As we probably spend a lot of our computer time in front of a web browser, it is really important for these apps to be energy efficient, especially on laptops. But if you think your favorite web browser acts like a battery hog, Opera just made an announcement that could make you want to switch browsers right now (via PCWorld). On the developer edition of the Opera 39 browser for both Mac and Windows PCs, Opera is introducing a new "low-power mode" that promises to extend significantly your computer's battery life:
We are the first major browser to include a dedicated power saving mode, designed to extend your laptop battery life by up to 50% compared with, for example, Google Chrome. Depending on your type of hardware, it can mean several hours more browsing before you need to recharge your laptop.
Opera explains that the new power saving mode is easy to use: once you unplug the power cable from your laptop, the Opera browser will display a battery icon next to the search and address field that will activate the power saving mode when you click it. Opera will also automatically suggest you to enable this power saving mode as soon as your laptop's battery reaches 20% remaining capacity. Opera shared more details about how developers achieved these improvements in power efficiency:
We made several under-the-hood optimizations to deliver these savings:
- Reduced activity in background tabs
- 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
While Opera has yet to achieve mainstream popularity among web surfers, it's nice to see developers caring about the user experience. Two months ago, Opera also introduced a native ad blocker to a developer edition of the web browser, a feature which has now been integrated into both Opera for computers and Opera Mini for Android. Sadly, the company announced in April that it would hold off on active development for Opera Mini on Windows Phone and has yet to change its stance. What do you think of this new power saving mode in Opera? Please tell us in the comments if you're likely to give it a shot.