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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

That’s what Chrome’s all about – simplicity. Google’s browser is streamlined, fast and intuitive. It’s childishly easy to set up, import your bookmarks, and get to browsing. Because that’s what Google wants you to do.

Google’s apparently less interested in making it easy for you to dig down under the hood to change meaningful things about the way Chrome works, however – that’s time you could be spending providing useful ad targeting data to the Great Machine God having a great old time on the internet. Some – admittedly fairly advanced – settings are hidden in the ://flags page, and the main settings tab has the feel of an afterthought.

It can also be a bit of a memory hog – if you look in the task manager, you’ll note that Chrome exists in several different processes at once. This isn’t unusual for modern browsers, but if you’ve got an older machine without a great deal of RAM,

I was going to say something along the lines of “that’s probably OK for the rank and file of internet users,” but what the heck do I really know about what the average internet user wants, or whether there is even such a thing as an “average internet user?” The bottom line is that Chrome is fast, dependable and easy enough for even deeply untechnical people to get accustomed to. But if you’re a more advanced user who likes to tinker, it can be frustrating.

#3: Mozilla Firefox

Firefox’s installer is less pushy than Chrome and Edge – it doesn’t badger you about making it the default browser. It does appear to leave residual settings somewhere on your machine when you uninstall, however, as my bookmarks and add-ons from a previous install reappeared after reinstallation with no prompting from me.

That said, the experience of using Firefox is closest to what I think of as a more traditional web browser – it’s nicely customizable, there’s a broad library of add-ons, and it just works, in much the way that Chrome does, though it’s easier to dig into the settings in a more granular fashion.

Without question, it’s a capable, up-to-date browser with all the necessary features, even if it’ll always remind me of the computer labs in the journalism building at the

University of Iowa. It’s attractively designed – rounded tab curves are a good thing, and even a differentiator next to all the right angles and streamlined trapezoids – and its add-ons are still a superb value-add.

However, despite major improvements of late, it still doesn’t benchmark quite as well as Chrome or its derivatives, and that lag in performance is occasionally visible, particularly with a bunch of tabs open. It’s not crippling, by any means, but it’s a headache. So I don’t think I’ll be going back to the browser that got me through college.

 

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