First released in July 2015, Edge has been the default browser for Microsoft’s operating systems since Windows 10. It wasn’t until January 2020 that the final stable version of the utility reached all users, including its fully Chromium-based architecture, the same mechanism that gives life to Google Chrome.
Advantages of Microsoft Edge
It’s lightweight and easy to set up
It’s true that many people prefer Chrome because Google’s browser is faster than the competition. But it’s also the browser that consumes most of your PC or phone’s resources, especially the device’s RAM.
Edge, on the other hand, can be just as fast and efficient as the competition despite being based on the same Chromium engine as Chrome. Page loads are precisely optimized to prevent your device from overloading or overheating. This makes the browser easier to use and reduces the impact on other tasks on the device.
Plus, the initial configuration is simple and intuitive, importing your favorite websites, passwords, browsing history, and settings from other browsers with just a few clicks. The only requirement is a Microsoft account that syncs all data, but that’s easy to set up too.
For some time now, browsers have offered what’s called a reader mode, in which websites adapt to a format that makes text easier to read. Edge doesn’t shy away from the concept, but the experience itself is improved compared to other browsers.
In addition to removing ads, navigation bars, excessive images, and other elements that can hinder reading, Edge also offers the option to make the screen background black. This makes reading less tiring, especially if you use your computer or phone before bed.
There’s also an “advanced reading” mode that adjusts fonts and colors according to the format you choose.
Compatible with Chrome extensions
Edge didn’t support extensions from the start. However, this changed when the browser was based on Chromium code. That said, until then, Microsoft browsers can run the same extensions originally created for Google Chrome. By the way, you can do this installation through the Chrome Web Store.
To complete the experience, Edge has some additional extensions provided by Microsoft.
Custom configuration file
Now, it is normal for every software to allow the creation of multiple profiles for different users. Edge is no different: you can create different profiles without having to set up separate accounts for each one.
Each profile has its own settings and preferences, which means features like browsing history, extensions, favorites, payment information, and passwords are only available in the profile that created them. To protect all this, each user can of course generate an access password.
Edge provides two types of configuration files. The first is cloud-based, so all information can be accessed on different devices using the same Microsoft account. The second profile model is local, which means the data can only be viewed on a single device on the Edge because it’s not stored in the cloud.
Promising to protect online user data, Edge is also a browser with a particular focus on privacy features. The most famous is a filter that prevents users from being tracked while browsing the Internet.
Filters can be configured at the “Basic” level, which mitigates most crawlers on all sites and doesn’t block custom ads; “Balanced” or “Recommended”, Edge blocks crawlers from sites you haven’t visited, thereby preventing ads from being more personal; and “Stretch,” which removes all ads and most crawlers.
Finally a Linux version
For more than a year, Linux users were limited to the beta version of Edge. Fortunately, in November 2021, Microsoft released the final stable version of the browser for the open source operating system.
On the official Microsoft website, programs are already available for download in DEB packages (Debian-based distributions, including Ubuntu) and RPM packages (Fedora and other distributions).
Disadvantages of Microsoft Edge
Older hardware is not supported
Although it’s designed to replace Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge targets devices with the latest hardware. Because of this, many older computers and phones are not compatible with this utility. For example, a PC running Windows requires at least a 1 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM (32-bit version) and 2 GB (64-bit version).
This isn’t an issue unique to Edge, as Chrome and Firefox also consume a lot of the device’s RAM. However, Edge appears to be more effective at managing this usage. Having said that, it’s best to have a recent device with a moderate configuration, including at least 4 GB of RAM.
Performance is still lower than other browsers
Speaking of settings, while Edge is lightweight, it still doesn’t have the same speed and performance as Chrome, Mozilla, and other browsers on the market. Probably because the Edge uses less RAM and therefore cannot multitask.
This is a very important point: Edge and any other browser’s performance varies from user to user. It involves many factors, from hardware and internet connection to the specific characteristics of each website.
Default search is not the best
By default, Edge uses Bing, a search engine created by Microsoft. It turns out that Bing’s algorithm displayed incomplete or not up-to-date results. Your best bet in this regard is to use Google.
Best of all, even if you switch to a different search system, Bing will still appear as Edge’s search engine. Most of the time, this happens on the new tab’s home page. Therefore, you must also change this setting in your browser to prevent Bing from continuing to appear.