I’ve been looking at the Microsoft Edge web browser on my laptop for a while now and wondered why I would use it. I use Google Chrome and am happy with it, but I was curious about this new web browser. What did it have to offer that Chrome didn’t? I knew that Edge didn’t use Active X and that Microsoft designed it from the ground up, but I had no idea what it looked like and if it was any good. So I decided to give it a try.
I set Edge up and imported my bookmarks from Chrome, switched the home button to Google, changed the default search engine to Google, and made the bookmarks bar visible. Using Google for the new tab button would have been easy, but I kept it set to Bing to get some of the default settings effect. I then tried to install Edge on my Pixel XL, but it wasn’t available in the Play store. Why would I give Edge a shot if I can’t use it on my phone? Annoyed, I went right back to my trusted Chrome.
After a couple of weeks, I revisited Edge and decided to give it a try. Here are some of my final thoughts.
- Pining. The ability to pin specific web pages to the top of the browser actually comes in handy when you’re working on a computer. It’s not much different than using the bookmark bar, but I use folders to keep things organized, and found pinning easier than going through folders.
- Sharing. The share button is directly on the browser instead of hidden in a menu or having to do a cut-and-paste of the URL when sharing via an app.
- Ebooks. Edge is also an ebook reader. While I don’t read ebooks on my laptop, I use my phone, having a web browser as an ebook reader would mean one less app to keep on your phone or tablet. Still, getting me away from Play Books would be a difficult task.
- Setting tabs aside. If you don’t want to pin a web site, you can also set it aside for later use. This is good for sites you don’t want to bookmark, but still need to access from time to time, which is good for research.
- History. Having your viewing history directly on the browser instead of hidden in a menu was useful.
- Web Notes. Although I never used the web notes feature, I can see where some people might find it useful. This gives you the ability to make notes directly on web sites and save an image file of it in a OneNote file.
- Battery. I did not do any specific tests to prove that the battery lasts longer using Edge over Chrome, but it did feel like I had to charge the battery less.
- No Android app. In this day and age, how can Microsoft expect anybody to use the Edge browser on their computer and a different one of their phone. This makes no sense at all. I want all my history, bookmarks, etc… synched between my PC and phone. This one thing makes Edge unusable.
- Reading view. While it may be nice to have the ability to read some web sites as ebooks, it feels a bit useless to me. I can’t imagine a time when I would use this. I will say it did work well.
- Because Edge is a fairly new browser, there were some web pages that didn’t work very well or had some wonky aspects. This will go away in time, but I had to mention it.
So Edge is a decent web browser that can only be used on Windows tablets, phones and PCs. Hopefully they’ll make an Edge app.