[Review] Microsoft Edge (or Spartan) Web Browser in Windows 10
UPDATE: Review has been updated with new information and screenshots for Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
"Microsoft Edge" (previously known as Project Spartan) is the new web browser introduced in Microsoft's latest OS Windows 10.
Since when Microsoft has implemented Edge web browser in Windows 10, many people are confused about this new web browser addition and they all ask similar questions such as why another web browser when we already have the built-in Internet Explorer web browser in Windows OS? The answer is, to provide better compatibility, better performance and better support for modern web. Microsoft Edge web browser has been developed to attract more Windows users so that they don't have to install other 3rd party web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Opera.
People also ask whether Internet Explorer is still a part of Windows 10 or not? Has Microsoft removed Internet Explorer from Windows 10 OS? The answer is NO. Microsoft will never remove Internet Explorer from Windows OS as its a main component of the OS. Windows 10 comes with both web browsers: Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. You can still access Internet Explorer web browser in Windows 10 as mentioned in following tutorial:
In Windows 10, Internet Explorer remains almost unchanged from Windows 8.1. It continues to use its legacy rendering engine for compatibility with websites. The main purpose behind keeping IE in Windows 10 is the support for intranet and enterprises.
Microsoft Edge, on the other hand, features a new rendering engine to support modern HTML websites and to provide better compatibility and performance. Microsoft Edge is the new default web browser in Windows 10.
Now lets talk about new features and user interface of Microsoft Edge web browser in Windows 10:
Clean and Minimal UI
Edge web browser works as a modern (metro) app. It features a clean and minimal UI which looks very nice. The tabs are shown in the titlbar to save screen space. Addressbar along with toolbar buttons such as back, forward, refresh, reading view, bookmark, hub, web note, share, etc is shown below tab bar as shown in following screenshot:
Menus and Options
The 3 dots (...) icon at the extreme right corner of toolbar launches the menu options which are as following:
- New window
- New InPrivate window
- Zoom level
- Cast media to device
- Find on page
- Pin this page to Start
- F12 Developer Tools
- Open with Internet Explorer
- Send feedback
- What's new and tips
The "Open with Internet Explorer" option might come very handy if you want to open a web page in Internet Explorer directly from Edge browser.
You can download several useful extensions from Windows Store using Extensions option present in Edge menu. If you don't like extensions, you can disable extensions feature completely using this guide.
The Settings page shows all available options in a single screen which is a nice idea as it saves time while changing settings. Following settings are available to change or customize:
- Choose a theme (Light or Dark)
- Open with (Start page, New tab page, Previous pages or Specific pages)
- Open new tabs with (Top sites and suggested content, Top sites only or A blank page)
- Favorites settings (Show the favorites bar, Import favorites from another browser)
- Clear browsing data (history, cookies, cache, passwords, etc)
- Sync your content (favorites and reading list)
- Reading view style (Default, Light, Medium or Dark)
- Reading view font size (Small, Medium, Large or Extra Large)
Some extra settings are given under "Advanced Settings" section:
- Show the home button (On/Off)
- Block pop-ups (On/Off)
- Use Adobe Flash Player (On/Off)
- Save downloaded files to selected folder
- Ask me what to do with each download
- Proxy setup (On/Off)
- Offer to save passwords (On/Off)
- Manage my saved passwords
- Save form entries (On/Off)
- Send Do Not Track requests (On/Off)
- Have Cortana assist me in Microsoft Edge (On/Off)
- Search in the address bar with (Bing or Add new search engine)
- Show search and site suggestions as I type (On/Off)
- Optimize taskbar web search results for screen readers (On/Off)
- Cookies (Block all, Block only third party cookies, Don't block cookies)
- Let sites save protected media licenses on my device (On/Off)
- Use page prediction (or flip ahead feature) to speed up browsing, improve reading and make my overall experience better (On/Off) (More Info)
- Help protect me from malicious sites and downloads with SmartScreen Filter (On/Off)
Dark Theme Mode
Microsoft has added an extra option to enable Dark theme in Edge browser. As mentioned above, you can enable Dark theme from Edge Settings -> Choose a theme option.
It looks amazing after applying Dark theme as shown in following screenshot:
If you want to enable similar Dark theme for all Modern (Metro) apps present in Windows 10, check out "Enable Hidden Secret Dark Theme Mode" trick in following exclusive tutorials:
Once you apply the tweak, you'll see all modern (metro) apps running in Dark theme mode as shown in following screenshot:
Hidden Secret About:Flags Page
When Windows 10 was under development and testing, Microsoft added a secret "about:flags" page in Internet Explorer web browser to test experimental web platform features.
But when Microsoft added the new "Microsoft Edge" web browser in Windows 10, they removed the "about:flags" page from Internet Explorer and put the page into Edge web browser.
You can access this secret page by typing about:flags in Edge addressbar. It contains many interesting features in 2 categories:
- Developer Settings
- Experimental Features
You can enable / disable many experimental features given on the page.
If you want to disable this secret about:flags page, following tutorial will help you:
Other Interesting Features
Following are other new and interesting features which have been implemented in Edge:
- New rendering engine to support modern web
- Cortana (digital personal assistant) integration to provide relevant information in web pages
- Annotations (Inking support) to write or type directly on web pages to create web notes and then share them with friends
- Reading view mode for distraction-free reading where only the text and images of the main article are shown without any extra thing
- Reading lists to allow users to add web pages for future reading
Since Microsoft will keep updating Windows 10 operating system via future builds as a part of "Windows as a service" initiative, We may see many new features in Microsoft Edge browser in future and many things may change as well. But Edge looks really promising. Good job Microsoft...
Posted in: Windows 10
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