Browser Face-Off: Battery Life Explored 2014by Stephen Barrett on August 12, 2014 6:00 AM EST
Overall, many factors go into web browser battery usage, like GPU accelerated rendering and content caching. Chrome, despite its aggressive timer usage, may still be more battery efficient than other browsers. I should note that AnandTech has historically used Safari on OS X and desktop IE on Windows devices when performing battery life testing.
With this article we are debuting a new browser benchmark tool. Developed in house, this tool automates the usage of a desired web browser as if a user was sitting at the computer. It performs common tasks like launching and closing the browser, opening and closing tabs, loading websites, and scrolling through longer articles. As usual, the websites visited are popular sites cached on the AnandTech server, so the content of the sites does not change between runs. Additionally, the browsers are all run in private browsing mode to prevent local content caching from interfering with reloading our limited set of server-cached sites.
- IE11 Desktop Mode v11.0.9600.17207 (Update versions: 11.0.10 KB2962872)
- IE11 Modern (Metro) Mode
- Firefox 31.0
- Safari 5.1.7
- Chrome 36.0.1985.125 m
- Chrome 37.0.2062.68 beta-m (64-bit)
There are several other browsers we would have liked to test, however, due to the time intensive nature of battery life testing, we chose to focus on the most popular browsers. We also chose to test the beta version of Chrome as it is a significant update. Chrome 37 changes from 32-bit to 64-bit and from GDI (legacy) rendering to DirectWrite (modern) rendering. This makes the browser actually usable and no longer blurry on HiDPI displays.
To take advantage of operating system and hardware advances since our last test, testing was performed on the high end model of the Dell XPS 15 (9530) late 2013 edition running Windows 8.1 with all updates as of this writing.
|Dell XPS 15 (9530) Late 2013 Specifications|
Intel Core i7-4702MQ
(Quad-core 2.2-3.2GHz, 6MB L3, 22nm, 37W)
GeForce GT 750M 2GB GDDR5
(384 cores, 967MHz + Boost 2.0, 5GHz GDDR5)
Intel HD Graphics 4600
(20 EUs at 400-1150MHz)
15.6" Glossy PPS 16:9 QHD+ (3200x1800)
(Sharp LQ156Z1 Touchscreen)
|Storage||512GB mSATA SSD (Samsung SM841)|
802.11ac WiFi (Intel Dual-Band AC-7260)
(2x2:2 867Mbps capable)
Bluetooth 4.0 (Intel)
9-cell, 11.1V, 8000mAh, 91Wh
130W Max AC Adapter
Battery Charge Indicator LEDs
2 x USB 3.0
1 x Mini-DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
AC Power Connection
Flash Reader (MMC/SD)
1 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 3.0 (Sleep Charging)
|Back Side||Exhaust vent (inside LCD hinge)|
|Operating System||Windows 8.1 64-bit|
14.6" x 10.0" x 0.3-0.7" (WxDxH)
(372mm x 254mm x 8-18mm)
|Weight||4.44 lbs (2.01kg)|
720p HD Webcam
87-Key Backlit Keyboard
The latest edition of this laptop upgrades to the "Haswell Refresh" i7-4712HQ with an extra 100 MHz clock rate compared to our test laptop. That should have little to no impact on the browser battery life testing.
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ernipiggy - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - linkRight. Specially since suspending not visible tabs is a new Safari feature in the upcoming release.
jonthanfielding - Saturday, September 6, 2014 - linkIt is rather silly, in my own tests on OS X Chrome uses twice as much power as Safari so if I am out and about I use Safari
Schwebbz - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - linkWhy no Opera this time? It's more alive than Windows Safari, judging by the rate of updates.
Nexos - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - linkThe Opera that is getting updated is the Webkit based one, which would probably perform similarly to chrome, so there is little point in doing a separate test on it. The last bespoke version of opera is 12.17 which is 6 months old now and probably used by a tiny fraction of net users.
medi02 - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link"Would probably perform" - eh? Why test Safari then? Isn't it WEbkit based?
Johnmcl7 - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - linkAt the moment, Opera still looks and feels much like a reskinned Chrome even though it's a year in now. I was hoping by this point we'd have something that looked and behaved like Opera but using Chrome's better supported rendering engine but it's nowhere near that stage and the updates from the developers are not promising. The features they were boasting about in their latest release are additional themes (which are little more than different backgrounds) and when people complain about the features missing from the previous versions of Opera, they're directed to use extensions instead.
Obviously other browsers have worked fine with extensions but one of the reasons I liked Opera was because it didn't need extensions, it worked well out of the box with a good range of features. As it stands I don't see the point in using a slightly reskinned Chrome rather than just use Chrome itself and I'm doubtful we'll ever see a proper Opera again. Would love to be proved wrong on the latter though.
SanX - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - linkCurrent versions of Opera are based on the concept "Written by retards for retards"
sluflyer06 - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - linkLike I mentioned earlier, Opera has hardly any users so it really isn't signifigant to include. Opera marketshare is only .87%