I've been a long-time fan of the Google Chrome browser, especially how it integrates into my workflow across an array of devices. But Chrome is let down by one big problem – it's a massive RAM hog. Now yes, I know that this is partly down to me, and my dual habits of opening way too many tabs (yes, I admit to having a tab problem), and of having maybe just a few too many extensions installed.
But it's not all my fault. Lately, I've been testing clean installs of various browsers on both Windows and macOS and have come to the conclusion that Google Chrome quickly turns into a bloated, sluggish memory hog after a few days of intensive usage across the platforms.
So who makes the best browser for macOS? Well, I know that this is a subjective and emotive question – like asking whose mom makes the best apple pie, or which of your children is the best – but testing is pushing me towards an unlikely candidate: Microsoft's Edge browser.
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The first thing to note is that Edge for macOS is currently in beta, so things may be broken or not work perfectly. However, my testing suggests that this is a very strong beta indeed, with Edge being fast, stable, and packing a lot of features.
On the performance front it feels a little swifter than Chrome, and a lot swifter than the competition (such as Safari or Firefox). But it's not the swiftness that catches my eye, but how Edge is so much lighter on system resources than Chrome. While I'm reluctant to carry out benchmarking on a beta, my testing suggests that Edge delivers better performance than Chrome with about 15 to 25% less RAM consumption, depending on what tabs are open, how many, and what kind of media is present.
If you run a lot of tabs, this make a huge difference.
Edge also has some cool features. For example, support for the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar is very cool, with options for media control sliders and the ability to switch tabs. This is one of the best implementations of the Touch Bar I've seen, and I've actually found myself using this feature on my MacBook Pro for once.
The extension support for Edge is a bit meager, with a little over a hundred in the Microsoft Store. But this is a blessing in disguise, since the only extension I truly need is my LastPass password manager, and that's available. I can live without everything else, and my Mac's RAM thanks me for that. If you love browser extensions, then the limited coverage could be a deal-breaker for you.
However, I suggest you find out whether you really need all the extensions you have installed, and a good way to experiment is to download a new browser – like Edge – and take it for a spin.
Microsoft Edge browser on macOS is shaping up to be a strong and worthy opponent to Google Chrome, with even the beta being stable and solid enough for day to day use.
Have you given Edge a go? What do you think? Let me know below!