barfing my feedback on vivaldi for android

Don’t expect any of this to be coherent or to flow.

The first stable release of Vivaldi browser for Android released on the 22nd of April, 2020. I’ve been procrastinating writing this almost as much as I have been with my homework. I don’t have much to say other than I’m disappointed with Vivaldi.

Vivaldi doesn’t do much differently to other browsers on Android. Vivaldi has descriptions and nicknames for bookmarks and lets you create bookmarks. Vivaldi also has notes. It combines tab related features and combines library features.

What I wish Vivaldi browser could do

The panel is how you access bookmarks, history, notes and downloads. It’s some sort of wrapper around Chromium’s pages. The panel doesn’t feel right. The tabs and the buttons at the bottom don’t have the ripple effect or tooltips and when you swipe between panels, the indicator doesn’t move which feels odd after seeing it across Android. Scrolling vertically in the panels can be a bit difficult too, especially when you’re selecting multiple items.

Vivaldi uses the “duet” interface. The bottom bar sometimes doesn’t scroll away. This gets annoying when you’re watching a video in fullscreen. This can be fixed by opening the tab switcher but that can take a long time if you have many tabs.

Vivaldi uses the grid tab switcher. It has all the bugs and performance issues that are present in Chromium. Yay. But you can rearrange tabs and group them into “folders” which is really helpful. Vivaldi does do something different to Chromium here though. They have a tab for your recent tabs. Strangely, the tabs are not at the bottom unlike the panel. I like that you can turn off swiping to switch tabs so you can swipe to close tabs. if i say tabs one more time

Vivaldi also crashes often, usually when I deal with incognito/private tabs or when I deal with the tab switcher. The developers won’t even know as crash reporting and log collection is not only off but cannot be turned on. There’s no such option in the privacy page of settings.

Vivaldi’s incognito/private icon is hardcoded black. So so annoying.

A lot of flags to do with the interface have no effect.

I have also noticed that “clone tab” doesn’t actually clone the tab and its history. It only opens the page your tab is on in a new tab.

Vivaldi’s UI uses a mix of green and blue. Big chaotic energy. I thought that the green was only there because it was a beta. I was wrong. The accent colour should be uniform.

I don’t like that the tab strip is enabled by default. This is more of a subjective thing.

Vivaldi has also replaced Chromium’s theme-color meta tag by automatically changing the colour of the UI based on the webpage. The logic is far from perfect though. When you scroll through a news carousel on Google Search, the UI flashes from blue to white. You cannot disable this like you can in the desktop version. You gets heaps of control with the desktop browser.

I couldn’t log into my account on the Vivaldi blog, so I had to go to the forums with the “view original thread” link. In the forum comments and replies weren’t nested in their parent comments and looked messy.

I don’t like the large and out of place ad-block button next to the page info button. Chromium doesn’t do this and instead has ads as a site wide setting and its status can be viewed in the page info sheet and controlled from the site settings page. Vivaldi doesn’t use Chromium’s native subresource filtering but that’s not a bad thing as they let you enable multiple lists and even use custom lists. It just needs to fit in better.

Vivaldi needs a better popup blocker.

It’s strange that the option to always use desktop sites is in the main page of settings and is not a site-wide setting in the site settings page. Brave has implemented the UI for this.

Vivaldi placed “Allow Search Suggestions in Address Field” under the General header of the Settings page. This doesn’t feel right and I’d expect it to be in the search engine page. There’s no description either. Other browsers explain that the omnibox uses a prediction service to show related queries and top sites and that it sends the query to the search engine. Vivaldi should also have options to disable suggestions for history, bookmarks and tabs like Firefox.

Chrome 80 for Android introduced a new context menu that is rather annoying as it’s harder to see the URL. The old context menu had the address in a scrollable view that kept the address contained. The new menu adds titles above the address. You tap to view the full address which isn’t contained. You tap again to hide it. Not a nice experience. Another thing that sucks about the new context menu are the images: favicons are often just not there and the generic symbol shows up, and thumbnails for videos and images aren’t all too useful but could be useful for when the image/video you’re selecting is massive or tiny, I suppose. The animations when you open or close the menu are also choppy. It’d be great to see some improvements in this area.


Update – 10 September 2020:

The release of 3.3 brought an option to move the address bar to the bottom, updates it to Chromium 85 and finally unifies the accent colour! There is a grey line above the top toolbar of the tab switcher, right below the status bar.

I’ll go over some issues with the bottom address bar.

  • There is a white line at the bottom
  • The menu has a duplicate home button
  • The menu doesn’t reverse the order of items, making for an awkward experience. Vivaldi could take some of Brave’s work here.
  • You cannot access back or forward history when you long press on their menu items.
  • You can’t swipe to switch tabs using the bottom toolbar 🙁

People had actually reported a bunch of these before the stable release was released. 

still disappointed in vivaldi for android 🙁