Opera claims 50 per cent power savings with browser update

Desktop users targeted with JavaScript-crimping, animation-slowing efforts

Browser minnow Opera may have less than two per cent of the market, but thinks the 50 per cent boost to battery life it's baked into a new browser will help it to do better.

"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," said Paweł Miniewicz. veep of engineering at Opera.

One way Opera helps CPUs sleep for longer is better scheduling of JavaScript timers. The new browser also cuts back on activity in unused tabs, pauses plugins that aren't needed and kills some animations. The power-saving mode also cuts frame rates to 30fps and taps into hardware accelerated video codecs.

These power savings aren't automatic – users will need to turn them on. They'll also receive prods to turn on the new settings if battery life falls below 20 per cent.

The Norwegian firm was honest enough to say that the "up to 50 per cent" figure isn't guaranteed for all computers. It got its battery benchmarks using a Lenovo X250, Core i7-5600U, 16GB RAM and Dell XPS 13, 16GB RAM running on Windows 10, 64-bit, high-performance power mode, and different computers will get different results.

Nevertheless, the power saving feature is a good idea and one others could look at as well. When you look at the amount of resources Chrome burns up it's clear there's room for improvement. ®

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