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Microsoft’s Chromium based Edge Insider Preview – First impressions


Microsoft finally released its first Insider Preview build of the Chromium based Edge browser yesterday. For the record, its version number is 74.1.96.24.

Here’s a quote from the Edge Insider site:

Making the web a better place for everyone

Back in December, we announced our intention to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers, and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers. Now we’re ready to show you what we’ve been working on, and invite you to come along on our journey.

I have been playing with it since last night. I must say I really love it, which I cannot fully understand! I have never liked Chrome, and have used Edge as my primary browser since the first day of the first Windows 10 technical preview build (read about it). Even so, Edge Insider looks almost like Chrome. In fact almost everything in it looks, feels and behaves as Chrome does. Does this say more about my antipathy to anything Google, or are there differences already under the hood in the Edge Insider Preview that could explain this? That remains to be seen. . .

We will do a more in-depth article about this new Edge later, after first few builds have been released and we have more to tell. In this post, I simply share some of my first impressions.

To begin with, it seems to use considerably fewer resources than the “old” Edge. In my quick tests now it feels, for lack of a better word, “snappier”. The following screenshot shows RAM consumption for both old and new Edge launched at the same time, each with the same four tabs. The Edge Insider Preview (top one) consumes 100 MB less:

OK, it’s only a 100 MB difference. But it seems to increase progressively the more tabs you open. With the same 16 tabs open in both browser versions, Edge consumed almost 2.5 GB, whereas Edge Insider Preview consumed 1.6 GB.

Streaming video changes this. With five tabs open on both browsers, my four home tabs and a fifth streaming live video from YouTube in 1080 quality, Edge Insider suddenly used a lot more RAM than the old Edge:

I have experienced the same in Chrome, it uses more resources to stream video than Edge. Let’s hope Microsoft can show Google how to fix this!

If you are familiar with Chrome settings and other aspects of that program, Edge Insider will feel just like using Chrome. Developer mode (F12) is the same, and so on. Entering the URL edge://extensions takes you to extensions, edge://flags to advanced settings (there’s a complete list of available edge:// URLs at edge://edge-urls). I was happy to get my favorite Edge extension also to Edge Insider:

I only found one thing I was not satisfied with, but luckily that list was shortened to zero items after I enabled dark theme:

That’s it this time. All in all, I like what I see, but am anxiously awaiting future previews and a “final” release.

Kari

 

Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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