Evaluating Chromium-Based Web Browsers (alternates to Google Chrome)

chrome

#1

Evaluating Chromium-Based Web Browsers (alternates to Google Chrome)

Continuing the discussion from Send Vivaldi Tabs to iOS (via Safari Reading List):

It now appears that there are several good alternates to Google Chrome, that are all based on the same core Chromium browser which are worth considering:

  1. Brave Browser
  2. Vivaldi
  3. others?

I have been testing Brave Browser, and it appears that @Tom as been testing Vivaldi, so I'll start with this:

Tom, very interesting. I recently started testing the Brave Browser, and really like it. Have you by chance compared Vivaldi with Brave (and/or Google Chrome)?

Clearly Vivaldi is scriptable (both AppleScript and JavaScript) -- so that's a major hurdle it (like Brave) has already passed.

So I'd appreciate any thoughts you (and others) have about these browsers.


#2

Michael,

Hm, yes, I have. (Of course, not with Google Chrome, since – you know – I refuse to touch anything produced by that shady company or related to it. Or, at least, I try.)

But when it comes to Vivaldi and Brave:

It depends what you want: Brave seems more like a bare-bone browser with some Goodies under the hood. You can access onion URLs with it (built-in Tor browser), it seems to have some tracking prevention built-in (untested).

Besides that, it is, almost, feature-less. (Which can be a good thing, of course.)
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Vivaldi is a completely different beast:

Forked from the original Opera, but then also switched to the Blink engine (like Opera).

I knew a bit the old Opera (with the Presto engine). It was an interesting alternative to Firefox and WebKit at that time. But, OK, once you go Chromium (Blink), you have to put something on the table, to be different. And both (Opera and Vivaldi) have seen that challenge, since they went that way.

Opera has been bought by some Chinese, don't ask me when. Opera is no longer an European thing.
Vivaldi is still European, driven by an ex-co-founder of Opera. Somewhere in Scandinavia, don't ask me where.

Vivaldi is Feature Browser. It is (probably) not optimized for speed (though I never noticed any speed drawbacks in normal usage).

It has an incredible amount of features :wink:

Well, I start to tell you about them, but please do not think this is all:

  • You can stack tabs
  • You can select multiple tabs by Cmd-or Shift-Clicking
  • You can hibernate tabs
  • You can split the view (yeah, really). You can establish a 3-column view, or a 4-squares view, as you want, and as it fits the pages.

Many more stuff. For example the bookmark management is way superior to any browser. You can even add descriptions to your bookmarks, and shortcuts (aka "nicknames").

Brave does not offer any of this. It is not a feature browser. It is a lean browser. It is even more featureless than a stripped Chrome. (Besides the things mentioned above.)

Resume:

I don't think it is a good idea to compare Vivaldi with Brave. Brave, IMO, is a special browser that – maybe can double as an universal browser for some people. At the moment I'm not yet sure what these people are. Maybe normal ones? Not sure.

Vivaldi is a universal browser. It is even so universal that you can name it a “nerd browser”, if you wanted to do so. (But of course it is not.)

You should compare Vivaldi with Opera, not with Brave:

Vivaldi is a bit like the "old" Opera before they gave up the Presto engine. Of course, nowadays both are based on Blink by Google (a WebKit fork).

I know it is cheap, but I say it anyway:

Try out both, Opera and Vivaldi, and see what fits you.

When doing this, keep in mind that Opera is trying to trick you:

They say the browser comes with an integrated RSS reader. True, but the reader is crap. You get better ones from the Chrome store (with a similar memory footprint), or you just rely on an external news aggregator. So: Nonsense.

They say the browser comes with a VPN. Nonsense also, since a VPN can hardly be limited to a specific app (browser). It's just a proxy.

It comes with an integrated ad blocker. Fine, they say it is faster because it is better integrated. (Will be executed before the traffic arrives, etc.) Is it true? I doubt it. Vivaldi with uBlockOrigin is negligibly slower with the Jetstream2 test.

The "Flow" feature? Well, I don't know. Try it. I don't like it. (It has some sync uses.)


I think you got the idea. If not then just go ahead and try the browsers.

Opera seems to be in a bad state currently (technically)

Try out both browsers or even the Brave browser.

Just do one thing before: Export your bookmarks as an HTML file and guard it like your loveletters. This way, as long as you guard that file, nothing bad can happen. Because, as we all know, your browser is just as good as your bookmarks.


Edit 2019-06-06 T 2055:

  • Removed some late-night political incorrectness
  • Corrected some minor stuff
  • Added links

#3

Tom, many thanks for youf long and thoughtful reply. I am still digesting it, but I would say this about Brave Browser:

  • It is primarily known for its speed -- supposedly 2-3X faster than Chrome.
  • Maybe it does not have as many built-in features as Vivaldi, but then neither does Google Chrome. As with Chrome, I get the extra features I want from Chrome extensions, which work with Brave, and I believe with any Chromium-based browser like Vivaldi.
  • I know nothing about Opera, so for me it will be a comparison between Vivaldi and Brave
  • So far, all of the Chrome extensions I have installed in Brave have worked fine -- just like they do in Chrome.

So far, I have not found any Vivaldi features that are of a huge benefit to me, or my workflows, but I will continue to evaluate. If there are one or two Vivaldi features you find very useful, please feel free to mention them. I will review your above list again.

Why Choose Brave Browser

  1. Avoid all the issues we have with Google
  2. Get a very fast web browser

Obviously #1 also applies to Vivaldi.

So I need to continue studying and testing both Brave and Vivaldi.
Thanks again for your great reply.


#4

Michael,

It is primarily known for its speed -- supposedly 2-3X faster than Chrome

Just do a Jetstream2 test (or any of the other tests)

Personally I have detected rather insignificant differences:

Opera 60.0.3255.141: 109.022
Opera Developer 62.0.3331.2: 113.670
Vivaldi 2.6.1560.4: 113.978
Safari 12.1.1: 121.454
Safari TP Release 83: 125.458


Update 190606T2103:

here the missing results for the Brave browser with the Jetstream2 test:

Brave 0.68.10 Chromium: 75.0.3770.38: 105.194

Test was done on the same machine as the other ones (MBP 2017), but not at the same time, so some environmental factors may be different. Nevertheless, it seems the Brave browser is not faster than the others, in fact it is the slowest of the bunch.

But, as said, I think those benchmark results are pretty irrelevant. (Unless they expose a difference of, let's say, 30% or more.)

PS to my Update:

Just did the test with Safari TP Release 84 (released today): 121.355

This confirms that today's results are not too far off from the original results; so, the Brave result is probably accurate. (If you want, add 4.000, to compare it with yesterday's results.)


#5

Just found this, which looks very useful, but I'm not sure how current it is:

Vivaldi vs Brave detailed comparison as of 2019 - Slant


#6

If you insist doing metric comparisons, then go on.

But I don't think it is very useful.

Just try the Vivaldi Browser for a couple of days, and you'll see the difference (not in metrics of course).
And I'm a really dogmatic hardcore Safari user, sure you can confirm this when going thru our old conversations…

Vivaldi is far from being perfect, but it is astoninglishy good.

For transfering scripts to iOS see the post I made yesterday. This was my really big concern with this desktop-only browser. But since I know that the scripts are working I'm fine.

The workflow is not optimal, I know, and thats up to the Vivaldi devs. But it is manageable. :wink:

PS:btw: here my metrics, (Jetstream2); from yesterday

Opera 60.0.3255.141: 109.022
Opera Developer 62.0.3331.2: 113.670
Vivaldi 2.6.1560.4: 113.978
Safari 12.1.1: 121.454
Safari TP Release 83: 125.458

But as said, I don't believe in that crap :wink: I hope you can sniff the irony of my actions :slight_smile:

Wrong language, better this way: I hope you realize that this is not serious, even though I am posting these ridiculous results her :wink:

They may indicate something, but in the end the usability wins over any metrics.

But you see, even I, I am adicted to those metrics… But this does not change the fact that they are useless. At the end.


#7

As an engineer, I live and die by metrics :wink:

Here's mine:

Browser JetStream2 Total
Chrome 154.87
Brave 157.39
Vivaldi 156.54

If the JetStream2 test is a good test of performance, then there is not enough difference in those numbers to make a difference in the real world.

But, also as an engineer, I strongly believe in real-world field tests. :wink:

I agree with that.

I have lots of time to make a decision because I'm not switching from Chrome until KM is updated to work with all Chromium-based browsers, which Peter has said will be in Ver 9.

BTW, the Discourse forum is getting smarter on pastes. When I pasted the cells from Excel 365 directly into the forum edit box, it converted it nicely into a Markdown table.

As you may have guessed, I require both. An app with great features and UI is worthless to me if it runs slower than frozen molasses. OTOH, I'm not a speed demon like my good friend Chris. :wink: I only require reasonably good performance (whatever that is: fast enough that it does not annoy me)

Thanks again for your enjoyable discussion.


#8

@Tom and I have agreed to test and evaluate Vivaldi and Brave browsers.
We are looking for others who have been using either/both browsers. If you have, please post your evaluation with a header like this:

### Evaluation:  <BrowserName>     Rating: <1 to 5> (with 5 being best)

Thanks for your help.


#9

I have been looking for a photo the Vivaldi CEO (just to convince you that it is neither a Windows dummy nor a Mac idiot), but still haven't found it.

Maybe you are faster in finding it, since you are using Google…


#10

Yep.

https://www.crunchbase.com/person/jon-s-von-tetzchner
image


#11

Heck, that's not he guy I saw in a video (yes it is, but he was different)
Trying to find the video…


#12

I think this is the image I had in mind:


#13

Anyways, what are you after?

A speed diff of 5 or even 10 in tests is ridiculous.

I would even go so far and say that the current browsers are more or less on the same level, speed-wise.

Just give Vivaldi a try (and don't forget to read the manual) for a couple of days and report back. Yu have to explore the features, not the speed :wink:

Best,

– Tom


#14

Specs

SPEC Vivaldi Brave
Browser Engine Blink Blink
Default Search Engine Bing Google
Platforms Windows; macOS; Linux Android; iOS; macOS; Windows; Linux

#15

Going to sleep now. Thanks for the nice conversation!


#16

Is there an iOS Brave app?


#17

Yeah, it is.

A serious bonus for Brave.


#18

Already answered:

At least as fast as Chrome.

Already said that:


#19

Repeating meaningless answers is nice, but does not help. :wink:

JM, you know that.

I'm going to bed, definitely. (5 AM here, holy shit)


#20

As said: I think this is meaning less. UX counts.

PS:

Of course I was not referring to the avoidance of Google crap. But this is a whole different story.
And I know we have different opinions in that regard.