Microsoft Edge vs. Firefox in 2021: which browser wins?
Anyone considering switching from Google Chrome has two major alternatives to consider: Microsoft Edge and Firefox.
As Firefox is banking on its privacy promises to make a comeback, Microsoft has relaunched Edge with Chromium, an open-source browser project that also powers Google Chrome. Both browsers offer unique features and similarities. But, which browser should you choose?
Here is my review comparing Firefox to Microsoft Edge in terms of design, privacy, features, and portability to help you choose the browser that best suits your needs.
Let’s start with the appearance of browsers. Both browsers have mastered the basics and offer an address and a search bar at the top with all enabled extensions displayed in the upper left corner. However, where Firefox prefers bold icons, Edge has more rounded edges and a minimal user interface. If you switch from Edge to Firefox, you’ll notice the difference right away.
When it comes to search, the default search engine is different. Firefox has set Google as the default OS, while Edge has Microsoft’s Bing. Fortunately, you can set your preferred search engine if you want.
Customization options on both browsers are limited. You can choose from a few preinstalled dark and light themes and customize the fonts. While there is an option to download more themes, there is no True Dark mode. This means that users still have to depend on third-party extensions to enable dark mode.
Performance and compatibility
Some browsers are faster than others. This also applies if you compare Edge and Firefox for speed and compatibility. To get a better idea of the compatibility of the standards, I decided to do a test on the HTML5Test Website which has the highest score of 555. It marks the browser compatibility with current web standards.
In this test, Edge kept a good lead at 528, but Firefox, with a score of 508, is not far behind.
Note that some of these tests are hardware dependent and you may get different scores depending on how your device is configured.
Microsoft Edge also continued to impress with its excellent management of memory and CPU resources. While Firefox’s resource management wasn’t out of place, Edge is best optimized for low-end PCs and the like.
Features and extensions
Switching from Edge to Firefox and vice versa is pretty straightforward. Once you’ve installed the browser, you can import bookmarks, passwords, and back up data from other browsers including Chrome.
Firefox has a few tools that Edge lacks. For example, Pocket integration allows you to add / save web pages to your Pocket account. However, Edge, instead of relying on a third-party service, created its own subsequent reading service.
The exclusive The collections The feature on Edge is my favorite feature and something that I hope to see in other browsers. It allows you to group similar web pages together and name them for future reference or research.
Ability to take screenshots, view of the reader to reduce clutter and focus on text, read-aloud function with a pleasantly good voice and the built-in spell checker are some common utilities available on both browsers. However, the good bit of voice is limited to Edge browser only.
In addition, you can share web pages from your desktop to your smartphone through the Your phone customer. It’s a cool feature that works well on both browsers.
Another important aspect of the modern browser is extension support, and for both of these browsers it is a strength. More so for Edge, as it can install extensions from both Window Store and Web Chrome Store. Firefox’s collection of add-ons contains almost all of the major extensions you’ll get from the Chrome Store, although they’re not that big.
Privacy and Security
In the age of the Internet, it’s important to protect yourself and your information online. Most modern browsers include standard data encryption and built-in tracking protection to block third-party trackers. In addition, Firefox deletes your browsing information such as password, cookies, and history after closing incognito mode.
Microsoft says it can “collect data when using the Windows input method editor for typing and inking to improve language recognition and suggestion capabilities” in private mode; otherwise, all navigation information is erased after closing windows.
Both browsers offer three tracking prevention modes. You can choose between Basic, Balanced, and Strict (Custom in Firefox) to adjust your global tracking protection settings, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
On Edge, make sure to enable Always use strict follow-up prevention when browsing InPrivate for more confidentiality in private mode.
On Edge, Microsoft Defender SmartScreen can protect users from malicious sites, downloads and block apps from untrusted sources.
Firefox Misleading content and harmful software protection works the same and is enabled by default. You can turn it on or off manually in the Privacy and Security section of the browser.
The Oldest Thing On The Internet Has A New Contest!
Firefox, with its reiterated support for user privacy, remains an obvious choice for privacy enthusiasts. What also helps is the fact that this is an open source project developed by a non-profit organization.
Microsoft Edge, on the other hand, running on the brilliant Chromium Project, brings a lot of features and functionality that will make the switch from Chrome feel right at home.
To sum up, Microsoft is making a conscious effort to improve the functionality of the Edge browser by adding unique features like collections and borrowing a few good things from its rival browsers. Both browsers have great feature sets, support for extensions, offer good privacy options for users, and meet the latest web standards.
That said, in the long run, Microsoft’s browser will continue to lead Firefox and Google Chrome.
In 2021, is Microsoft Edge finally a better browser for Windows 10 than Google Chrome? Let’s look at the evidence.
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