Opera rebuts Microsoft claim that Edge eats less power

Google also joins the debate, says all browsers are similar in power consumption

Opera Software today disputed Microsoft's claim that Edge, the default browser bundled with Windows 10, consumes less power on a laptop than Opera's flagship.

"We love it when someone picks a fight," wrote Blazej Kazmierczak, Opera's director of software development for the desktop Opera browser, in a Wednesday post to a company blog. "If we get beaten in a test like this, we consider it a bug."

Opera has waged a minor public relations campaign the last several months, supported by new features -- including an optional power saver and an also-optional baked-in ad-blocker -- in a bid to boost usage.

The power consumption-reduction setting, which is off by default, was introduced in mid-May to Opera's developer preview channel, then rolled out to the production-grade build with version 38 two weeks ago. At both times, Opera trumpeted the power savings of the feature, asserting that running its browser resulted in a 45% to 54% increase in battery longevity compared to Google's Chrome.

Opera had not included Edge in its test -- nor Mozilla's Firefox -- but instead focused on the leader, Chrome, which became the world's most-run browser in April.

Kazmierczak said that Edge had been untested until today because it ran only on Windows 10; he then presented new findings that claimed Opera ran 35% longer than Edge before the test notebook's battery died.

But while Kazmierczak acknowledged that the two tests -- Microsoft's and Opera's -- were similar, not identical, he omitted other details. Opera was run with both the battery saver and the native ad-blocker enabled. Microsoft, on the other hand, said that it had tested browsers "without any special battery saving mode or changes to the default settings," which indicated that it did not switch on either Opera's battery saver nor the ad-blocker.

An ad-blocker should result in longer battery life, as some of the PC's prime power consumers -- the central processing unit (CPU) and the graphics chipset -- will be called less often, and when engaged, will work less hard, when the browser does not render and display advertisements. (For example, Opera's argument for putting an ad-blocker in its browser has been largely based on power savings.)

Other browser makers waded into the debate over power today.

"We've made significant improvements to power consumption in the past few releases, and it's an area of continued focus and investment," Google said in a response to a request for comment. "Since the beginning of the year, we've made a 33% improvement in video playback GPU/CPU [graphics processing unit/central processing unit] power consumption on Windows 10. And by Chrome 53, we feel confident that we'll be at parity with other browsers in terms of power consumption for the majority of video playback on the internet."

The stable build of Chrome is currently on version 51; version 53 should reach users in early September.

Google also contended that its tests -- which measure CPU and GPU power consumption -- showed that all browsers, including Edge and Chrome, depleted the battery at similar rates on Windows 10.

Mozilla did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Microsoft's original claims.

Opera is in fifth place among the top five browsers in all analytics tracking of user estimates and actual usage. Net Applications, for instance, said Opera accounted for 1.7% of all browsers used during May. Chrome, meanwhile, was in the top spot with a 45.6% usage share. Net Applications pegged Edge's share at 5% of all browsers on all desktop platforms, or 28.5% of those on Windows 10.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags operaMicrosoft Edge

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.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

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?