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IE8 Beats Other Browsers In Laptop Battery Life 263

WARM3CH writes "AnandTech tested a laptop with an AMD CPU, a laptop with an Intel CPU, and a netbook to compare battery life while running Internet Explorer 8, Opera 10, Firefox 3.5, Safari 4, and Chrome. They tested on simple web pages and flash-infested ones. IE8 had the best battery life on both laptops (followed by FF + AdBlock), and Safari had the worst battery life. On the netbook, Chrome was slightly ahead of IE8. The report concludes: 'Overall, Internet Explorer and Firefox + AdBlock consistently place near the top, with Chrome following closely behind. Opera 10 Beta 3 didn't do as well as Opera 9.6.4, and in a couple quick tests, it doesn't appear that the final release of Opera 10 changes the situation at all. Opera in general — version 9 or 10 — looks like it doesn't do as well as the other major browsers. Safari is at the back, by a large margin, on all three test notebooks. We suspect that Safari 4 does better under OS X, however, so the poor Windows result probably won't matter to most Safari users.'"
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IE8 Beats Other Browsers In Laptop Battery Life

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  • So in theory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:51PM (#29407871) Homepage

    IE8 + adblock would give even better results!

    Seriously though, how can you browse the web *without* adblock? I've shoulder surfed people doing it, and I'd rather eat my own hand.

    • Re:So in theory (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GF678 ( 1453005 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:57PM (#29407935)

      Seriously though, how can you browse the web *without* adblock? I've shoulder surfed people doing it, and I'd rather eat my own hand.

      You can't have a problem when you don't know any better.

      • Re:So in theory (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Swizec ( 978239 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:16PM (#29408085) Homepage

        Seriously though, how can you browse the web *without* adblock? I've shoulder surfed people doing it, and I'd rather eat my own hand.

        You can't have a problem when you don't know any better.

        It's also not a problem if you simply don't browse anywhere there's too many ads. See ads you don't like? Just close the fucking website, it's a worthless piece of shit anyway if it puts ads first and content later.

        • I would have worded it a little bit differently, but this is my attitude as well.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LifesABeach ( 234436 )
          And in a similar story from the North West of the U.S. Young Arctic Muskoxen Better At Keeping Warm Than Scientists Thought [], I really didn't know that Scientists of the North West thought of "Young Arctic Muskoxen",
        • Re:So in theory (Score:5, Insightful)

          by GF678 ( 1453005 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @10:58PM (#29409803)

          Just close the fucking website, it's a worthless piece of shit anyway if it puts ads first and content later.

          deviantART once had a Flash add which utilised 100% of my CPU, and since it was at the time a single-core CPU, I was barely able to bring up the Task Manager to kill it. Interestingly enough, it was that experience which pushed me to using Adblock Plus.

          Point is, deviantART is hardly a worthless piece of shit. Sometimes they just made bad choices about what ads to use. Generalizations are bad, m'kay?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

            While the work of the artists who post on DeviantArt may or might not be worthless pieces of shit, a web page that sucks 100% of your CPU making it difficult to even close the page, never mind view it, most definitely is.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 )

      I really wouldn't switch to IE 8 for this, or many other reasons that it might supposedly be better. It's 7 minutes longer than FF with adblock, or 4% longer. Not nearly enough difference to justify using a program that doesn't work the way that I like, not to mention one that presents such a major target for malware.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Rewind ( 138843 )
      I don't really think it is all that bad. I use Firefox on my Windows desktop, Firefox on my Slackware desktop, and Safari on my MacBook Pro, neither have any additional plugins or anything like adblock. Just the default pop up blockers. Depends on where you browse I guess.
    • Re:So in theory (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sgant ( 178166 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:24PM (#29408139) Homepage Journal

      I have to agree. I'm on a Macbook Pro now and using Snow Leopard with it's 64-bit Safari. Everyone is saying how fast and quick Safari is...along with Chrome, but the simple fact is both of these browsers don't have Adblock so they're actually SLOWER than Firefox with Adblock because they all have to load in those ads.

      Maybe Safari and Chrome are fast on a test....but in real world situations without adblock, they're slow.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Really? Loading less content is faster than loading more content???

        Tell me, how did you figure that out???

      • There is an ad blocking extensions for Chrome but it runs in the background and is not configurable, and the occasional false positives break some sites. My preferred method of ad blocking until a proper solution comes out is a HOSTS list.
      • Re:So in theory (Score:5, Informative)

        by EvilIdler ( 21087 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @07:33PM (#29408633)

        If your Safari doesn't have AdBlock, install it: []
        (32-bit for now...source available)

        I also recommend ClickToFlash: []

        • by sodul ( 833177 )

          Privoxy []: works with any browser that support proxy servers. It is great if you have a server machine to install it, then you can set all your home computers to use that centralized proxy.

          • GlimmerBlocker [] is similar and somewhat easier to configure, but less mature and runs on OSX only.

            Works great with Safari, though, with not having to worry about things like SafariAdblock causing stability problems.

        • Last time I checked, Safari Adblock doesn't work with Windows. It's a Mac-only plugin. Privoxy, as the elder sibling mentioned, is what I use for adblocking in all the browsers except Firefox.

      • by morari ( 1080535 )

        I always assumed that Safari was pretty well ignored even on the Mac. I mean, Firefox [i]is[/i] available on just about any platform that you'd want.

        • I would wager that the Safari market share among Mac users is as high or higher than the IE market share among Windows users. Just a guess.
        • Firefox is ridiculously slow on the Mac compared to Safari or even the open source Chromium.

    • by Khuffie ( 818093 )
      I generally just avoid websites that have annoying ads. If they really value their ads over their content, I don't really care about their content. I generally like how Opera does it. Ads are allowed by default, and if you see an annoying you can just right click and block it!
    • noscript/flashblock to prevent flash ads, and i don't really care about image/text ads as ill just ignore them.

    • Seriously though, how can you browse the web *without* adblock?

      Well.... I know you had IE in mind, but I browse the web quite happily with Firefox running Flashblock and image.animation_mode set to once (via about:config).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ivucica ( 1001089 )

      I have this fascinating ability that adblock users apparently lack: it's called "Ignore Irrelevance". You see, while those ads may be there ... I don't really see them. They are there if I concentrate hard enough to notice them ... but otherwise, they're not really there.

      Probably explains how I can surf without adblock.

      And, oh yeah, I occasionally like to support the site I'm visiting when I notice something actually interesting.

      • I also have the ability to ignore irrelevant bullshit. Despite that ability, I use AdBlock Plus. It makes a tremendous difference in the SPEED that a page loads at.

        Even with my lame DSL, it can take several seconds for a page to load without ADP. Several l - o - o - o - n - n -n - g seconds. Turning on ADP means the very same page reloads about as fast as I can hit ctrl-F5. Needless to say, I install ADP on everything I own, and so do the kids. I didn't have to TEACH them - they saw the results for th

        • I have AdBlock configured to even eliminate non-visible cruft. Google analytics, hit counters, etc.
    • Re:So in theory (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @09:11PM (#29409241)

      Every single one of these articles instantly devolves into a thread about AdBlock. Yes, we get it. A lot of people here like AdBlock. Can we stop fucking posting the same fucking thread in every fucking single fucking article? Christ.

      It's like Ron Paul in the politics tab during the election.

    • Possibly not, depending on how you set it up. Loading flash animations is likely substantially more CPU intensive than loading a static image. If the ad-block plugin has to evaluate hundreds of regular expressions for each HTTP request just to block some static images, it might be a net loss CPU-wise. But I guess if you block enough flash adds then you come out on top regardless.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:52PM (#29407877)

    I for one welcome our new battery life saving overl-... wait... what?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:53PM (#29407885)

    Flash is a pig, no matter what browser you use.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      Not to mention that Flash under anything else than IE + Windows runs like a slug.

    • by AndreR ( 814444 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:13PM (#29408059) Homepage

      But the thing is, IE processing pages with ads and flash was *more* efficient and less demanding on the CPU than Firefox processing pages with no ads at all.

      That comes to me as quite a shock, given that Flash is, in fact, a pig.

      • by Arterion ( 941661 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:24PM (#29408145)

        Kindof. It may just mean that the flash plugin for IE is less battery intensive than the flash plugin for FF.

        We'd have to no-flash, flash-only, and a mix to figure it out. The tests here didn't.

        This can't turn into a comparison of Microsoft vs Mozilla... it's probably more like a comparison of Adobe programmers on different teams.

        • by Tokerat ( 150341 )

          it's probably more like a comparison of Adobe programmers on different teams

          The PPC team sure didn't used to work for Be Inc, I'll tell you that much.

  • Yeah right (Score:5, Funny)

    by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:53PM (#29407891)

    It's all about wget on single user mode.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      RMS, is that you?

  • Bad Headline (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Nothing beats Links or Lynx when it comes it this.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Did they have total control over exactly what ads appeared on the sites they visited (obviously excluding any of the tests running adblockers)? If not, then that introduces a decent variable right there. I give very little credence to tests like this one due to pretty obvious flaws in their methodology.
  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:55PM (#29407909) Homepage

    The difference is within background noise - as are all these stupid tests.

    • I'd say that the difference is about how many page loads completed and how fast. IE8 is the slowest of all the browsers compared, so if less page loads completed, then it would probably use less power. I can make my battery last far longer if I only load 6 pages a minute as opposed to 10. The fact that the results essentially lists the browsers from slowest to fastest belies that hidden truth.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Eirenarch ( 1099517 )
        Except that IE is not the slowest browser of all. In fact IE is probably the fastest browser in completing a page load and this is why MS picked this comparison when they claimed that IE is the fastest browser. As Mark Twain said "Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." IE is very slow when running JavaScript but this is something completely different.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I skimmed the article and couldn't find anything on their method. There is a lot of relevent data that i simply couldn't see
      1) Which has the lowest wakeups/bat usage once the page is rendered (some of us still read content instead of loading pages all day)?
      2) Which has the lowest wakeups/bat usage on an active page, facebook,gmail,etc?
      3) Which uses the least CPU/bat to render pages?
      4) is there any difference in CPU/bat usage of flash?

      Then there is so much to be asked about the method:
      a)Was the environment c

  • Battery life test (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wowsers ( 1151731 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @05:56PM (#29407925) Journal

    So IE8 is more battery friendly? Is that before or after having to install a virus scanner to keep an eye on what IE is doing?

    • by GF678 ( 1453005 )

      IE8 in Vista/Windows 7 runs in a sandbox. Firefox doesn't. I'm not going to immediately say that IE8 is now more secure than FF, but I do believe that the security issues of IE6 aren't relevant anymore with the latest versions of IE.

      The joke about IE being insecure is going to become as obsolete as the BSOD jokes, although I expect it to still be trotted out at Slashdot for years to come.

      • by Svartalf ( 2997 )

        Unfortunately, Vista's got BSoDs again. []

        It's not obsolete as you thought it was. You should be careful about making remarks about IE8 for the same reasons.

        • by GF678 ( 1453005 )

          Unfortunately, Vista's got BSoDs again. []

          It's not obsolete as you thought it was. You should be careful about making remarks about IE8 for the same reasons.

          From XP onwards, BSODs will generally occur due to damaged/poorly-coded drivers or problematic hardware. I won't argue with you - BSODs are still around, but they're NOT as frequent as the Win 95/98 days. There are still a lot of people who joke about it as if it's a common problem, which it isn't.

      • Firefox is more secure, but it seems to be some sort of social thing rather than a code thing.

        Mac exploits are usually IM client exploits, or browser exploits. (Safari) Whenever I hear about pwn2own contests and stuff, it's Safari that gets punched wide open. Safari is arguably very secure, but it's still heavily attacked and constantly has vulnerabilities.

        IE8, same thing. However, in the case of Windows, there are many attack vectors, so if IE8 (or its sandbox) gets too tough to crack, go at it some other

  • Slow news day, guys? I mean, seriously -- who is going to choose a browser based on how long it'll keep working in a laptop battery life test? And what's the control group for this test, anyway? In the real world, some guy decides he wants some ramen and suddenly my wifi connectivity goes to crap. What if it's really bright in the room and I have to turn the brightness up on the LCD? Well and truly, there's about a hundred things more important than which browser I'm using that affect battery life.

    Now, I'm

  • I think... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by speedtux ( 1307149 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:00PM (#29407953)

    Given how far behind technically IE is otherwise, I think this is called "grasping at straws".

  • by joeflies ( 529536 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:07PM (#29407995)
    The summary would lead you to believe that they only tested two laptops. However, they also tested a netbook and in this case, "chome 2" (their spelling, not mine), won. Why didn't the submitter didn't mention this test where IE8 didn't win?
    • Clearly the summary writer is a retard that doesn't understand a netbook is a small laptop. []

      Netbooks (sometimes referred to as mini notebooks or subnotebooks) are a rapidly evolving[1] category of small, light and inexpensive laptop computers suited for general computing and accessing web-based applications;

      I don't normally call people retards. I'm just pissed that the summary writers on my favourite sites, like slashdot, and hackaday, completely fail at summaries or fact checking anything. A few weeks back some Titanium article showed up, but the linked article was from 2007! Frak that. Hackaday mentioned an AVR(uzebox) movie player that "just came out"... a half year ago?

      Bah, I've h

  • by physicsphairy ( 720718 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:09PM (#29408005) Homepage
    *Why* IE 8 gets better battery life than Safari? Is it simply because IE 8 has better, more efficient code? Is it because Safari is spending more processor resources getting me my pages quickly? (in which case perhaps Safari still gives the highest battery measured by numbers of pages visited) Is it because of OS integration (all the tests were run on Windows Vista or XP) in which case isn't IE (a) cheating (b) introducing other tradeoffs (security, etc.)? A virus might ultimately cost me more battery life, so even if my battery life is the solitary end in which I place concern, these other factors are still relevant. It is an interesting report, but given that the results are very close, I think it's hard to draw any substantial conclusions from it (except that viewing ads costs battery life).
    • by slyn ( 1111419 )

      It's been my experience using Safari on OS X that Safari performs terribly if you are doing any sort of hard drive I/O, meaning if it is all that you are using, it's going to keep your HDD awake doing god knows what the whole time you're using it. Doing something simple like opening a new tab when logging into WoW takes forever and it's basically the reason why Chrome for mac can't come out soon enough. I'd love to see a similar comparison featuring FF, Chrome, Safari, and Opera on OS X to see if the result

    • *Why* IE 8 gets better battery life than Safari?

      Here's what they did:

      "For testing, we load the three sites into tabs on our test web browser, wait 60 seconds, and then reload all three tabs."

      And they've only done the test once, without making sure that *all* browsers get the *same* HTML and JS with the *same* CPU-hungry Flash ads.

      Make your own conclusion.

  • Chrome beats other browsers by 4% in sound card usage.
    Seriously, I don't think the "raw" laptop battery life means something else that what it means...

    What would be somehow an interesting test is to measure the number of cycles/instructions a browser needs to:
    * load a page.
    * render a page.
    * animate a page during 1 minutes.
    Of course, with parallelism, it surely isn't as simple as that, but at least it would give an hint about the efficiency of your browser. Maybe someone can come with a more interesting test

  • On my Toshiba laptop with dual-core 2gz AMD processor and 3GB of RAM running Vista Ultimate, I haven't noticed any battery life differences per se, but I definitely have fewer memory issues with IE8 than I do with Firefox, and its generally much nicer to use than IE 7 was. I use Firefox on my EeePC which runs Windows XP, and I'm certainly not anti-firefox, but I notice it does tend to bog down.

    I tried Opera a few months ago, but found that it broke formatting on a lot of sites that I frequent and had a lot
  • A far better test metric would be CPU/mem/swap usage. If those 3 didn't have a direct relationship to battery life nothing will.

    I would like to see the test run using lynx also.

  • battery life is not the deciding factor in which browser I use. I've also heard that using Windows has better battery life than using any Linux distro. That still won't decide it for me.
  • Considering that it takes my poor Eee PC up to a minute to render the /. homepage at 100% cpu usage with FF3, I'm not surprised.

  • by Sarusa ( 104047 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:23PM (#29408133)

    Internet Explorer is 'just' a shell around Explorer - all the components it needs are pretty much there and often locked into memory (which means not swapped out, and disk access is the mindkiller I mean batter killer). I imagine this is sufficient to cover the difference.

    Still not giving up my Flashblock+Adblock+Noscript though. Especially on the laptop.

  • by goldmaneye ( 1374027 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @06:42PM (#29408269)
    4:00 AM: Intrepid counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer, gun drawn, kicks open the door to a small flat in a run-down apartment building. The nefarious Evil-Doer turns to face the door, clearly shocked.

    Evil-Doer (played by Jerry Seinfeld): Agent Jack Bauer! How can this be? That laptop had three, maybe four minutes of battery life left on it, at most! How could you possibly have downloaded those files in time?!
    Jack Bauer: Simple.

    Bauer turns to face the camera, which quickly zooms in on his face.

    Jack Bauer: I used Internet Explorer 8.

    A giant explosion rocks the screen, and a huge Internet Explorer logo appears.

    Announcer: Internet Explorer 8. Because on the Internet, seconds matter.
  • hell just froze over. sin to your heart's content (as long as you don't mind the cold).
  • In my experience all of the browsers listed render HTML and especially JS far faster than IE8. Who needs battery life when you are able to get things done significantly faster? This is becoming more and more true with new JS engines coming out almost monthly and providing significant performance improvements over older version and IE8.
  • by cffrost ( 885375 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @07:04PM (#29408427) Homepage
    Any application that you never run saves battery life.
  • Who the hell cares? It's like saying, "hitting yourself in the head with a brick will get you to sleep faster than counting sheep." Yes, they both get you to sleep, but take a guess which one I'd rather do.

  • If you are that concerned about battery life that 2% from changing browser makes a difference then you should really consider using a more lightweight operating system. That would also allow you to run with decent performance on hardware better optimized for low power consumption.

  • > ...the poor Windows result probably won't matter to most Safari users.

    Nothing matters to most Safari users. They're too cool.

  • by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) on Sunday September 13, 2009 @08:11PM (#29408845) Journal

    ... those people aren't.

    "Each test was run at least twice." If they were run at least 10 or 20 times you'd be able to estimate from the variance in the scores if the differences were significant.

    The netbook had almost identical measures for all except Safari (caveat to significance, as above). Does anyone think it matters that the two laptops were running Vista and IE8, a fairly integrated collection of software, likely installed together, whereas all the others were thrown on top of an operating system that never could get the hang of running much more than itself.

    Anyone want to put odds on whether the difference in drive activity in trying to (1) run MS operating system with MS vs. non-MS software and (2) run stuff installed together vs. installed after, would be proportional to the observed differences in battery life?

  • On a Mac, Firefox will use somewhere around 1% extra CPU for each additonal document open, even if none of them have flash or animated images. For instance, right now, I have 34 documents open, and it's using 17% CPU constant (which is unusually low). Nothing's going on. I've checked all of the documents. No animations, and gmail is the only one with any active Javascript. I've compared it to Safari, and it'll use roughly 0% for the same load.

    The reason I switched to Firefox is because its memory consu

  • We suspect that Safari 4 does better under OS X, however,

    Well, I'm guessing that IE8 performs very poorly under OS X.

  • I didn't realise that browsers regulated laptop battery life.

    I thought battery life was controlled by the Operating System regulating such things as CPU clock speed on that particular computer.

    Or is this report really talking about how many CPU clock cycles a browser uses to render a page?

    If so then the report should be re-written to say what it means. As it stands the headline appears to be misleading.

  • Ok. Let me get this straight. The conclusion is to use IE 8 because it uses the least battery life? Presumably, that implies (loosely) that it has the most effective algorithms for rendering modern pages. AnandTech should really compare apples to apples, and leave the orange out of the picture. What good is a modern browser that saves a bit of battery life, when it doesn't have a working Javascript garbage collector to free up memory on Javascript-heavy sites? I suspect that any user who's IE8 browser
  • Who cares about the battery life? What I'd like to see was how they managed to find that variety of machinery and OS (etc), that ran the same background processes on hardware that had all the same components/performance and little things like voltage to each module of all units. And of course they must have made sure that all the operating systems were using the same shared libs and everything ... wow!!!!

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre