What's the best - and worst - browser for Windows 10?

   
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Top browsers Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge and Internet Explorer are pitted against each other to find out which is the best browser for Windows 10, and which is the worst.

Here's a question that faces every Windows 10 user - do you download a third-party browser, or do you just stick with Internet Explorer and Edge that Microsoft has provided?

THE BROWSERS

In this test we have taken five browsers - Chrome (v51.0), Opera (v38), Firefox (v47), as well as the bundled Edge (v25.10586) and Internet Explorer (v11.420) browsers - and test them using five of the most popular benchmarks to find out which is the best browser, and which is the worst.

THE TESTS

Here are the tests:

•    JetStream 1.1: A JavaScript benchmark suite focused on the most advanced web applications. Larger scores are better.
•    Kraken 1.1: An updated version of the SunSpider benchmark. Lower scores are better.
•    Octane 2.0: a modern benchmark that measures a JavaScript engine's performance by running a suite of tests representative of today's complex and demanding web applications. Larger scores are better.
•    RoboHornet: A benchmark designed around performance pain points real web developers care about. Larger scores are better.
•    HTML5test: A benchmark that tests how well a browser supports the HTML5 standard and related specifications. Larger scores are better, and the top score possible is 555.

TEST HARDWARE

I carried out the tests on a Huawei MateBook with a 1.51GHz Intel Core m3 processor and 4 gigabytes of RAM. The system runs Windows 10 Home.

The device was plugged in for the tests, and all power-saving options were switched off.

THE RESULTS

Here are the raw results, which are an average of three runs.

Note that the RoboHornet test refused to run on Chrome (it crashed the tabs every time).

A check (✔) has been placed next to tests won by that particular browser, and a cross (✗) next to the worst result.

Chrome

•    JetStream 1.1: 125.12
•    Kraken 1.1: 1371.7 ✔
•    Octane 2.0: 21123 ✔
•    RoboHornet: Did not run
•    HTML 5 Test: 526 ✔

Firefox

•    JetStream 1.1: 111.61
•    Kraken 1.1: 1744.3
•    Octane 2.0: 19273
•    RoboHornet: 90.4
•    HTML 5 Test: 478

Opera

•    JetStream 1.1: 114.47
•    Kraken 1.1: 1536.8
•    Octane 2.0: 20673
•    RoboHornet: 131.01
•    HTML 5 Test: 525

Internet Explorer

•    JetStream 1.1: 84.76 ✗
•    Kraken 1.1: 2970.1 ✗
•    Octane 2.0: 11278 ✗
•    RoboHornet: 92.23
•    HTML 5 Test: 348 ✗

Edge

•    JetStream 1.1: 151.16 ✔
•    Kraken 1.1: 1564.7
•    Octane 2.0: 19452
•    RoboHornet: 85.19 ✗
•    HTML 5 Test: 458

BOTTOM LINE

It's clear that when it comes to synthetic benchmarks, Google Chrome is the best browser, taking the top spot in three of the four tests that it ran.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have Internet Explorer, which came conclusively last in four out of five tests.

But Microsoft's new Edge browser is markedly better that Internet Explorer, and it even managed to score a win in one of the tests. Overall, Edge is a pretty decent browser, and comes in second to Chrome in the speed tests.

This means that as long as you don't need another browser for a specific feature - such as extensions in Google Chrome, or the familiarity of a specific browser - then Windows 10 has a pretty decent built-in browser.

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