Google’s Chrome OS is quite a different operating system compared with Android on many levels, despite it’s tight integration with Google’s applications and services. Despite these differences, which stem from Chrome OS being more of an operating system for a desktop environment and Android being more for a mobile environment, Chrome OS is not so difficult to use. However, there are some aspects of Chrome OS that are difficult to work with including managing your battery and power consumption. There are fewer options to control on the Chrome OS platform: the main power draw is likely the screen, so there’s the option to turn down brightness. There are the connectivity options too: WiFi and Bluetooth for most devices, but this is just about it. There are also relatively few ways to monitor the battery life of the device, either. Chrome OS reports the remaining battery and an estimate of battery life but does not contain a visual guide as we find in Android… except actually, current builds of Chrome OS do have this feature.
To find it, you need to go into your device Settings menu. Nestled about two thirds down from the top of the screen, you’ll see the Battery option, sitting next to the Stored button. Tapping on here shows you the webapps and tabs that have used battery on your Chrome device, broken down in the order of how much power each as used. Better yet, you can go into each entry and stop the task from running. It’s no surprise that the busier webapps tend to use the most battery, so websites that constantly refresh such as Gmail or other email webmail services tend to be greedier than a static site you might have visited once or twice whilst using the Chromebook. This information can be useful if you are constantly running low of battery on your Chromebook and are seeking ways to squeeze further from your battery. It also shows one of the key differences in Chrome OS and Android and the Gmail service: with Android, the Gmail client is relatively efficient thanks to a combination of Google Cloud Messaging and the device only pulling down the data it needs to keep your inbox synchronized. Chrome OS, however, has no such refinements and instead updates the email list when it detects activity, which causes much higher power consumption. If you are working away from a power source and you need to extend your battery, consider closing the Gmail tab when not using it.
How many of our readers find that they need to manage their Chromebook’s battery carefully in order to get them through the day (or night) of use? Let us know in the comments below.