When It Comes to Battery Life, Microsoft Edge is Still the King

Posted on April 13, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 33 Comments

When It Comes to Battery Life, Microsoft Edge is Still the King

Microsoft Edge has proven too frustrating for most Windows 10 users, but this web browser retains one important advantage over the competition: Battery life. And with the release of the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft is again revisiting Edge battery life and comparing it to that of Chrome and Firefox.

Of course, Microsoft faces an uphill battle when it comes to Edge adoption. Its previous and once-dominant browser, Internet Explorer, is widely loathed. And despite major functional upgrades in each of the three Windows 10 feature updates so far, Edge still trails leading browsers like Chrome dramatically from a usability perspective.

But Edge does have one advantage over Chrome and other browsers. It has consistently provided better battery life.

Microsoft first publicized Edge battery life in June 2016, right before the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. At that time, the software giant claimed that Edge provided 35 to 53 percent more battery life on the same hardware than competing browsers from Google, Mozilla or Opera.

At that time, it also noted that Edge battery life would get better still with the Anniversary Update. And sure enough, after that feature update shipped, Microsoft provided new results to prove its point.

Humorously, that most recent report came in the wake of an attempt by Google to save face: The search giant claimed that it had improved Chrome battery life significantly over the past two years. But since it declined to compare Chrome to Edge, Microsoft did so, using Google’s own test, and found that Edge lasted more than 90 minutes longer than Google Chrome. On Google’s test.

Anyway, it’s been several months, and in the intervening months, Microsoft has shipped the Creators Update with a new version of Edge. And the major browsers—Chrome and Firefox—have each been updated several times. So Microsoft is back, albeit quietly, with new browser battery life results.

Long story short, Edge still destroys the competition.

“The Microsoft Edge team measured the time it took three identical Surface Book laptops to run fully through their batteries while streaming video from Vimeo in fullscreen,” the Microsoft report notes. “The test was done on three Surface Books running [the shipping version of Windows 10 version 1703]and connected to the Internet through [Wi-Fi]. Results: Microsoft Edge lasted 77% longer than Firefox and 35% longer than Chrome in this test.”

Microsoft isn’t really publicizing this test as they did with their previous Edge battery life tests, but I suppose that could change. (I found out about it from one blog, which found about it from another blog, which found out about it from a tweet. On and on it goes.) But the fact remains: If battery life is your aim, Edge beats the competition handily. Still.

 

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Comments (33)

33 responses to “When It Comes to Battery Life, Microsoft Edge is Still the King”

  1. prettyconfusd

    Edge has definitely improved with the Creators Update, and I'm much happier using it - I've yet to be let down by it too, which makes a change.


    I'm interested though - what makes Chrome or Opera (or Firefox) better than Edge for people here? I'm genuinely interested as I'm probably quite traditional with my browser habits and haven't really done much other than a handful of extensions on Edge and activating the VPN and ad blocker on Opera - what are the killer features I should look at on other browsers and what does Edge need to make it more viable for more users?


    And do we have a hope in hell of Microsoft ever releasing Edge for Android? Which, imo, is the biggest hurdle the browser has right now.

    • jbinaz

      In reply to prettyconfusd:

      Occasionally for me Edge just closes without warning. Here on second, gone the next.


      Sometimes it seems like Last Pass doesn't fill things where it should.


      In one of the last versions before 15063, it wouldn't upload a video to video.com. I believe it's still broken that way.


      A weak extension system as there just aren't that many.


      I was using it on an Office 365 groups page and it would take 20 seconds for it to recognize what I'd typed in a message. The cursor would sit as if I'd typed nothing and then characters would slowly start to show up.


      Performance on some sites is awful. Granted it's mostly those sites with listicles like"20 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About M*A*S*H" (yes, I sometimes read them) when Chrome handles it faster.


      The F12 developer tools aren't as good.


      Extensions don't work in InPrivate mode.


      All the above after it was updated for the Creator's Update, and yet it is still better than it was before.

    • fishnet37222

      In reply to prettyconfusd:

      I prefer Firefox because, as of the current version, it's more customizable than any other version out there. For example, I don't want the window to close when I close the last tab. I can easily configure Firefox to behave that way by using the TabMixPlus extension. There is no way that I know of in any other browser to do that.

    • bassoprofundo

      In reply to prettyconfusd:

      While I could honestly "get by" with any browser, for me at this point, it's more about why shouldn't I use Chrome? I could see the battery life thing actually being a nice draw when I go mobile and actually have the option to use Edge (not often since my most common usage scenario for that is for work and since work isn't leaving Win7 anytime soon), but that becomes a moot point on my primary desktop rig.

      There are lots of little things I could highlight, but the most obvious pros in favor of Chrome and/or FF are:

      1) Extensions - Both Chrome and Firefox have an outstanding array of extensions and a better system for managing them. I find the behavior of the ones that do exist for Edge (ex.- Lastpass) to be flaky in comparison to their counterparts on the other browsers.

      2) Cross-Platform presence & compatibility - As I mentioned before, Edge isn't even an option for my own work situation due to being saddled with Win7 nor is it an option for those using Macs or Linux (God forbid :) ) on the desktop side. With W10 Mobile out of the picture, Microsoft has zero play when it comes to Edge on mobile, too. Nothing on tablets, nothing on phones, nothing... Chrome, Firefox, and even Opera have great options on non-Microsoft platforms. I can literally get up while in the middle of something on my desktop, grab my phone, hop on a bus, and pick up with the same set of Chrome or FF tabs on my phone.

      I could go on but won't. My overall stance is still one of resigned inertia... I want to find a reason to switch, but other than my self-loathing tendency to make life harder by embracing the underdog (Hello BeOS, WebOS, Windows Phone, etc.), I just can't.

  2. Jeff Jones

    Is anyone else having a window resize problem in Edge after the Creators update? When I launch edge and load a website, I can resize smaller, but if I go larger than the original launch dimensions the content and browser chrome becomes transparent. It give me an outline of what the size should be.


  3. wshwe

    Battery life isn't sufficient reason for me to switch from Chrome. I like being able to use Chrome on my Galaxy S7, iPad and laptop. Microsoft really needs to bring Edge to Android and iOS.

  4. tbst594

    I had switched from Chrome to Opera years back because of the battery drain on my laptop.

    Opera also was much faster than Chrome at startup and page loads.

    I've been a loyal Opera users all these years, but the CU update meant I can actually use Edge now for most of my browsing.

    And I was surprised how much faster it was compared to Opera for startup and loading pages.

    speedtest also showed I was getting better downloads and upload speeds just by switching browsers on the same computer.


    There are still some annoying things about Edge:

    • Keyboard focus issues on some sites.
    • Resizing Edge sometimes has some rendering issues.


    But these are rare, so I am sticking with Edge for now ...

  5. Tony Barrett

    If battery life is all MS can focus on, then that's a damning indictment of the product. Edge is still lacking in so many ways, even to IE. Two years in, and MS still can't get a complex product like Edge fully working as a UWP app, so what chance do any other devs have? I can see Chrome ruling the roost for many years to come.

  6. Firas Alragom

    Longer battery life is useless when as a Microsoft enterprise customer most Microsoft admin tools don't even work properly with Edge for eg. Microsoft Exchange Control Panel, Office 365 Admin portal, Azure Portal, etc. Heck I was trying to reinstall Office on my home PC from the Office 365 Home site and it told me that Edge isn't a supported browser. Instead of hyping battery life times, maybe they should focus on Edge's compatibility with their own tools and sites to actually give Microsoft customers a reason to use it?! Just saying.

  7. nickysreensaver

    4 pages open in edge

    4 pages open in chrome

    all same

    Chrome 89 mb

    Edge 44 mb


    Love Edge - See the progress. Use chrome/fox when needed, but edge has some really nice features and will keep improving.

    Yes it does shut randomly. But the reading view, preview dropdown, set tabs aside are just great features.

    Will continue to use and watch and give feedback for improvements.

  8. Alain Sylvestre

    Edge strong other point is focus for the touch.  Try with Firefox or chrome to touch their tiny button.  It not make for touch screen.

  9. IVEST

    LOL


    "Long story short, Edge still destroys the competition."

    That's very funny!


    Microsoft Edge, just like its predecessor Internet Explorer, is a cruel joke.

  10. Piras

    Edge is clearly beginning to grow on me. Has become very useable.

  11. Josh Durston

    Edge may have it's issues but it's battery life performance is totally something MS should be proud of! When I'm at work I'm usually plugged in, but in the evening on couch I hate running out of battery and it's usually a browser that I'm using.

    Now that I have LastPass I'm quite content to Edge.

  12. bgoodbody

    I like Microsoft Edge and Bing. Always 1st use.

  13. Bats

    "King?" LOL..typical Paul Thurrott spin-verbiage to make Microsoft look and sound good. LOL..."Destroys" the competition. (LOL)


    You know what? Edge SHOULD be better, because it's a NATIVE WINDOWS application. It's expected. 


    Plus, information like this (IMO) is unimportant. 


    The difference between Edge and Chrome in that graph is a two hour movie. Also...who watches a movie in their browser anway? That's usually done on Windows Media Player or VLC. That to me, is just stupid info. 


    What's next? Browser that have contain a mixture of yellow and red in the icon is bad for the eyes? 


    This post is almost as ridiculous as when declared Windows 10 the most successful Windows OS of all time.

  14. BoItmanLives

    Reminds me of my last remaining Blackberry holdout friend always touting his battery life, and then you realize it's because he can't really do anything on it.

  15. Delmont

    Good for Edge. I think Edge is quite usable now with the CU.

  16. illuminated

    I almost love edge. Started using it out of curiosity before installing Firefox but ended up using Edge everyday with occasional trip to Chrome.


    Edge is very significant application on Windows. It is Universal App which means that Microsoft is using their own APIs. In the past Microsoft had some technologies that they recommended for developers but did not use themselves. In this case Microsoft is "dogfooding" their own technology which is great IMHO. UWP is fantastic platform but it badly needs developer adoption and visibility on search engines.

  17. Waethorn

    It's a simple reason why: internal API's. It's the reason why Edge isn't made as a wholly-separate UWP app that's updated via the Windows Store.


    Let's compare apples to apples: put up a Microsoft-validated "Cloudbook" against a Chromebook in the same price range and see how it fares. I can easily get 8-10 hours of use on a Chromebook that sells for less than $400CAD (approx. $300USD). Let's see where Microsoft's test stands on equal duty.

  18. Maelstrom

    If they get an Edge version for Android, then the browser has almost (with a few more extensions) all it takes to rise to the top...

  19. Vuppe

    Sweet. It's good to know Edge can beat the competition in some respects, since it still lags behind in standards compliance and extensions/add-ons. I use it as my personal browser, mostly because I prefer the aesthetic to Chrome and FF.

    • Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to Vuppe:

      It was a double edge sword (see what I did there?) for me using it on the Atom powered Surface 3. On one hand, it loaded quickly, scrolled better, and supported touch the best, but on the other side, the lack of ad-block extensions at the time really killed it on complex websites. Since Edge was so lackluster at start, not only does it have to be significantly better than the other browsers people prefer, but it also needs to dig itself out of a big hole that was created by its sad launch condition. MS maybe should have left IE as the default browser until Edge could mature.

    • Jeff Jones

      In reply to Vuppe:

      I agree. There's something about the Edge aesthetic that makes it feel clunky to me. I don't know if it's the bulky menu items or the hard corners on everything or the obfuscation of the address bar, but something about it is unappealing.

  20. mortarm

    >...Edge still destroys the competition.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see this quote appearing in some Microsoft ad as an endorsement for Edge.

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