Opera Web browser claim chowder -- far too salty for me

Opera, led by CEO Lars Rabæk Boilesen, makes totally believable claim. And please buy my bridge.

Opera power-saving mode
Credit: Opera

Opera has this new 'power-saving' mode. The eponymous Web browser company claims it gives you (ahem) 'up to' 50% more battery life -- but is that likely? Uh, NO!

[Developing story: Updated 8:42 am and 2:34 pm PT with Opera response and more comment]

Yes, the actual software tweaks will make a difference, but the tests Opera's quoting are skewed, unscientific, and compare apples to oranges. But what do you expect from a company that's trying to get bought by a Chinese consortium for more than $1.2 billion?

Here we go again: A few weeks ago it was the VPN that turned out to be a proxy, and now this. Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers celebrate lies, damn lies, and statistics. Not to mention: Don't try this at home, kids… 

What’s the craic? Frederic Lardinois fries up a crispy news story: [You're fired -Ed.]

Opera is on a roll. [It] is launching a new early release developer version [with] a power-saving mode. Opera argues [it] can increase battery life by as much as 50 percent.

None of this is obviously magic. [It] reduces the activity from background tabs, slows...page-redrawing...and makes changes to the video playback parameters.

Apple claims using...Safari on OS X...too, can lead to longer battery life. ... Chances are Chrome and Firefox will add similar modes.

Live, from the Ukraine. It's Andrii Degeler, with Opera browser adds power saving mode:

Norwegian browser maker Opera Software...claimed that a laptop running Windows 10 64-bit...lasts 49 percent longer than one with Chrome. [But] the testing was made with ad blocking...which can account for a significant part of the battery life.

This is Opera's third new...feature to be announced in the last few months. [They] come following a reported [$1.2 billion] buyout bid...from a consortium of Chinese firms.

Let's go to the horse's mouth. Here's Paweł Miniewicz—Introducing power saving mode in Opera for computers:

We are the first major browser to include a dedicated power saving mode. ... It can mean several hours more browsing before you need to recharge.

Once the laptop’s power cable is unplugged, the battery icon will appear. ... Click the battery icon to activate. [Opera] will also suggest you enable [it] when your laptop reaches 20%...battery.

We...reduced activity in background tabs...waking CPU less often...automatically pausing unused plug-ins...reduced frame rate to 30...tuning video-playback parameters...paused animations of browser themes. ... While testing...with the power saving mode enabled, the ad blocker was on, too.

Ohhh wait. So you compared Opera with ad-blocking to Chrome without it? Never mind. Nothing to see here. Jamie Condliffe treats Opera kindly:

A test performed by the company...is bound to provide a favorable result. And it’s hardly the most rigorous of trials.

You can say that again, Jamie. And James Vincent is similarly skeptical:

The company's claims are impressive, but we'll have to wait and see...in the real world. ... Blocking ads can help...battery life, and it's possible [it] helped account for the extra.

"Possible". "Helped". Yeah, and the rest.

Update 1: We asked Opera to comment. PR supremo Henrik Gustav Faller responded thuswise:

We acknowledge this is a developer release, and we are very open about our tests. ... We are looking forward to more people test it on their own, and welcome feedback on our new feature, which we hope people will like.

Update 2: But even if the claim is accurate, so what? Heed the thoughts of John Scott:

I have my doubts how effective this will be. ... Those who use Chrome have known for a long time it's a battery hog, but that hasn't seem to detract from its popularity.

Opera...is just too busy...to even consider. It tries too hard to be liked.

The best on battery life...is to use the OS native browser. So either Safari on OS X or Edge...on Windows.

Google has recently been working on Chrome and its energy consumption. So Opera may have a small window of opportunity here.

And Finally…

Don't try this at home

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or itbw@richi.uk.
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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