Google Chrome On 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro Greatly Decreases Battery Life [Report]
Although many OS X users consult the native Safari browser when looking to surf the Web, a large portion also use Google Chrome. The search giant’s browser is, after all, well established, and considered the best in the business by those who use it on a frequent basis. However, if you’re planning on using the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, your Chrome-using days may be numbered, with tests proving that battery retention can deplete by a mind-blowing 3.5 hours compared with Safari.
When using different apps on any platform, one can expect battery life to vary. It’s only natural that one browser, having been built specifically for OS X before anything else, would be more efficient on power than a more generic offering like Chrome, but as The Verge has discovered through testing, the difference between Safari and Chrome in terms of battery usage is night and day.
With the display brightness set at 65 per cent, The Verge ran Safari on the latest 2015 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro through a cycle of browsing websites in a loop until the battery gave out. With a time of 13 hours and 18 minutes, it fared particularly well, and where some may be concerned about Apple’s thinning notebooks sacrificing battery, the Safari test suggests otherwise.
However, when Chrome stepped up to the plate, it was a different story altogether. At 9 hours and 45 minutes, Chrome was much more taxing on the battery than could possibly have been imagined, and where a few minutes’ or even an hour’s difference may have been forgivable, those buying the new MacBook Pro have a very real decision to make if they were / are planning on using Chrome.
It should be made quite clear that this isn’t a bolt out of the blue. Chrome has never really played nicely on Mac, and tends to eat into battery (and resources) much more quickly than Safari and others.
For that extra battery usage, you may expect a superior performance, but as the report notes, this is simply not the case. There’s no doubt that Chrome is an awesome, feature-rich browser on a number of platforms, and isn’t too shabby on Mac, either, but up against Safari, it’s bested in almost every department.
Safari is faster, per SunSpider benchmarks, and is better capable of playing UHD video. Even YouTube, which is also owned by Google, cannot stream 4K clips at 60fps to Chrome users on Mac, and yet Safari can handle these 60fps videos with consummate ease.
If you don’t plan on moving around too much or watching 4K videos on YouTube, then you’ll probably be happy to stick with Chrome. But there’s no question that the 3.5-hour battery reduction is a major caveat, and if you are frequently on the move, migrating to Safari may be advisable.