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Hands-on with the new Chromium-powered version of Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge logo on Start menu
Microsoft Edge logo on Start menu (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft's new version of Edge is currently in development internally, with a public preview expected within the next couple of weeks. But, a couple of weeks is a long time for die-hard fans who just want to see what the new version of Edge looks like, so today we've got an exclusive hands-on video for you, showcasing everything new in the early preview builds.

Our hands-on is of an early, pre-release build of the MIcrosoft Edge web browser. Features such as set tabs aside and the ability to ink directly onto webpages are currently not available in this initial preview builds, and will likely show up in a future update. First impressions of these early preview builds are very good. Performance and stability appear to be very good, with webpages like YouTube loading up quickly with no lag or hanging.

There's better PWA support, a better password manager, the ability to use Chrome extensions from the Chrome web store, and whole lot more. What are you most looking forward to with the new Microsoft Edge? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • I can't wait
  • Little offtop: I am an subscriber of Office 365 and I have Windows 10. How to get this nice and sleek new icons of Office? ;>
  • Should appear with the Office Update 1904, but activates the following accounts Office insider updates
  • How can I check the version I have?
  • Open the big Office menu and go to the account section.
  • Resize the tile to small then back to the size you want or remove it and then re add it to the start menu.
  • I just want them to return to good touch controls. IE in Windows 8 was perfect, Edge was a step back from that. They feel like an afterthought in Edge. Overall, I hope they don't do the same mistakes again. IE was already behind the curve, then with Edge they started out with actually less features than IE. Edgium should at least have the complete feature set of Edge.
  • Why would MS do that? They're abandoning the mobile market so touch is irrelevant for them. Yea, I'm not happy about it but they're making it clear, they could care less about screwing their mobile user base and care only about making lots of money.
  • Because 2-in-1s are a thing? Yeah, Microsoft left the mobile world, but there's still touchscreen devices out there, and that list is still increasing.
  • Because they have products that uses touch. Like Surface., Surface book , Surface hub, Surface studio and third party oems that use touch.
  • They couldn't care less. If they could care less, that means they care. Which of these makes sense: I am so full, I could eat more. I am so full, I couldn't eat more. I love you so much, I could love you more. I love you so much, I couldn't love you more. I care about you so little, I could care less. I care about you so little, I couldn't care less.
  • As a developer, I can personally attest to the fact that IE is one of the worst browsers ever to grace the earth. So. Many. Problems. Luckily I'm on a project right now where we don't have to support IE, but damn, I'm so glad they're taking this approach. "IE in Windows 8 was perfect" I think I'm gonna print that out and frame it, my coworkers and I will have a good hearty laugh every morning when we see it.
  • AljoCS, I guess you didn't read their full explaination of why "IE in Windows 8 was perfect" was directed at the touch controls. So if you are going to frame it, you might as well print out everything. IE was not one of the worst browsers to grace operating systems (fixed it for you). It had growing pains that lead to it's issues but at the root it was the browser that allowed for a lot of web interactions we are using now. Yes it's not perfect but it's also not fair to discredit the impact it had and the innovation to how we use and adopted the Internet.
  • The joke will be on you, then, not taking potential customers seriously...
  • Developers are so snarky and arrogant. This is why there is a huge backlash coming against you guys.
  • As a developer living among developers I couldn't agree more. Developers are very arrogant.
    As for the backlash, I have no idea what you are talking about.
  • Too lazy to actually code for all your users, glad this isn't a software we want to use in our Enterprise.
  • You're talking about your perspective not the users. He said that he prefer IE because of the touch controls. You're talking about your experience working using the web APIs
  • Are there advantages to the new Edge, compared with Chrome or its derivatives, like Brave or Vivaldi?
  • Not currently but really it's too early to tell as likely all the features/options aren't finished yet.
  • Unless you are into the Ms eco system and want to save everything to the Ms cloud, then I can not how there can be. Not for me
  • Microsoft eco system, wtf is that....
  • Office, Windows, OneDrive and XBox.
  • Azure, ActiveDirectory, Exchange & Outlook, PowerBI, CognitiveServices, Visual Studio ...
  • Weak ecosystem for personal use.
  • why is Azure #2 in cloud after AWS and G-Cloud is distance what? 4th or 5th.
  • Oh look our favorite lagdroid troll decided to show up, shocker.
  • the whole Ms account thing, getting you into their cloud, with one drive, cortana and even office 365. if you are not into the whole Ms eco thing like myself, then there is really no point.
  • Too early to say exactly. Since this will be MS' own fork of Chromium, maybe things like UI, different features, even potentially performance could differentiate it once it's more ready for prime time.
  • I want to do better browsing AND use the exact ALL the the same features currently available in the OLD EDGE. Anything less and the new chromium edge browser is a below average experience in windows 10 for me. Touch and Pen input must be part of the early developers build to complete a stable and better performing browser from the start. Otherwise the browser experience will be no better in the long run and it feels like the early days of windows 10 all over again. The fact that this early developers beta fails to show a 1:1 user interface comparison is worrying from the start. I have little faith in its future despite how good the chromium engine in chromium Edge will be.
  • 🙄 🤔 🙄 That's just silly.
  • I agree. Silliest comment on this website.
  • Facepalm... Than use "old" edge, this version isn't coming out anytime soon and is work in progress.
  • Doesn't seem that far away. It sounds like it will be released to insiders fairly soon.
  • "The fact that this early developers beta fails to show a 1:1 user interface comparison is worrying from the start." I really worry about how some people's minds work at times. I'm a software developer myself, so maybe I just overestimate how obvious certain aspects of the process are but this just seems like common sense. If the new Edge is going to have feature parity with the old Edge then Microsoft have to go through the process of development from default Chromium to new Edge with feature parity, which will take time and effort. Why exactly would you assume that this particular build, which is more of an alpha than a beta even, SHOULD be somewhere on the timeline AFTER feature parity is reached rather than BEFORE? The fact is that you have no reason to assume that. Every build on the timeline before feature parity is reached is an early pre-release build and this is an early pre-release build. Why should it be a surprise that it is one of the early pre-release builds before feature parity is reached? I agree that Microsoft should provide feature parity in the new Edge with the old Edge but the fact that this particular build doesn't include feature parity is not evidence in any way, shape or form that that is not going to happen. Until they reach feature parity, every build will lack feature parity, so the fact that you are worrying because and early build lacks feature parity says far more about you than it does anything else.
  • Considering Microsoft is placing Inking and touch left, right and center can be certain they will be integrated into the new Edge browser as well, especially considering how much they have focused on the convenience of Inking everywhere.
  • Yes, it will be what happened to Opera after 12. It was (and is) a shadow of it's former greatness. And it's not the rendering engine, as Vivaldi boldly shows.
  • It will get faster updates than Old Edge ever had because it will not be attached to the OS. I do agree that they should release a better or complete version of Edge and not a barebones version based on old Edge or even the Android version. But they have an idea where to start now that they have old Edge to use as a starting point, features wise I mean not reuse old code.
  • I just want it to work. There are still too many sites that don't work correctly with Edge. I tried to sign up for some bloodwork at Lifelabs, and no go....I had to use Chrome. Same with booking a dinner at The Keg; Edge doesn't work, I had to use Chrome.
  • But can i pin a website to the desktop???
  • Is it possible in Chrome? If yes, than it will in Edgium
  • Looks like Edge, it may have the chromium engine, but it still got the same Edge look, so it still looks like it belongs on a mobile phone and no doubt will look more like Edge as time goes by.
    Also, i do not see any advantage in changing from the browser i use, which is also a chromium browser to the new Edge.
  • "Looks like Edge" Seriously? LOOKS LIKE EDGE? It doesn't look like Edge, and that's THE problem with the new Edge Chromium-based. I want the same design that classic Edge has, with improvements and the Experience that Microsoft builds for Edge: The exactly same smooth scroll and zooming, the preview of tabs, the Set Tabs Aside, the pinned tabs, the pen intup features, the powerful PDF reader/writer... Clean you're eyes, because these doesn't look like Edge, the tabs are corners rounded... The UI is more like Chrome. Diuj.
  • There are bits of edge in it, remember this is an early version, there will be more Edge in it at some point.
    Still see no point in using it if already chrome or a clone.
  • Those things will release down the line you potato.
  • Well... Are you sure? Do you know what happened when Opera browser switched to chromium? Microsoft said they will bring back the features that are used frequently or something like that. Do you know what that means? It means they know for sure what features they will NOT bring back. Sure, some features will be added, since this is a pretty early build, but the fact that this browser looks NOTHING like Edge is very concerning. The look should be the first thing to bring back if they really wanted to keep the old look. I really doubt they will do major changes to this early GUI. This is what the new Edge will look like, which is nothing like the old Edge.
  • Time to see an optometrist.
  • Quite disappointed to see no Acrylic in the title bar. Edge looks so nice with that.
  • I hardly think that that would be a high priority item.
  • Definitely looks promising. Thanks for this video, I've been waiting to see a preview since the project was announce and from what I've seen in the video I haven't been disappointed. Looking forward to testing the browser myself. Zac, any comment on the download manager? Is it the same as the old edge?
  • Rounded tab edges 🤮
  • I saw Windows Phone and it made me sad 😢
  • Looks great but in the Settings page should has a bigger space for touch input.
  • I really wish that they would make this consistent with Fluent Design. The font in the Settings menu I have not seen anywhere in Windows yet. And there are no curved corners for things in Windows. I hope they fix all of these little things. It seems like MS can never create a consistent UI and that frustrates me A LOT.
  • They could do with standardising their UI a bit more but I would expect that much of what you're talking about here is default Chromium that they just haven't got around to changing yet because other things are higher priority. Hopefully it is on the list though.
  • Does anyone know if it's still a UWP app? I liked the security features that came with that.
  • It is Win32, so all Windows users can use it. Not just Windows 10, which is only about half of the Windows installed base. Win32 IS "the universal Windows platform". UWP is officially dead.
  • Except UWP isn't dead as it's still used by the Store in Windows and on the Xbox for apps.
  • I don't think UWP have taken off in the way Ms thought it would, even a lot of software in the store is not really UWP.
  • @ad47uk that is down to mismanagement by Microsoft, staff reductions, re-orgs and unwillingness to invest in more resources. Because the latter is the easiest way to increase quarterly profits. If Microsoft had put more resources into the edge browser, then there wouldn't have been no need to switch to chromium. Sure, from a user stand point it means you get features somewhat quickly but it's bad news for the health of web over all and the standards that level the playing field. As it practically enables Google to dictate the pathway of the web.
  • You keep using that word "officially". I don't think it means what you think it means.
  • @naddy6969, Haha... no. Win32 is a standard that has been on life support long time ago. UWP is the future but Microsoft would rather focus on PWA because it enables them to control bandwidth allocation and monetise it. This whole fiscal policy of Microsoft is not healthy at all for computing and security. Because PWA are fundamentally flawed as they require a constant web connection so if a data node is hacked then it's pretty easy to spread malware.
  • UWP is far from dead. They didn't use it here because they wanted to use Chromium and that is not attached to the Store or Windows in any way
  • I've set Edge as my default on my Android Asus zenfone q. I like it way better.
  • The whole idea to have extensions, its clear why extensions, but I have never considered Chrome extensions as safe to use!!!!!???
  • Then don't use Chrome extensions, just use the ones Microsoft provide. I'm assuming you actually watched the video rather than just comment!!?!
  • Yes I did, hope their upcoming extensions are better than others ;)
  • I downloaded the new Edge browser about an hour ago and had a quick look, the extensions are the same that would get from the chrome store, the only difference is that they are are on the MS store.
    Speed wise is no different to Cent, which is what I use as a browser.
    So as i said before, unless you are into the whole Ms eco system Ms account and that sort of thing, no advantage in using the new edge.
  • Why would you not consider them safe? Going on the internet is not safe either...
  • Technically nothing you do online is safe.
  • Why? i only use 3 extensions, but they are what is available on firefox and Edge for that matter.
    Granted there are some extensions I would not touch, silly ones that really do nothing, but then that is the same everywhere.
  • They should redesign the icon as well... Just like the office.
  • I joined the Edge Insider program after reading this article. I'm a web developer by trade (ASP.NET Core) so it's worthwhile doing so for more than just interest's sake.
  • I'd rather it was kept as it is now, I've never had problems with it.
  • Will there be an version for Windows 10 Mobile also? Now I've Microsoft Edge 40.15254.556.0 on my Lumia950 and on my laptop I believe there's already Edge 42.17763....
  • There will not, sorry.
  • What part of they will officially end support for Windows Mobile does people don't understand.
  • I'm kinda hoping Microsoft will allow non-EDGEHTML browsers into the Windows Store. Firefox, Chrome, Vivaldi etc in Store would help it a lot.
  • They will probably have to, sooner or later, as it doesn't seem like EdgeHTML will be much of a focus anymore.
  • That will take way longer than releasing Edge though
  • i loved the UI of the tabs in edge, but hated, and still hate the news, and the bing search bar they throw on you. other than that, I would actually go around recommending edge because of its sleek looks, and it faster-than-expected performance. never expected the mormies to hate edge just because it was a distant relative of ie.
  • Can`t wait for it, absolutely love it
  • I followed ONMSFT and was able to download it and install.
    For a 1st time release, it has a good polish, fast, and signs of original edge looks/features plus the UI is well simplified. I call it an awesome welcomed start. This is really good for an unreleased beta ver 1.0
  • Interesting that this is NOT Edge/Chromium 75 Canary, but it looks like just a devbuild.
  • If you go to About Edge, this is what is there.: "Version (Official build) (64-bit)", So, I think they used the Chromium engine ver 75 canary or what do you think?
  • Well, well, well, its about time. This partial accomplishment is bigger than anything andromeda or hololens.
  • So far, it is about what one would expect. Turning on the optional Edge features, like secure video, native fluent controls, smoother scrolling provide a better environment than Chrome. (Also no 1-2GB of data going to Google every week should be enough of a reason for many to consider moving from Chrome when this releases.) However, like Chrome, compared to EdgeHTML, it is 2-9x slower in graphical tests, 10-20% slower in javascript tests. Also graphical rendering (like Chrome) has tearing and element occulsion issues when drawing. One example is a layered Map, regular EdgeHTML renders the composite significantly faster and pans fluidly, where EdgeChromium/Chrome draw the layers visibily and stutter with additional redraws that just do not occur on regular Edge. Fonts are also still not as good as regular Edge, although turning on the Font Subpixel flag helps. There are also still issues with touch navigation (zoom/pinch/navigation) that is clunky at best compared to Edge (clunky compared to IE10 from 7 years ago). And like Chrome, the are still massive issues with handling scaling properly, although MS has a few new flags for moving some of the broken UI elements to native Windows which help. The only performance tests EdgeChromium did well was in basic UI control drawing tests, and that was only after enabling the Native Fluent UI controls, where Chrome remained slower. I know MS is working hard, but these are still massive regressions for current Edge users. 9x slower on a simple graphical benchmark is huge. The composite rendering issues are also huge, along with the framerate issues and vsync tearing. I just hope MS has a lot of lipstick, because compared to the compile/execute model of EdgeHTML, these rendering issues feel and look more like the IE8 generation of browsers, when MS left the document/render model behind, and sadly Webkit/Blink has not.
  • I only stuck with edge because it wasn't Google. I'd I'm getting chromium repackaged, I'll just go to Brave browser.
  • You forgot to tell us how to download the beta...
  • This article happened before the leak = it WAS NOT avaliable for general public.
  • This is actually moving toward a handheld device because of the allowance to the Google store. I guess once this browser is done then we'll see Microsoft version of a folding device which will allow users to access the Google store for their apps since they already have a folding device patent in place as well as several Microsoft apps for Android already there. The big $billion question is how much and will this device while targeting business users as well as consumers? Since there is Surface Go which is definitely handheld but devices even smaller is all mostly mobile types. Windows lite is just dumb naming for an OS. Windows Mobile is just proper especially defining group of devices and their category.
  • A Microsoft browser based on the open-source Chromium engine supporting Chrome extensions is very, VERY different to a Microsoft device running Windows supporting Android apps.
  • I don't even know where you get the idea that Edge will run Android apps. Having said that I am utterly surprised MS haven't don't something similar to Anbox but for Windows.
  • Liking the granular controls that have finally been added to Edge. Q: By enabling "allow Extensions from other stores", can we just only install chrome extensions or this allows users to install firefox extensions as well in the preview?
  • Of course not firefox, it is not using Gecko but Blink/Chromium. As for Chrome Extensions, Apps and Themes are not supported.
  • Does this mean it'll be available to Linux users at some point?
  • I don't think so bub
  • Welp.... it will
  • I'm looking forward to the new Microsoft Edge. Looks unsurprisingly very good so far thanks to Chromium. This combined with Edge features like ink on screen and set tabs aside as well as perfect W10 integration and I couldn't be happier!
  • Yeah!!! It's as if Chrome & Edge had a baby! Large wide rounded tabs, little round authentication picture in top right, clean minimalist lines... feels Chrome.
    Bing centricity, Settings, News Feed, Picture of the day... feels like Edge. Microsoft is on to something here!!! It's the whole "if you can't beat em… join em" thing. Very Nadella. He's not a fighter. The notion is laughable in fact. Instead... it's time to take this retreat business to the next level and kill off this whole Windows "Lite" NONSENSE. Instead... Nadella... you should simply release a Surface branded Chromebook, running a MS variant of Chromium OS... called... to wit... Edge OS. Officially kill off support for UWP by 2020. Create a version of Visual Studio that runs on "Edge/Chrome OS"... that only supports building PWA, Android, and Chrome apps. In fact just add Android/Chrome to VS Code (and make it run on Chromium) and you have it! And put the sad pathetic history of Win 32, Active X, .NET, Silverlight, XAML, and UWP... etc etc behind you forever. It's time to be fully assimilated into the Droid collective!!!!
  • You sir are the star of the internet! Stay the way you are.
  • username checks out 😂
  • That was a very well informed video Zac. I am very excited for the new Edge to come out. i have used it sense being on Windows 10. There are some things that i hope get fixed with the chromium version that i have encountered in Edge right now. I don't like to use Chrome so any new changes to make Edge better I am all for it.
  • what's wrong with the old Edge? Why would anyone stop using Chrome and switch to Chromium based Edge?
  • Downloaded and using. Way better than edgeHTML imo (and chrome, for that matter)). Would like to see some more UI parity with classicEdge - which I am sure is in the works. Really, what they need to do is make the two identical from a UI and features standpoint, push it out with the next major release of Windows 10 to replace currentEdge, then start adding features from there once initial rollout is done. So far, it's performance is impressive.
  • When will Chromium Edge be available for Windows 7 and 8.1?
  • By the time it is ready for prime time, Windows 7 would be close to EOL. RIP Windows 7.
  • Now Apple announces video content streaming and Nadella is playing, again, on the sidelines. Whatever happened to Microsoft as a leader? It's becoming an irrelevant follower.
  • Hate the rounded corners. Why are tech companies obsessed with rounded corners? Windows 10 design was individual, it set it apart from Apple, Google et al. Now we're going back to rounded corners?! Apple and Google UIs look like they've been designed by a toy manufacturer. Seems like Microsoft are giving up on anything that makes then different, they just want to follow the herd. This whole Chromium idea baffles me. Chrome is the slowest, bloatiest modern browser I've used. It feels like the new IE, bloated and non standards compliant. And why use your competitor's engine?
  • A lot of people are asking the same question. They should fire the new Edge team managers.
  • Because Chromebooks are taking over school systems around the country. Google will not put their Chrome browser in Microsoft's app store for obvious reasons. This is actually a very smart move for MS.
  • Hmm this new Edge browser seems to work OK. Microsoft will add it's unique stuff from the
    Old edge browser. this will be the Browser in the "Centaurus" 2 touch screen Mini Tablet
    "Courier" type Tablet that may debut later this year. Sadly there will be no 4/5 Cell phone
    in the Centaurus 2 touch screen Mini Tablet. Microsoft should add a feature 4/5 G cell
    phone to the "Centaurus" 2 touch screen accessed through a blue tooth headset
    sold with this model of this "Centaurus" device to help it sell better & be more useful.
  • So since the new Edge browser will have access to the Chrome extensions web store, a Windows device in S mode could now satisfy schools that need Chrome access? A defense for chromebooks has been they don't get viruses, and the defense against Windows S is that it can't run Chrome. Sounds like this could potentially be a great marketing move by Microsoft.
  • about the daily automation of wallpaper. love the feature. but I think it would be best to make it more preferable>>> like the user gets to choose what kind of genre of wallpaper to be shown on a daily basis.
    another most important thing is '"all the efforts will be for nothing if there is no bookmarks bar like chrome and opera"' please add this feature.