Google Chrome vs Safari: iOS Browser shootout!

Google Chrome for iOS was released today -- and also reviewed -- but we still had to put it up against Apple's default browser, Safari, in a good, old fashioned Mobile Nations browser shootout!

Now we all know the deal here -- it's not a fair fight. Chrome on iOS is restricted to using Apple's embedded HTML renderer (UIWebView), and doesn't get access to Apple's speedier, just-in-time JavaScript engine (Nitro). And there's nothing to be done about that unless and until Apple changes their policies.

Still, if you love Chrome and really want to use it on iOS, it's worthwhile knowing what exactly you'll be gaining and what you'll be giving up by going all in.

So we conducted some basic tests, such as load times (which revealed a slight lead for Chrome in two tests -- go UIWebView!), JavaScript (where Safari had a significant lead, of course), HTML5, and CSS (roughly equivalent).

One test that didn't make the video was BrowserMark, in which Google Chrome scored 49248 and Safari scored way higher with 101631.

Overall, I didn't find there was much discernable performance difference. The slightly speedier load time in Chrome caught me by surprise at first, but in the long haul, the difference is negligible since Safari and Chrome run essentially the same rendering engine.

The real clincher for most folks will be Chrome's features, such as cloud syncing with desktop Chrome and Incognito mode. iOS 6 promises more than a few updates to the Safari browser, including iCloud Tabs, at which point Chrome will have a hard fight ahead of itself.

It will likely come down to whether you use Safari on the desktop and iCloud for sync, or prefer Chrome on the desktop and live in Google services. At least now, if you're the latter, Chrome for iOS will make you complete.

How has your experience been with Chrome? Had it replaced Safari on your dock?

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.