IE10 is both an app and a desktop program. The desktop program is nearly identical to IE9 except for some behind the scenes changes, so for the most part any interest about it must turn to the app version. Why have two versions? It seems like Microsoft is saying, we want you to use the new interface, but here is a fallback in case you don’t like it.
I like how it fills the whole screen and there is no chrome (buttons, program borders, etc) but that is supposed to be one of the draws with using the new app interface. The pages load quickly and scroll smoothly. In my testing to the usual pages I visit everything worked as it does with the usual browser I use, Chrome. Your mileage may vary, but certainly if the site doesn’t require a specific add-on it will work. Flash is even supported in a limited manner (not everywhere).
Above you can see the view you get with a right-click on IE10.
The upper bar shows your tabs, option for a new tab and to set private or close all tabs. A nice clear view of your tabs, but annoying to have to right-click to show it. Why can’t you have it auto-hide and show when the mouse is up there? Right-clicking works, but you have to be sure you choose the right spot on the page. Right-clicking on an image for example gives you options for that image, not the tab bar. Poor control to have to pick and choose where I click. I’d rather it auto-hide or even have a little down arrow caret in the middle at the top so I can bring it down when I want.
I found the usual keyboard command for switching tabs didn’t work (winkey+tab), it is control+tab. Not as easy to use, but for some reason Winkey+tab brings up the side bar with your running apps.
The bottom bar has your navigation buttons, address bar and pin and wrench. The navigation buttons aren’t really needed (forward and back) since there are side button overlays that show up for that, which I think are more convenient, if a little difficult to see sometimes. The pin is for pinning websites to the Start Screen or your Bookmarks. The wrench will allow you to view the webpage in your desktop browser, find words/phrases within the current page (so you don’t use the Search charm for it) and to get the App for the site if one exists. I like that integration.
The address bar is nice and clear with a big favicon. It does also show a lock icon if you are connecting to a secure site. It isn’t that inconvenient to right-click to bring it up but you have to click twice, and then you get the below screenshot. The view below is really the New Tab view, but explains what you see when you click the address bar.
It is all white on the new tab, no image choice or any choice to change it. You get your pinned sites, frequent sites and scrolled off-screen the sites you have bookmarked. It is grossly inefficient. Everything looks too much alike. My bookmarks are scrolled way away, I can’t organize anything into folders. I even forget about my pinned sites since it isn’t the first thing I think to do, maybe that will change as I use Windows 8 more. I just wish the New Tab view was more useful. Why doesn’t it use more of the screen? Why don’t I get little screenshots of the pages? See below Chrome with SpeedDial. I am using an extension but even the default Chrome tab view is more useful than what IE10 provides. I have found it so much easier to find my webpages visually than with a menu, but even a menu would be better than this crap in IE10.
IE10 has no way to remember what sites it had open before. Very little settings to speak of in fact.
You can see most of them to the left. Delete browsing history, allow websites to see your location, clear that information, zoom and flip ahead. I cannot tell if it helps but figured it didn’t hurt to have it on. Only thing you can see is about changing encoding of the page for viewing other languages correctly.
Lastly the pinned sites feature can end up looking like this on your start screen. Many sites end up looking exactly the same. It is why I don’t use it. A bunch of E’s , only Facebook shows up different. I did some testing and other websites when I clicked “pin to start” showed different icons that fit better, like Neowin.net, Google+ and Engadget. Lots of them don’t work, so it must be something all websites will have to work on if they wish. It certainly isn’t using a larger favicon.
Search – it uses Bing by default, no way to search with another service unless you just go to that service’s page. Share – it works well to be able to share with Facebook, Twitter or mail contacts. Although it is limited by whatever apps you have that can share. Settings – already hit upon above.
I don’t recommend snapping the browser at all in one-third view. It just shrinks in size and is not usable. You can though still use it in two-thirds view.
You can see the tile in the screenshot with the Pinned sites. It is just a blue box with a big E. You cannot change its size and it is not live. I imagine they feel most will open it with a pinned site anyway. You can right-click on the icon so it will open up a new tab in IE10 if you currently have IE10 open.
In summary, does the browser work. Yes it works, but does it make your life easier to browse the web? Frankly, no. When you have tiny smartphone browsers that have more functionality and better features than a desktop one (especially one you would want to showcase and say look what Windows 8 can do), it bombs. I have used it constantly for uploading my Windows 8 blog but that is mostly staying on one page. I don’t enjoy using it to surf the websites I like to visit because I just find it difficult to get there easily.
Even if I used this in a touch situation, like a tablet, I think I would hate it. I can’t wait to see what Chrome and Firefox come up with. It has to be better than this. Chrome already has it, but it’s just a desktop version put into the “Modern” interface. It doesn’t truly make use of the new style and is not proper for touch at this point. I’d still much rather use it than IE10. Microsoft has seriously blown it here.