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Microsoft’s retooled Edge browser exits preview and has already won me over

Microsoft's Edge browser
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Here's something I never thought I'd say—I like Microsoft's Edge browser. And I don't just like it. I really like it so far. This is not how I felt before Microsoft rebuilt Edge around Chromium, the same open-source project that forms the basis of Google's own Chrome browser. But it's a different, faster browser now, and it's starting to roll out to Windows 10 PCs (and Macs). It's also available for Windows 7 and 8/8.1.

This is not my first time in the driver's seat of the remodeled Edge browser. I took a an early preview version for a spin last year. It wasn't even in beta at the time, it was just a development build. Even then, it showed promise.

What's available now is the final build. Given that it just came out, I obviously haven't spent extended time with the production release, but as far as first impressions go, it's left a good one. The handful of sites I visited loaded fast, and during setup, Edge transferred my settings and bookmarks over from Chrome without a hitch.

I reserve the right to change my opinion over time. For example, if Edge proves to be a resource hog, starts crashing, or displays any other annoying behavior, I'll dropkick it from my PC. I'm willing to give it a fair shot, though, and if you want to as well, you can download it here.

How you might feel about Edge on a fundamental level is another matter. When Microsoft first announced it was rebuilding Edge from the ground up using components sourced from Google's garage, Mozilla CEO Chris Beard lambasted the company

"This may sound melodramatic, but it's not... Microsoft's decision gives Google more ability to single-handedly decide what possibilities are available to each one of us," Beard stated in a blog post.

Beard went on to explain that the reason Mozilla competes with Google in the browser space is not because it's good business, but "the health of the internet and online life depend on competition and choice."

On a technical level, Microsoft ripped out its EdgeHTML rendering and Chakra JavaScript engines that powered the old Edge browser, and replaced them with Google's V8 and Blink engines in the new Edge.

Regardless of how anyone feels, this is the decision Microsoft made, and it's forging ahead. In the coming days and weeks, and it will start rolling out via Windows Update.

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).