivaldi is only available on the desktop, we will be comparing it with Opera’s Windows browser. I hope Vivaldi will up their game soon and launch mobile apps seeing how mobile usage is poised to take over desktop pretty soon.
2. UI and Layout
Both Opera and Vivaldi have a similar layout. There is the address bar at the top which is a no-brainer but the real asset is the sidebar which is missing on popular browsers like Chrome and Firefox. In Opera, you can edit the sidebar to add shortcuts to websites, certain apps that are supported by default, news feeds, and so on.
Similarly, Vivaldi hosts several shortcuts in the sidebar like search, bookmarks, notes, and more. Vertical tabs is unheard of in other browsers. Just like in Opera, you can edit these shortcuts in Vivaldi and customize it to your liking.
Where Vivaldi shines is the ability to change the layout to your liking, like the position of address and bookmark bar to the bottom of the screen, sidebar panel from left to right, and even remap mouse gestures and keyboard shortcuts if you want. I have never seen any browser offer so much in terms of preferences and personalization.
3. Privacy and Security
This is a close call and both Opera and Vivaldi have features that I love and use on a daily basis. For example, Opera browser, both desktop, and mobile comes with a built-in VPN that is free and unlimited and you can set location too which is really amazing. On the flip, speed is a little slower than paid VPNs which was expected though.
Combine VPN (proxy) with an effective built-in ad-blocker and you are looking at a decent solution that will protect your identity for the most part and let you access sites that are blocked in your country easily. You can also search Google anonymously but that is optional.
Vivaldi has no VPN option available but there are plenty of security and privacy settings to keep you happy. While other browsers like Google to store and track data even when you are using Incognito Mode, Vivaldi doesn’t store cookies and temp files in Private Window. In fact, all data synced between devices is end-to-end encrypted using a user-set password that they don’t have access to. Sweet.
In most browsers, whatever you type in the address bar, search queries, and URLs, is tracked and sent to a server, but in Vivaldi, this setting is toggled off by default though you may choose to enable it. If you don’t want predictive search, toggle that off too. In fact, you can enable predictive search in the search bar but turn it off in URL bar separately.
If you like to tinker around and are a power user, Vivaldi will remind you of Opera 12 – legacy version. It has a cult following even today and things changed drastically after that. Vivaldi is a refresher because Vivaldi’s CEO is also Opera’s co-founder and former CEO.
Cryptocurrencies are all the buzzword today and taking the hint, Opera browser has launched a cryptocurrency wallet for investors that support a number of coins and tokens including the ever popular Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Tron. This makes it easier to use it on the web for quick transfers, however, I wouldn’t recommend storing large amounts in a browser. For that, cold storage or hard wallet is more suitable.
Both Opera and Vivaldi come with a Snapshot feature where you can take a selective screenshot of the screen and save it. However, Vivaldi goes one step ahead and allows you to take notes and save it right inside the browser for quick access through the sidebar panel. What’s more? You can insert screenshots and even attach files to these notes for future reference and organize them in folders.
Opera supports 4 different but popular messengers right out of box and they are WhatsApp, Telegram, VK, Facebook Messenger. This makes it super easy and quick to chat while you work, all from a single window. No need to use an app like Franz.
As a writer, I have to research a lot and at any given moment, have 15-20 tabs open in more than 2 windows. This is on the lower side. Vivaldi is proving to be a boon for me. There is a feature called Stacks where the browser will group similar tabs in to one single, handy tab. If you have 5 Reddit tabs open, it will be grouped into one. This makes working with tabs, finding the correct tab based on the primary domain, and hopping around them that much easier.
Just like Vivaldi, Opera also allows you to take notes, attach files, links, videos, screenshots, and web pages right inside the browser. But Opera does it better. One, you can sync all this data across all platforms including desktop and mobile apps. Two, you will have to scan a QR code to make the connection which makes it further secure.
Finally, Opera also doubles as a news reader so you are always in the know-how. You can not only track news and what’s happening around the world but also customize the experience by adding your favorite RSS feeds. Though it is good, if you are a power user, you are better off with something like Flipboard or Feedly.
Opera vs. Vivaldi
Both Opera and Vivaldi offer a number of features that are simply missing is popular browsers like Chrome and Firefox. While they may look similar in nature and do take inspiration from each other owing to their common history, there are differences.
Opera offers a VPN with better ad-blocking, cross-platform support, and a cryptocurrency wallet to advanced users. Vivaldi is more customizable in terms of UI elements, offers more privacy and security in daily searching and browsing, and its tab management feature is really amazing.
Here is how I use both of them. I use Vivaldi for my day to day work because it helps me browse faster and brings sanity to my workflow. When I want to go anonymous, I use Opera because it has VPN and lets me open pages that are otherwise banned in my part of the world.