Opera update promises to increase your laptop battery life by almost 50%

Madeleine Dean By: Madeleine Dean
3 minute read

Home » Opera update promises to increase your laptop battery life by almost 50%

Battery life is one of the most important features in a laptop. Often enough, we choose to buy a laptop over a desktop computer because of the former’s portability, which is represented by battery life among other features. If no sockets are available, a laptop with an excellent battery life can be a life-saver. Speaking of which, you can check out this article on the best battery life laptops, if this a major purchasing criterion for you.

But battery life is also affected by other factors (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • ads – they increase memory consumption and require more energy from your computer’s battery
  • animated themes: as lively and interesting as they are, they too drain your laptop’s battery
  • the number of tabs opened: we all tend to open tens of browsers when we are looking for a particular information. When we find it, we focus on two or three tabs, but we don’t close the others.

Opera took all these elements into account, and released a dedicated power saving browser version to its developer channel. According to the company, this browser named “Opera 39” extends your battery life by up to 50% compared to Google Chrome. Until this browser lands to mainstream usage, you can also use a few tricks to extend your laptop’s battery life, such as setting up a power saving plan among other things.

Opera 39 pops-up a battery icon next to the address field when the laptop’s power cable is unplugged. All you have to do is click on the battery icon to activate the power saving mode. If you forget to do that, the browser will suggest you to enable this feature when your the remaining battery capacity reaches the 20% threshold.

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The Opera team operated the following optimizations to enhance this battery saving capacity:

  • Reduced activity in background tabs
  • Waking CPU less often due to more optimal scheduling of JavaScript timers
  • Automatically pausing unused plug-ins
  • Reduced frame rate to 30 frames per second
  • Tuning video-playback parameters and forcing usage of hardware accelerated video codecs
  • Paused animations of browser themes

[…] there is quite a lot idle time and background activity. And, surprisingly, you can save a lot of energy from optimizing those states. Modern processors do an amazing job in saving power by taking tiny naps multiple times per second, and what our development team focused on was writing code that would wake them up as infrequently as possible.

The team further details the results:

The results from testing the power saving feature in this developer release show very promising results. In our test, designed to reflect the way people use browsers in real life, the latest Opera developer version was able to run 50% longer than browsers like Google Chrome on a laptop running Windows 10, 64-bit.

The power saving mode results […] were actually done on a Lenovo X250, Core i7-5600U, 16GB RAM and Dell XPS 13, 16GB RAM running on Windows 10, 64-bit, high-performance power mode.

Could this battery saving feature help Opera to dethrone Google Chrome and become the most popular browser in the world? You can download the Opera developer browser here and test it for yourself.

Speaking of Opera, if you miss the old version you can check out the Vivaldi web browser for Windows 10 which brings back the old Opera and our exclusive interview with Opera founder, Jon von Tetzchner speaking about Vivaldi.

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