When Microsoft gave us the Edge web browser to replace Internet Explorer in Windows 10, being able to sync your browser activities across devices was becoming the norm. While Edge was capable enough, there were no versions for iPhones or Android devices. Now that Microsoft is finally addressing this issue, let's see how the mobile version of Edge compares to established mobile browsers like Safari and Google Chrome.
It's snappy: The mobile version of Edge does not migrate Microsoft's EdgeHTML programming code. Instead, the Android version is based on Chrome's Blink engine, and the iPhone version is based on Safari's WebKit engine. This may be a con to you, but after seeing the mobile version of Mozilla Firefox struggle to perform smoothly over the years, we're not convinced that rolling your own is necessarily better. Blink and WebKit are nimble and light, so why beat 'em when you can join 'em?
It's familiar: Meanwhile, Edge's mobile design should be familiar both to desktop Edge users and mobile browser users in general. There's a strip along the bottom with back and forward buttons, a tab manager, a button to send your current tab to the version of Edge that's on a Windows 10 PC, and a three-dot menu button that grants access to more functions, like setting a bookmark or searching for text within a web page.
Meanwhile, this bottom strip, plus the top strip displaying your web address, smoothly glide out of view when you scroll down a page, maximizing how much of it you can see. If you want to see them again, just scroll back up a little bit.
It's smart: One of the most time-consuming and frequent hurdles on mobile can simply be typing in a search or a web address. In our testing, Edge actually had slightly better navigation prediction, with more targeted selection of possible destinations. This does require using Bing as Edge's search engine, which is the default choice. If you prefer Google's AI, you can make Edge use Google instead, and your prediction results will become identical to Chrome's.
If you don't want any search suggestions in Edge (for increased privacy -- prediction sends your keyboard taps to Google's or Microsoft's servers for analysis), there is a setting to disable it altogether.
No add-ons or ad filtering: Some context: Firefox's big advantage on Android is its support for a wide variety of add-ons, though not as many as the desktop version. (In some cases, such as a password manager, you have a separate app for that anyway). But the browsing experience has never been smooth. Meanwhile, Chrome performs well and comes pre-installed on almost every Android device.
Meanwhile, on iPhones and iPads, Safari performs well enough, and it can integrate ad blockers after some fiddling. While you can block ads in other ways on Android, independent of what browser you use, these methods typically require an administrator-level mode called "root," which can void your warranty if you attempt to access it, and this mode may be unavailable, regardless.
So if Edge can't filter ads on its own, and it doesn't support mobile add-ons, then performance becomes the major distinction. But Chrome and Safari are already fairly smooth. Plus, the desktop version of Edge is only available for Windows 10, despite Windows 7 remaining the dominant choice.
Ultimately, the mobile version of Edge is more like an extension of the Windows 10 version, rather than something that can compete with Chrome and Safari's wide adoption and device compatibility. If you're already comfortable with Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, Edge still doesn't have a killer feature that's worth dumping the competition, but it's worth checking out if you've grown tired of the default options.