When you just recently released a product or feature that promised to significantly save users some laptop battery life, you would naturally be unsettled when, out of nowhere, someone suddenly claims to have an even better “regular” product. That is probably what browser maker Opera felt when Microsoft surprisingly published a blog post that extolled its own Edge browser‘s battery efficiency. Now Opera is refuting Microsoft’s claims by presenting its own hard evidence of how Opera’s new power saving feature trumps them all.
Opera calls Microsoft’s post as a “huge PR effort”, but then again almost everything is these days. What Opera is doing different this time is to (somewhat) provide more details on the scientific process it used to pit one browser against another. It subtly criticizes Microsoft for not detailing what it did so that others could replicate it, leaving Opera to resort to its own in-house techniques. In this case, that involved automatically loading pages and automating user interaction, like scrolling through pages, watching videos, etc.
Unsurprisingly, Opera’s Power Saving feature allowed the browser to last for 3 hours 55 minutes, while Microsoft Edge died more than half an hour earlier at 3 hours 15 minutes. Opera also explains specifically how Power Saving works, which involves these steps:
• Reducing activity in background tabs
• Automatically pausing unused plug-ins
• Reducing frame rate to 30 frames per second
• Tuning video-playback parameters and forcing usage of hardware accelerated video codecs
• Pausing animations in browser themes
• Including ad blocker – when enabled, it provides even more battery savings
In its defense, Microsoft never mentioned if it turned on Opera’s power saving feature when it did its own tests. Considering Edge doesn’t have an equivalent, we can only presume it didn’t. Opera’s new post also doesn’t show its browser’s performance with Power Saving turned off. When it first announced the feature, it did so and it showed the without it, Opera fares only a little better than Chrome.
This “he said, she said” battle of battery tests is admittedly amusing to watch, especially considering neither Opera nor Microsoft actually specifically called out the other. In fact, if you think about it, both tests painted the same browser as having the worst battery performance: Chrome. Google has yet to offer its own scientific proof to refute these claims.