The new main browser for Windows 10 improves on Internet Explorer in every way, from performance to security, while introducing some great new features like Cortana integration. It's not quite so feature-rich that it will tempt users away from Chrome and Firefox; the potential is there, but Microsoft will need to commit to regular, significant updates.
Very fast, clean UI, decent range of security tools, effective Cortana integration
Some underwhelming features, no add-on support yet, web standards support is still worse than competing browsers
System Requirements: Windows 10 OS, 1GHz processor or faster, 1GB RAM for 32-bit version/2GB RAM for 64-bit version, DirectX 9 or later compatible graphics with WDDM 1.0 driver
Among the various new features in Windows 10 is, at long last, a replacement browser for Internet Explorer (IE). Microsoft Edge is a fresh start, an attempt to change the perception of Microsoft's browsers as slow and clunky, and present a real challenge to the dominance of Chrome and Firefox.
We were cautiously impressed with Edge when we first saw it in action, and now we've spent a few days using it, it's time to see whether Google and Mozilla really do have cause for concern.
Gone are IE's jauntily mismatched Back/Forward buttons and toolbar-dwelling emoticons. Edge sports a much more grown-up UI, with uniformly proportioned bars and icons plus a generally clean, borderless look. We mostly like it, but the space dedicated to tabs and the address bar is just a touch chunkier than in Chrome and Firefox.
Not that Edge is a big waster of space; tabs for Favourites, Reading List, History and Downloads are all accessible from a single drop-down 'Hub' menu. They're no easier or harder to access than if they were left in a Tools menu, although it's nice that we didn't have to open a new window to check our downloads, as in IE.
Speaking of menus, Edge's Options feature some handy new inclusions. It's now possible to pin web pages to the Start menu (which returns in Windows 10) in two clicks, creating a Live Tile for quick access.
There's also a tool for sending feedback to Microsoft, be it bug reports or feature requests. Microsoft plans to support Windows 10 and Edge with frequent updates, so it makes sense to include an easy way for people to get in touch about problems.
Like all applications in Windows 10, Edge will adapt to whether the Tablet mode feature is engaged or not. When it isn't, Edge behaves as any program would in, say, Windows 7 - it runs in a window that can be resized and dragged around. When Tablet mode is switched on, Edge runs exclusively as a mobile-esque full-screen app.
This UI-switching feature in Windows 10 is called Continuum. It's designed so that Windows 10 can optimise itself for use on a desktop/laptop or a tablet, answering complaints that Windows 8 favoured touchscreen controls too heavily.
Happily, Edge swaps between its windowed and full-screen forms instantly, and doesn't sacrifice its own control scheme of icons and menus when in Tablet mode.