Battery economy when taking notes/syncing on tablet-laptop

Hi there,

I am currently running Obsidian on my surface pro 8 laptop/tablet with Obsidian Sync turned on. It uses a ton of battery! A bit disappointing, given that I am only sitting and taking text notes, and I need to do that for hours at a time, when at conferences etc.

I would like to figure out the most battery efficient way of using Obsidian to take notes, given that I need to sync my notes across different devices. I don’t want any manual steps (don’t want to be able to forget to sync after a session…). E.g. battery life of course increases with flight mode turned on, but then I tend to forget to turn it off again (or I might need something from the internet during the note taking session) and end up with unsynced notes.

What do you think would be the most battery efficient alternative to use Obsidian with sync?

  1. Dropbox doing the syncing of the folder.
  2. OneDrive doing the syncing of the folder.
  3. Obsidian Sync.
  4. Other?

Any other battery saving tips are also much appreciated. I use only a small selection of plugins that I do not see should have a big impact (calendar, zoom, outliner, pandoc, natural dates).


I am not sure if this will suit your use case but I think you can benefit from Obsidian-Git. To be honest, for someone who didn’t know anything about Git and GitHub, it was a big hassle for me to setup properly. It took me a while for me to learn what I was doing but after that, it works flawlessly. Here are some points that may or may not help with your use case.

  • It can be set as an automatic thing and It will do everything for you auto-magically. Tho, you can also sync manually.
  • It is not instant-sync, at least I am not using it like that. I have mine setup with 5 minutes intervals. Every 5 minutes, it sends everything that you changed/added to the cloud. It is extremely fast and battery efficient.
  • It is not for instant-sync, most probably. If you want to see your changes instantly on your other devices, this may not be the solution for you.
  • Like me, if you do not know anything about Git, it may be a bit difficult to setup.
  • If you close your laptop’s lid before the sync happens, for example at the 4th minute mark for me, everything you have done until that point will not be synced. Although this can be handled by decreasing the time between the syncs.

I know that you do not want it but I will say it just because you might benefit from it. As far as I can see, best thing to do here would be manual sync with Git. It would be hassle to remember every time but it would virtually consume no battery at all because nothing runs in the background. If you pin the commands to the palate, it would take less than 5 seconds to send everything to the cloud after you finished writing.

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I could certainly do with auto every five minutes and the occasional click of a button before I close the lid. And I can see how this will save battery. I am not too familiar with GitHub but I know how it works in theory and could probably figure it out.

Thanks a lot, great advice. I will give it a try. Currently testing Dropbox, which I am anyway using on my device for a folder which is rarely updated. Let’s see how the battery usage for Dropbox and Obsidian respectively changes if I start using it to sync notes.

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I’ve never tested energy use. But do you use the graph view? If not, you could consider turning that, or some of the other core plugins off too. Anything that would seem to use the GPU. Show fewer tools in the side panes. (But I only assume it would help, I don’t know.)

I haven’t noticed Obsidian using excessive energy on Mac or iOS. I have noticed that with thousands of notes, Graph View heats up my iPad, presumably using excessive energy.

If this is a first impression based on importing a bunch of notes, Obsidian will probably use extra energy indexing and whatever you use for sync will use extra energy syncing. But that shouldn’t last.

Never actually use the graph view, but the plugin was activated, so I de-activated it now. Thanks!

Yes, it is a “first impression” but based on a week of using the laptop at a conference. I will come back with a more detailed analysis… :wink:

Another thing that spikes energy usage is having animated gifs inline in your notes.

(Although interestingly, it is more efficient than Notion’s render helper on a blank page, in a quick test. I find Notion keeps intermittently spiking higher than Obsidian playing gifs. Maybe from network syncing though…)

Haha I didn’t even know it was possible to have animated gifs in my notes. I will do my best to avoid that also going forward :slight_smile:

Oh, ha it’s one of my favourite features of Obsidian, and was the tipping point for me to adopt it. I just make sure not to “rest” on a page that has them if I’m on a laptop.

(I use gifs for illustrating a lot of my workflows and art.)

Fun fact: Trello boards can have animated backgrounds. Sorry, I digress. :slight_smile:

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That’s plenty long enough. I was thinking first day.

So… after a few months: with only obsidian running, screen on, taking notes, but in flight mode, I get around 5 hours out of my surface 8 pro. During “normal use” (firefox, some outlook, a bit of word) I typically get 6 hours. This is quite weird, in my opinion.

Oh, and that’s with “battery saver” turned on. Whatever that means.

I don’t know, but 6 to 5 hours sounds like it’s close enough to not really be conclusive. That doesn’t sound weird to me.

If Windows doesn’t have good energy monitoring software, maybe there is an app you can install to measure more precisely how much energy each app is using.

On MacOS, there is an energy monitor. And Obsidian is reading 0.0 at rest for me. And an app iStats Menu can show actual wattage being used. It’s very low impact. But it depends what is actively running. I don’t keep my graph open in the side panes, for example. I guess we talked about that earlier in the thread.

My notion would be that mixed use should be considerable more energy consuming than taking text notes in an editor. If I only use word, I would get 7-8 hours out of it. Obsidian does something which makes it equivalent to watching a Netflix movie in energy consumption, I find this a bit weird. But maybe my intuition is not worth much in this context :wink:

From my point of view the main difference between Obsidian and Word in terms of computer usage, is that Obsidian is saving all the time while Word is a little lazier in saving, at least that’s my impression.

In addition, Obsidian handles stuff like the cache and metadata, and if you got queries then they’re taking a little toll on resource usage as well.

Yes, I guess that’s the main difference. Obsidian saves after each stroke, but should it really consume the same amount of power as watching a movie? :wink:
I don’t think there is a way to make saving less frequent though.

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