The first issue you describe is that when you mouse over the edge, the blue you see is actually the side face in perspective, through the cube. And when you press it, you are aligned to look at it. I just assumed this was intended behaviour.
I agree it would be good to be able to choose edges. But then you can't select the side-faces, since they are behind the edge.
PS in Preferences > General > Navigation you can press "Enable Animation". I think the navigation cube is much more enjoyable that way.