If you are a mobile user with a Windows 8.1 laptop or tablet, you may want to know which Internet browser to use so that you get the maximum battery time possible. To learn which browser uses the least battery power, I have compared all the major browsers on three separate Windows devices: an old laptop, a very new tablet and a powerful hybrid device. All with Windows 8.1 installed.
How I Performed the Testing Procedure
I took three different devices, both old and new:
- A brand new Toshiba Encore 8" tablet. It has a quad-core Intel Atom Z3740 processor running at 1.33 GHz, 2GB of RAM DDR3 and 32 GB of storage space on an SSD made by Samsung. Its hardware specifications can be found here.
- A brand new Microsoft Surface Pro 2. It has a quad-core Intel Core i5-4200U processor running at 1.60 GHz, 8 GB of RAM DDR3 and a 256 GB SSD from LiteON. Its complete specifications can be found here.
- An old HP Pavilion dv 7 with a quad-core Intel Core 2 Q9000 processor running at 2.0 GHz, 6 GB of RAM DDR2 and a 120 GB SSD from RunCore. Obviously, it isn't using its original hard disk. I replaced it with an SSD to make the laptop faster. Also, its original battery is now dead and it has been replaced with a no-name battery that fits its specs but doesn't provide much in terms of autonomy.
I installed the latest version of all the major browsers: Internet Explorer 11, Firefox 26, Chrome 32 and Opera 18. Windows 8.1 was installed on all test devices, it was up-to-date and all the browsers had no add-ons or toolbars installed.
Because the Toshiba Encore tablet has only one power plan available - Balanced, I decided to use this power plan on all devices. However, I did modify the power plan so that it never turns off the screen and it never puts the computer to sleep. That's because I wanted to simulate a non-stop browsing session on all devices. To measure how long the battery lasts, I ran the Peacekeeper battery test.
I ran the test once on all devices, with each browser. There were times when the Internet connection stopped working mid-way or the test failed for some reason on another. In these scenarios, I charged the device and re-ran the test, in order to get a full, successful test run on each device.
Test Results on the Toshiba Encore 8" Tablet
Because it is a tablet with an Intel Atom processor, the Toshiba Encore had the biggest autonomy of all the devices I've tested. On this tablet, the best browser for saving battery power is the touch version of Internet Explorer 11.
It managed to last 8 hours and 52 minutes - 13% more than the desktop version of Internet Explorer 11 and 30% more than Opera 18 - the worst performing browser in this test. A very strong result!
Test Results on the Microsoft Surface Pro 2
The Surface Pro 2 is a true powerhouse, especially when compared to the Toshiba Encore tablet. On this device, Internet Explorer 11 managed to deliver the best results but this time the best version was the desktop one.
The touch version of Internet Explorer 11 was third (the battery lasted 21% less) while Firefox 26 was a close second place, with the battery lasting 8% less.
Test Results on the HP Pavilion dv7
The HP Pavilion dv7 is an old laptop with poor battery life. Even on this device, Internet Explorer 11 managed to deliver the longest battery time. However, the differences between each browser were smaller and less meaningful.
Looking at these results, I can say that on a laptop with a very poor battery, using a browser vs. another doesn't help much with saving power. As you can see for yourself, the differences are very small between the top 3 best performing browsers.
The only strange result is the fact that the touch version of Internet Explorer 11 delivered the least amount of battery time, being 14% worse than the desktop version.
The Browser that Makes your Battery last Longer is Internet Explorer
As you can see from this test, Internet Explorer 11 is the winner when it comes to delivering the most battery time on your Windows 8.1 laptop or tablet. However, which version delivers the most savings depends on your device's hardware configuration and how well Internet Explorer works with it.
Before you close this article, don't hesitate to make similar experiments on your Windows laptop or tablet and share the results with everyone else. They will surely be useful to other readers.