Seven years ago, the browser wars seemed all but ended. AOL bought out Netscape, Microsoft Internet Explorer dominated the market, and the era of browser-based exploits began. In 2003, Microsoft’s stranglehold on the browser market didn’t change much, but the Mozilla group began their efforts at an open-source alternative.
AnandTech.com has had a look at the impact of your choice of browser on battery life and published results of a benchmark comparing the battery life of AMD and Intel based laptops running Internet Explorer 8, Opera 10, Firefox 3.5, Safari 4, and Chrome.
Internet Explorer beats the competition, followed by Firefox. Safari had the worst performance.
Outside of Safari 4, which was clearly the worst browser choice for battery life under Windows, the major browsers offer similar battery life. We expected to see the largest difference on netbooks, where we thought the CPU and limited memory would influence the results; instead the opposite was true, where our netbook had nearly identical battery life with every browser we tested other than Safari 4. The AMD platform showed the most differentiation between browsers, so a switch might net you 10% or more battery life. Intel’s platform doesn’t show quite as much difference between browsers, but you could still get 5% more battery life.
Overall, Internet Explorer and Firefox 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.