MT5 VS MT4 – A Trader's Perspective

Many of you are aware that MT5 can now be downloaded and tested. I’m going to quickly go over some

Many of you are aware that MT5 can now be downloaded and tested. I’m going to quickly go over some of the differences between MT4 and the new upcoming MT5, which I tested recently. Please note I am only using a demo copy of MT5 (since MT5 won’t go live for some time yet)..

1. Installation was hardly a breeze. I filled in all the details, it managed to scan for a demo server with a relatively low ping, but then just stalled when I pressed next. I couldn’t get past the registration page. This is the part where the platform is supposed to give you a demo login account number and password. I tried this on multiple occassions but to no avail. So then I decided to use my friend’s demo account login (who’s based thousands of miles from me) so I could at least test the platform. Nope, not even that was working, and even though it connected for a few seconds, it then restarted due to updates, but then failed to connect, no matter how many times I tried, constantly just spurting out the following error: “2009.10.19 16:19:45 Network ‘10254’: authorization on MetaQuotes-Demo failed (Common error)”.

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All I wanted to do is to test the platform dammit. Not a good start.

Anyway, after a couple of hours, I tried making a new demo account for the nth time, and this time it worked. Overall, the installation is very similar to MT4, but the main difference is that when creating a new account, it’s necessary to create an additional password. Let me explain. In MT4, when you create a demo account, it automatically gives you an account number and password (or when creating a demo account the broker will usually assign for you an account# & p/w when trading live). However, in MT5, not only are you given the usual account number & password, you’re also asked to create “certificate password”. This provides an extra layer of security apparently. The base installation package of MT5 is about 3 times larger than MT4, ok, so the time taken to download a product isn’t really a concern for most people, but even from this you can tell it’s been beefed up. Let’s just hope this weight and wait has been worth it…

2. User Interface / Charting

When you open it up, things look pretty much similar. I guess the main difference between this and its predecessor is that MT5 looks more “bulkier”. The icons are more spaced out, the buttons are larger. The problem is whilst this may help people who struggle to look at MT4’s more compact icons, it unfortunately takes up precious space, i.e. precious pixels. Traders know what I mean by this. I see no benefit in making the icons bigger, bulkier, spacier. It’s just a waste of useful chart space.

As for the charts themselves, then they’re pretty much similar to MT4’s charts. There is a useful feature however – Metatrader now supports more timeframes. In addition to the standard M1, M5, M15, M30, H1, H4, D1, W1, MN timeframes, you also have timeframes between those timeframes as well. For example, you can now view a 2 minute chart, or you can view an 8 hour chart. I know some people were already using these different timeframes by customising MT4, but now it’s in here by default.

One charting tool that I loved in MT4 was the Fibonacci Retracement tool. But in MT5, horrible, horrible things have happened. For some reason, Metaquotes have changed the way a Fib is drawn on your currency chart. In MT4, when you drew a retracement from a swing low to a swing high, or from a swing high to a swing low, the yellow horizontal fib lines used to extend to the right hand side, i.e. in accordance to time. This is of course how it should be, because this helps in determining what price might do at a particular fib line in the future. But in MT5, the yellow horizontal fib lines actually extend to the LEFT, i.e. back into history. This is absolutely useless. I am a trader, I use fibs, I want my lines to extend the RIGHT hand side. I invite Metaquotes to answer me this question – why was this done? Yes I know I can extend the Fib lines to the right by manually dragging them with my mouse, but I want the top and bottom of my fibonacci study to be at the swing high and swing low, not hanging in mid-air empty space where it just looks out of place.

3. Hedging

Ahh, we’re back to this are we. Who controls Metaquotes, the NFA? Metatrader is a platform – not a governing body. A platform that a broker can adapt to the rules controlled by its regulatory body. Meaning, the broker should have the choice whether to disable hedging, so if they’re an NFA controlled broker then naturally they’ll (have to) disable hedging, but if they’re a non-NFA controlled broker, (i.e. outside of the US!), then why would they even use MT5, if by default it doesn’t support hedging? So if I’m trading two different systems, one’s a scalping system and the other’s a swing system and lets say I’ve been long on Eur/Usd for a couple of days, but I see an opportunity for a quick scalp by going short for a few pips… unfortunately MT5 won’t let me do this. Now I don’t know whether brokers will be able to allow hedging on MT5 by way of a plug-in or something, but that’s not the point. The point is, a platform should allow for all types of trading from the get-go.

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4. Backtesting

I was not able to backtest anything since MT5 doesn’t support the Strategy Tester as of yet. I don’t know how soon they’ll implement this. When and if they do, it needs to be much better than MT4’s which was probably it’s weakest point. (Not that I ever came across any decent EAs).

5. Indicators/EAs

A neat feature is the introduction of folders in the Navigator window. This helps you organise your indicators and expert advisors. So for example, in the default installation of MT5, in the indicators section, I have 4 folders: Trend, Oscillators, Volumes, Bill Williams. There is a small “plus” sign (like Windows Explorer), to open up each folder and you can select which ever indicator you want to apply to your chart. Of course, you can create your own custom folders as well.

There is some bad news however, which many of you probably already know. MT4’s indicators and Expert Advisors will NOT work with the new MT5 platform. When I heard this I was shocked. I know MT4 didn’t support MT3 indicators, but I didn’t expect Metaquotes to make the same mistake yet again. Isn’t the whole point of an upgrade to support older users so that it makes the transition from old platform to new platform as seamless as possible? Why are they even calling it MT5? It’s totally unrelated to MT4, and is essentially a brand new, completely different platform just sharing similar cosmetics. I have to say it how it is folks – a big mistake.

One thing I noticed was how long the indicators took to compile. In MT4, compilation of files from *.MQ4 to *.EX4 was very fast, virtually instant, but in MT5, it takes much longer. You can actually see the platform going through each of the files when compiling. A bit of a cringe. Of course this is just the first time, once all the files are compiled, they never need to be re-compiled.

6. Resource

I did check how much memory it’s consuming compared to MT4, and it’s using more than triple the RAM used by MT4. This is on my PC of course, others will undoubtedly vary. But I can’t really say whether MT5 is or isn’t a resource hog just yet, time will tell how efficient MT5 really is when it’s thoroughly tested with different custom indicators.

7. Final thoughts.

Overall, I am very disappointed in MT5. I had high hopes for it, but as a trader, I am really let down. It does have a few cool features, but nothing that really helps me as a trader. On the contrary, I feel MT5 will hinder me, and if THIS is what brokers are going to be using in the coming few months and years, then I for one won’t be using it. Brokers will have to continue to offer MT4 for a long time, otherwise they’re going to lose many clients, that’s for sure.

Now obviously MT5 is still in beta testing, so there will undoubtedly be a correction of any bugs and whatnot. But that’s not what I’m really concerned about. I’m concerned about the core concept of MT5 that is severely lacking. That it doesn’t support hedging, that it isn’t backwards compatible with MT4 indicators and EAs, that they haven’t addressed the needs of the most important party, the traders – but rather have succumbed to the musings of some other party…

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