I know this is personal, in that I love my HTC Android phone, but independant research of 45 000 page loads has shown that Android is 52% faster on average, and i-phone was slower on 84% of sites. Whilst this is of marginal interest when thinking about the phones, things become even more relevant with the growth of the tablet market, not least because Google’s latest release of Android is designed specifically for tablets and will be even faster!
We set out to discover which mobile browser is truly faster – when used on real sites. Our goal was to measure the true mobile browsing experience, and see which device comes out ahead. 45,000 page loads later, this report summarizes our conclusions. We can now give a definitive answer to the question: which browser is really faster, from a user’s point of view?
The results surprised us.
First of all, we found that Android’s browser is faster. Not just a little faster, but a whopping 52% faster. Android’s Chrome beat iPhone’s Safari by loading 84% of the websites faster, meaning Safari won the race only 16% of the time. While we expected to see one of the browsers come out on top, we didn’t expect this gap
Other comparisons attempted to compare a small set of sites manually. However, we can’t draw conclusions from such small sets, and it’s hard to rely on the accuracy of manual measurement. Performance measurement is made up of many variables, and measuring the same page 5 times usually yields 5 different results. In this study, the large number of data points overcomes this variability. Having 9000 measurements on each device has the statistical strength to reliably say which browser is faster, across the different websites.
The study was done primarily on iPhone 4 and Google Nexus S. The websites used were those of the Fortune 1000 companies. Each page was loaded multiple times and on different days, measured primarily over WiFi. For each device, we used the median load time for the comparison. The total number of tests was over 45,000.
This study was made possible through custom apps we developed, used to measure page load time on mobile devices. These apps run on the actual devices, load a page on demand, and measure how long it took. These agents are available as a free service to measure your own site on Mobitest.