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Windows 10 browser beatdown: Who’s got the edge?

Jon Gold | Aug. 23, 2016
Microsoft Edge vs. Google Chrome, vs. Mozilla Firefox vs. Opera vs. Vivaldi

Funnily enough, one of the chief headaches I ran into when using Edge was not Microsoft’s fault, but Google’s – I spend a lot of time in Google’s app ecosystem, and the frequent screenpops that said something like “Hey, you could be doing this exact same thing in Chrome!” got irritating pretty quickly. I get it, Google, but I’ve got this comparative review to write. Back off. (This was a problem when using Firefox, also.)

Benchmark-wise, it’s not terribly impressive next to Chrome and the two other Chrome-based browsers in our comparison, though I didn’t find it to be noticeably less responsive than any of the rest in standard usage. The interface is highly Metro, with all that that entails – menus are simplified, everything looks kind of blocky and stripped-down. If you enjoy the Metro visuals and method of interacting with software, you’re going to like Edge. If you hate it like poison, you probably won’t. I’m Metro-agnostic, personally – I think Edge is visually attractive, but I’m less than crazy about the way the menus are structured along the side of the window.

It’s at the bottom of the rankings not because it’s a bad browser, but because I can’t think why you’d use it instead of the other browsers on the list – the ability to draw on a page with web notes is neat, but sharing is a bit clunky and you have to use Metro apps to do it. The interface is good enough, it’s nice to look at, but I’m going elsewhere for my everyday browsing, thanks.

#4: Google Chrome

Increasingly the web’s default browser, Chrome’s been my daily driver for about six years. (I was a Firefox guy for probably five years before that.) Thusly, it’s a little tough to talk about as anything but a baseline for me, but I’ll take a stab at it.

Installation is very quick indeed, though I dislike the checked-by-default “make Chrome my default browser” box in the installer – more on principle than anything else. There are far more insidious checked-by-default boxes in other web installers – Java’s infamous partnership with the Ask Toolbar is a good example – which, because people have learned to click straight through these things so quickly, amount to an attempt to sneak something past our overloaded attention spans.

But where browsers are concerned, of course, it’s hardly an unusual feature, and it’s not difficult to fix the problem if you thoughtlessly click past it without meaning to.

Like Firefox, Chrome appears to retain settings, extensions and even history unless you tell the uninstaller otherwise. Chrome Extensions let you add a huge array of new capabilities to the browser, and are characteristically simple to search out and install.

 

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