The new Microsoft Edge changes everything.
Microsoft Edge, the new Chromium-based browser made by Microsoft, now compatible with all Google Chrome extensions.
But is the new Microsoft Edge a big deal?
Should I switch to Microsoft Edge now?
What are the common problems on Microsoft Edge?
You are in the right article!
In this article, I’m gonna tell you everything you need to know about the new Microsoft Edge!
Let’s get started!
Here is Why You Should Switch To Microsoft Edge
You would think that Edge’s market share of 1.86 per cent – according to Statcounter’s figures when we wrote this – would be a little higher, given that Microsoft bakes the browser into Windows 10 and it’s the only option you have on a brand-new, untouched version of the OS.
But there you go.
Nobody’s really using Edge, but that didn’t stop Microsoft from officially launching a version of the browser for both Android and iOS in November, and rolling out support for both iOS and Android tablets this week.
Why give Microsoft Edge a try?
If you’re already wedded to Chrome or Firefox, convincing you to switch to another browser – a Microsoft browser, at that – is probably futile, but we’ll at least try to lay out a reasonable case for why Edge is interesting.
As soon as you fire up Edge, Microsoft asks you to synchronise the app with your existing Microsoft account, a standard browser practice that allows you to then share your favourites, history, passwords, browser data, and settings between your PCs, smartphones, and tablets.
That’s nothing new.
The browser itself has a nice, streamlined design, with navigation buttons on the bottom – a welcome sight for Safari and Firefox users, and a slight adjustment for Chrome fans.
Speaking of, Edge was just as fast as Chrome when we ran Browserbench’s JetStream test on iOS versions of both browsers, and it actually beat Chrome on Browserbench’s Speedometer test by an increase of around 20 per cent.
It feels incredibly responsive to use for mundane tasks, like adding or modifying bookmarks and pulling up (or switching between) tabs.
Microsoft Edge's best feature: Throwing tabs to your Windows 10 PC
Microsoft’s “Continue on PC” functionality works flawlessly.
Assuming you’ve connected Edge and your other desktops or laptops to your Microsoft account, you can send anything you’re looking at on your smartphone or tablet right on over to one of your PCs.
The page will immediately pop up in Windows 10’s Edge browser, and you sit down at your desk to keep reading (or watching).
This trick is a one-way street (for now, at least), so you can’t send tabs you’re viewing in Edge on Windows 10 to your smartphone or tablet.
We can only presume Microsoft will address that in some future update.
In general, Edge feels streamlined and minimal.
There aren’t very many options you can configure if you wanted to – far fewer than what you’d find on Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
If anything, Edge is a little unbaked, but it will work perfectly for you if you’ve already bought into Microsoft’s ecosystem.
Otherwise, it’s a speedy, simple browser… if you can be convinced to make the switch.
Microsoft Edge on Android and iOS
It makes a lot of sense to have the same browser on your mobile and desktop devices, which might be one reason you’ve been avoiding Edge, but Microsoft now makes very decent versions of the browser for Android and iOS.
Your browsing history and other data get synced across of course, and you can ping webpages back and forth between devices.
It even has a dark mode—the only major browser available on iOS with that feature.
8 Reasons It Might Be Time to Switch to Microsoft Edge
Integrations between Microsoft Edge and Windows 10 continue to get better (such as notifications in the Action Center), and Microsoft’s browser works very well with the online Office apps, as you would expect.
It can also handle Google Drive and its online apps very well too, though you will initially be met with a flurry of pop-ups to install Google Chrome…
Just one request to Microsoft: Please, for the sake of journalists, writers, and people who use Content Management Systems the world over, introduce support for the Ctrl+Shift+V shortcut to paste without formatting… our livelihoods depend on it.
You can cast webpages
Microsoft Edge now features the option to beam websites, photos, and videos to a device using the Miracast standard.
This is different from the protocol Google’s Chromecast uses, but it is supported by (for example) the Amazon Fire TV stick and Roku’s line of streaming sticks.
Click the Share button (top right) to search for nearby devices and start casting.
Comprehensive autofill tools
Microsoft Edge couldn’t remember information you typed into forms when it launched, but it can now—and that means you don’t have to tap in your address or your credit card number 20 times a week.
Saved information can now be properly managed and edited, and payment details linked to your Microsoft account can be automatically imported too.
Better autoplay options
Microsoft Edge lets you mute tabs (right-click then Mute tab), but it also gives you more detailed options for managing auto-playing on sites as you browse the web.
From the app menu click Settings then Advanced and you’ll come across a Media autoplay drop-down menu.
Select Limit to stop any auto-playing media that has a sound with it, or Block to stop any auto-playing media or not, sound or otherwise.
Microsoft Edge warns that this might cause some sites to break, but it might be a fair price to pay for a more peaceful browsing experience.
You can set this on a site-by-site level as well, which is going to be helpful if you like the way some sites use autoplay but find other sites frustrating: Click the Show site information button in the address bar (which will be either a padlock or info symbol), then choose Media autoplay settings to set your preferences for the current website.
Some decent extensions have been added
A lack of extension support was something that made Microsoft Edge a non-starter for some in the early days, but plug-ins and add-ons are gradually finding their way to the browser now.
A reading view that actually works
You might be vaguely aware that your current browser has a distraction-free mode that cuts out page clutter, but is it as good as Microsoft Edge?
Click the Reading view button on the right of the address bar and adverts and menus disappear, leaving only the text and images you’re interested in.
Click near the top then click Learning tools for more options.
These extra options include a choice of themes, spacing settings, a mode where just a few lines of text are highlighted at a time, and color-coded grammar-based emphasis that can also improve reading comprehension.
As added bonuses, you can have articles read out to you, and there’s a clutter-free printing option you can find on the Print dialog as well.
Better PDF handling
Microsoft Edge now works much better as a PDF reader, so if you use your browser to open up other types of files, that’s something to make note of.
As well as some under-the-hood rendering improvements, there a newly designed floating toolbar that lets you hear PDFs read aloud, add annotations to documents, change the document view, and more.
The redesigned hub and menus
Edge just looks a lot better these days too: The menus are now split into submenus and are easier to get around, while the all-important hub provides easy access to your favorites (bookmarks), your reading list (saved articles), your downloads, and your browsing history.
These individual screens are a lot more detailed and intuitive than they used to be.
With the most recent October 2018 update, you’ll notice the program options are now more neatly organized, and you can collapse menu headings (and hub headings) by clicking on the arrow at the top.
You can also pin particular submenus or particular hub tabs (like downloads) to stay on screen: Just click the Pin button in the top-right corner.
More customization options
Speaking of the Microsoft Edge interface, which was rather rough and ready when the browser first arrived alongside Windows 10, you can now customize the main toolbar on screen to suit your needs – open up the Microsoft Edge application menu, move to the Show in toolbar entry, and you can add shortcuts to your downloads, browsing history, and so on.
On the same theme, the light and dark modes have been included in Microsoft Edge for a while, but they’ve been refined and polished in recent months – you’ll find them on the General tab in Settings.
The full-screen mode (F11) has been given some tweaks too, making it easier to access the address bar and open tabs when Edge is taking up the entirety of the display.
5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Switch to Microsoft Edge Yet
The Edge browser marks the start of an exciting new era for Microsoft and it’s definitely a step in the right direction — but maybe it was unveiled too quickly.
It currently feels more like a prototype than a ready-to-use product, and while progress is still being made, it’s still not “there” yet.
Here are a few drawbacks that you may want to consider before leaving your current browser behind.
1. Weak Extension Support
Bar none, the worst mistake that Microsoft ever made with Edge was releasing it to the public without any extension support.
A browser without extensions is like a computer without any USB ports: sure, it works, but that’s about it.
These days, no extensions means no mainstream adoption.
Not only that, but even the people who can use extensions in Edge are left in want — there are only seven extensions currently available to install.
A handful of third-party extensions, including LastPass and Evernote, are set to be released soon, but nobody knows exactly when “soon” will be.
When can you expect extensions to come to the public version of the browser?
Microsoft has said that that’s not set in stone, so I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.
2. Lack of Full Control
There are lots of reasons to like Windows 10, but there are some pretty big reasons to hate it as well — including the fact that Microsoft really wants to force its users to behave in one set way.
A lot of the flexibility is gone, and it’s starting to feel like Apple’s closed ecosystem.
And Edge suffers from a lot of that, too.
Yeah, Microsoft offers a handful of settings that you can tweak, but they’re all very basic or superficial.
If you really want to customize the browser, you can’t.
Combined with the lack of extensions, you end up with an overly stiff and simple browser.
For example, Firefox lets you dig into the about:config page to alter hundreds of different settings and variables.
Google Chrome and Opera aren’t as flexible, but you can still tamper with options in the chrome://flags and opera://flags pages.
Microsoft Edge doesn’t offer anything like that.
Overall, Microsoft Edge just feels restrained.
Don’t believe me?
Try changing the default search engine to Google, Yahoo, Baidu, or DuckDuckGo.
It’s way more annoying than it has to be.
3. Privacy & Security Concerns
Back in February, Microsoft Edge users collectively freaked out when news broke that the browser was actually storing your private data even when browsing in InPrivate Mode.
Thus, it turned out that InPrivate Mode wasn’t actually so private after all.
Fortunately, Microsoft responded quickly and rectified the issue before any major mishaps resulted from it.
However, it did raise a question in everyone’s minds: if such an oversight could be made, how many other privacy-related flaws still exist in the browser?
Cortana is another feature of concern, not just for Edge but for Windows 10 as a whole.
How much personal data does Cortana collect between all of your questions and commands?
The silver lining is that Edge’s Cortana doesn’t have always-on listening… yet.
And while Edge is a marked improvement over Internet Explorer in terms of security, what we find is that many of the security holes in IE still exist in Edge.
On the other side, Edge also introduced a few holes of its own, such as the recent PDF exploit.
Not to mention that if Edge ever gets infected and loses core system files, there’s no easy way to completely reset the browser!
As of this writing, you can only restore those missing files by using a Windows 10 image (which is a huge inconvenience).
4. No “Quality of Life” Features
A “quality of life” feature is one that isn’t necessary for the browser to function, but still provides a large enough measure of convenience and satisfaction as to be considered significant.
Unfortunately, Microsoft Edge is missing a lot of these.
For example, Microsoft Edge can synchronize favorites, Reading Lists, and settings across multiple devices, but the ability to sync open tabs is still missing.
As Microsoft clearly intends Windows 10 to be used across many devices, this seems like a big oversight on its part.
Other missing enhancements include no history of recently closed tabs, no tab groups, poor handling of dragged tabs, no tab audio muting, and no ability to switch between multiple user profiles.
The browser also suffers from occasional pages that won’t load and pages that randomly crash.
All in all, Microsoft Edge currently feels rough and unpolished in a lot of ways.
The core is there, and the browser definitely works when you need it in a pinch, but if you try to use it as a primary browser for daily use, you’ll likely find yourself more frustrated than satisfied.
5. Lagging Standards & Performance
This last issue with Edge isn’t as serious as the other ones, but it isn’t negligible either.
As we found out in our recent in-depth comparison of all major browsers, Edge is far from leading the pack in terms of performance and compliance with Web standards.
To be fair, Microsoft Edge won by a significant margin in the JetStream benchmark, but came in last in the Kraken and RoboHornet benchmarks (which are arguably more accurate and relevant than JetStream).
Long story short, Edge has work to do before it becomes truly competitive.
Microsoft Edge also came in last with respect to HTML5 compliance, scoring 453 out of 555 total points.
By comparison, Moyilla Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome each scored 478, 520, and 521, respectively.
Microsoft Edge is better than Internet Explorer, of course, but may still render some websites improperly.
Microsoft Edge is Unimpressive
These days, when you’re trying to pick between multiple browsers, you just have to determine which feature is most important to you and then go with the browser that does it best.
The problem with Microsoft Edge is that it’s simply not “the best” in any given area.
Want widespread extension support?
Want privacy and/or open-source software?
Want speed and a clean user interface?
Opera or Maxthon.
Microsoft Edge doesn’t have an ace up its sleeve unless you strictly use Windows 10 everywhere or you really want Cortana.
Linus Tech Tips made a cool video about Microsoft Edge.
Without any spoiler, here is the video:
The Bottom Line
What do you think about Microsoft Edge and the other browsers?
Do you have any extension/add-on?
With extension/add-on you would see on Microsoft Edge?
Please, comment below!
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That’s all I know for now.