Chrome for Android vs. Safari for iPhone: Browser shootout

Google has just released the too-long-in-coming Chrome for Android browser, and Phil from Android Central wasted no time loading it up on his Galaxy Nexus, and putting it up against an iPhone 4S running Safari, for a classic head-to-head, phono-e-phono, Mobile Nations browser showdown video.

Both browsers are based on WebKit, the project Apple adapted from the old Linus KHTML Konquerer browser and has been sharing back with the open source community ever since. So it's no surprise both score 100/100 on the Acid3 rendering test. Safari makes use of Apple's Nitro JavaScript engine, however, while Chrome has Google's V8 under the hood. That let Chrome edge out Safari in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmarks.

Safari and iOS in general still offer smoother, more closely-tracked multitouch scrolling, panning, and zooming. (No doubt due to iOS placing priority on interface rendering tasks, while they're left to fight as equals on Android.)

Interestingly, Chrome, like Safari, offers no support for Adobe's Flash player, or any other internet plugin.

Chrome is still in beta and only available for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich right now. No doubt the release version will be even better still.

Likewise, Apple isn't slowing down. With iOS 5.1 on the horizon, Safari will improve as well.

Heck, now that BlackBerry has their new WebKit-based Torch browser, and Microsoft has embraced modern Internet Explorer builds on Windows Phone, it's getting harder to find a bad browser out there.

Check out the video below for full out web rendering showdown.

Source: Android Central

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • It sounds like in summary that the browser isn't something to say your phone has better any more.
  • Pinch to zoom is still more fluid in Safari :P, but the Nexus S (I think it is) is obviously faster at loading times.
    Never felt my iPhone 4 was slow until I saw the Nexus S in action, Android does look like it's going in the right direction, still would not give up my iPhone just yet but that moment might come if Android keeps going forward like this.
  • "it’s getting harder to find a bad browser out there" - that's the win for everyone right there - hooray for competition :)
  • my buddy's ex-wife makes $71 every hour on the computer. She has been out of work for 8 months but last month her pay was $7611 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site С А S Н S Н А R Р . С О М
  • Dolphin Browser by a long shot for me.
  • Dolphin runs on safari. All browsers from the app store except for opera run on safaris engine.
  • His wife has an iPhone 4s and no android central bookmark....hmmm
    , looks like the wife is smart. ;D
  • This way she won't get jealous over what she can't have
  • Though not intended to show the difference, the difference in viewable content/readabilty is significant. Step up the screen size Apple.
  • iPhone looks like a child's toy. Well it is a child's toy:)
  • This test is not realistic, and here's why. You typed in the URL into Chrome first, which was already in your address book, then you talked a bit before entering the URL into your wife's iPhone, then talked a bit and finally hit Go on both phones. However, what you and some readers may not realize is that Chrome was loading the page behind the scenes premptively even before you hit Go, which is why it seemed to be nearly instaneous. Don't get me wrong, I have been using Chrome on the desktop for years, since the early release. It is possible that Chrome may still be faster on Android then Safari on the iPhone, but I'd like to see a more realistic comparison that takes the facts into consideration, such as open an email and clink on a link after clearing the history and browser cache and making sure the browser isn't already loaded.
  • Chrome prefetching is part of the deal.
  • I understand that, and it is a good idea, but during normal usage you won't type the URL then wait 30 seconds before pressing go. My point was simply to make a more realistic comparison for those that are interested. If it is truly faster, that is great!
  • Need a tissue. Android < iOS anyday
  • Interesting that chrome loads faster but is a little laggy while scrolling/pinching.
  • That's laggy huh? Good grief.
  • my data is so slow the connection seems to affect how fast pages load much more then the browser.
  • Once officially launched, it will be interesting to see if Google can keep Chrome for Android on the every-6-week schedule its desktop big brother is on.
  • Look at that little toys screen. :p
  • I own both EVO 3D and iPhone 4s. The simple truth is, a full website on iPhone is fruitless to use. If you Pinch Zoom, then you must scroll back and forth to read. That is terrible. On Android, the text word wraps, even if you zoom to max. Great on old eyes.
    Unless I know I'm going to a mobile formatted site-- I don't use the iPhone for browsing.
    Will word wrap ever be a part of Safari?
  • Fact is. The iPhone has already a handy double tap function that fits any column nicely. No pinch to zoom required. Not to mention Reader
  • I wonder if Chrome decides to crash every 5 minutes and return old versions of web pages when you use the back button.
    If not then it can't quite match ios5 safari's feature set yet.
  • Safari will always be terrible for those with less than good vision because there is no word wrap.
  • I think the true test should be using both browsers under normal conditions for 8-12 hours WITHOUT recharging and see which phone is still working.
    Androids are great and 4G LTE is superfast, but you must be near a charger every 3-5 hours or else you are holding a very expensive paperweight. Some days I am away from home 16 hours and it is nice to know I don't have to worry about finding an outlet if I am not near one.
  • Hey, I don't know this. Thank you for this great article!
  • I just tried to hook up my iPhone to my tv with the Apple Component AV Cable and nothing happens. Only get sound, no video with the Hulu app. Anyone else try this?
  • Haha yeah I would think so! Report Pay that: 0
  • I noticed that a couple of the screen savers caused the crashes, I just removed them. As far as the slow running, these are pretty old programs ported over from the other *nix world and are not optimized to run on your more modern system, like the other screen savers are. There are lots of options for each of them, like frame rate adjustment, and various quality settings.