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Microsoft touts Edge's battery life advantage, but Chrome is closing the gap

It's become a predictable pattern at this point: Microsoft releases a new feature update, then it shows off how its Edge browser's battery life compares to the competition with that update. For the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, things are no different. And while Edge still comes out on top, as it has in each previous tests, a noticeable trend has appeared. Namely, Chrome is closing the gap.

Once again, Microsoft's test pits Edge against its main rivals, Chrome and Firefox. This go-around, Microsoft Edge managed to hold out 98 percent longer than Firefox and 14 percent longer than Chrome.

The browsers were compared on three identical Surface Books while continuously looping the same streaming video. Firefox petered out at just over seven hours, while Chrome managed to hit the 12-and-a-half hour mark. Edge managed more than 14 hours. Results were based on average times, and Microsoft is quick to point out that battery life "varies significantly with settings, usage, and other factors."

What's interesting is how the numbers have shifted over time. In January, Microsoft released a similar test showing that Edge lasted 63 percent longer of Firefox and 19 percent longer than Chrome. Going back to the Creators Update, Microsoft's testing showed a 77 percent advantage over Firefox and a 35 percent advantage over Chrome. In 2016, Edge was outpacing Chrome in battery life by 70 percent.

While the advantage over Firefox that Microsoft's browser enjoys seems to be all over the place, one thing is clear: Chrome is slowly but surely closing the gap. The 14 percent difference between the two in the latest test is still significant, and you'll likely be better off sticking with Edge while you're on the go. But if you're a heavy Chrome user, its battery-hungry ways appear to be diminishing – at least in this one scenario.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

45 Comments
  • soon Microsoft won't have anything to boast of
  • Whatever that floats yer boat m8, I'm just gonna keep laughing as usual. android apps = sucking up ram, android platform sucking up ram, google chrome. .does the habit change? maybe for a person like yourself that ram or disk usage is "normal" but when it comes to battery life that isn't always the feasible option. I find edge browser / Mozilla firefox faster than chrome on my PC which runs on an i7 HQ series+ 950GTX, 16GB ram, clearly, I shouldn't be lacking performance to run a mere browser but chrome takes the crown of memory wastage which is why I don't use that crap anymore :) real-world usage vs blissful minds.. sure you can keep your opinion I have no issues but I'm just gonna keep my facts and use what actually works for me.
  • Edge is nice, but isn't this test just a video playback test? What's the point of testing that, when it falls back to just the player, which almost has nothing to do with the browser. Make something that simulates real life, load a page, scroll a bit, click a link, open new tabs, switch between them, then close. Also mix up everything, YouTube (video), Instagram/FB (photos, text, etc), music streaming, even some browser games. That'll test out every aspect of the browser (especially the JS engine, and the thingy that renders it all), not just the player ...
  • you are spot on
  • You are right, but this is just a demonstration of their video battery tests - they have other performance and comparisons. PS The video difference shouldn't fluctuate much with different types of Video, as Chrome uses a consistent FFMPEG based renderer and Edge uses the UWP rendering technologies. The variance would shift to a bigger advantage for Edge if they used a different codec that Edge creates GPU instructions to decode when Chrome does not.
  • Years ago in the coffee store, I have my SP3 running Chrome, 3 hours.
    I tried Edge... 4~5 hours. Was coding + Researching.
  • Looking forward to the next Windows update, when they magically and quietly won't release such a video. Because they don't know how to play the game.
  • I'm not a fan of the new update. It slowed my pc down so much. I used to like edge but then I ran into problems with it that of course microsoft won't tell you about so I stick to Firefox and Chrome because they are the better browser. When Microsoft can have a independent company release results saying edge is better then I'll give it another try until then Microsoft has proven time and again they are untrustworthy
  • Check the version number, if you are on version 1709, then yes, there was some performance loss, and just wait for the 1803 update (or initiate it). However, if you are on 1803 and it 'got slower', something is up. 1803 got a lot of performance improvements, that are literally visible on low end hardware. 1803 is the fastest version of Windows 10 to date, even faster than Vista/7/8. The 1803 performance increase affects Microsoft Edge and all UWP software even more significantly with an optimized independent rendering thread, etc. (All the lights/glowing effects aren't just pretty, they are part of the changes that make things faster.) First, make sure you give the system a day to catch up with all the maintenance, etc that happens after a full upgrade. (Indexing, defrag, additional updates, etc) Next, look for things that could be causing issues, start with Task Manager and look for software that is eating CPU/RAM/GPU more than it should. Next check your Device Manager - make sure all your drivers are working. (Even test rolling back your video driver to a previous version.) If you don't find anything, consider doing a Reset (Settings-Update&Security-Recovery-Rest this PC) Good Luck.
  • Thanks I actually have a decent pc. I 6700 16gb ram Nvidia 1080. I'm at 1803 that's why I was confused. The only thing I can think of was it started when I was downloading state of decay 2 which if it's the reason then it just makes me hate the windows store even more because I can download games faster on steam and it doesn't slow my system down
  • My Edge since the April 2018 update has really slowed down a lot, they need to fix it.
  • "its battery-hungry ways appear to be diminishing" Sure Chrome is 'better', but 19 to 14% isn't a huge leap or even getting close to competing with Edge. 2hrs is still a lot of difference, especially for something as simple as playing a video. This also doesn't address the performance gap on low end devices. Chrome often will stall at 4-5fps on a 2GB Atom tablet, while Edge remains fluid, using far less RAM, and maintains 30fps on the same RIA or heavily dynamic CSS/graphical website.
  • Edge using less RAM? No chance in hell.
  • Yeah, I've seen my share of Edge eating up RAM too. They all do now with some sort of sandboxing in play. IE probably is the only browser that is truly efficient with RAM and its also the slowest.
  • You should give Opera a try. I'm using it on multiple devices, and it tends to be considerably faster and less memory hungry than the others. Though I haven't compared battery usage, I wouldn't be surprised if it is better in that department as well.
  • I used to be a heavy Chrome user, but then I switched to Edge after I realized just how much better the battery life was with it..and it's honestly not a half-bad browser at all. A far far cry from the crap that is Internet Explorer.
  • After Spring update Edge browser is awesome. I never used chrome after that..
  • Same here! Before the April update I was having tons of issues with Chrome. I did a fresh install of Windows 10 and had the name issues. Then I updated to the April update and still had the same issues. I jumped to Edge and literally every single issue I had was gone. And the 2 extensions I use in Chrome are in Edge. So all in all I've made the choice to stick with Edge permanently.
  • Edge is still a pile of poop. I use Chrome for most websites and IE for everything else.
  • When was the last time you used Edge?
  • LOL. Good for you.
  • I use Quantum Firefox. Faster than Edge and Chrome on W10.
  • Regardless of which is faster we're talking about battery life here though.
  • Firefox faster than Edge 17? No chance.
  • I'd like to see a comparison with resources.
  • Unsure why people don't like Edge. I find Edge awesome to use on my surface pro for the main purpose of gestures, pen support and website screenshot. I have online modules that I need access to which requires subscription, but the subscription ends soon and being able to take a screenshot of the whole page and saving onto onenote is just genius imo. I highly recommend it for pen and touchpad users. I use chrome for my desktop though but I'm tempted in switching that also.
  • Yes, because screenshotting your website (the visible part) is so totally different form screenshotting the entire screen. A killer feature indeed, how has one lived without it?
  • Are you serious reomw? You obviously don't use Edge. I'm referring to the 'add notes' button on the top right hand corner. It doesn't save a screenshot of the visible page, it saves the WHOLE page! even the parts that you have to scroll down to.
  • And it is different than using OneNote extension on Chrome how exactly?
  • Gave it a try as I've no experience with it and what's different is I cannot sketch/annotate on the screenshot until it has been uploaded into onenote. Very inconvenient not being able to jot down and annotate notes instantly in full screen without having to view and open it within one note. Noticeably lowered my productivity. That plus all the other the ups I mentioned previously. Gesture support; the two finger swipe to move back and forward is awesome for trackpad users. And pen support. All of these combined just adds to a better experience, for me at least, on my surface pro.
    For desktop users who use only mouse and keyboard, I can see how the onenote extension for chrome being a good feature, especially since the advantage of touch and pen that edge has means nothing.
    So after trying your suggested chrome extension on my SP, I still stand by my original summary: Edge great for pen and touchpad users.
  • I love Edge, is fantastic
  • Have been using Edge since win 10, good browser, to say the least.
  • I'm still disappointed they don't test Opera anymore.
  • Probably because it easily wins on speed and especially on memory usage. I routinely have multiple browsers open, and find Opera leading the pack.
  • After the 1803 update and its release/maturation on Android, I'm finally happy to use Edge as my main browser across platforms, but I'd be lying if I were saying I objectively think it's the best browser out there.
  • :))) sorry but this won't make me use that junk Edge. Nice try MS but I won't fall for your crap again :)))
  • So what? It still sucks big time. Can't set new tab's home page. Can't scroll click on back/forward/home/refresh buttons, can't see the search results on the scrollbar, can't see playback controls on GIFs, treated as video.. All essential stuff for 2018 browsing experience and all the things are present on normal browsers for 1000 years already. Pathetic.
  • I use Edge mainly for it's touch friendly functionality. It's come a long way but still needs improvement. My backup is Firefox which I'm liking quantum.
  • All browsers suck. They all have their own issues and problems that make them a pain in the ass.
  • Just one scenario that apparently favors Edge, and from browser market share it just doesn't appear to me that most users really care about this. Maybe Microsoft needs to move past banging the drum on battery. Especially since that margin is shrinking fast. Is that all you got Microsoft to brag about Edge? I use Chrome, simply because its by far the most popular and therefore works well with most web sites. I'll continue to use it until something really better comes along.
  • Since Spring 2018 Update Cortana+Edge work great together, never looking back to use Chrome on a Windows 10 device.
    I only use Chrome on Windows 7 which is the OS I have at work, but my days using Chrome are reaching a near end when I get migrated my laptop to Windows 10
  • I gave Edge a chance - i really did. Today, when the bookmarks still didn't sync properly between my two PC's - I gave up! I installed Firefox, set it to Dark Theme, changed the Window Density to 'touch' so it looks a bit like Edge, created a Firefox account and lo- everything synced, my extensions worked and I'm happy to just ditch Edge. It's been a couple of years and Microsoft still can't get it right. My advice - just stick to an operating system - leave the apps to someone else.
  • So Chrome is closing the power life gap. That it is closing says edge is going backwards relatively. What is Ms doing about this?
  • I followed all the steps to create another admin account, well that created another account. but what I had to do was log into the machine with the admin account and have the sihost and explorer hard error messages, if I used a regular account it would just blue screen and say something about procsrv or something like that. Well after that I went to task manager and loaded the user manager, after I loaded the user manager I turned the admin account I was logged in with into a regular user. Well afer that I pretty much got everything like explorer, firefox, rufus, remote help from tech support and dude hooked me up with a good iso that restored my machine like it was before the update :) Had to type the admin password in when I was getting everything going again.Nowt I have my system fully intact and working again :) Notice the post is from the same install that totally messed up. Think I'll go play some GTAV now that the system works again, already tested it and other games, well kids did. Seemed the admin account and the trustedinstaller got all messed up by the supposed update.
  • Great, improved battrey life. Now it's time to improve performance and stability. Edge has become a bit slow with page rendering lately while improving battery life. it's not good.