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Opera takes on Chrome with power-saving browser that makes laptop batteries last 50 percent longer


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A new battery-saving mode is Opera's latest effort to attract Chrome users across to its desktop browser.

By Liam Tung | May 12, 2016 -- 09:52 GMT (02:52 PDT)


You can switch on power-saving mode when you're unplugged from a power source.
Image: Opera

Opera has rolled out a new power-saving mode for its browser, which it claims can extend a laptop's battery life by up to 50 percent compared to Google's Chrome.

At the end of last year, Opera had just 60 million desktop users, and is doing everything it can to tempt some of Google's one billion Chrome users to give its browser a spin.

The new battery saving mode arrives in the latest developer stream version of Opera 39, and follows the recent release of Opera with a built-in ad-blocker and built-in VPN.

Opera says the new battery saving mode in its browser is the result of reducing activity from background tabs, adapting page-redrawing frequency, and tuning video-playback parameters.

Battery consumption caused by browsers is a big topic for many laptop users and was, at least last year, a major complaint among Chrome desktop users. It was one of the reasons Google rolled out auto-pause on non-central Flash content by default, which it claimed would allow a battery to last up to 15 percent longer.

But with this new battery-saving feature, Opera claims it can make a laptop's battery last 50 percent longer than with its earlier versions as well as Chrome.

The battery-saving mode icon appears in the top right hand corner of Opera once a laptop has been unplugged from a power source. Clicking the icon opens a settings box for the feature, where it can be toggled on or off.

In addition, the feature will also detect when the device's battery is running low and will suggest enabling it.

Opera said this is the first time a browser has been given a battery saving mode, which it's done to address battery consumption caused by multiple tabs being open as people explore the web, listen to music, and play video.

"It's extremely frustrating to run out of battery on your computer, whether you are out traveling, watching videos, or you have just left your charger behind. Our new power-saving mode will nudge you when the laptop starts to consume battery, and, when enabled, it can increase the battery life by as much as 50 percent," said Krystian Kolondra, Opera's SVP of engineering.

Opera's tests comparing the new browser to Chrome were done on a Dell XPS 13-inch system, with Core i7, 16GB RAM, and running on Windows 10, 64-bit. The tests were based on the performance of the browsers with 11 tabs opened to popular websites, and were done with Opera's ad-blocker on too, which as it has previously highlighted, cuts down on memory usage and assists with battery conservation.