Arc Browser Review: Feature-Packed but Riddled with Bugs

The user interface is surely refreshing and intuitive

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If you are planning to install the Arc browser, this is the one review you must read. After switching to Arc last week and trying out the wide array of the much-talked-about features, I guess I am now in a position to write this comprehensive review!

In short, Arc definitely scores a perfect ten when it comes to interface and user-oriented features meant to streamline the browsing experience. But some aspects do need to be worked on, because I believe these will ultimately impede the mass adoption, especially in a landscape where Google Chrome enjoys a monopoly-like situation!

Is Arc a good web browser?

Note icon NOTE
This review is based on the Arc browser for Windows 11 on a device with 16 GB RAM and an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor. I haven’t had the opportunity to test the browser’s macOS version.

Countless features to enhance the browsing experience

Let’s start with what first got me to Arc, the ad blocker. The ad blocker in Arc isn’t native to the browser but is facilitated by the uBlock Origin extension, which comes pre-installed. And it does a decent job. All the ads on websites I regularly visit were effectively blocked!

uBlock Origin dashboard
uBlock Origin dashboard

You can configure the ad blocker settings via the uBlock Origin dashboard, add trusted sites, create rules and filters, and do a lot more, which is pretty impressive!

Further, you can take control of your browser extensions for a seamless browsing experience. You can also integrate ChatGPT with it.

Then comes the ability to split tabs, a feature I would consider a great addition to Google Chrome if that ever happens. By adding the split tabs view in Arc, the developers have surely managed to attract a decent chunk of users.

split view in Arc
Opening tabs in Split View on the Arc browser

Another feature I have to mention is Spaces. In simple terms, it’s like managing multiple accounts with different pins, bookmarks, and favourites. But given the effective integration and seamless navigation, it’s way better than anything we have seen so far!

Next on the list is the impressive sidebar, a feature I find extremely useful. It allows me to quickly navigate between tabs and spaces, and view the bookmarks. From an organizational point of view, Arc beats all mainstream browsers, including Chrome, Opera, Firefox, and Brave.

You can also turn on Developer mode for even more features.

command bar in the arc browser
Command Bar in the Arc browser

Lastly, another one of my favourite Arc features is the Command Bar, accessible via the Ctrl + T shortcut. With the Command Bar, you can quickly open new tabs, reconfigure settings, manage extensions, and perform a wide array of commands. But it certainly takes some time to get used to it, at least for the command part!

Super-fast performance

When it comes to browsers, performance remains vital, and The Browser Company, the team behind Arc, has nailed this aspect. Arc delivers an incredibly fast performance that honestly took me by surprise at first.

Having used Opera, Firefox, Brave, and Vivaldi, I can say that Arc definitely beats most of them in terms of performance, and that, too, by a big margin. If performance is your primary criterion for a web browser, Arc will make a great pick!

User-friendly interface

Personally, I don’t like switching browsers, or even applications for that matter, because it requires getting used to the new UI, and that’s not time well spent. But with Arc, that wasn’t the case!

Although the interface is significantly different from Google Chrome and quite unique in some aspects, it didn’t take more than a few hours to get up to speed with the Arc browser. My background in tech may have had a role here, but even for regular users, it shouldn’t take more than a day!

The initial setup itself is seamless. The Arc browser has an option to import data from another browser, so you don’t really have to start from scratch. If you miss it during setup, choose the Import from Another Browser option in the Arc menu.

import data arc browser
Importing data in the Arc browser

However, one of the aspects I didn’t like was the mandatory account creation. For a browser that claims Your browser, your way, account creation as a requisite isn’t going down well with a massive user base. I have seen several users question the move on forums like Reddit.

The hesitation on the part of users makes sense, especially since data collection is at an all-time high. This is something the developers should look into and allow us to use the Arc browser with a local profile that doesn’t require linking an email account.

Low resource consumption

One of the biggest drawbacks of Google Chrome is the high resource consumption, both CPU and RAM. That often caused my PC to overheat when running multiple tabs. But with the Arc browser, this hasn’t been a problem so far. It takes up minimal resources, thus not affecting the PC’s overall performance!

If not actively used, the CPU usage dropped to 0% while the RAM consumption was roughly in the range of 100-200 MB on my PC.

arc browser task manager
Arc’s resource consumption in Task Manager

Although I have seen other user-based reviews of the Arc browser talking about high RAM usage. It is a criticism most Chromium-based browsers have to face. For some, the RAM usage touched 1.5-2 GB with only 4-5 active tabs.

If you are facing high RAM and CPU consumption with Arc, I would recommend checking the installed extensions, disabling hardware acceleration, clearing the browsing data, and terminating any inactive tabs. This helps reduce CPU usage in all Chromium-based browsers!

Limited OS compatibility for now

If you are planning to download Arc, we have got bad news. The browser, still in its infancy, doesn’t support several major operating systems, including Windows 10, Android, and Linux.

Arc was first released for macOS, then for iOS, and the latest on the list is Windows 11. According to the developers, an app for Windows 10 and Android will soon be out. They even have online forms so you can sign up for the waitlist.

As for iPad, Linux, and devices running older iterations of Windows, there’s no update from the developers yet.

There are also some hardware constraints that most are not aware of. Arc won’t run on Intel and AMD processors that do not support the BMI2 instruction set.

Besides, it doesn’t support ARM-based processors, according to Arc’s official blog. This has to be fixed soon, as Microsoft is about to release the much-anticipated Copilot+ PC powered by the ARM processor.

It’s high time developers patch bugs plaguing the browser

One of the most infuriating bugs in the Arc browser is the non-functional scroll wheel. Whenever I am on a big enough webpage and want to use the scroll wheel on my mouse to navigate the content, it just won’t scroll. I then have to rely on the scroll bar at the extreme right, which, by default, is hidden, further complicating things.

scrolling not working
Scroll wheel often fails to work in Arc

I even looked through available solutions, and a few recommended uninstalling X-Mouse Button Control or any similar mouse click modification software, but there were none on my PC. Honestly, I have yet to figure out a fix for this, forcing me to switch back to Google Chrome until the developers patch this bug!

Another problem I faced was with the full-screen mode. While using Arc in full screen, the sidebar won’t always hide when clicking the Toggle Sidebar button or pressing Ctrl + S. That’s another thing I wanted to highlight in this Arc browser review.

I also found that the Go back and Go forward buttons often failed to work. Thankfully, I could rely on the Back and Forward options in the browser’s context menu when that happened.

Besides, according to reports, Arc has the same issues present in Google Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers, another aspect that needs immediate attention to achieve a high adoption rate.

That’s my review of the Arc browser after a week of use. Personally, I found it quite an upgrade over Google Chrome in terms of organizational abilities and design. As for security, I found Arc to be a completely safe browser, though vulnerabilities will come up from time to time.

The day Arc becomes bug-free or even eliminates the ones highlighted earlier, I would honestly switch to Arc and uninstall Google Chrome.

In case the latest browser doesn’t seem the best option, you always have user-friendly alternatives to the Arc browser. Our top picks are the best browsers like Arc!

I have tried to cover as many aspects as possible in this Arc browser review, but if you find any missing, highlight them in the comments section, both the pros and cons of the browser.

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