Microsoft’s change to dark mode in Edge could prove divisive

Microsoft is experimenting with making its Edge browser even darker when it comes to the dark mode for the app.

As spotted by Leopeva64, one of the regulars chiming in about Edge testing on Twitter, Microsoft is trying out a fully black background – as opposed to the current dark gray – for the browser’s dark mode.

In Edge Canary Microsoft is testing a full black background for the tab strip, toolbar, favorites bar, vertical tabs and sidebar, here’s a comparison between the Dev and Canary versions (the first two screenshots have the Mica effect enabled): pic.twitter.com/X6E2QouK3nJune 21, 2023

The black background extends across the tab strip, toolbar, favorites bar, vertical tabs, and sidebar, as Leopeva64 points out – the whole interface nine yards, in other words. It may also grace Edge’s Settings and History panels, Leopeva64 observes in another tweet.

All this is happening in Edge’s Canary version, mind, which is the earliest testing channel for the browser, and only some testers are seeing it there. Meaning it’s still very early days for the change, which may not clear all the hurdles in front of it before reaching the release version of Edge.

Analysis: The importance of choice

We rather like this new ‘properly dark mode’ as it were, with the jet black color giving the browser a crisp look. Doubtless it won’t be to everyone’s taste, though, and Microsoft will be watching feedback carefully as testing progresses.

The middle road, of course, might be to give Edge users the option to switch between a dark mode that’s dark gray, and one that’s fully black. The best of both worlds would then be accessible to all users depending on their preference (or indeed the current lighting conditions).

We’re seeing Microsoft doing a lot of work on Edge in recent times, as it continues to try and drive the browser to be a meaningful rival to Google’s dominant Chrome.

That includes stuff like a built-in VPN, Bing AI integration (naturally), and even a mode for gamers. The volume of stuff coming in has led us to worry that Microsoft is going down the road of bloating the browser, but of course, changes like alterations to dark mode aren’t going to be guilty on that front. As long as a choice is provided, as mentioned, we can see this darker dark mode making progress to the release version of Edge eventually.

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