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the best of Chrome and classic Edge wrapped in one package

27 mayo, 2021

The day has come, the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge officially becomes the official browser for Windows 10 and releases its first stable version to the world about 10 months after being presented in a preliminary version.

This server has been using it as its main browser on both Windows and macOS for more than six months, and despite having only had Developer and Beta versions, until now I have not felt the need to go back to another browser, much less the same Chrome.

And it is that, for those who use Chrome, that nobody can deny is the extreme majority of Internet users, Google browser is difficult to replaceSo much so that many prefer to deal with its high resource consumption in exchange for all the other advantages it offers.

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What Edge offers

Microsoft Edge Windows 10

When you run the browser for the first time, what you will feel is that you are in front of something very similar to Chrome, but at the same time very similar to the other Edge. The biggest advantage of this browser is that it combines the best of that classic Edge, with some of the best things about Chrome, and achieves this by offering a relatively lower consumption of resources.

For example, Edge Chromium includes a very comprehensive reading mode to read articles on websites without distractions, with multiple preferences for text both in font size and in background and highlight colors. It’s something he brought back from the classic Edge.

Reading Edge Mode Read mode in Microsoft Edge

Besides that it has a unique function of out loud reading that you can configure so that different types of voices read all the text on the screen, and the truth is that it works wonders and can be very useful on different occasions and for people who cannot read the text. Something that other popular browsers don’t have.

Migrating to this browser is also very easy, especially if you use Windows and already have a Microsoft account. You just have to import all your bookmarks and other browsing data, and you can synchronize and save everything in the cloud with your account.

Edge Chromium is less demanding on your CPU than Google Chrome, so you’ll get more battery life from your laptop

While you get out of sync with your Google account, Edge also seems to have less of a load by getting rid of all Google services running on Chrome. The resource consumption of this browser tends to be less per tab and application, the difference is not huge, but when it accumulates by opening stacks of tabs, it becomes more significant.

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We’re not necessarily saying that Edge consumes less memory, but its CPU usage is usually more moderate. For example, using the same 10 extensions and opening the same 12 tabs, Edge even consumes up to 100 MB less memory, its CPU usage is lower and Windows 10 always identifies it as a program with low or very low energy consumption tendency.

Screenshot 51 Edge and Chrome resource consumption with the same 10 extensions installed and the same 12 tabs open. The numbers tend to fluctuate quite a bit, but the CPU usage and power consumption in Chrome always tends to be higher.

This is not always the case with memory, Edge can consume more than Chrome in certain situations, but what is constant is the lower CPU use, which also makes it a better option for laptops, because it will eat up the battery less quickly, and this it is an advantage that it inherits from the classic Edge.

This is what I have been able to verify in macOS, in a Macbook Air using Chrome implies reducing the battery life almost in half compared to using something like Safari, but with Edge Chromium although you do not get the same juice as with Apple’s browser, if you get much more than with Chrome, up to a couple more hours.

The installation of web applications is much more intuitive and simple than in Chrome

I also want to highlight the good job Microsoft has done with the menus and the way it shows the available options and settings, especially when installing progressive web applications. In Chrome you basically have to guess that going to the “More tools” menu and then choosing “Create shortcut” installs a website as a standalone app without browser controls.

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In Edge you just have to go to the menu Applications and select Install this page as an application. It is much more intuitive, especially when the browser does not automatically detect that you are in front of a PWA and does not show you the install button in the URL bar.

And not only that, Microsoft is already planning that PWAs are more like a native app in Windows 10 with custom notifications, uninstallation from the control panel, and even its own name in the Task Manager.

You also have options to choose to erase all your browsing data when you close Edge

While the settings menu is also very well designed and uncluttered, I have to complain about how hidden the option is to change the default search engine, buried under a sea of ​​text.

Edge Search Engines Edge’s address bar supports a myriad of search engines, but by default it uses Bing and finding the option to change it can be challenging. It’s easier if you enter this in the url bar: edge: // settings / searchEngines

In Edge you have to go to Privacy and services, go down to the last option: Address bar, and there you will find the options to manage search engines. It is not exactly at hand and more than one may be bothered by the idea that you have to stay with Bing forever, when it is not.

Precisely in the privacy section, we must also highlight the Edge tracking prevention options, which offer you three types of profiles, including a strict one that blocks all types of trackers. In addition, even the balanced mode is activated by default, something that does not happen in Chrome.

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Why Edge and not another Chromium-based browser

Edge Chromium

Relying on Chromium has been a renaissance for Edge, which was never a bad browser, but also not one that stood out above almost any other alternative, especially for its almost no extension support.

Edge is neither the first nor will it be the last alternative browser to be based on Chromium, therefore when talking about it we have to talk about Chrome itself, and alternatives such as Opera, or Vivaldi or even Brave. All these have in common that they are based on Google’s open source project, but whoever has tried them knows that offer quite different experiences.

They all have advantages and disadvantages, and if you want to replace Chrome, it can be done with anyone, but at least in my own experience, it has been with Microsoft Edge with the least friction I have encountered, to the point of reaching permanently replace the Google browser on all my computers and systems.

Edge extensions You can install almost any extension from the Chrome Web Store, except themes to change the appearance

With any other browser based on Chromium you get the huge library of extensions for Chrome, and Edge is no exception, although it also has its own dedicated extension store with several of the most basic.

However, it may be with Edge with the browser that you end up missing the least Chrome compared to something like Opera or Vivaldi. If you use Windows 10, it is likely that you already have a Microsoft account and you will not need to create another one to synchronize data with a new browser.

In all the experiences of use that I have had with other browsers, in the end the consumption of resources ends up being the same as with Chrome, and with no other except Edge, the experience when installing web applications has been so good, something that it can be decisive if you depend on many services that have chosen to abandon the development of native apps.

The Chromium-based Edge is probably the best browser Microsoft has ever produced., and after the bad taste that Internet Explorer left us, and the indifference caused by the classic Edge, it seems that this time we are again facing a competitive option, despite the fact that deep down it is built on the same skeleton as the majority of the rest of alternatives.