For many PC users the web browser will be a key piece of software, it may even be relied upon not simply for browsing but for productivity with all the web publishing and web-based office suites now available. On a device like a laptop, hybrid or 2-in-1, the efficiency of your browser could therefore have a big impact on your day to day battery life. With the above in mind, Microsoft claimed in a blog post yesterday, that if you want a 'power-efficient browser' your best choice is Microsoft Edge.
In its own experiment, Microsoft used four identical laptops – Microsoft Surface Book hybrids – with four different browsers and the same streaming video source. The headline result from the test was as follows:
"What happens when three identical devices run on different browsers? The Microsoft Edge team wanted to find out. This experiment showed that battery life on a PC running Microsoft Edge lasts 70% longer than Chrome, 43% longer than Firefox Firefox, and 17% longer than Opera (with Battery Saver enabled)."
As you can see in the above test video screen-grab, the difference in battery life is rather dramatic. Google Chome is seen to be the worst browser for munching through your battery, with the Microsoft Surface Book streaming video via Chrome running out of juice before 4 hours and 20 minutes was over. The Microsoft Surface Book running Microsoft Edge did much better, lasting over 7 hours and 22 minutes.
Microsoft says that Edge was designed "from the ground up to prioritize power efficiency and deliver more battery life, without any special battery saving mode or changes to the default settings". As well as the above rundown test Microsoft indulged in more detailed and technical tests with an automated browser script, employing multiple tabs, using the most popular websites such as Facebook, Google, YouTube, Amazon, Wikipedia and so on. You can see more about these tests and their results on the Microsoft Experience Blog. Spoiler: Microsoft Edge comes out ahead in all the various test scenarios.
Looking ahead, Microsoft says it is working hard on power efficiency beyond the browser with regular updates to Windows 10. Furthermore, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, "will include even more power-saving improvements." Such efficiency updates mean your computer uses fewer CPU cycles, processes use less memory, and the impact of background and peripheral activity is minimised.