Opera rolls out power-saving mode, claims battery life can be extended 50%

The Opera browser becomes more compelling by the month.

Opera, which seems determined to pack generations worth of improvements into a few short months, boasts yet another reason for you to switch browsers: a “low-power mode” that the company promises will extend your laptop’s battery life by up to 50 percent.

Like other, recent releases, the new feature will first appear as part of a developer edition of the Opera 39 browser for both Mac and Windows PCs.

This follows a native ad blocker that Opera first featured as part of a developer edition in March, and which has since become mainstream. That feature appears to help the new low-power mode achieve best results. Opera says that in its internal testing of the new build it gained an additional hour of battery life while running the browser on a Core i7-based Dell XPS 13 with 16GB of RAM, powered by a 64-bit version of Windows 10. Ad blocking was enabled, the company said.

“It’s extremely frustrating to run out of battery on your computer, whether you are out traveling, watching videos, or you have just left your charger behind,” said Krystian Kolondra, the senior vice president of engineering for Opera, in a statement. “Our new power-saving mode will nudge you when the laptop starts to consume battery, and, when enabled, it can increase the battery life by as much as 50 percent.”

opera power saver metric

Opera’s battery life claims. The company used the Selenium automated browser tool to test 11 popular websites: adding a tab, scrolling down, then letting it sit for a minute. The cycle repeated itself until the notebook ran out of battery.

Why this matters: Suddenly, browsers matter again. Opera has garnered a lot of attention with its recent deluge of improvements; in addition to the native ad blocker, Opera rallied privacy-minded users with a native, unlimited VPN built right into the browser. Microsoft, for its part, is tying its Cortana digital assistant to its Edge browser, and reminding users that plugin-like features, such as coupon finding, are built right in. And then there’s Vivaldi, the new Chromium browser by former Opera employees.

opera power saver browser icon Opera

A large battery icon signals the low-power mode. You can also switch this on and off in the Settings menu.

Low-power mode in action

To preserve power in the new low-power mode, Opera says that parts of the browser’s code have been simplified, and its animated themes optimized. Additional improvements include reducing activity in background tabs, adapting page-redrawing frequency, and tuning video-playback parameters, according to the company. “In this version, we are also testing a smarter way of managing memory, which ensures that constantly opened tabs like Gmail and Facebook will be much more responsive,” Opera said in a statement.

According to Opera, the new power-saving mode will automatically be displayed when you unplug your laptop, in much the same way your OS detects when your laptop’s unplugged. (You’ll see a large battery icon next to the search and address field, if you have any doubts.) Low-power mode apparently won’t be enabled, however, until you toggle it on. As your battery power runs low, Opera may pop up a message advising you to enable the feature.

Opera didn’t say exactly when the low-power mode would enter the mainstream, stable version of its browser. Still, it took about two months for ad blocking to move from the developer edition to being generally available, so we might see it by July.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags operabrowser

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?