Opera Browser Boasts Stingy Power Saver Mode, Extends Battery Life 50 Percent Compared To Chrome

One of the key metrics when evaluation a laptop is battery life. For some people, it's the most important measurement, or at least right up there with overall performance. But what if you could dramatically improve performance just by using a specific web browser? Opera Software is testing a new power saving mode in a developmental build of Opera that it says can extend battery life by up to 50 percent.

"We are the first major browser to include a dedicated power saving mode, designed to extend your laptop battery life by up to 50 percent compared with, for example, Google Chrome. Depending on your type of hardware, it can mean several hours more browsing before you need to recharge your laptop," Opera Software states in a blog post.

Opera Power Saver

That's no small claim, but how can a browser affect battery life to such a degree? When you enable power saving mode—a battery icon appears next to the search and address field when the laptop is unplugged—Opera makes a series of optimizations intended to put less strain on the notebook.

One of the optimizations is to reduce activity in background tabs. Opera also pauses all unused plug-ins, reduces any applicable frame rates to 30 frames per second, tunes video playback parameters and forces the uses of hardware accelerated video codecs, pauses animations in browser themes, and tweaks the scheduling of JavaScript timers so the CPU wakes up less often.

Naturally the actual impact on battery life will depend on how you use your system. Opera Software acknowledges that, but also says that it focused on a solution that wouldn't just work in clean lab conditions, but in real world scenarios as well.

Opera Power Saver Graph
Source: Opera Software

"It took us quite some time to normalize our test environments, but still the challenge was to be able to repeat the tests multiple times in order to get statistically meaningful results. Draining battery fully takes time, recharging takes time as well. Therefore, we have been working on estimating battery lifetime from shorter tests that we can do now with a pretty high degree of confidence," Opera Software added.

You can test the power saver feature yourself by downloading the latest developer version of Opera. If you do, we hope you'll disable Opera's built-in (and automatically enabled) ad blocker for sites you support, like this one.
Tags:  Opera, Browser