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Opera's Battery Saver mode is yet another reason why you should switch to this fantastic browser

The latest versions of the Opera web browser include a battery-saver function that can help give your laptop battery an assist in making it through the day (or at least until you can find an outlet).
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
SOPA Images/Getty Images

Opera isn't perfect.

But, in my book, it's closer than most browsers. Yes, I get the regular crashes when I try to load Google Calendar but other than that, Opera is fairly smooth sailing. 

Also: Best secure browsers to protect your privacy online

Recently, I discovered yet another new piece of the browser puzzle, in the form of a small battery icon found in the Opera toolbar. That icon is for the Battery Saver, a new feature that pulls some interesting little tricks behind the scenes.

What does Battery Saver do?

The Opera Battery saver does the following things:

  • Reduces activity in background tabs
  • Tweaks video-playback parameters
  • Reschedules JavaScript timers
  • Pauses plug-ins
  • Stops animations

Those five items go a long way to saving your battery, especially when your web browser handles the majority of your workload. This is especially true when every little drop of power is crucial to getting you through the day.

Understand that the Battery Saver icon only appears when your laptop is unplugged. The second you plug it in, the icon disappears. Why? Because when you unplug your laptop (and you have Opera open), the Battery Saver mode automatically kicks in. It doesn't matter if your battery is at 100% or 1%, Battery Saver mode will be enabled the second you unplug the laptop.

Also: Opera One is an exciting new path for the Opera browser, with one big caveat

However, even with the icon appearing in your browser, it doesn't mean Battery Saver mode is on. If the battery icon is black, the mode is off. If the battery is blue, the mode is on. Fortunately, the developers have made it such that you can configure a few parameters to tell Opera when to automatically switch on Battery Saver mode. 

Let's do just that.

How to configure Opera's Battery Saver mode

What you'll need: The only thing you'll need for this is an updated version of Opera installed on a laptop. That's it. Let's save some battery.

1. Open Opera

The first thing to do is open the Opera browser. Of course, if you're reading this, chances are pretty good that you already have it open.

2. Open Battery Mode settings

Click the Battery Mode icon. In the resulting popup, click the gear icon in the upper right corner.

The Opera Battery Saver mode popup.

Opera's Battery Saver mode is on for my MacBook Pro.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Configure Battery Mode

The first thing you'll want to do is enable Battery Saver by clicking the top On/Off slider until it's in the On position. Next, click the On/Off slider for Save battery automatically until it's in the On position. Once you've done that, click that drop-down and select from these options: when unplugged, at 80% battery, at 50% battery, or at 20% battery. If you want to get the most out of the Battery Saver mode, select when unplugged. If you're not that concerned about Opera draining your battery, you might select at 50% or at 20%. 

The Opera Battery Saver mode settings section.

You can select when Battery Saver mode automatically kicks in.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Once you've taken care of that, close the settings window and you're done. Opera's Battery Saver mode will automatically kick in at the point you've configured and will help you make it to either the end of the day or until you can reach a plug. 

Also: How to reset the Opera web browser (and when you should)

When Opera's Battery Saver mode is on, if you click the icon it will display approximately how much time you have remaining with the help of Opera. 

The Opera Battery Saver mode popup indicating time remaining.

Opera's Battery Saver mode insists I could get nearly 18 hours of life from my battery.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

If you've been looking for yet another reason to switch to the Opera browser (and you depend on a laptop), this new feature might be just the push you need to make it so.

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