Google Chrome vs. Microsoft Edge 2021
Google Chrome vs Microsoft Edge in 2021 has finally become a question of debate .For long Google Chrome has dominated the browser market due to its rich extension support, excellent integration with Google services, solid performance, and excellent cross-platform support. Along with android which is Google’s own territory it has been a go-to choice for Windows users as well.
Microsoft for years did not have a browser to compete with chrome ever since Internet Explorer lost its glory.
But it seems Microsoft is fighting back and their move to switch to chromium is working out to be well.
According to a recent study by NetApplications Edge has already gained around 10% market share in October 2020 just a couple of months after launch and do not forget Edge Chromium is forced to install with a windows update that is further going to drive the market share up.
And don't forget Windows is the second overall most popular OS in the world and most popular Desktop OS. So if the preinstalled browser is good enough its unlikely many users will download third-party browser which, is the reason for chrome’s popularity on android and safari’s on iOS
As Edge is made by Microsoft it enjoys the same special treatment which Chrome does on android and safari on iOS and Mac-like great optimization and deep integration with OS. Since Edge is based on Chromium it automatically gets the majority of new features added in Chrome along with the features that Microsoft adds.
Note: I am writing the above blog intended for people who use Windows on their Personal Computer and Android on their smartphone. I still suggest using Safari for Mac and iOS/iPad users as it is greatly optimized for the hardware(especially M1 and iPad) and has a couple of nice features like tracking prevention, download support, bookmarks bar for iPad, desktop class browsing on iPad ,full page screeshots with annotation suport on iPad ,peek and pop, and much more.
Now let us finally compare Edge and Chrome point by point:-
Both browsers perform great but to see how they stack up against each other.
I will compare performance on various metrics like Ram Usage 😓, Page Responsiveness, Internet Speed, and Browser Opening Speed.
I won't be running any traditional browser benchmark tests as they hardly represent the real-life use case
a) Ram Usage
Chrome is infamous for its high ram usage. The amount of ram it uses can make low-end PC suffer and cause lag in normal day-to-day browsing.
Microsoft Edge is also based on the same chromium architecture so it's worth seeing if it's any better.
I opened multiple websites that many users tend to keep open simultaneously as listed below and measured RAM, CPU, and GPU usage one by one.
Note:- I have a gaming laptop having 8GB Ram and i5 9th Gen CPU. Also both the browsers have the same set of extensions installed (finally)!😀
- Whatsapp web
- Google Docs
- Google Sheets
- Google Slides
- Google Drive
- A PDF
- Google Search Result Page
- Article on Wikipedia
- Youtube Video at 1080p 60fps
Let us see how both browsers perform in the test.
The tab switching was smooth and lag-free. The tabs did not reload even after multiple cycles of the tab switching test. All the webpages were very responsive and there were no signs of a slowdown.
As seen in Windows Task Manager Microsoft Edge was consuming roughly 2200–2300 MB of memory. The CPU usage was at around 4–7% while the GPU usage was at around 10–14%.
The test clearly shows Microsoft Edge is not a RAM Saver by any means as Microsoft projects it to be, but the performance it offered was rock solid.
After closing Edge and opening the exact same tabs on google chrome, the signs of lag and stutter were imminent. The tab switching was not as smooth and was followed by a white screen for half a second or so.
Chrome was showing more than 6 different instances in Task Manager and do the overall RAM usage was at around 1900 MB, CPU usage at roughly 5–7%, and GPU usage at about 10–13%.
Surprisingly in terms of RAM usage chrome did better than the edge, while GPU and CPU usage was roughly the same. Maybe Google has finally managed to optimize its browser.
But the performance of Edge in browsing was much superior to Chrome with no signs of lag and stutter.
I suspect Edge used more RAM in this test because free ram was available and used it to optimize the performance. But it may be possible that on a system with low ram say 4 GB Edge Ram optimization is more aggressive and it may outperform chrome in RAM management.
Tie, Chrome used 200–300 MB less RAM but also performed worse as compared to Edge. Personally, I would any day prefer better performance in exchange for 300MB of Ram(if freely available)
b) Internet Speed Test
In this test, we will look at how both browsers perform in terms of internet speed. I am connected via Wi-Fi and have a 50 Mbps symmetric connection.
As evident from the above results both the browsers perform exactly the same and were able to take the maximum possible advantage of my connection. So there should be no problem with regards to internet speed in both browsers.
Tie, both the browsers perform exactly the same
Both the browsers are based on the same chromium architecture. So the responsiveness should ideally be similar.
Edge feels a little bit more snappy than Chrome at least on windows because Microsoft has deeply optimized it for the OS. Pages load a bit faster on Edge compared to Chrome and its a bit quicker in response to clicks as well
Recently Microsoft added impulsive scrolling to Edge and due to this, it feels much more fluid and the animation has a little bounce-back effect while scrolling on Chrome feels a bit jittery.
Edge, it feels much more fluid while scrolling through the screen
d) Browser and Tab opening speeds
When Edge first came out the biggest issue I had with it was slow opening speed and very slow new tab page loading speed😥.
But recently Microsoft added two features called “Startup Boost” and “Preload Startup Page for a faster experience”. Trust me these features make so much difference. Startup Boost opens some lower-priority threads in the background with nearly 0% CPU usage and 50 MB ram usage and due to it browser loads faster. Edge took 0.97 seconds to load with a much cleaner and instantaneous animation compared to chrome(no white screen). The New Tab page also loads instantaneously with cleaner and nice animation.
Chrome took 1.47 seconds to open and there was a visible blank screen and animation lag while opening the browser which feels a bit annoying. Also, the tab opening speed is nearly the same for both but edge has overall cleaner animations
Edge, it loads faster with better animations
Overall Performance Winner
Edge, its better in almost every performance aspect.
2.Privacy and Security
In an online world Privacy and Security of the the users are most important. Both the browsers have some sort of privacy measures to enhance user safety are privacy on the web.
New Microsoft Edge has many built in privacy features like Tracking Prevention , option to turn Edge Telemtry off by and respects windows privacy settings. Tracking Prevention has three modes to choose from , balanced being the recommended and default one.
Microsoft edge also supports windows defender smart screen natively which check for malicious files and websites and blocks them accordingly. The setting can be changed from windows security.
Overall Edge has got some solid features for protecting user privacy and security in the online world.
Note: Microsoft also collects variety of data just like chrome does but still the amount of data Microsoft collects is very less compared to that by Google.
Google is known to be notorious when it comes to data collection. Already Google knows a lot about our online activity due to our use of unavoidable Google Products like Search and YouTube.
Using Chrome means Google also gets your browsing history and patterns as well. Google then uses that data personalise ads even more. Although Microsoft does collect data similar to chrome but we generally don’t use other Microsoft services in day to day life. So data Microsoft collects unlike Google cant be clubbed with activity across other product easily.
Chrome does not have any builtin tracking prevention features and users need to rely on third party extensions for the same. Chrome does not have any security features like Microsoft Edge.
It does have a feature called Enhanced Protection but it sends even more data to Google.
Microsoft Edge is the winner hands down, in terms of privacy and security features.
Lack of Extension support was the biggest reason for the failure of Edge Legacy.
After switching to chromium this problem is solved for Edge as now it has support for Chrome’s wide range of extensions (Extensions turns chrome into a complete OS inside other OS).
Users can now install extensions on Edge from the Chrome web store. Also, there is a dedicated Edge addon store by Microsoft which has the majority of popular extensions like UBlock, Grammarly, etc, and some nice-looking themes for Edge as well.
Tie, both the browser are the same in terms of extension support.
4.Mobile App Support
In today's time we use our browsers on at least two devices which are our PC and Smartphone. Both the browsers support iOS and Android. But lets find out which is better.
Edge on android and iOS/iPadOS supports history and tab sync as well as bookmarks sync.
However Edge on Android still is not very polished. The speed of Browser is not very good on Android and I faced frequent crashes last time I used it as my default android browser. But on android it does come with Builtin Adblock, Tracking Prevention,Reader Mode and Read Aloud , Send to PC and Edge Collections support which are very useful features.But still Microsoft needs to work on improving the stability of browser on the platform.
On iPadOS edge can open desktop sites by default which currently chrome on iPad does not support. It also has Adblock support which on iOS is available only on Safari by use of third party apps like Adblock. Unfortunately Edge on iPadOS does not support multiple windows which is supported by both Chrome and Safari , though I am positive Microsoft will soon add the support for it as their various other apps support it.But as I mentioned in the beginning on iOS no browser matches Safari as apple has locked down other browsers to be just clones of safari by forcing them to use their older WebKit engine. But just in case if you want to just sync history and bookmarks on your iPhone or iPad edge is good enough.
Chrome on android is much better in terms of speed than its competitors and enjoys the advantage of Android being Google’s own territory and it comes preinstalled with nearly all Android Phones. I have tried using many browser on Android but no browser comes even close to speed chrome has on Android.
Also Chrome is deeply integrated with Android and supports adding PWA on android home screen. It also natively supports Google’s Nearby Sharing and a new share sheet specifically for chrome. It can also copy text from android to PC as well.
Recently Google also added 64 bit support for devices with 8GB of ram or more which will improve the performance even more.One thing where it falls short compared to edge on Android is lack of builtin Adblocker and Tracking Prevention.
But still Chrome is a better browser on Android.
Coming to iOS chrome performs similar to edge(without Adblock) but on iPad chrome still doesn't open websites in desktop mode by default which is a huge downside is my opinion as mobile website cant utilise iPad’s Large Display.
It is hard to pick a winner in this category but still Chrome is winner in this category due to its performance on Android despite edge having support for Adblock and many other great feature but having poor optimisation.
Edge integrates nicely with windows and other Microsoft services like Office 365. On the other hand Chrome integrates nicely with Google’s services like Google Docs, Google Drive, Youtube etc.
Here I present the list of some additional features in both the browsers
- 4k HDR support in Youtube and Netflix(only windows browser to do so)
- Very feature rich Reading Mode with features like Line Focus and excellent Read Aloud (reading mode and read aloud are absent in chrome natively, need to use extensions for getting them)
- Edge Collection, very helpful during research and has price tracker built in
- 20–30% more battery life compared to Chrome
- Excellent PDF reader that can outclass many dedicated PDF reader. Excellent annotation and PDF editing features missing in chrome (chrome PDF reader has no features other than just opening the PDF)
- Excellent PWA support which support native notifications on taskbar and integrates nicely with windows features including windows apps and windows security.
- Support for windows built in spell check.
- Support for miracast and chromecast (Chrome does not support Miracast)
- It has the support for quick search a term in sidebar without need for opening new tab.
- Support for offline documents in Google Docs which is absent in Edge
- Support for newly added live captions.
- Better support for tab and clipboard sharing between PC and Android and vice versa.
Edge, it is more feature rich as compared to Chrome on Windows atleast.
Here I present before the final winner list
- Ram Usage- Tie
- Internet Speed Test- Tie
- Responsiveness- Edge
- Browser and Tab Opening Speed- Edge
- Extension Support- Tie
- Privacy and Security- Edge
- Mobile App Support- Chrome
- Additional Features- Edge
So it is evident from the above results that Edge is a much better browser overall. Edge is faster in opening web pages and new tabs, has better responsiveness , is miles ahead in terms of privacy and security features compared to chrome and tons of other useful additional features which further enhance the user experience.
Only thing that might stop you from switching to Edge from Chrome is a worse performance of edge in Android App which could cause sync issue.
But Edge android app is not too far behind and also has some great features like adblock absent in chrome. Also since the app is relatively new the performance of edge on Android will keep getting better with time and will become atleast same as Chrome if not better.
Pro Tip :- For those who use Windows and iPhone/iPad combination you can use iCloud Bookmark sync extension for edge/ chrome and atleast your bookmarks will sync to Safari and you wont need to switch to another browser from safari if you dont want to, just for cross platform sync.
Overall I suggest you to switch to Edge from Chrome and I assure you wont regret
I thank you for reading the article and is open for any of your valuable suggestion. Do like it if you found article useful.