Microsoft Edge performance review — is this the fastest browser around?

As a longtime Mac user, I’ve never considered Microsoft’s browsers serious alternatives to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and others. Like many, I believed their sole use case, for me at least, was to download another browser while setting up a new Windows PC. 

Since switching to the Chromium architecture in 2019, however, Microsoft has been actively ramping up efforts to turn Edge into the kind of cross-platform browser people would want to install across all their mobile and desktop devices. And last month, at its annual developer Build conference, Microsoft claimed the crown: thanks to a slate of new performance updates, it said, Edge is now the “best performing browser on Windows 10.” After weeks of testing it, I think Microsoft might just have hit the bullseye. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

I’m going to cut to the chase: Microsoft Edge offers the snappiest browsing experience on Windows 10 and goes toe-to-toe with Apple’s Safari on macOS. Compared with Edge from a few months ago, Microsoft’s browser now launches quicker and handles your computer’s resources better, especially when there are dozens of tabs scattered across several windows. 

There are two recent updates behind this astronomical leap: Startup boost and something Microsoft likes to call sleeping tabs. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Startup boost does what its name suggests. It lets Edge fire up quicker by keeping a handful of the browser’s essential components always running in the background. Microsoft says these processes are lightweight enough that they don’t take up much of your device’s memory even when you’re not using Edge. I largely concur. It should be said, I’m skeptical of this (Windows-only) feature’s long-term feasibility and whether it will remain harmless over time as Edge accumulates space and data on my machine. Fortunately, you can turn it off from the settings. 

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