Windows 10's Edge vs Chrome: We're faster and win in battery face-off, says Microsoft

A Surface Book lasts longer streaming video on Edge than Chrome, but can that convince users to swap browser?
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has kicked off 2018 with two new ads promoting Windows 10 Edge's battery efficiency and speed compared with Google Chrome.

It's a new year and Microsoft wants its Windows 10 users to give Edge a chance, rather than merely using the browser to install Chrome.

Microsoft published the two new ads on New Year's Eve, pitting Edge against Chrome, the world's most popular browser.

"Microsoft Edge is up to 48 percent faster than Google Chrome," Microsoft says in one of the 30-second ads.

Not only that, but Microsoft argues that Edge is safer too, thanks to SmartScreen, its built-in equivalent of Google's Safe Browsing anti-phishing technology. Microsoft says: "Edge blocks 18 percent more phishing sites than Google Chrome."

Microsoft doesn't cite the source of this statistic, but in October, NSS Labs released a report comparing Edge on the locked-down Windows 10 S with Chrome on Chromebooks, suggesting that Edge blocks more phishing URLs than Chrome.

A month earlier, Google released reports that it commissioned from two independent security firms that found Safe Browsing is more accurate than SmartScreen.

The other ad Microsoft published pits Edge against Firefox and Chrome in a battery performance test on a Surface Book running Windows 10 Fall Creators Update edition.


Microsoft has published in blue the actual runtime results of its tests, with the normalized figures in red.

Image: Microsoft

The time-lapse video shows the three browsers running an HD streamed video on a continuous loop until each device's battery is exhausted.

Edge comes out on top, lasting 16 hours and eight minutes, versus Chrome's 13 hours and 31 minutes, and Firefox's nine hours and 52 minutes.

"Microsoft Edge streams video up to 63 percent longer than Mozilla Firefox and up to 19 percent longer than Google Chrome," says Microsoft.

Microsoft doesn't say which version of each browser it used for the tests, but notes in the small print that the results are based on average times and that battery life varies significantly with settings, usage, and other factors.

However, it has updated the GitHub page it used to support the similar battery performance tests that it conducted last year. Here, Microsoft reveals the new tests used Edge 16, Chrome 62, Firefox 56 and 57, and Opera 49, so Microsoft is actually using current and near-current browsers. It's also released details about its methodology.

"The test was performed on four separate Surface Book laptops running the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (16299 release)," Microsoft notes.

A sample was taken for each browser on each laptop. These computers were all configured with display brightness at 50 percent and volume on mute, while location and Bluetooth were disabled. Microsoft enabled quiet hours, temporarily disabled updates, and disabled the ambient light sensor.

All devices were connected to a wireless network, but were unplugged and running on battery, Windows Defender was running, Windows Battery Saver mode was set to activate at 20 percent battery, and the cache was cleared on each browser. Additionally, each browser was set to playback HTML5 video at 720p.

The Surface Books all used Intel Core i5-6300U CPUs at 2.4GHz with 8GB of RAM.

Microsoft's battery life video is one of two pitting Edge against Chrome.

Source: Microsoft/YouTube

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