Browser Face-Off: Battery Life Explored 2014by Stephen Barrett on August 12, 2014 6:00 AM EST
Overall, many factors go into web browser battery usage, like GPU accelerated rendering and content caching. Chrome, despite its aggressive timer usage, may still be more battery efficient than other browsers. I should note that AnandTech has historically used Safari on OS X and desktop IE on Windows devices when performing battery life testing.
With this article we are debuting a new browser benchmark tool. Developed in house, this tool automates the usage of a desired web browser as if a user was sitting at the computer. It performs common tasks like launching and closing the browser, opening and closing tabs, loading websites, and scrolling through longer articles. As usual, the websites visited are popular sites cached on the AnandTech server, so the content of the sites does not change between runs. Additionally, the browsers are all run in private browsing mode to prevent local content caching from interfering with reloading our limited set of server-cached sites.
- IE11 Desktop Mode v11.0.9600.17207 (Update versions: 11.0.10 KB2962872)
- IE11 Modern (Metro) Mode
- Firefox 31.0
- Safari 5.1.7
- Chrome 36.0.1985.125 m
- Chrome 37.0.2062.68 beta-m (64-bit)
There are several other browsers we would have liked to test, however, due to the time intensive nature of battery life testing, we chose to focus on the most popular browsers. We also chose to test the beta version of Chrome as it is a significant update. Chrome 37 changes from 32-bit to 64-bit and from GDI (legacy) rendering to DirectWrite (modern) rendering. This makes the browser actually usable and no longer blurry on HiDPI displays.
To take advantage of operating system and hardware advances since our last test, testing was performed on the high end model of the Dell XPS 15 (9530) late 2013 edition running Windows 8.1 with all updates as of this writing.
|Dell XPS 15 (9530) Late 2013 Specifications|
Intel Core i7-4702MQ
(Quad-core 2.2-3.2GHz, 6MB L3, 22nm, 37W)
GeForce GT 750M 2GB GDDR5
(384 cores, 967MHz + Boost 2.0, 5GHz GDDR5)
Intel HD Graphics 4600
(20 EUs at 400-1150MHz)
15.6" Glossy PPS 16:9 QHD+ (3200x1800)
(Sharp LQ156Z1 Touchscreen)
|Storage||512GB mSATA SSD (Samsung SM841)|
802.11ac WiFi (Intel Dual-Band AC-7260)
(2x2:2 867Mbps capable)
Bluetooth 4.0 (Intel)
9-cell, 11.1V, 8000mAh, 91Wh
130W Max AC Adapter
Battery Charge Indicator LEDs
2 x USB 3.0
1 x Mini-DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
AC Power Connection
Flash Reader (MMC/SD)
1 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 3.0 (Sleep Charging)
|Back Side||Exhaust vent (inside LCD hinge)|
|Operating System||Windows 8.1 64-bit|
14.6" x 10.0" x 0.3-0.7" (WxDxH)
(372mm x 254mm x 8-18mm)
|Weight||4.44 lbs (2.01kg)|
720p HD Webcam
87-Key Backlit Keyboard
The latest edition of this laptop upgrades to the "Haswell Refresh" i7-4712HQ with an extra 100 MHz clock rate compared to our test laptop. That should have little to no impact on the browser battery life testing.
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Stephen Barrett - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - linkExactly
MrSpadge - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - linkThanks for this test!
I'm not surprised Firefox came in almost last. I like it, but simply having a few tabs open (with adblock and flashblock active) and just leaving the browser minimized consumes a constant 2-3% CPU. That's 16 - 24% of one logical core of an i7 3770K @ 4.1 GHz!
I also encourage you to pepeat this test with a regular display. Remember that by now there's just a tiny fraction of high-DPI displays out there. The differences between those 2 tests could sheed some light onto the practical cost of running high-DPI displays.
Stephen Barrett - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - linkGood points. If there is time (this type if testing takes days and days) I hope to do a follow up using Opera and comparing Chrome 36 & 37 at 1600x900
seapeople - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - linkHonestly, forget opera, nobody cares other than the two whiners who post here.
But I do agree about running a normal resolution display - it's just not fair to benchmark blurry crap against crisp high res fonts and give a performance or battery life number that favors the blurry crap. That's like comparing fps between a laptop running 768p and 1440p and saying that the 768p laptop gives you better performance.
Ok, I somewhat apologize to the opera users. But seriously - it's 2014, get a normal browser. And not Safari on windows, obviously.
furnace51 - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link<emerges from the shadows> I agree, forget Opera, This is not the browser you are looking for <retreats back into the shadows>
jabber - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - linkYeah I have to say I think we'll be waiting a long time still for those super display sizes to filter down to the 'regular price' brackets.
I bet this time next year most laptops will still come with 1366x768 screens. Yet my new $200 7" tablet will have a 4K screen on it.
Stephen Barrett - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - linkI will be oh so sad if that is true :-/
and.... not surprised
DanNeely - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - linkI doubt we'll see them on race to the bottom laptops this side of the 15" 1366/768 panel being discontinued by manufacturers. With demand from tablets/phones pushing high volume production of high DPI panels though; I think the main barrier in the way of them being standard in $1000+ laptops is the number of windows apps that still don't play nicely with highDPI/the roughness of Windows scaling options.
zodiacsoulmate - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - linkChrome always eat up my battery when watching youtube @ 720p/1080p MP4, however IE11 works just great...
Please test video play back ! and audio playback!
I was hoping for more testing for this matter, chrome have been quite disappointing these days