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The fastest browsers for easing remote work frustration

FILE - This June 19, 2017 file photo shows a person working on a laptop in North Andover, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

FILE - This June 19, 2017 file photo shows a person working on a laptop in North Andover, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Published May 31, 2022

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Johannesburg: Despite, or perhaps because of, being our windows into the online world, web browsers usually fall to the back of our minds and we make use of whatever the default is.

But the browser market is diverse, and you may be surprised with the performance improvements you can get by switching to something new.

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And with more and more of our private and work lives spent online, a speedier browsing experience can make all the difference.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft browsers garnered a bad reputation for sluggishness in the 2000s and 2010s with its Internet Explorer and original Edge versions. In a surprising turn-around, the new Edge browser is built off the Chromium engine (which also powers browsers like Opera and Google Chrome) and has the performance improvements to prove it.

Edge appears to be the fastest of the browsers on the market, while also not hogging your system resources and making everything else slow. Alongside this great base performance, Edge comes with a feature that lets you save webpages as apps, saving you from reloading pages unnecessarily and letting you use them offline. Great for when load shedding cuts the wi-fi.

Changing over to the Chromium engine means you also have access to (most of) the huge library of extensions from the Chrome store. Edge is a great all-round choice, though it’s one potentially damning failure is that it won’t run on older computers with less than 1 Ghz of processing power.

Opera

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Opera is a bit more resource-intensive (though not nearly as much as Chrome), but delivers comparable speed to Edge. Opera for mobile even has a Turbo feature, which compresses internet data to deliver faster speeds on bad connections. Perfect for mobile data plans and speeding up browsing when load shedding takes cell towers offline.

Opera’s approach is to build in common features, meaning you have to do less hunting around for third-party extensions. It comes not only with a native ad-blocker, but also a VPN. This great for those looking for privacy or to pypass region locks. It has great integrations for WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and even a crypto wallet.

Opera is a solid browser for those on older systems that won’t run Edge. At the opposite end of the spectrum, if you play video games and have a rig with more resources, Opera’s GX is specially built for gaming-integration.

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Brave Browser

If you like Chrome and are averse to Microsoft products, Brave Browser is a great consideration. Most importantly, it hogs considerably less memory than Chrome. While this doesn’t speed up browsing much, it means Brave doesn’t slow down your computer nearly as much, making the often essential job of multitasking so much easier.

Built off the same Chromium engine and sporting a similar look, Brave offers a mostly seamless transition while also coming with built-in privacy and ad-blocking. It comes with a native crypto wallet and even an ad-blocking reward system that lets you earn (a small amount of) money while browsing.

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Chrome

Chrome has taken Internet Explorer’s place as much of the world’s default browser, at 60% of market share. Unfortunately, that’s not all it has in common with Explorer, as Chrome has also built a reputation for sluggish performance.

However, that’s not quite the case. Chrome is a fast browser for sure. The problem lies in its infamous greed for resources. Chrome tends to occupy huge amount of memory, which slows down both it and anything else you might be trying to run.

That said, Chrome is a great browser. It’s cross-platform, has a large library of extensions, and will integrate perfectly with your Google account and linked devices. It’s just not the best choice for those with less powerful computers.

IOL Tech

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