Microsoft Edge is getting a killer new feature Chrome doesn't have

Microsoft Edge
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft Edge is getting a new “performance mode” which will give it a boost over rival browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

This performance mode will automatically optimize your web browsing speed and responsiveness, plus it will reduce CPU, RAM, and battery usage. In particular, this mode will be of benefit to users when running the browser alongside additional applications or even gaming, as it will free up space to be used by more power-hungry programs. 

This mode runs alongside the Sleeping Tabs feature that Microsoft added to Edge added back in 2020. This allows browser tabs to be frozen when not actively being used, again reducing CPU and RAM usage. Tests have shown Edge’s Sleeping Tabs to be more effective at memory reduction than Chrome’s equivalent. Google continues to do little to address user’s complaints that the browser saps too much computing power.

The bad news is that for now, this performance mode is only available in Microsoft Edge Canary 9 (essentially a test build of Edge open to select users). However, the feature is expected to be rolled out later in 2021 for all users. 

In the meantime, Windows Latest has been testing out the performance mode and the results are pretty significant. The publication found that Edge would force a tab into sleep mode within five minutes of not being used in performance mode, whereas using Sleeping Tabs alone it took two hours before a tab entered a lower-usage state.  

The feature is surprisingly smart as well. For example, if you have a tab that is playing music or a video, which you want to listen to in the background while performing other tasks, Edge won’t automatically put that tab in sleep mode and will keep it active. This should be handy for people who like to listen to music/video while using programs like PhotoShop or while gaming. 

As noted, Chrome users have been complaining for a while now about the significant strain the browser puts on a device’s RAM and power consumption, so this feature may well convince a few users to make a permanent switch to Edge later this year. 

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.