Skip to main content

Microsoft Open Sources Battery Life Benchmark That Showed Edge Browser Dominating

Vimeo streaming test conducted on identical Microsoft Surface Books

Earlier this summer, Microsoft unveiled a few battery life tests that, perhaps unsurprisingly, showed its own Edge browser to be the winner. As the methodology wasn’t fully published, some companies, including Opera, weren’t too happy with Microsoft’s test and results. Microsoft is now open sourcing its lab test and methodology, so that even if the tests favor its browser, at least other browsers can now optimize for the same tests.

Winning At Its Own Tests

Back in June, Microsoft performed three tests to prove that its Edge browser is indeed the most power efficient of them all. In the first test, the company pitted Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera against each other, each running the same web workloads on separate and identical devices. At the end of the test, Microsoft would simply check how much battery life each of the identical devices had left, and conclude which of the browsers was the most efficient.

In the second test, Microsoft checked its own Windows 10 telemetry statistics to see which browser is more efficient, and again Edge seems to have been the winner with the lowest average power consumption.

In the third test, the company put a video on a loop on each browser and let them run down the computers’ batteries. Edge, again, seems to have won by a significant margin, as the device (Surface Book) on which it was running lasted the longest.

Open Source Benchmark

The problem with a vendor’s own benchmark is that, for one, it may be optimizing its product for things that the competition isn’t, therefore easily making its product the “winner.” To be fair to Microsoft, battery efficiency is quite an important factor, and one on which all browsers and apps should focus more.

Second, even if other competitors want to optimize for the exact same things, they may not be able to do so because they have no idea of what exactly were the tests comprised. Even when testing for “battery efficiency,” there are all sorts of technical details that may make the difference between which browser is winning and which isn’t.

Microsoft is now releasing its lab test code (with a few changes from the original one) and publishing the full methodology it used in its own tests.

Even so, there are caveats. The other vendors may simply not want to optimize their browsers for the same things Microsoft is optimizing in Edge. This could be especially true if the other browsers would have to compromise in other areas, such as security, or their compatibility with other platforms.

Now that Microsoft’s test is open source, it may be a good idea for Microsoft and the other browser vendors to shake hands and try to create an effective universal browser battery benchmark that they can all agree is fair. Then they can all try to optimize their browsers against that benchmark and compete with each other in that way.

  • ohim
    It baffles me that everybody is complaining how much ram Chrome uses and yet everybody uses it ... and they all thrash Edge without even trying it, on low powered devices EDGE is king .. Chrome can`t even come close to it on Atom or 2 core computers.
    Reply
  • negusp
    Disagree. Chrome feels actually much smoother on Atom devices, at least 53. Although Edge may have better power consumption, it feels much slower (due to jerky loading) and of course lacks the large suite of extensions (although it does now have some).

    Chrome is a RAM hog, but that's what makes it pretty fast.
    Reply
  • Geoffrey_9
    Edge is lacking on everything else. From compatibility to security, to speed, to stability, edge is on the bottom, even below Internet explorer. So of course it wins on battery life because it's useless as a browser
    Reply
  • Even if you're not using RAM, RAM is consuming the same amount of electricity. Free RAM is wasted RAM. Your applications should use as much RAM as they can. Chrome releases RAM easily when other applications need it. That's why, if you have tons of tabs on little RAM, sometimes switching tabs is slow, as the RAM space for that page was released. If you have tons of RAM, it just keeps every tabs fast.

    There's nothing wrong with high RAM use, as long as it's not "locked", i.e. doesn't cause a crash when saturated. I've never had that happen with Chrome. If you have 2GB of RAM, you can have the same number of tabs open as would that use 8 GB on a 32 GB machine. It will be slower to switch tabs, but your system won't crash, even if you don't have a swap.

    tl/dr: Chrome uses a lot of RAM, but does so smartly, and it's not an issue
    Reply
  • IceMyth
    hmmm...I see this article published again! Let me see, can you install MS Edge on Mac or Linux? Is MS Edge implemented by 3rd party? Hold on! The answer is, MS Edge is implemented by MS and optimized to work better than other browsers on windows and only work on Windows 8 & 10!

    The important question, what MS scarified to have better battery life? Security, functionality....? I personally prefer IE browser and I think it is better and lighter than Edge.

    Lastly, MS did the test on Win10 assuming that everyone have it or will upgrade to it which I believe is lame and none scientific and brings shame on MS for this kind of testing.
    Reply
  • thundervore
    As someone who refused to use Edge on my Windows 10 desktop and laptop until extensions were available it blew my mind when I started using it.

    I'm not sure about the battery life but it works wonders for me just being a browser. I just wish that Microsoft would implement things from IE11 like RSS, and About:tab page where I can see 9 most visited sites and add in passport with Windows Hello so I can use my fingerprint to log into all my sites.

    Ive always been an IE fan since IE5, tried chrome, opera, netscape/aol, and I refused to touched firefox just because F that browser.

    Hopefully this browser test will bring back some popularity to Microsoft browsers and stop the bandwagon on IE sucks that IE6 left in peoples mouth all the way to IE11
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    18602467 said:
    About:tab page where I can see 9 most visited sites

    Settings -> Open new tabs with -> Top sites

    If you also want top sites upon starting Edge:

    Settings -> Open Edge With -> New tab page.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    18602311 said:
    hmmm...I see this article published again! Let me see, can you install MS Edge on Mac or Linux? Is MS Edge implemented by 3rd party? Hold on! The answer is, MS Edge is implemented by MS and optimized to work better than other browsers on windows and only work on Windows 8 & 10!

    The important question, what MS scarified to have better battery life? Security, functionality....? I personally prefer IE browser and I think it is better and lighter than Edge.

    Lastly, MS did the test on Win10 assuming that everyone have it or will upgrade to it which I believe is lame and none scientific and brings shame on MS for this kind of testing.

    Few things here.

    1. Edge is only available on Windows 10. It is not available on Windows 8.

    2. The security in Edge is the same as in IE,, it uses Smartscreen to scan for possibly infected files along with Defender.

    3. IE cannot be "lighter" than Edge. IE still has all the ActiveX features and bulk built into it. Edge is mainly an HTML based browser with support for Flash (that can be turned off), built in PDF support and a better version of Java. In most every test it has shown to be faster than IE with performance similar to Chrome.

    4. Yes they did test it on Windows 10, the only OS it is currently available on.

    To be honest I see nothing wrong with Microsoft optimizing the browser to utilize all built in features of WIndows 10 and then testing. That is how you breed competition. Nothing would stop Google from doing the same.
    Reply
  • wifiburger
    I don't get it, I don't care about performance or perks using Edge
    At the end of the day it's a Microsoft product and has bad rep so yeah....
    Reply
  • SteelCity1981
    edge wwould be a much better browers if you could customize the damn thing.
    Reply