Microsoft has released a stable version of the Microsoft Edge browser which was in the testing phase since last year. They have now embraced the chromium project browser and ditched the older edge browser that comes pre-installed in Windows 10 OS. Moving forward, Microsoft has promised to deliver the Chromium-based Edge browser in Windows 10 instead of the native.
Along with the Microsoft Edge desktop browser, they also released stable versions across the devices including the mobile phone running on Android OS and iOS.
We got the chance to test the new and improved Microsoft Edge for Android OS, and this article is about the initial impression. Since this was built on the Chromium project, we had compared the Edge with the Google Chrome browser. Though this is not an apple to apple comparison cause that won’t do justification to new player vs. the well established one. But we made sure that we are not missing any basics that Google Chrome for Android was providing.
Let’s get started with the Microsoft Edge for Android Overview —
The welcome screen itself asks to sign-in with Microsoft account, if you have an account then login else you can skip. The profile icon is visible at the top left corner with your profile picture.
If you tap on the profile icon, it will take you to the profile management page where you can sign out, make changes to sync settings and even add another Microsoft account sign-in.
Using the profile icon tab, you can switch between personal and work profiles.
The Homepage layout is a great feature that missing even in Chrome for Android. The homepage layout option helps in customizing the homepage of the Edge browser. You can enable or disable certain elements from the page layout option.
There are typically 3 layouts + 1 custom layout option that you’re allowed to choose. The custom layout helps in toggling off the feature that you do not need.
If you’re a minimalistic person who loves a clean interface as I do, then turning off all the elements in the custom layout is suggested. Learn more about custom homepage layout in Edge Android.
The Microsoft Edge has a search bar embedded on the homepage that helps in the quick search. By default, the search bar looks up in Bing.com (Microsoft’s search engine). However, you can always change the search engine in Edge Android.
You can do an image search and voice search along with the traditional text or keyword search using the search bar. Even copy-paste OR enter the website URL directly in the search bar to launch a website.
The image and voice search may request additional permissions to device storage and microphone.
The Edge Android browser is embedded with the top site icons and shortcut links on the homepage. These top sites icons automatically change over the period based on your browser usage and start reflecting the sites that ‘you’ visited the most.
You can also remove selected top sites from the list by tap-and-hold on icons to get more options.
Using the Page Layout option, you can always enable or disable these top sites section within the Edge browser homepage.
The top stories within the Edge browser are powered by the Microsoft News. It displays all the top news stories based upon your location and interest. You can read through entire news with one tap and switch back to the home screen easily.
Unlike Chrome, there is no way to customize the stories apart from disabling it from the Page Layout option.
Google Chrome’s suggested articles are more relevant than Microsoft Edge’s top stories. I found top stories more annoying because it’s swamped with celebrity news than any useful stuff.
The navigation menu within the Edge browser on Android is quite accessible compared to Google chrome. The Edge Android forward and backward navigation command buttons are located within the bottom menu bar which is close to fingertips.
Using the Microsoft Edge Android navigation, you can quickly flow through website pages at ease. Edge Android also supports the option to enable or disable the swipe navigation within the browser.
Options (Settings) menu
Most of the Settings and Options are hidden under the options menu icon — . Within the home screen or any website page, you can select from the wide variety of page-level options and browser-level settings.
The options and settings within Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge for Android are almost the same. You can perform various page actions like find on the page, add to favorites, desktop site view, print as PDF, etc.
The Tab icon within the Microsoft Edge browser helps in listing down all the active browsing pages. It also helps in switching from normal mode to InPrivate or incognito browsing in Edge Android.
You can close the exit of the tabs that are no longer required or close all the tabs with one tap on the trash icon.
The tab icon helps in listing down all the sessions and easy switch between the tabs. You can always add new tab sessions and private tabs under the tab icon.
Unlike the Chrome Android share option, the Microsoft Edge sharing icon is quite accessible and visible. A single tap on the share icon will list down all the available social apps and communication mediums to choose from.
You can also choose the option to continue on the PC option for sending the link over to the Edge browser on Windows or Mac. However, you need to have Microsoft account signed-in within the Microsoft Edge browser on both PC and Android phones.
Video of Microsoft Edge for Android:
Here is the detailed video tutorial and first impression video on Microsoft Edge for Android OS. I’ve compared it with the Google Chrome browser.
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