With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft also launched its new browser, Microsoft Edge. As of right now, the new browser isn’t getting much love from Windows 10 users (Edge currently only accounts for 16% of the online activity of all Windows 10 owners). Is this for good reason? Or is it simply because people don’t feel like making the switch or know what Edge has to offer?
We compared Edge to the company’s flagship web browser, Internet Explorer, to see if users really do have anything to gain by making the switch.
At a glance, Edge and IE look very similar. Even the logos don’t look all that different.
The page layout of Edge takes a more minimalist approach, making IE look a little dated. The navigation buttons have also been kept to a bare minimum and look less chunky than those on IE. Edge certainly wins in this category with its sleeker, more modern design.
In the features category, Edge beats out IE as well. IE isn’t exactly known for its additional functionality, so this is hardly a surprise.
Edge integrates with Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, to provide voice control, search, and personalized info to users.
Web page annotation is also a cool addition. With it, users can write freehand notes, highlight sections, and add text boxes on the page. These annotations can then be stored on OneDrive and sent to other users.
Edge also has a Pocket-style Reading List function that syncs content between devices as well as a Reading Mode that strips away the flashy formatting found on some web pages, allowing for easier reading.
Security and Extensions
Security has also never been IE’s claim to fame. Microsoft seems to have recognized this fault and has made a solid effort to boost security with Edge. If an attacker is able to gain access to the system, they will be confined to a secure virtual space within the browser (also known as a sandbox). This prevents the attacker from gaining access to the wider system.
Edge also has built-in anti-phishing and anti-fraud technologies, and blocks all third party plugins and extensions. While this makes Edge incompatible with legacy apps that rely on ActiveX and similar tech, something IE is still compatible with, it does make for safer web browsing.
While this all sounds promising, Edge hasn’t been around long enough to really be put to the test. It’ll be interesting to see how well these security measures hold up on the World Wide Web in the coming months.
Microsoft has put a lot of work into Edge’s back end. It’s smooth and responsive, and really gives you the feeling that you’re actually surfing the web. It’s a nice change of pace given that browsing on IE sometimes felt like you were on a Viking ship, slowly rowing from page to page.
When comparing the amount of memory each browser uses, Edge is the definite workhorse of the two. On average, IE uses less than half the RAM it takes to run Edge. Still, Edge’s memory usage shouldn’t be overly taxing for newer PCs. The boot time on Edge is also faster than IE.
Overall, Edge is a better performer in nearly every major category, making it worth the switch. We’re not sure how long it will take for users to get on board with Edge, or whether it can compete with the likes of Chrome and Firefox. But when matched up against Explorer, it’s pretty much a no-brainer.