Internet Explorer 11 VS Microsoft Edge: User Interface

The visual difference between Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11 isn’t all that much. There hasn’t been a vast overhaul of the UI, or any drastic changes to the page layouts, and even the logo is similar.

Instead, Edge features a host of minor tweaks that somehow add up to something much more impressive than IE. The interface is much more minimalist, with the navigation buttons reduced to their bare minimum.

The whole experience feels sleeker and more streamlined than IE’s indefinably clunky navigation. It’s a much more pleasant browser to use, and on a par with the aesthetically gorgeous Chrome.

Internet Explorer 11 VS Microsoft Edge: Features

Microsoft’s venerable browser is not exactly renowned for its additional functionality. The company has taken steps to remedy this with Edge, and the new browser features a host of new applications.

Most interesting of these is the annotation feature. A button at the top places a OneNote style overlay onto the current web page, allowing users to add text boxes, handwritten notes or drawings, highlight sections and copy areas of the page.

These can then be shared via various channels or saved to OneNote for future reference. At present, the sharing options are limited, but expect these to increase as Windows 10 matures. It’s a surprisingly useful feature, and one that will prove invaluable to students or those that do high levels of internet research.

Also present is a Pocket-style Reading List function. Any web page can be saved to a separate list from within Edge, to be read at your leisure, as a sort of temporary bookmarks feature. In conjunction with the new reading view that reformats and simplifies pages, it’s a great way to collate and consume the best bits of the web.

Internet Explorer 11 VS Microsoft Edge: Security and Extensions
Internet Explorer’s history with security could charitably be called patchy. With Edge, Microsoft has made a conscious effort to bring its security up to scratch. This is principally accomplished by opting for the tactic of sandboxing all the browser’s processes by default.

This means that if an attacker exploits a bug in Edge to gain access to the system, they are confined to the sandbox, with no access to the wider system.

Adobe Flash hit with zero-day vulnerability again
Edge also employs a battery of anti-phishing and anti-fraud technologies, and has blocked all third-party plugins and extensions, including ActiveX. This gives Internet Explorer a big advantage in some sectors, as it’s still compatible with legacy apps that rely on ActiveX and similar tech.

Internet Explorer 11 VS Microsoft Edge: Performance
When comparing IE and Edge, it’s clear that Microsoft have put some work into the new browser’s back end. It feels slick and responsive, and generally handles a lot more pleasingly than Explorer ever did.

As you might expect, Edge is very sprightly indeed when compared with IE’s notoriously lacklustre performance. Its capacity for dealing with HTML5 content has been hauled up by the bootstraps.

Fast networks
HTML5 powers most day-to-day tasks for the average web user, so good performance in this area is essential for any modern browser. Edge used more memory than Explorer, too.

Overall, Edge outperforms Internet Explorer across the board. It’s a moderate upgrade, but it’s more than noticeable, and makes Edge well worth the switch.

Internet Explorer 11 VS Microsoft Edge: Verdict
Microsoft’s default browser is no longer the poor relation it used to be, thanks to the substantive revamp that has resulted in Edge. While it doesn’t quite have the ecosystem benefits of Chrome or the security and privacy pedigree of Firefox, it is a serious rival, and its competitors will be looking over their shoulders as people feel less compelled to switch from the basic option.