Microsoft Edge was designed to replace Internet Explorer, but lacked important features users expected. Four years later, Edge has turned into a capable browser that rivals Google Chrome and even outperforms it in some cases. But that usability has yet to translate into marketability, and many organizations aren’t sure which browser they should use with the Windows 10 upgrade.
Here’s how Edge stacks up against popular alternatives Firefox and Google Chrome in Windows 10.
What Microsoft Edge Offers Windows 10 Systems
Edge for Android and iOS lets users sync favorites and passwords across desktop and mobile devices, and it is currently the only browser to natively support Windows 10 Timeline. Edge also has a built-in PDF and e-book reader, and can annotate web pages with the help of Microsoft OneNote. Strong Group Policy support provides for easy management, password-free sign-in and Windows Hello biometric authentication. Application Guard optionally isolates Edge for ultrasecure browsing. Perhaps the best advantage Edge offers is that, because it is built in to Windows 10, it automatically updates via Windows Update.
Edge is a capable and secure browser, but it’s not perfect. Fewer extensions are offered for Edge, compared with Chrome. Because website developers primarily test against Chrome, Edge sometimes has problems rendering web pages, and some sites will not load in Edge because developers block it for compatibility reasons.
Edge Challengers: Chrome and Firefox
The most popular alternatives to Microsoft Edge are Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Both are easily installed and able to serve as the default browser. Chrome is the most popular, partly because it is the inbox browser on Android.
Choosing Chrome will guarantee site compatibility and provide access to more extensions than either Edge or Firefox. The latest version of Firefox breaks some legacy extensions, so you may want to check that the extensions you need work as expected. Both browsers are available for mobile devices, so you can sync tabs, bookmarks and passwords.
The default search engine in Chrome is Google, while Edge defaults to Bing with the option to switch to Google. All three browsers support Progressive Web Apps — websites that look and work like mobile apps — but the implementation differs. Chrome and Firefox let users add PWAs to their devices directly from the browser, while the desktop version of Edge requires users to install PWAs from the Microsoft Store and restricts the number of available apps. Edge on Android supports PWAs the same way it supports mobile versions of Chrome and Firefox.
Change the Default Browser
Once you have installed your chosen browser, change it to the default by typing default browser into the search box in the bottom left of the taskbar and selecting Choose a Default Web Browser from the results.