Microsoft kicked off a battery life war with Chrome and Opera earlier this year, and Google finally responded last week. Microsoft's original tests showed exactly how bad Chrome is for laptop battery life, but Google's response was packaged in the release of Chrome 53 with CPU and GPU power consumption enhancements for video playback. Google even made a video with Surface Books, just like Microsoft, to compare its battery life improvements to previous versions of Chrome. Microsoft isn't convinced Google's latest browser update is that much better, though.
In a new blog post, Microsoft has tested Edge and Chrome battery life on a Surface Book running the latest versions of Chrome and Edge (from the Anniversary Update). Using the same Netflix test (looping a streaming video), Microsoft claims Edge lasted 8 hours and 47 mins, compared to 6 hours and 3 mins for Chrome. That's 45 percent longer than Chrome, and 69 percent longer than Firefox. The only browser that comes close is Opera with 7 hours and 8 minutes of battery life, but Edge still lasts 23 percent longer.
Streaming Netflix video isn't the only way to test battery life, and there are a number of different services. "The Chrome team recently released a similar video where they focused on comparing the latest version of Chrome to a release from last year to demonstrate some improvements, however they didn't include other browsers in this test," says a Microsoft spokesperson. "Because the format was so similar to our tests, we shot a second video to compare like for like, this time using their methodology: looping a video from Vimeo, instead of Netflix." The Vimeo test still has Edge outperforming Chrome by more than an hour, but the gap has clearly been closed here as Edge only lasts 11 percent longer in this particular test.
Microsoft is also releasing real world data of power consumption per browser from millions of Windows 10 machines. Microsoft's latest statistics show that Edge power consumption is nearly half that of Google Chrome, and the company claims this is consistent with its own lab tests. While Microsoft has been highlighting Chrome's poor battery performance, Google's browser is still the most popular on desktops. StatCounter data suggests that Chrome is still rising in popularity on the desktop, despite Microsoft's efforts with Edge. Microsoft still has a long way to go to convince Windows users to switch away from Chrome.