Internet Explorer is dead, and Microsoft's new Spartan browser is going to fill its empty shoes. We've heard the details before, but now the new browser is out in the wild. Any early version just showed up in the latest Windows 10 preview build. Here it is in action.
The biggest and best feature of Spartan? It's fast. Here it is snappily loading up Gizmodo's Twitter page:
But it's got other creature comforts as well. Just type "weather" into the search bar -- the Bing bar -- and...
Another one of the big things in Spartan is that it makes use of Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant. Pop onto the web page for a local restaurant, for instance, and Cortana will automatically go and find relevant information for you:
Other fun tricks include annotation. Just click the edit button right up top and Spartan will automatically take a screenshot of your browser screen that you can draw all over. Circle things, highlight stuff, draw a couple penises, do whatever your heart desires and then save it to OneNote or Evernote or wherever else you hoard your screenshots:
Favourite website have a layout you don't like? (Don't you dare say Gizmodo) Spartan's reading mode will help you out, and pull just the text and images from any website into a spartan Instapaper-esque type layout for easy reading:
And this is just the beginning. Microsoft warns that this beta version of Spartan is, well, beta. It doesn't work with Gawker Media blogs in fullscreen, for instance, and we've run into a handful of other bugs as well. There are also features en route that haven't shown up yet. Like any browser from the last decade or so, Spartan will eventually support extension, but so far it's very barebones.
So far though, Spartan seems great. It's a slick, speedy browser for the modern age. And we need one! It's been practically forever since anyone has rolled out a major new browser (sorry, Vivaldi but you don't count as major yet) and god knows the ones we have are starting to show their age. Will Spartan be the Next Big Browsing Thing? It's hard to tell yet, but it looks promising. And about a million times better than Internet Explorer.