Microsoft publishes the methods behind its Edge battery tests

— 4:26 PM on September 15, 2016

In mid-June, Microsoft published some results of its in-house battery life testing from streaming a video to Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera's eponymous web browser. In these tests, Microsoft's Internet Explorer replacement lasted nearly 7.5 hours—70% longer than playing the same video in Chrome. Microsoft didn't publish its testing methods, though.

Opera secured second place in Microsoft's testing, but the company made a point to challenge the opacity of Microsoft's methods, and it even went so far as to craft a battery-life testing video of its own. Perhaps to nobody's surprise, Opera bested Edge in its own tests. Opera's testing was based on simulated browsing, not pure video streaming, and the company detailed all of its testing methods, complete with mathematical formulas.

Microsoft has now created a GitHub page in support of its claims of streaming-video battery life supremacy, now complete with the company's test methodology. That document includes details of Redmond's hardware and software configuration, including browser versions. The new information also gives the exact source of the streaming video: "Nature: Animal Misfits" from Netflix.

Superior battery life might not be the only advantage that Edge can claim in regular use. Microsoft followed up its video in July with a claim that Edge was the only major web browser capable of streaming Netflix content in resolutions higher than 720p. Going by Netflix's support page, only Edge and Safari can play 1080p content natively today. 

Microsoft's GitHub page does not specify the streaming resolution or the video codecs used in its testing. The announcement that Edge is able to stream video from Netflix in resolutions that other browsers cannot access calls into question how much of an apples-to-apples comparison is made here, and how these results might translate to other video streaming sites.

For its part, Google has recently touted battery life improvements of up to two hours in Chrome 53 compared to Chrome 46 when streaming HTML5 videos from popular websites, including YouTube and Facebook.

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