Edge vs. Chrome vs. Firefox: Battle of the Windows 10 Browsers

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windows10_broswer_battleThough millions of people use Internet Explorer, it has lost market share and street cred to Chrome and Firefox. With Windows 10, Microsoft has launched a new browser called Edge that promises to give its competitors a run for their money, especially with its new embedded Cortana feature and markup capabilities. Does this newcomer have a shot at taking on the browser giants? I tested Chrome, Firefox and Edge to see which browser provides the greatest and fastest Internet experience.

Round 1: Speed and performance

To see how quickly each browser executes common tasks, I ran each one through a gauntlet of benchmarks and real-world tests on the same Intel Core i5-powered Surface Pro 3 running Windows 10.

  Edge Chrome Firefox
Version Number 20.10240.163840 v44.0.2403.89m v39.0
Peacekeeper 2607; 5 out of 7 4105; 7 out of 7 4661; 7 out 7
SunSpider 1.0.2 107.4ms 298.3ms 227.0 ms
Speed-Battle 746.42 704.14 1116.16
Browsermark 2953 5356 4357
ESPN Load Time 04:45 04:67 04:59
TomsGuide Load Time 01:55 02:22 04:90

Peacekeeper: On the Peacekeeper benchmark, which measures browser speed, Firefox topped the group, with an average of 4,652. Chrome came in second, with 4,069, while Edge's 2,642 average placed it last, because it could support only five of the seven tests the software uses.

Speed-Battle: Firefox notched a shocking 1,116 on Speed-Battle, which clocks the speed at which a browser loads JavaScript. Edge followed with 746, and Chrome got 704.

Sunspider: Microsoft's new browser pulled ahead in Sunspider, which tests JavaScript loading speed. Edge's 108.1ms time was twice as fast as Chrome (256.3ms) and Firefox (213.4ms).

Browsermark: This benchmark tests a variety of browser functions such as re-sizing screens, 2D and 3D performance, crunching numbers, and rendering graphics. Chrome took the lead here, notching 5,591 against Firefox's 4,308 and Edge's measly 2,882.

Page Load Times (Numion): I also timed, using the Numion stopwatch, how long it took Edge, Chrome and Firefox to display media-heavy sites such as Tomsguide.com and ESPN.com. To make sure Internet speeds didn't affect the results, I repeated this test across two different days at different times.

Edge delivered the fastest speeds in general, loading ESPN.com in 4.45 seconds, compared to Chrome's 4:67 and Firefox's 4:59. Edge displayed TomsGuide.com in 1:55 seconds, faster than Chrome's 2:22 and Firefox's 4:90.

Winner: Edge. Though it faired poorly on a couple of synthetic tests, Edge processes JavaScript fastest and displays pages the fastest of the lot.

MORE: Windows 10: Full Review

Round 2: Layout and ease of use

The best browsers are laid out in an intuitive manner, putting key controls within easy reach while reducing clutter on the screen. Thoughtful organization makes going to your favorite pages hassle-free, and keeps distracting buttons out of sight.

All three browsers save space by putting the tabs up at the top of the window in lieu of a title bar. Chrome is the cleanest, however, with just buttons for back, forward, refresh, favorite and settings in addition to a search/URL bar that takes up the width of the screen.

Edge has a flat, modern aesthetic that helps it look minimalistic despite the extra buttons it has at the end of the search/URL bar. With icons for Reading mode, Favorites, Hub, Make a Web Note, Share and More actions on the right side, Edge's top bar is more cluttered than Chrome's.

Edge

Firefox has two bars by default: one for URLs and one for search. You can remove the search bar to make room, and the remaining one will accept both URLs and search queries, but I'd like if Mozilla had just one bar by default. Like Edge does, Firefox has a bunch of buttons at the end of the two bars, for Favorite, Download, Home and Menu. The Forward button only pops up next to the Back symbol when there is a page ahead. The beauty of Firefox is that you can customize your layout however you want, so you can add or remove buttons as you like.

Firefox

If you want to take a page you're browsing and share it to Facebook, Twitter or your email, it's easiest to do so via Firefox. The Mozilla browser has a native Share button that you can add to your navigation bar, and a Share This Link option when you right click on any link. You'll have to install the relevant plug-ins for each platform, and the feature supports popular services such as Facebook, Tumblr, Gmail, Delicious and LinkedIn.

Edge also has a native Share button, but to add channels through which to share pages, you'll first have to install the Windows Store app version of that service on your device. The Share button pulls up apps on your PC or tablet that support this feature, but very few apps do so right now. For instance, there is no official LinkedIn app for Windows.

Edge Sharing

Chrome doesn't have a built-in sharing feature. You can add the function via bookmarklets or widgets pinned to the bookmarks bar, or by installing extensions.

All three browsers show you which tabs are playing media by showing either a Play button in the tab's title or a speaker icon.

Power users might get frustrated at the lack of right-click options in Edge. While you get shortcuts such as "Open link in private window" and Save Link As in Firefox and Chrome, these two options are missing from the right-click menu in Edge. You'll get "Open in new tab," "Open in new window," Copy Link and Ask Cortana in Microsoft's offering. I like the Ask Cortana function, and Firefox has a similar option with its Search Yahoo (or default search engine), since asking the digital assistant pulls up search results.

Edge

If you right click any blank space on Firefox or Chrome, your menu options are plenty, including going backward and forward, reloading, printing (Chrome), translating to English (Chrome), and sharing the page (Firefox). Edge only has Select All, Inspect Element and View Source in the same scenario.

Winner: Firefox. Mozilla's browser takes the prize because of its customizability and easy sharing function.

Round 3: Extensibility

Both Chrome and Firefox have supported extensions for years, and these babies can really enhance your Internet experience. For instance, the Phone to Desktop Chrome add-on lets you send any text or links to your desktop browser, and the Text to Voice Firefox extension reads out words you highlight on any page.

Firefox and Chrome both have tens of thousands of extensions, spanning categories such as Productivity, Downloads Management, Social & Communication, Search Tools, and Shopping. Firefox seems to be a little more geared toward power users, with specific categories for Web development, Tabs, and Privacy & Security. I especially love that you can skin Firefox with one of thousands of theme add-ons.

Some of Chrome's add-ons run offline and integrate with a variety of Google's existing services, such as Save to Google Drive and Tags for YouTube. For anyone who uses any of the Internet giant's services at all, Chrome's extensions will make life much easier.

Microsoft has said that it expects to add extensions to Edge in the near future. When that happens, the Windows-maker will have a lot of catching up to do, especially in providing a similar number and variety of add-ons as its counterparts.

Winner: Chrome. Chrome takes this round with its extensions' sheer number, usefulness and ability to integrate with other Google services.

Round 4: Standards support

All three browsers support common Web standards that most websites use today, but the browsers differ in extent of support. For instance, Edge supports only five out of seven HTML5 capabilities tested in the Peacekeeper benchmark. Firefox and Chrome both met seven out of seven.

I ran the HTML5Test and CSS3Test on all three programs, and found Edge trailing in both. The two benchmarks test, respectively, whether each browser recognizes all features of HTML5 or CSS 3 (a styling language), but not whether the standards are implemented correctly.

MORE: How to Make Chrome or Firefox Your Default Browser in Windows 10

Chrome leads the pack in HTML 5, with 526 out of 555 components met. Firefox got 467, while Edge scored just 402. On CSS 3, Firefox pulled ahead, with 55 percent of tests passed, while Chrome followed with 51 percent. Edge came in last, with just 46 percent.

All three browsers support the JavaScript engine WebGL for rendering interactive 3D graphics, but at varying degrees. On the Oort Online GL benchmark, which measures how well your browser or device renders WebGL graphics and animation, Chrome came in first, with its average score of 3,635. Edge was runner-up, with its average of 2,958, while Firefox trailed the rest, with 1,525 on average.

Winner: Chrome. Google won this round with its comprehensive coverage of today's common Web standards.

Round 5: Special features

Each browser has its own special features to help it stand out. Chrome tabs, for instance, can be cast to your TV if you have a Chromecast, so you can Facebook stalk your frenemies on the big screen. Chrome also has a nifty autofill feature for forms, and generates passwords for you when creating new accounts so you don't have to think up a secure code every time you set up a new profile.

Chrome synced history

Google's browser also imports your browsing history, saved passwords and open tabs across all the devices you're signed into, so you can easily pick up on your desktop where you left off on your phone. I can't tell you how many times I've been saved by Chrome when my computer crashed and I lost my hundreds of open tabs.

Firefox also does the same with its Firefox Sync feature, except you'll have to make sure you're signed in to your Firefox Account. Since I don't use my Firefox account for anything else, I'm always at a loss for what my username and password are. Signing in to Chrome is much easier, since I have my Gmail/Google password burned into my brain. Plus, logging in to any Google service also signs me in to Chrome and vice versa.

Firefox has a bunch of other goodies, including Firefox Hello, for easy video conferencing within your browser, and built-in developer support (debugger, color dropper, etc.). Hello not only lets you see your contacts, but also lets you share your tabs. However, during my testing on the Surface Pro 3, the Hello feature was buggy, crashing in the middle of my video call. It worked smoothly on my Dell Latitude 6430u laptop running Windows 7, though.

Firefox Hello

Edge's most outstanding feature is Cortana. Like a personal concierge, Cortana is ready to provide information on anything you come across. Highlight a word you don't understand, right click and ask Cortana about it. A panel slides in from the right with Bing search results on that word. When available, Cortana will display pictures, directions and reviews.

Microsoft also said that when you are on a page that Edge detects is a restaurant, Cortana will appear as a circle on the URL bar saying, "I've got the directions, hours and more." Click that icon, and a panel slides in from the right with pictures, directions and a shortcut to call the restaurant. This is similar to what Google already does with its search results, except you don't have to go to a separate tab or page to do this and can make reservations or look up directions without leaving the restaurant's page.

Cortana in Edge

However, during my testing, Cortana turned up only one out of the close to 10 restaurants' websites I tried. I even went back to the same restaurant's Web page where the circle had appeared before and it did not pop up again. The only thing I had changed was that I maximized the window.

Cortana sure is a cool tool for Edge users, but right now, the feature is not mature or consistent enough. Microsoft said it's continuing to work on improving Cortana, so hopefully there will be more upgrades soon.

Edge also has a Markup mode that lets you scribble on the page you're browsing, save your notes and share the page with your friends. This is handy for anyone with a stylus, but I didn't find myself using it a lot. Microsoft also designed Edge to zoom out and show the whole page when you're in tablet mode but its window is narrower than the width of the site, instead of showing horizontal scroll bars at the bottom like other browsers do.

Edge zooms out when its window is too small

I liked Edge's Reading Mode, which stripped a page of its ads and navigational interface to make it easier to read. Firefox also has a built-in reading mode, but Chrome doesn't.

Winner: Chrome. Chrome narrowly takes this round because of how well its features integrate with Google's other products and how widely used they are. Firefox has a useful variety of bonuses, but needs to make them more coherent and easy to access.

Overall Winner: Chrome

windows10 broswer battleTaking three rounds out of five, Chrome wins the battle of the Windows 10 browsers, thanks to its superb standards support, extensibility and special features. It did pretty well at performance, too. Firefox is a close second, with its excellent performance and customizable layout, but needs to serve a less niche audience to rise above the competition. Although Edge lags its more-popular browser brothers in other areas, it's off to a very good start with its best-in-class performance, clean look and Cortana integration.

Having issues with Windows 10? Tom’s Hardware has a team of community staffers standing by in the forums to answer your questions 24/7. You can also share your own experiences, or jump in and help others.

Author Bio
Cherlynn Low
Cherlynn Low, LAPTOP Staff Writer
Cherlynn joined the Laptopmag team in June 2013 and has since been writing about all things tech and digital with a focus on mobile and Internet software development. She also edits and reports occasionally on video. She graduated with a M.S. in Journalism (Broadcast) from Columbia University in May 2013 and has been designing personal websites since 2001.
Cherlynn Low, LAPTOP Staff Writer on
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41 comments
  • Paul Anderson Says:

    It's a bit unfair to compare these as if they're the same. Sure, they are all browsers in the sense that they can be downloaded and used the browse the wild-wild-web. But Chrome is much more than a mere browser, than those in this comparison. Chrome is an operating system (an OS); buy a Chromebook and you will soon learn the difference. A Window is just that; a portal on the screen.

    MS used different or separate windows (hence the name) for every individual program, which over time, made the OS too big. This was good from a tech standpoint because it forced Intel (and others) to keep finding ways to increase processors as well as local storage to accommodate the ever-growing and expanding software market. Now, with faster internet connections and a glut of servers globally (The Cloud), the need for bigger-faster on the hardware-side, is subsiding. Chromebooks use one window - the browser - and performs (almost) all operations on it alone: They tap the Cloud rather than the hard-drive. So Chrome is technically an OS with browser functionality. FF is just a browser, and a good one, because it is cross-platform and Open Source, which is the future.

    Edge is proprietary so far; you cannot (say) download it onto your Linux OS. My Intel NUC PC runs L-Mint 18, and I can use Chrome (or Chromium), FF, Opera, and Vivaldi browsers so far. Even Apple's Safari can be a stand-alone browser on a Windows OS. So a side-by-side browser compare is really only relevant to one's OS/hardware combination.

  • Hans Thoma Says:

    I've found that both Chrome and Edge suck up RAM big-time. For example, right now Edge is using 500MB with just 2 tabs open. Chrome is just as bad. I stick with Firefox, and even IE.

  • Ernie B Says:

    Windows 10 and Edge are some of the worst products conceived by MicroSoft. NT, XP, and Windows 7 were vastly superior products. I try to use yahoo mail in Edge. I know you are saying to use the mail app. The mail app doesn't allow me to copy in large distribution lists like I can using yahoo in a Edge. However, I lose keystrokes and the system freezes while ads are loaded on the right side of the screen. Edge also uses up all my PCs memory. I have 6gb. The rest of Windows 10 is so unused friendly that I bought an iPad and do most of my PC work on it. I still use my PC but very infrequently.
    The intrusive programs running in the background, kill performance. As far as Cortana, I have no need of it and would like it to go away.

  • joy oneill Says:

    Extremely helpful..I am73yrs. and not computer savvy..I am always changing between these browsers to find the best.I will keep google as it got good reports and I like it best. TNK U for your help.

  • Me Here Says:

    I dont know about the author but my chrome beat all the other browsers in page load time by at least twice using the same pages he claimed to have used

  • Coolkid Says:

    Chrome much better than firefox.

  • Neurilax Says:

    This article seems to be quite biased. The author assumes that everyone wants to use Google features like Docs and the like, and discredits Firefox because it targets a "niche audience." If you know anything at all about how to use a PC, beyond opening up Word, you should know how to set up a browser to do what you want. Firefox should take the lead, not only because it can perform as well as Chrome or because it's open source, but because it can be useful without having to get on board with all of Mozilla's software. Chrome's functionality depends on using the Chrome browser on every device (a bad idea with battery life issues), having Chromecast, and using Google Docs and Youtube regularly. For a regular everyday user, Firefox is much more friendly. Edge is out of the question because really, did anyone ever take it seriously anyway?

  • peach Says:

    what about battery life? its really hard to find browser reviews about it considering people are becoming more mobile

  • __init__ Says:

    I dislike how Chrome won the Extensions section; yes there are a lot of extensions, but they can't do anything. They're simple Javascript things that you can just use a userscript for. Firefox's extensions are so much more powerful, and the themes can change the look of the entire browser rather than just providing a background for the tab bar and New Tab page. And Firefox is planning to add support for Chrome-like extensions in the near future.

  • aabac Says:

    Tell me, how to select TWO words in a line, using Firefox on a tablet. All you can do is to select ONE word or SELECT ALL.

  • GKumar Says:

    As others have already pointed out, security is the most important. If you have no ability to do that, then compile it from somewhere else and put it here. Please be aware that many of the readers are not fools!.

  • AjayCR Says:

    If you look into performance vice the above result shows lack of testing and knowledge. IE & Edge tracks more user location and data. I would suggest dont use IE and EDGE. Chrome Browser is good for who searches in single tab or window. If you are gonna open multiple tabs then chrome will suck lot of memory. both chrome and opera increases the no of processes when you increases the tab or window.so it indirectly increases the no of process. Firefox actually performed better when we compared to others.SO CALLED BENCHMARK dont give you Correct Result. Here is the video link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCBCCvw-dnc

  • Bonnie Chumney Says:

    "Though it faired poorly on a couple of synthetic tests, Edge processes JavaScript fastest and displays pages the fastest of the lot." It would be a poor browser for sure, if it did not have more browser speed being it runs alone, whereas when you use Chrome or Firefax, both internet explorer and microsoft edge run in the background gathering even more data and cookies than either of the other two! With that heavy load against them, the other two browsers can't help but lose the contest for speed!

  • Kam Halapy Says:

    I can't pin photos to windows 10 start screen because the drop down submenu does not have "pin to start"option.Please help,thanks Kam Halapy

  • Essem Says:

    Numion doesn't work anymore :(

  • ruralwannabe Says:

    All these problems with edge may be due to security attacks, check to be sure your security software supports edge, mine doesn't. (Kaspersky) I find Edge to be the only browser that runs my Yahoo email program at reliably quick pace. Upset that I can't use it.

  • ruralwannabe Says:

    I found edge to be superior, however my antivirus does not support it so of course I stopped using it. That may be why it is not popular. You can't use it if it isn't supported.

  • Khalid Says:

    Hi Cherlynn, thank you for the interesting blog with facts and figure. Edge is comparatively better in Speed & Performance, Chrome is better in Extensibilty, Standards Support and Special Features, Firefox is better in Layout / Ease of Use. All these are for Windows 10 OS. As a regular user, I am expecting best Browser supporting all five features.
    Hope I get my answer to my question, which is the best supporting browser with all five features, to be used with Windows 7 Home Premium OS.

  • JosiesMom Says:

    Edge falls off the browser test for me. On a 2 in 1 Nextbook Flexx 10 with native Windows 10 it loads slow, consistently returns ....(not responding) in the address bar when loading. And a MAJOR fail is that it does not respond to the F11 prompt to go full screen! Maybe on a 17" + monitor people don't mind that over a third of the screen is taken up by menu bars and footers. But on a small portable PC, it is horrible!

    Firefox offers more flexibility, responds well to F11, and when in private mode it actually is private - firefox does not store your private browser history like Edge does.

  • ie 11 user pro Says:

    my favorite browser is internet explorer 11 i don't use edge because i have win7 win 10 is crap.
    but i try edge and is fast.
    i never used other browser

  • Stroker Says:

    Microsoft Edge could be the fastest if it would stop freezing up every time I try to use it! Any suggestions?

  • Mackis Says:

    Hi Cherlynn,
    Do you know Sheila S. Coronel?? Director, Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism, Dean of Academic affairs?

  • JB-ZR1 Says:

    One key area that was not mentioned is Security. Are you able to determine how secure each of them is? Do any of them provide substantial ways to increase security that is superior to the others?

    It would be great to see an updated article that addresses many of the questions in the comments section

    thx

  • Edwin Says:

    I found this article while comparing internet browsers and I thought I give my two cents. I just purchased a windows 10 laptop and Edge is the default browser. I have used Chrome, which is usually my go to browser, but also tried Torch and Firefox. I found out that for me Firefox loads faster than all of the above mentioned. Chrome second and Edge and Torch third. I will continue to compare Chrome and Firefox, but for now Firefox wins.

  • Jane D Says:

    Is there an update to this article. Browsers get out of changes pretty quickly (esp performance changes). So this is pretty much useless now.

  • Oliver Says:

    I've been using Chrome for years but recently I've been noticing that certain pages don't work in it, but do work in Firefox so I'm not so sure about the standards thingie...haven't tried Edge (don't really like Microsoft stuff on principle).

  • Johny Says:

    Firefox is the only free and open source among the three, so f*** the rest :D

  • Andrew Says:

    Great review, but another 'killer' Chrome feature is it's battery life killing ability.
    This is a huge issue for laptop users. I've experienced it first hand and it knocks hours off your battery life.
    Also, when you shut Chrome down, it stays running in the background; unless you delve into sttings to disable this.
    Chrome is an excellent browser but, because of it's draining issues, a non starter for laptops.

  • mario Says:

    What. This is retarded...
    Chrome wins the extensibility test?
    And that when it's so incredibly limited in what it's extensions are allowed to change and do with the browser itself when compared to ff?

  • Marty Says:

    The only reason Edge takes the speed test is because, like IE, it preloads its bulk when the OS starts up. If Firefox or Chrome did that, they would run instantaneously.

  • Joris2710 Says:

    hey guys, i would say that this article is crap. cause i find firefox the best, chrome is compared to firefox and edge freakin slow like snorlax.
    firefox is the best, good alternative is edge.

  • John2nhoj Says:

    Good article, but personal experience is what I go by.

    I still like Firefox the best for my own personal ease of use and extra, customizable features.

    Some say that Microsoft's Edge is new and needs time to mature, which is a typical enabler's excuse.

    Microsoft knows what the other browsers can do and could have easily designed Edge to do the same things or better, but as usual they took the Fisher-Price toy company approach like they often do and is why they never get ahead in these markets.

  • Rich Says:

    The one clear fact is that Edge is brand new and has a lot of maturing to do. Sounds like they have promising start though. I have been a Chrome fan, but recently they seem to be falling down a bit. I still love the integration across platforms though and the debugging tools.

    I appreciate this authors review. While every review is biased he clearly states his reasoning which allows the reader to make their own determination.

  • Jason Says:

    The idea that every browser need to only have one bar and not a bar for url and a bar for search is odd. If you really want one bar for everything, just don't use Firefox. I use Firefox because it has a search bar. It is useful and I can't see why merging it, chrome like or explorer like will make make UX better. If it just save space, it is pointless. Firefox has more add-ons than Chrome does, many of them are still exclusive to Firefox. To me Integration to Google service isn't important, I can just go to that website directly.

  • Chris Says:

    FYI, the Peacekeeper test is no longer supported. Also, the 2 missing things are rarely used video codecs so not as big a deal as you make out.

    It would also be nice to have included an IE11 benchmark to see what MS has or hasn't improved.

  • Diamond Dave Says:

    I can't begin to say how disappointed I am in Edge. Page load times are atrocious for me in the Edge browser. I don't care what the benchmarks say. Realtime is what matters. Trying to load some pages in Edge takes forever. The exact same pages for me load instantaneously for me in Chrome. My system specs are more than adequate - 12 GB Ram 512 SSD, i7-5500u.

  • John Says:

    Edge still has a lot of growing up to do. Used it to download some software & there is no option to change the folder location for the target file. Not on the fly when downloading, nor an option to reset the default location. Seems pretty basic to me.

  • Alan Says:

    I'm historically a Google patriot, but I disagree with this assessnt. Recently, the two most important issues with all three major browsers have been speed and stability. I suspect that a great deal of the stability issues stem from flash, but my first impression of Edge that it is far stable than Explorer and Chrome have been recently and it is at least as fast as Chrome. If speed a stability are lacking, extra features and support mean nothing to me. Thus, edge is winning out majorly, on first impression. I've yet to experience a crash (as I have with Explorer, Chrome and Firefox regularly, though I suspect Flash is the real problem) so only time will tell if this is the real deal.

    I've never been a fan of ANY Microsoft browsers until this one.

  • Riks Says:

    Sorry about the criticism, but extensibility and special features are extremely biased in the article. Firefox and Chrome are both leaders on the extension sector - and Firefox for a longer time, I might add. If you're an addon developer, a Chrome version and a Firefox version are not only mandatory but pretty much equivalent - including Google integration.
    This plainly shows both browsers are very well established before users, and while Edge has the potential, it's still immature and has a lot of improvement coming its way.

  • Joshua Says:

    Chrome has been in the game for a long time now, and Edge has only been on the consumer market for a few days. With regards to extensions, of course the older browser will have more.

    I feel it's too soon to go comparing just yet. Newly released products usually take some time to catch up to their full potential. Just take the iPhone for example

  • Sebastian Says:

    so, how about memory usage?
    In my tests, Edge is using twice as Chrome.

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