Battery life is an inherently squishy topic. It’s hard to be precise when measuring, because there are so many variables at play. That said, battery life is hugely important, and it’s worth optimizing anything that can be optimized to get more hours and minutes out of our laptops. Specifically, browsers are huge RAM hogs that drain most of a laptop’s battery on a given day, and the major vendors are aware of this.
What does all this mean? More bakeoffs!
We were treated to an entertaining back-and-forth last year, where Microsoft trashed Chrome’s battery life with its then-new Edge browser, and then Google responded by trashing an older version of Chrome with a newer version of Chrome, and then Microsoft responded to that response with another comparison.
Now Microsoft is reigniting the issue with a new bakeoff video that puts the latest version of Edge, included in the new Windows 10 Creators Update, up against Chrome and Firefox. On three identical Surface Books, Firefox got seven hours of video-looping work done before it conked out, Chrome made it past nine hours, and Edge lasted for twelve and a half hours.
In a more detailed blog post, Microsoft detailed its methodology. Using a Microsoft-created, open-source test called BrowserEfficiencyTest, Microsoft found that Edge uses 31 percent less power than Chrome, and 44 percent less power than Firefox.
I know that Chrome isn’t great on batteries, and haven’t expected top-of-the-line performance from Firefox for a while now, but these are still pretty strong claims. Hopefully we’ll get another bakeoff video response from Google so we can keep this fight alive well into the summer.