Final Words

A lot of technology has changed in five years, and not surprisingly, so have our browser battery life results. Nearly everyone is used to changing their display brightness to conserve battery, but changing browsers might be a wise move as well. Most interestingly, changing to Google Chrome 36, despite its known power consumption bug, is apparently a wise move as far as battery life is concerned. However, that may be short lived, as Google Chrome 37 beta moved Chrome from first place to last place in our battery life results. The drop is possibly thanks to Google finally supporting HiDPI displays. Update: Chrome has been tested at 1600x900

It's interesting to note that Google's bug report thread shows they attempted to fix the timer issue in Chrome 37, but they had to revert the fix due to some failing automated tests. As of this writing, they have not yet re-implemented the fix, but they did try to add some power monitoring auto tests to their suite to keep an eye on this topic. Unfortunately, a few days later, they removed those new automated tests due to other unforeseen issues.

In terms of current standings, Microsoft still knows a thing or two about creating a power friendly browser, and the Modern UI version came in second place next to Chrome 36 on our tests. Looking forward, if Google could resolve their timer issue in a future revision (37 or later), they could potentially pass Firefox and maybe even IE. In the future, we hope to test this more often than every five years so we can keep up with browser changes, and possibly test on OS X as well.

Of course, battery life isn't the only factor to consider when choosing a browser. Personally I prefer Firefox due to the "awesome bar" that works better, in my opinion, than other web browser's address bar. Additionally, I can't reasonably use Safari or Chrome 36 on the XPS 15 because they do not properly support HiDPI rendering like IE and Firefox do- at least until Chrome 37.

Hopefully this article keeps the pressure on software authors to use power efficient APIs and autotest for power draw with each subsequent release. You can check for software that abuses the battery yourself with the command line tool powercfg /energy. I've found one other piece of software abusing high resolution timers, and I reported it to the author. Let us know in the comments if there are other applications you've encountered that don't play well with battery power.

Results and Analysis
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  • easp - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    Yeah, and given that Mac market share is better among individual consumers who get to choose their computers and the browsers they use, it would be useful to a lot of people. Meanwhile, how many Windows users have zero choice? It is almost cruel to dangle this in front of them :)
  • pius - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    Agree - that would be interesting. I always use chrome on mac os, but if there is a battery price to pay, I might switch.
  • littlebitstrouds - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    I love the way people criticize free information. An air of arrogance mixed with contempt.
  • Rexyl - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    I love the way people think they are above criticism when publishing/posting information online. An air of holier-than though mixed with self-righteousness.
  • Homeles - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link
  • bji - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    Please explain what straw man argument was used in any part of the chain of posts that you are replying to. My contention is that there was no straw man here and that you're just throwing out the term because you don't like the arguments but don't understand why.
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    The type of people littlebitstrouds described exist and have posted comments on this AT article and other AT articles. The type of people Rexyl described do not exist and no such qualities have been exhibited by AT employees. Straw man.

    If they are both describing broad categories of people from any given corner of the Internet, then both of their comments are completely irrelevant to this article and its comments.

    Annnnnnnd I've wasted my time.
  • easp - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    Not actually free. We pay with our time/attention, which is then resold to advertisers.

    So, guess what, if you get to express your ill considered opinion, why shouldn't everyone else :)
  • edlee - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    I seriously question the idle power numbers, cause I have a e3-1235 (similar to i7-2600) that idles at 21 watts.

    And I have another system that used an i7-3770k, that idles at 35 watts, but has more drives and add in cards.
  • Stephen Barrett - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    Those were just example numbers pulled from here:

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