Do you have a laptop or netbook with average or poor battery lifetime? If that’s the case, you might want to use an Internet browser that’s able to take advantage of the power saving features included with Windows 7 or Windows 8. We tested all the major browsers and had some very surprising results. Read on to learn which browser is best at squeezing more time out of your laptop’s battery. Is it Google Chrome? Is it Internet Explorer? Or is it Firefox?
For this comparison, I tested all the major browsers: Internet Explorer 9, Internet Explorer 10 beta (included in Windows 8 Consumer Preview), Google Chrome 18, Mozilla Firefox 11 and Opera 11.62. No addons were installed.
I used my two and a half years old laptop - an HP Pavillion dv7 2185dx with the following hardware configuration: Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q9000 @ 2.00 GHz, 6 GB of RAM DDR2, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650. This model is marketed as a desktop replacement and HP laptop battery time was never its strength, and it is even less of a strength now that a few years have passed. I can barely squeeze two hours of battery time when using it. Therefore, understanding which browser to use, so that my battery lasts as long as possible, was important to me.
The tests were made on a clean Windows 7 installation, with all Windows Updates installed and no other software than the browsers being tested. I used the Power saver Power plan. I had to modify its settings so that it did not turn off the hard disk and put the computer to sleep only when the Apple laptop battery reached its critical level.
Since Internet Explorer 10 beta is available only in Windows 8, I used a clean installation of Windows 8 Consumer Preview on the same laptop.
The benchmark used was the Peacekeeper battery test, which tests your browser until your battery runs down and Windows puts your computer to sleep. I ran this test at least three times for each browser and recorded the results. Some of the test runs were unsuccessful due to various reasons: the Internet connection stopped working for a short while during some tests, Peacekeeper was not able to record the results of some tests while in other runs I encountered browser crashes.
Out of all browsers, Google Chrome stood out as the most troublesome. Most of the tests I made with this browser did not finish successfully. First, I had issues with the browser crashing in the middle of testing. I reinstalled Chrome and the problem was fixed. Then, many tests simply did not end well and Peacekeeper was not able to record the results, for unknown reasons. Also, during most tests, the screen of my laptop was becoming active at random intervals, as if mouse or keyboard movements were detected. I found this strange, as my laptop was simply sitting on a table, not bothered by anyone. This lowered the IBM laptop battery lifetime when testing Google Chrome, as the screen consumed more energy than in the tests made with other browsers. Again, the cause for this behavior is unknown and it was encountered only when testing Google Chrome.
I noticed that Internet Explorer 10 beta had the most constant results. The variations between tests were extremely small, both in terms of the average performance score and how long the battery lasted. For example, the difference between the best and the worst result was only of 4 minutes. The least constant browser was Mozilla Firefox. The difference between the worst and the best test result was 21 minutes.