Microsoft Edge is too closely related with the train-wreck Internet Explorer to be taken seriously. But it’s actually not a bad alternative to Chrome, which uses so much battery life (and RAM) that it cripples most laptops.
And as it turns out, there’s one really good reason to use Edge: it’s the only PC browser that can stream 1080p video from Netflix.
According to testing by PC World, Edge is the only PC browser that can stream 1080p content from Netflix. Using hidden Netflix menus to view quality, the PC World testers found that Chrome, Firefox and Opera topped out at 720p and a lower bitrate than Edge.
In a blog post, Microsoft claims that engineering choices taken with how Edge protects and plays back video makes it more efficient:
Microsoft Edge was built to take advantage of platform features in Windows 10. It is optimized to use PlayReady Content Protection and the media engine’s Protected Media Path, whereas Chrome and Opera implement Widevine, and Firefox implements both Adobe Access and Widevine. Like video decode efficiency, content protection in the platform and closer to the hardware can offer superior performance. Likewise, the better the content protection, the better the video quality the service is likely to provide to that browser.
Microsoft is slowly making a strong case for Edge. It’s not as feature-packed as Chrome (which I am loathe to give up), but the promise of hours of extra battery life and higher-quality video is difficult to ignore.