But before moving on to describing the capabilities of Spartan, let me speak about the sore point that is directly related to the topic. So, from year to year, the Redmond corporation tried to craft something digestible on the IE engine that could be called a modern browser. I must admit that it turned out so-so: if in terms of design the latest versions of the “donkey” could still compete, then in terms of the use of the most advanced Internet technologies and the introduction of useful functions, the situation was deplorable.
Personally, when installing the next “breakthrough” version of IE, the first thing I did was check it for lice. And this did not require something transcendent, it was enough to open the settings window. And every time I swore. Why? The settings menu has not changed, probably since the sixth version, released in time immemorial – the same thing from generation to generation. It is impossible to look at it without a nervous twitching of the eyelid, and it is better not to stutter about the convenience of navigation.
What is it: inattention to trifles, disregard for ergonomics or outright indifference? Choose for yourself. If we talk about the Spartan settings, they are pleasing to the eye and are made in the spirit of Windows 10.
This trifle again suggests that Spartan is being developed separately from its older brother on completely different principles. Test passed!
Enough lyrics, let’s get acquainted.
Design and controls
Spartan is a Windows app that will be preinstalled in the upcoming XNUMX desktop and mobile. Hence the tiled design, complemented by simple icons with a predominance of gray and black and white colors. This good news means that the browser will be easily recognizable when moving from computer to smartphone and vice versa. Of course, data synchronization between platforms will be provided.
The top browser control panel contains five buttons. Their purpose (from left to right):
- Activation of a special reading mode.
- Add the current page to your favorites or future reading list.
- Call up favorites, reading list, browsing history and download list.
- Turn on note mode.
- Reviews menu.
In general, Spartan looks laconic and understandable, and it is unlikely that something will change much by release, because simplicity is in vogue now. While that’s not even the point, Microsoft designs Spartan with a focus on content, not beauty.
Unsurprisingly, Spartan is closely related to OneNote and Cortana. Unfortunately, the voice assistant is inactive for our region, however, as well as in Windows 10 itself. Microsoft promises that Cortana will easily pop up additional information to the user based on the content of the page, the history of requests and his preferences. Apparently, we are going to see the similarity of Google Now, but in the browser. It remains to wait for updates to appreciate all the benefits of such help.
So what is left for us? Not much, but still there is something.
First of all, you should take a closer look at the cool mode of reading web pages without unnecessary tinsel. When activated, Spartan analyzes the content of the site, removes unnecessary navigation elements, cuts ads, formats the text for better reading – in general, it does everything to hide any distractions from our eyes. Let’s do justice to this mode, viewing really becomes easier and more enjoyable.
However, the function does not always work. For example, you won’t cut the main FunPortal, but any article – yes. By the way, by the appearance of the corresponding icon, you will know for sure whether you can turn on the reading mode.
Let’s move on to an equally useful function that causes a special site editing mode. No, these are not developer tools with poking around in the code, but a much more interesting opportunity to create web notes on the pages themselves.
How does this happen? The content of the window becomes the background on which you can draw with markers of different colors and profiles, or write annotations. There is also a familiar cropping tool here. Your web notes can be saved in the browser, sent to OneNote, or shared with friends and colleagues. Of course, tablet owners will use styluses with might and main. Something similar is implemented in downloadable extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Combo: Web Notes Mode works on top of Reading Mode.
Let’s finish the description of useful tricks by mentioning the function of saving pages to PDF. A trifle, but nice.
Spartan is not bad. He can definitely be given a chance. It looks good, and the pages are loading properly. The processing speed is significantly faster than IE 11.
On the other hand, during the course of the article, I deliberately did not mention some of Spartan’s problems. Which ones? For example, the browser just froze a couple of times and I couldn’t scroll through the page. Features that could profitably represent Spartan in front of competitors, too, came out sparsely.
However, one should not rush to conclusions, this is just a skeleton, which by version 1.0 will be overgrown with much more meat, for example, support for extensions. And no wonder, because Microsoft may no longer have another chance. At least for me. And for you?