Let the Browser Battery Wars begin

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 7, 2016
Updated • May 22, 2018

Remember the time when browser developers focused on JavaScript speed? This started with the release of Google Chrome, and Google's initial focus on speed.

While that certainly helped, especially since organizations and companies like Mozilla or Opera had to improve their engines as well to provide users with a similar experience, it put other features such as customization or control on the backburner.

The focus changed eventually, when all browsers shipped with reasonably fast JavaScript engines. The main reason for that is that while there are still differences in speed, their impact on a user's experience is minimal except for the odd web application that runs a lot better when a certain feature runs faster.

Nowadays, focus seems to have switched to battery live. The past couple of months has seen Microsoft release a battery comparison that saw Edge coming in first and Chrome last, and Opera Software shipping its browser with a battery saver mode that the company claims beats other browsers.

And now it is Google's time to claim that battery life in Chrome 53 has improved significantly over previous versions of the browser.

Google demonstrates the improvement with a comparison video that pits Chrome 46 released in 2015 against Chrome 53 released in 2016 against each other.

In that video, the device running Chrome 46 dies after 8:27 hours of playing a Vimeo video while the identical device running Chrome 53 dies after 10:39 hours or 2:12 hours longer.

Google did not test Chrome 53 against other browsers.  If you remember Microsoft's tests, it did use Surface Books for the testing as well. The company's browser Edge came in first with 7:22 hours of battery time while Chrome came in last with 4:19 hours.

The tests cannot be compared with each other, as different videos were used in the tests.

Update: Microsoft released an update battery test that showed the improvements made in the Anniversary Update compared to the Fall 2015 update.

Additionally, Microsoft compared Edge against Chrome and came to the result that Edge is more efficient than Chrome (and Opera and Firefox).

The company created a new side by side comparison which Edge one against the other browsers.

Closing Words

It seems clear that battery time is the new battleground for browser developers, with each claiming the coveted "best in class" spot for themselves.

Playing a video non-stop until the battery dies is probably not the best "real world" test that one could come up with to test battery life. Most users are probably not using their mobile devices to play videos non stop.

What's missing is an independent test that pits all major browsers using default configurations against each other in real-world scenarios.

While one browser may very well be more optimized than others, it is clear that all users will benefit from this new battleground eventually. Browser developers will start pushing improvements to better their software's battery life; a process that has already started.

Now You: Do you care about battery life?

Let the Browser Battery Wars begin
Article Name
Let the Browser Battery Wars begin
Browser developers such as Google, Microsoft or Opera have found a new battleground to compete in: battery life of their browsers.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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