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Microsoft shows how Edge is better than Chrome at saving you some battery life

It's no secret that Google's Chrome browser sucks the life out of your battery at an alarming rate, but now Microsoft has done some testing to show how its own Edge browser is a better choice for portable device owners. The company took four identical laptops running Windows 10 to see which of the four most popular browsers would be most efficient when it comes to battery life.

Interestingly, Chrome was the first to kill the laptop in the video streaming test at 4 hours and 19 minutes. Firefox closely followed its rival at 5 hours and 9 minutes, while Opera (running on the same tech as Chrome) managed to hit 6 hours and 18 minutes. In Microsoft's tests, it was found that Edge was best of the bunch when it came to enjoying a video online, lasting for 7 hours and 22 minutes. That's worked out to be 70% longer than Chrome.

"We designed Microsoft Edge from the ground up to prioritize power efficiency and deliver more battery life, without any special battery saving mode or changes to the default settings. Our testing and data show that you can simply browse longer with Microsoft Edge than with Chrome, Firefox, or Opera on Windows 10 devices."

As well as performing tests in controlled environments, Microsoft has also released data collected from Windows 10 PCs worldwide. The company analyzed aggregated telemetry from millions of devices, showing the results to be in line and consistent with what Microsoft found in the lab.

Microsoft Edge

The company has also published an entry on the Edge Development blog that goes into detail about how engineers and developers are building a more power efficient browser. It's well worth checking out. Unfortunately for Microsoft, while the company's latest browser is certainly an efficient speed king, it still lacks some features many would consider fundamental to their web browsing experience using competitor software.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

72 Comments
  • Microsoft should demonstrate how edge is a better search engine than Google, Opera and Firefox rather than showing that is has better battery life besides 90% of users care about results than battery life
  • Edge isn't a search engine.
  • You mean browser, not search engine, right?
  • Well, to be fair, Cortana will now only launch in Edge, so MS seems to think Edge and Bing are very closely connected!
  • Cortana will be more pervasive in other products. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cortana be a major part of the next MS Office\Office 365 major release.
  • Incorrect. Cortana launches your default browser with Bing.
  • It used to, but not anymore.
  • Sent from Windows Central app on Windows 10.
  • Not to mention that Firefox and Opera are not search engines. I seriously wonder about people sometimes....
  • Huh? Edge is not a search engine.
  • You made me laugh dude.
  • Huh? Maybe ask how Chevy makes better cats than Ford makes dogs.
  • And it also takes longer to load pages and freezes a lot on certain websites, plus IE needed way less resources. I don't like edge, but there are not many touch friendly alternatives out there...
  • This is true in many cases, but I have also noticed that the load time depends a lot on the particular website. In my usage experience, some sites load really fast on Edge, while others load faster on Firefox, Vivaldi etc. I'm not sure of the reason behind this, but I'm guessing that websites have generally been optimized for the 'older' browsers, while Edge might be coming from maybe a more 'standardized' but not necessarily optimized direction. Let's see how the 'final' anniversary update behaves..
  • I have found that this is almost always because of the ads on the page slowing things down.  For me, there was a night and day difference in Edge performance after blocking ad servers via my hosts file.  Ad blocking extensions for Edge should be right around the corner so I'm sure that will help quite a bit for those that don't want to bother with the hosts file method.
  • awesome..... Bye Bye Chrome.....Never gonna miss you Again ......but after Extension support... :)
  • Yeah extensions was a reason people used chrome
  • I said goodbye to Opera half a year ago, and switched to Edge. And yeah, the only thing I miss is extension support, mostly an adblocker :D So Edge will be perfect for me when the Anniversary Update comes out.
  • Hostman with hostfiles, faster than adblock and uses 0 resources to block. I have yet to see an as when using it.
  • Modifying Hosts is definitely the most effective way! I undid the modification a while back when I wanted to try Opera's new built-in adblocker, but for some reason or another, my SP3 just started dying much faster, so either Opera's adblocker was using extra power or other ad-related things started kicking back to life in the background. So I put back the Hosts file.
  • Insider Slow is your friend. :)
  • same here! When i can use adblocker with the Edge browser, then I will change!
  • Addblock and i am all over edge
  • good for u man...im using firefox now, edge is a good browser but it lag, not responding on my laptop. Still, I check out edge once in a while. Hopefully MS able to sort this out
  • Nice but when Edge battery life good on mobile?
  • Build 14367 onwards. Big improvements.
  • Not the impression I get after reading all the latest build issues in the forums.
  • I've tested it myself. Background battery usage by Edge was lowered 4-6x from build 14342 when I last checked it.
  • Interestingly, Chrome was the first to kill the laptop in the video streaming test at 4 hours and 19 minutes. Firefox closely followed its rival at 5 hours and 9 minutes...
    I am sorry, but that is not "closely" followed. That's almost an additional hour of video streaming. Still impressive regarding Edge browser.
  • Yea but many websites load slow and some with a lot of errors :(
  • Which...would love to test them
  • That's no surprise, Chrome is bad, the worst browser security wise and a resure hog for a long time now. 
  • Yeah. And if you think about it a little more, it's quite funny, because when Chromes first versions came out back in the day, people liked it because it was a fast, tiny browser, eating up very little resources :D Good job Google :D
  • But in case of windows phone its battery drainer
  • You do realize rendering websites in a browser is one of the most resource-intensive thing your phone does. Pretty much every browser on a mobile OS drains batteries.
  • Interestingly everytime I hear the fan of my SP3, I can be relatively sure that there is an Edge process wasting CPU cycles in the background while showing some ads and banners, although I am using another program. On the 950 XL, Edge is no. 1 in energy consumption everytime I have a reason to look for it (battery drainage). Btw: Playing hours of streaming video is one particular usage case. I am more interested in loading websites.
  • Which websites? I don't get many errors if any through a day on my 950xl ij desktop mode. I do need an adblock for mobile though
  • Desktop (Surface Pro 3): Any website that displays external banners that change on next load. Sometimes Edge even gets "incative" when opening a new (like a second) tab, e.g. from windowscentral.com. Mobile (in mobile mode): I don't have the experience that it is a particular website. But the battery just drains heavily while surfing the web, IE mobile was much better in this context.
  • These would be welcome improvements!
  • Even as Edge is not as powerful and feature-packed as Chrome. Explains the former's less usage of resources. Such a comparison is not valid until Edge comes at par with Chrome. It's still quite minimal at this stage.
  • So if you don't use extensions all the power means jack....
  • Features =/= Extensions only. Have you gone through Chrome's settings and flags pages? Compare them with those of Edge and you'll understand what "powerful" and "feature-packed" means. Moreover, Chrome has a built-in task manager and theme support, both of which might not even be implementable in Edge. Edge needs time and work to develop more. At this stage it's not comparable to other browsers; not even Opera.
  • Fair enough, but a few things to consider... 1) The extra features in Chrome shouldn't really take up more hardware resources when they aren't being used.  Memory maybe, but Chrome shouldn't be using more CPU to render the same webpage or play the same video. 2) Most people don't want or need most of the additional features available in Chrome. 3) Being light and bloat free can be considered a feature in itself.  That is especially true when a 70% battery life advantage is involved.  
  • The main problem is that Chrome creates a separate process for every tab resulting in more CPU usage. Most people don't need additional features, but "some" do. Chrome doesn't have any bloatware. And Edge is light mainly because it's still very simple and lacking in various aspects and somewhat because it's an app and not a Win32 program, which are more powerful. Agree that Chrome uses more than required resources but that doesn't mean Edge is better in that respect. I'm pretty sure Edge will also become much more resource hungry, even though not as much as Chrome. But as of now, the two browsers can't be compared. I use Edge mostly for quick searches as it opens faster.
  • Edge opens tabs in seperate processes as well.
  • That's great, really. Wish it was just as efficient on mobile.
  • Meanwhile, Edge still only supports a handful of extensions and can't display Adobe Connect content. I'll take Chrome in a heart beat over that.
  • The main problem in edge is startup because it doesn't load tabs and new tab quickly on PC as well as on Mobile. Luckily I have a PC so no problem of consumption thing.
  • That is nice, but this is streaming videos. It would be nice to see loading a vaerity of set of websites where you have a mix of simple ones, and ones that are jam packed with Java-Script. And how fast it takes to load each pages. This is important to know the speed of web browser, mixed with how intensive it is at processing Java-Script, and affecting battery life. I am not going to say that it would be an easy test to do, but it would be nice to see.
  • Javatest show edge is usually the fastest
  • My takeaway from this is that Firefox might be the best overall. It has most of the features of Chrome but much better battery life. I'd be curious to see this test again after Opera's new battery-saving features and after Edge will surely get more bloated with extensions.
  • I have noticed that CPU usage is quite a lot lower on my old laptop that either Chrome or Firefox
  • My issue with this is that they do not mention the versions of the browsers, or any settings/configurations. Chromium based browsers (Google Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, etc.) struggle with battery life partly because of the engine used for extensions. To my knowlledge (and I don't think they've improve this recently), the engine is running by default to support built in Chrome extensions, like for Google's office-like suite. To achieve this, the engine runs extensions in their own seperate threads, which have a habit of drawing more power than they should. That being said, what I'd really like to know, is, was this test ran against a newer version of Edge, which supports Extensions? Even if it wasn't actively running extensions, I'd like to see how the two stack up in this regard. I mention this, because I have noticed significantly poorer battery life on my Surface Book ever since they released Edge with extensions (and, for the record, I've done a few clean installs, just to be safe).
  • Battery life is all well and good, but Edge is well behind all other browsers in user interface.  I tried like heck to like it on the desktop, but I've gone back to IE and Chrome, with some Firefox mixed in.  Edge should have been the poster child for the wonderful user interfaces that are possible with UWP, but it has turned out to be a poor advertisement for UWP, IMHO.  
  • Edge is still no way a good replacement for the desktop though. It still lacks several features and the swarm of extensions that make chrome and Firefox both household names. Along with its constant hangs and crashes
  • This. I'm surprised that they were able to get Edge to run seven hours consecutively, the last few builds have been atrociously unstable and I'm lucky to get seven minutes without a crash or hang. This is worrisome considering how close we are to the public release of the Anniversary Update.
  • MS should get Edge ready for the big time, which it clearly is not. It's fast, no question and I use it probably too much. Often for various image searches, it crashes or shuts down my computer. Sometimes scrolling is pathetically slow. While you're spending 26 billion on LinkedIn, please do remember Edge. When it IS actually ready, why not prompt people to use it, like Chrome annoyingly does?
  • Personally, I am getting accustomed to Edge, but it is *far* from perfect...
    ​* when printing web pages (tested on Jupyter notebooks), only the first page gets printed :-(
    * bing search... why can't I specify the publication time of search results?? ...like Google has had support for for a long time? (Published last 24 hours, last week, etc.)
    * occational freezes
           
  • I only have Edge, IE, Firefox and Maxton browsers. I don't remember when was the last time I used Chrome.
  • This might be the only thing Edge is better than Chrome in. I've tried to switch to Edge full time after having to do a complete system refresh on one of my laptops and I just can't do it. Slow site rendering, crashing and scrolling issues are too much to overcome to stay with Edge exclusively. Chrome handles a bunch of sites much better at this point.
  • seems totally believable to me. When using pretty much anything except chrome my laptop gets 11-12 hours of battery life. When using chrome I get a pretty consistent 8-9 hours. 2 issues though:
    1) have to use Chrome for work (managed browser settings)... and that is pretty much what I use my laptop for, so I won't be changing any time soon.
    2) I wonder if Edge will continue to get such stellar battery life as it continues to gain features. As it stands now Edge is a very basic browser, where Chrome is essentially it's own OS running on top of Windows. Edge in beta is a bit better, but still a lot of things it doesn't do... still, it is much better than IE ever was, so it is not all bad and improving quickly.
  • Extentions cant come fast enough, want nothing to do with thievoogle.
  • Shame it lacks on the feature front. They keep going about extensions. But the bookmark manager is quite poor on Edge. And a very basic context menu.
  • This might not really matter to desktop users, however for always on the go users, it should count a lot. Speaking about edge being a UWA, Microsoft should shake the industry and introduce extensions for edge on mobile. Obviously they shouldn't take on the same functionality as desktop but would aid a lot in killing apps and pushing bots. With web apps tapping into native API's, and with extensions to enhance it. Developers write one app that works everywhere. Lol it sounds like the perfect plan in my head but reality is something else.
  • Sure, just don't let flash video run on the page otherwise each tab may use up to 35% of your processor, basically bringing a machine to its knees. Their plugin management is worse than other browsers by far.
  • I will use Edge as soon as I can install an ad blocking extension.
  • There's two of them now. Adblock and Adblock Plus. They will be available to non-insiders in approximately one month. There are extensions for LastPass, Reddit Enhancement Suite and others now too.
  • Drag and drop? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Are you kidding? Searching on Edge is like scratching with the left foot to your right ear! I' m sorry, but i cant see a pink future for MS. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Of course!!!!!!!!!!!! EDGE IS BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    and always will be!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Come on!! Edge. You can do it!
  • Internet Explorer 11 > ALL by a big margin.