Budgie vs KDE Plasma battery life

Since my Framework is finally bound to be sent to me, the question which DE to use becomes more imminent. I want an elegant desktop, but since battery life is kind of a constraint on this laptop, it should be somewhat lightweight as well.

After abusing distrotest.net and some of my flash drives, I have found Budgie to be my favourite UI/UX wise. That being said, KDE Plasma is configurable enough to probably deliver a similar experience on that end and is said to have become much more lightweight in recent years, while Budgie is supposed to suffer from its Gnome roots.

My question is therefore: has anyone here tested or experienced both DEs in a comparable manner in regards to battery life (or RAM/CPU usage as a proxy) on the FW? Thanks in advance for your replies, if no one has done this yet, I’ll probably just do these tests myself once my Framework arrives and share my findings here.

I’ve been using KDE/Plasma on Fedora 35 for my main OS on Framework, so far I really like it. It would really depend on your OS and what works better with it. If you’re going Ubuntu, either will probably be fine. I have my KDE tuned to where I like it and have really enjoyed it.

The biggest issue I have with KDE/Plasma currently is having to stick to XORG/X11 for my graphics server. Wayland on KDE is a miserable experience with scaling and compatibility with apps that aren’t native to Wayland.

Unfortunately I would think the battery life between both would be pretty similar given that you would be running either Desktop Environment with X11, where a bulk of the handling will be done. I could save some extra battery just by using Wayland for my KDE/Plasma setup, but the end user experience is just so much worse. Currently, I get about 8-10 hours with my usual workload.


I haven’t compared to budgie but I’m getting approx 6 hours SOT on Plasma 5.24 browsing the web and occasionally watching a YT vid. I haven’t actually timed it out so take that with a grain of salt, but I also haven’t made any attempts to stretch out battery life apart from turning brightness down at night.

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I’m using Kubuntu 21.10 with backports PPA that bring the latest KDE.

Everything works fine, though required some performance tweaks, like enabling hardware accelerated video decoding in Firefox, and setting up hibernation with proper actions for laptop lid and power button.

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Did that impact battery life positively/negatively? How is it in general? I’m thinking about using either Kubuntu or Ubuntu Budgie as my daily driver.

Software decoding is generally much more energy intensive than dedicated hardware, so most likely the impact is positive. I haven’t performed any tests though.

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So far I really like it. Maybe I’m lucky, but I haven’t experienced any major issues with my Batch 5 setup. I can easily get 7 to 10 hours of battery time to the point that I don’t really pay much attention to how many is left. It just works.

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What other performance tweaks besides the hibernation and HW accel for firefox? Getting close to 10 hours SOT is pretty impressive!

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Yeah I never reached more than like 8 hours at max with very very basic stuffs reducing video playback at most, what tweaks led you to reach 10 hours?

No active expansion cards, minimal display brightness, balanced power profile (recent KDE allows switching that directly), powersave profile when battery is below 15%, TLP installed.

There are some interesting comparisons on this page:



@Bundyo thanks for the link, quite insightful! I am confused though why the author would say Plasma is rather lightweight and Budgie a memory hog when they scored very comparably? Anyway, I guess it will come down to me testing if Wayland on KDE is bearable for my use case, as that seems to be the major distinguishing factor regarding battery life.

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