Edge?! Lets give it a shot

Prejudging is not one of my businesses. Hence, I had to try the Microsoft Edge Browser to get some impressions. One week was the trail period to wrap my head around it and to test its features and usability.

Bookmarks

This means a great deal to me. I imported all the bookmarks from Chrome to Edge without any issue. But somehow I had 15 folders called „Bookmark“ with content in it I have never seen before. (Company websites from my provider, smartphone,… Guess some kind of advertisement) However, after I got rid of all folders, still all bookmarks (also nested folders) were stuck in one Bookmark folder. There is no option to move more than one folder at the same time to the root of the bookmark tree. Took me ages to move every single bookmark to the correct spot.

Once done, I tried to pin bookmarks to the bookmark bar, right beneath the URL bar. And it was, and still is, horrible. The drag and drop doesn’t really work as excepted. You need to be very precise with the cursor, else the bookmark won’t be pinned at all. Also the rearrangement of already pined entries is terrible.

Ok, so far so bad. But how about pinning a new website from the URL bar? Right, just drag and drop. Works for me only 25% of the time.

Settings

Oh boy, lets talk about the settings. While I have a 4K display, the setting on the Edge browser is just a small flyout, not even close to use all those nice pixels; offering only a small piece of configuration options.

Oh, come on. That must be a joke, right? There is so much space on the screen; and it just takes a 1/5 of it?

Second; There is no search field. You want to find something? Scroll through the settings, go to advanced (if it isn’t listed yet) and again, scroll through the whole pane till you find it. To make things even more complicated, some settings are located in the Windows system control. A huge plus for usability! </sarcasm>

To round things up, a changed setting may not be applied instantly. While I do use Bing from time to time, I am more of a Google person. Thus, I tried to change the default search engine to Google. Yeah, i tried. The setting did not apply. Somehow, after a couple of days, it magically started to work. (Guess some synchronization issues)

Default Featureset

  • Instant Sharing
  • Quick-Notes right on the WebSite
  • Shrink/Shelf tabs

Those features are real great and simply work out of the box. Depending on the user, those features alone could tempt someone in using Edge.

Compatibility

It entirely depends on the website itself. It isn’t Microsofts fault if developers do not optimize their website for the Microsoft Edge as well as they to for other browser. On the other hand, even if I am fully aware of this issue, it still bothers me from time to time. There are several websites which aren’t appropriate displayed in Edge. As an example, just check out this homepage on the Edge and on the Chrome. One may recognize, that some articles are displayed differently. While I was investigating this issue, it appeared that while editing an article, the format was correct on both browsers. Once the article got published, just Edges messes around with the layout. However, while editing the issues do not occur.

Usability

  • Edge has a dark mode skin, which I do really enjoy a lot. On the other hand, Chrome offers skins.
  • Extensions can be installed via the Microsoft Store. While I love the idea to offer one store for all kinds of software for a Windows PC, I am shocked about the extension gap. Not Microsofts fault, but from a user perspective, a reason not to use Edge.
  • Settings were already mentioned, but I have never seen such a bad settings flyout in my entire life.
  • Performance is overall much better on Edge. However, Edge has problems with rendering a large amount of text. As an example, while the contextual size of this article grows, the input starts to delay. (C.f. Fig 1.) (Does not occur on Chrome). Therefore, sometimes I switch over to chrome to get my tasks done.

Fig: 1. Input Lag Example

  • Shortcuts. While they keep being consistent with CTRL+T and CTR+W (open and close tab), they decided to go with CTRL+SHIFT+P for a private tab. It seems that Microsoft prefers inconsistency over consistency. One could argue that „P“ for „private“ makes more sense than „N“; but I do associate „P“ with „Print“.
  • I love the 4K support. Clear images and sharp text. It scales perfectly and performs, in terms of resolution independence, by far better than Chrome.
  • Simpleness. Less is more; and Edge hits the nail.

Sum things up

An alternative browser next to Edge is unavoidable, simply because some websites do not properly display/work on Microsoft Edge. Thus, while using Edge on my daily routine, sometimes the Chrome has to pop up to finish tasks. Future improvements may fix some problems and even may address some issues I wrote about in this article. But currently, Edge is still not an option for me.

This article is referring to the Microsoft Edge Browser with following version numbers:

Microsoft Edge Version Number

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