Microsoft Edge Review
Goodbye, Internet Explorer. After scrapping their much maligned browser, Microsoft will rollout a completely rebuilt browser named Microsoft Edge which Microsoft hopes will bring with it an equally rebuilt reputation and perception.
Edge promises to be faster, cleaner and more intuitive than IE, and will become the default browser for Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 10. Users can still use IE or install other browsers, but with everything Microsoft Edge brings to the table, you might not even think of using another.
This is Sparta(n)!
Microsoft Edge began as Project Spartan, a complete rethink of everything a browser should be. It looks and feels simpler, with a lot less clutter than its predecessor. Edge will be made available across all devices — from PCs to laptops, tablets and mobile devices.
Its thickened navigation bar makes Edge easy to use with touchscreens. It also follows suit with Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and other popular browsers in putting the buttons all on one bar and placing the tabs on another. The layout is also new, with the refresh button now located between the back/forward buttons and the URL bar.
Other areas of the browser have been tidied up as well. Users will no longer be overwhelmed with a ton of options when checking out context menus. In comparison with IE, Edge’s image right click options are whittled down from 21 to just 5. Link right click options have been trimmed from 14 to 3. And navigation bar right click options have slimmed down from 11 to 5.
The overall cleaner browsing experience offered is definitely a huge improvement.
Built-in Reading Mode
While other browsers require extensions or add-ons to launch a “reading mode,” Microsoft Edge has integrated (and improved upon) the function. When activated, the feature will remove all advertisements, menus, and any other distractions and reformat the text into a simple, standard layout. The font color is set to default (black), and the font size and style is pre-set for ease of reading. The background color is changed into eye-soothing magnolia, and the formatting and positioning of images and headings is properly maintained to reinforce readability.
Edge also comes with a Reading List, which appears next to the Favorites List and acts as a sort of “temporary” bookmark. If you want to read a page later (but not keep it forever), you can opt to add it to your Reading List instead of adding it in your Favorites List. Additionally, the Reading List will display saved pages using a large image taken directly from the content and a large headline from the page.
Reading Mode is a much appreciated usability and readability upgrade.
Web Page Annotation
Microsoft Edge’s Web Page Annotation tool is one feature social users and meme-lovers are very excited about. If you want to capture a snapshot of a portion of a webpage, one single tap of a button is all you need. And the fun doesn’t end there — using your mouse or finger, you can start drawing over the image. There are also several writing and drawing tools available. You can erase, crop, highlight, and add a speech box with ease. What’s more, there are also buttons for saving or sharing the image.
With this mini-Microsoft Paint featured incorporated within Edge, browser-inspired social shared has just been made a lot easier.
New Rendering Engine
Cortana, the new voice assistant in Windows 10, is driving considerable hype around Microsoft’s newest OS. It is an A.I. virtual assistant that will remember things for you and provide recommendations based on the data it gathers about your preferences.
Cortana learns more about what you like the more you use your machine. You can always activate it using your taskbar, but with Microsoft Edge, you don’t have to. Don’t worry though, Cortana won’t suddenly show up each time you open up your browser. It will only make an appearance when it has recommendations or relevant information for you. Cortana looks like a small blue circle in the browser toolbar to be unobtrusive during browsing. Right-clicking on text, images or other elements of pages can launch Cortana on an as-needed and item-by-item basis, returning information about the specific selection right-clicked.
Microsoft Edge is pretty impressive – chock-full of new features and the possibility for endless future extensions. It has a cleaner, more user-friendly feel, and seems to have solved many of the problems users had with the IE 11 and its family-tree.
Our recommendation is to be sensible about widely deploying either Edge or Microsoft’s new OS, making sure you plann well and perhaps do your prep during the first weeks/months of the release to let early adopters iron out potential bugs. That said, Microsoft wisely pre-launched the browser to select user bases for the last several months for an open beta release, so there is a good potential for most of the kinks getting worked out before you launch the installer on Microsoft Edge. Evenso, if you’ve become reliant on particular apps or extensions for work and browsing, you may find them slow initially while developing compatible versions, so avoid scrapping your old browser just yet until you can comfortably shift to the new browser.
Regardless, we have high hopes for Microsoft Edge and the leaps forward it takes after so many years with the widely unfavored Internet Explorer series. We look forward to seeing how Edge takes on the browser marketplace in the months to come.
Looking to shift to Windows 10 or have further questions about using Microsoft Edge? Speak with a Dynamic Quest engineer or vCIO for free who can answer your questions or provide guidance on how to leverage new technologies in your organization to get the best results.
Curious to learn more? Contact your local managed IT service provider?