Results of running browsers on one of the three test laptops. Image via AnandTech
A new study tests which browser is best to use if you're trying to conserve battery life on your laptop. While you're plugged in, you can be picky about your browser. But if you're off grid and need to make your battery last as long as possible, which browser is your best choice? The study from AnandTech fills us in. Download Squad points out the test run conducted by AnandTech, which tried the most popular browsers on three different laptops, a Gateway with an Intel processor running Vista, a Gateway with an AMD processor running Vista, and an Asus Eee PC running XP.
With only slightly surprising results, the survey found that IE8 is the most energy efficient, beating Chrome, Firefox and Opera by 5 to 10 minutes of battery life, and beating Safari by nearly half an hour on the Gateways, with less dramatic differences on the Asus Eee PC.
Of course, this is far from a scientific study (after all, we have to wonder about results on a MacBook) and is dependent on a range of factors. As AnandTech points out, "[C]oming up with a benchmark is neither plain nor simple. We have used several different methods for testing battery life on laptops, and depending on the type of content you're viewing battery life ranges from nearly equal to what you can expect at idle down to roughly the same amount of battery life you would get when viewing high-definition videos."
Outside of Safari 4, which was clearly the worst browser choice for battery life under Windows, the major browsers offer similar battery life. We expected to see the largest difference on netbooks, where we thought the CPU and limited memory would influence the results; instead the opposite was true, where our netbook had nearly identical battery life with every browser we tested other than Safari 4... Overall, Internet Explorer and Firefox + AdBlock consistently place near the top, with Chrome following closely behind... Opera in general - version 9 or 10 - looks like it doesn't do as well as the other major browsers.
AnandTech outlines exactly how they ran the tests so you can get details there. But the take-away is that if you want to make your battery life stretch and stay unplugged from the wall as long as possible, you're probably best off using IE8.
Not only is pondering which browser to use helpful for extending battery life, but so to is considering your operating system. Both Windows 7 and Snow Leopard boast better battery run times. And if you want to really make your battery stretch while unplugged from the wall, try supplementing it with solar power. Many chargers on the market now will give you a significant power boost to help you stay off grid for hours.
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