There was a time when Internet Explorer was the mainstay web browser in personal computers running the Windows operating system. However, beginning in 2015, Microsoft introduced and further developed another browser for Windows 10 and Xbox One: Microsoft Edge.
Microsoft Edge is now the default browser in Windows 10. It has also become the primary web browser application of Microsoft after it announced that it will only provide support and run software updates to Internet Explorer until 15 June 2022.
Advantages of Microsoft Edge: Reasons Why You Should Use this Browser from Microsoft
Based on the Chromium Codebase
The rebuilt Edge was first introduced in 2020. It has the same straightforward and intuitive interface that follows a clean and minimalist overall design language. Of course, because it is built in the Chromium codebase, it seems lightweight. Some have even noted that this Chromium browser is simply a Microsoft-rebranded Chrome.
Sizeable Library of Browser Extensions
Similar to major browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, the functionality of Edge can be expanded through browser extensions. Apart from the add-ons available through Microsoft, users can also download and install Chromium-based extensions from established third-party software developers and independent developers.
There are several adblockers to choose from the allow a browsing experience free from intrusive digital advertisements. There are also Microsoft-specific add-ons such as the OneNote Web Clipper and 360 Viewer to extend the functionalities of other Microsoft apps to the Edge browser. Other useful extensions include link shorteners and VPN plugins.
Privacy Feature via Tracking Prevention
The launch of the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser also came with a new privacy feature called “tracking prevention.” There are three options available for a particular user. The “basic” option allows web tracking by websites and advertisers, as well as personalized or targeted delivery of ads while blocking known harmful trackers.
Furthermore, the recommended “balanced” option blocks all trackers from all websites that a user has not visited and limits the delivery of targeted advertisements. The “strict” option blocks the majority of trackers from all sites regardless of browsing history, allows very minimal delivery of personalized ads, and disables some potentially intrusive website features.
Customizable and Differentiable User Profiles
Another noteworthy feature of Microsoft Edge is “Profiles,” which allows different users to create different profiles without the need for them to create multiple operating system accounts. Each profile can contain its own preferences and settings, as well as data such as history, extensions, favorites, payment information, and passwords, among others.
The browser also supports two types of profiles. The first one is a local profile in which all user data and information will only be stored and available on a particular device. The second one is a cloud profile that makes all user data and information accessible across different devices through a cloud computing and storage service that comes with a Microsoft Account.
Progressive Web Apps and Immersive Reader
Other notable built-in features include the “Immersive Reader,” which allows users to declutter an article for a more straightforward reading experience while customizing fonts, “Read Aloud,” which enables digital reading of selected texts, and a PDF viewer that has native support for inking and annotations without the need for using a separate PDF viewer application.
Disadvantages of Microsoft Edge: Reasons Why You Should Not Use this Browser from Microsoft
Other Browsers Have Better Performance
When it comes to speed and overall performance, a key disadvantage of Microsoft Edge is that it is not the best, especially when compared to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Note that based on reviews and repeated tests over the years, Chrome remains the fastest web browser for desktop devices and Firefox has placed in second.
However, it is worth mentioning that this browser can feel snappier than either Chrome or Firefox in several situations. It is still important to note that this is not the case overall. The performance of browsers can considerably differ from each user, depending on several factors to include hardware resources, Internet connection speed, and site characteristics.
User Interface Could Have Been Better
Remember that Edge is considerably similar in Chrome in terms of design and appearance, as well as in the overall user interface and user experience. This can have notable drawbacks. For example, if Chrome performs better overall, then there is no strong reason to switch to Edge. This might be true for non-Windows users.
The browser might build on another unique selling proposition or selling point through a more innovative and original user interface that would differentiate it from other browsers with almost similar-looking design language. Of course, doing so might be a hit or a miss because users might find a design-oriented selling point gimmicky.
Not Usable with Older Hardware Specifications
Similar to Chrome and Firefox, Microsoft Edge requires relatively better system resources. The published hardware requirements are minimal. For example, for Windows computers, the minimum requirement is at least 1 GHz of processing capability, and 1 GB of RAM for 32-bit or 2 GB of RAM for 64-bit Windows. But these numbers might not translate to real-world usage.
Chrome is still notorious for consuming too much RAM. The same is true for Firefox in several instances. Edge seems to be the more hardware-efficient. However, to maximize its performance, just like in other modern browsers, it is always better to have mid-level hardware specifications to include 4GB of RAM and processors not older than 6 years.