Check out our Chrome for Android Walkthrough!

Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S

The race for the best mobile browser is just about dead even. Android's browser has certainly competed with its Webkit cousin in mobile Safari for several versions now, partially from borrowing bits and pieces of Chrome code. (Anybody remember this demo from Google IO 2010?) But while the browsers might have been fairly level under the hood, Safari's definitely had the edge in what the end users see, with scrolling and zooming that's buttery smooth.

With the introduction of the Chrome browser on Android (currently available in beta form), the mobile browsing playing field has been leveled that much more. Behind the scenes, things are running as fast as ever. And out front, on the display, the Android's browsing experience has taking another evolutionary leap forward.

We've got a quick comparison video and some more benchmarks after the break. We're not looking for the most scientific of results here -- though the benchmarks speak for themselves. Really, it's the feel of the Chrome browser on Android (and, again, remember that it's still a "beta" product, for what that's worth) that we're most interested in.  

Click on through to the other side, and be sure to check out our pals from iMore.com for their thoughts on the Chrome-Safari showdown.


Youtube link for mobile viewing

Chrome on AndroidChrome on Android

Safari on iPhone 4SSafari on iPhone 4S

So both Chrome on Android and Safari on the iPhone 4S score 100 out of 100 on the Acid3 test, which checks to see if the browser complies with various web standards. Good to see. SunSpider benchmarks how a browser handles Javascript tasks. Chrome on Android has consistently edged out Safari, in our testing.

But that's not to say Chrome's got Safari beat. The iPhone 4S browser still has smoother panning and zooming. Not greatly better, but is noticeable. 

But, as we're having to remind ourselves, Chrome's in beta. It will get better. And if this but the first version of Chrome we get to use, we're excited to see where things stand six months to a year from now.

 
There are 52 comments

AppHunter says:

Small screen on that white phone....

Oskiee says:

Haha, i saw that. Its interesting you have the entire iphones screen in the picture, but about 2/3s of the GN's screen.

rengek says:

Its a lovely sized phone fit for most modern day woman on the go. They tend to like compact sized accessories in their purses.

ScottJ says:

Female hipsters carry purses? I guess they'd carry retro purses they got at Goodwill.

I would say just the opposite. We women consistently stuck with small or non-existent pockets forcing us to carry around purses. Purses have lots of room. No need to get a tiny phone ;-)

moosc says:

The nexus eats the the apple:) 8-)

hmmm says:

And what's even better is there are at least 4 browsers available that are better than the Chrome beta.

This is the first time I realized you have to look at your carrier name every time you look at your screen on an iPhone. That would be annoying to me. I always thought that was simply a marketing photoshop in advertisements.

stopsign002 says:

Yeah i really only want to be reminded of my carrier once a month lol

Commodus says:

It's really not -- you tune it out pretty quickly, especially since the bar changes to gray-on-black in dark apps or goes away entirely in something like a game.

impulse101 says:

Keep telling yourself that and soon you will believe it. IPhones are an utter joke, so outdated and ugly looking with their small screens and disgusting mess called iTunes, lol

impulse101 says:

You obviously never used chrome beta if thou think 4 other browsers are better than it. People are calling it the best piece of software google has ever made. There is no browser that can touch this. You should actually use it before saying ridiculous things. My opera browser crashed twice while typing this message and dolphin is not better either

bold1193 says:

Funny, I am reading this on Chrome for my G-Nexus lol

cashxx says:

Funny how everyone says Android is so much better than iOS iPhone, but the Android phones are always compared to the iPhone.

Robbzilla says:

That's the fault of the bloggers. They have a lot of inertia from back in 2007.

stopsign002 says:

... what would you compare it to?

bdfull3r says:

So we aren't suppose to compare products to the competition? The largest competition is the iPhone. Troll

15israellai says:

Don't worry, there will be no competition soon. Apple has been stifling competition so actively.

ScottJ says:

Wow. That little nugget was the most dubious logic you've come up with yet, and that's saying something!

Channan says:

Android fan: My Galaxy Nexus is better than your iPhone 4S.

iOS fan: How?

Android fan: I'll show you by comparing my Galaxy Nexus to my buddy's Evo 3D.

.....

Oh wait...

E_man says:

When the new iPhones come out, what are they compared to? Top of the line android phones. It's almost like you compare things to their competition...

I'm lovin' the Chrome browser but I'm starting to realize that I use flash a lot...

9KRacing says:

Agreed. I love the new Chrome, but man, not having flash sucks.

If flash was supported on the Chrome Beta it would be the perfect browser. Well, that, and a request desktop option.

Commodus says:

Flash is going away on mobile, not coming in, so you'll have to get used to it. I hardly ever use Flash myself.

JeffDenver says:

Yeah, everyone keeps saying that, yet a LOT of people are still complaining about no flash on Chrome. Are they just making it up?

When Flash is "gone" instead of "going away", that will be the right time to yank support for it.

prlundberg says:

Yep, how long has Apple been telling us that Flash is going away so we don't need it? 2 or 3 years now?

Maybe when my current contract is up in late 2013 things will be different. Or maybe not. For now, I need it.

bdfull3r says:

Flash annoys me but i could live with it. Not being able to change my user agent is a huge problem to me. I refuse to use a mobile version of facebook or twitter or porn or any site on my tablet. I HATE mobile sites and most are too stupid to see the difference between a feature phone and a dual core android tablet

alcor34 says:

Excellent...

Chrome is on its way. It should pass Safari soon enough.

cashxx says:

Chrome is Safari, Safari is Chrome. Most mobile browsers are built off of WebKit. Open Source project from Apple.

Shadowriver says:

But Chrome using there Google's V8 JS engine, thru there should not be much rendering speed diffrences

itch808 says:

Phil, you should try the new 4.0.4 ICS browser. It's quicker than the stock ICS browser from 4.0.3 and lower!

MitchRapp says:

Yo seriously that white phone on the right is so tiny. What is that?

- Galaxy Nexus user. Blop Blop!

mclifford82 says:

Yo seriously not everybody wants a 4" or larger screen.

- Galaxy S II user

wojtas25 says:

I've installed Chrome Beta on my Galaxy S2 and it works verry well for a beta release. Had some crashes first time when all my desktop Chrome bookmarks synced with Chrome Mobile but now it is OK.

..oh, and it works even better than stock ICS (latest build LPB) browser :)

In my mind the CHROME BROWSER BLEW AWAY the safri browser. But plain and simple the ICS BROWSER on my GALAXY NEXUS pimp slaps both browsers...

ScottJ says:

An interesting comparison would be how much of a page you can see with each, and more importantly how much zooming is required to actually read the content. What's the good of a retina display when you end up having to zoom in more so the text is an appreciable size?

Eric Rossman says:

Phil, in the future please turn off the power saving "auto brightness" when you do these video's? If your GNexus's screen was turned up to make white white, it would draw all the attention. Samsung's S-AMEOLED screen (even pentile @ 720p resolution) really outshines the competition.

You are subtly showing us that you prefer the auto brightness as your choice for power savings. I personally bought my SGS2(i777) for the display, and I refuse to dim it down. Yes, the display uses the lion's share of the battery power, but when I use it I want to enjoy the advantages of a lit-pixel display. By using system settings alone, my device can easily go for two full days without charge.

Mind you, my device is set two shut off the display after 1min, sync - off, Faux-G (HSPA+)not LTE, and I am on wifi almost all day.

Anyhow, I always appreciate your articles and fair perspective.
-Eric

IceDree says:

How about the Windows Phone 7 Mango browser?

From what I reed, its the fastest Mobile Browser ever

Thanks

Shadowriver says:

Yea but MS browsers don't support things that even pure WebKit have

wraith404 says:

MS also build Internet Exploder to game the benchmarks with hacks, and stripped down the functionality. At least, that's what I "reeded".

McPlot says:

Beta software vs full version. That is always a fair comparison.

McPlot says:

Beta software vs full version. That is always a fair comparison.

chefkeyser says:

Not trolling here, as I've owned three Android devices, but Chrome Beta will not be a better or more usable browser until it's available for more than one phone.
I have a Droid 3, less than a year old, and it will probably never run mobile Chrome. I'm actually running an ICS rom and Chrome brings up nothing but white pages. In contrast, the iPhone 3gs runs mobile Safari, as does the 4S.
There is no reason to compare these two until Google standardizes Chrome as the browser for every device.

Charmed Juan says:

the fact you can't watch the video with the chrome browswer tells a lot.
When will html5 start being the norm rather than the exception.

Well, that's up to Android Central to switch video, ads, everything on the site to html5. Since Phil and Jerry say flash is dead on Android phones...get over it. Redo the entire site. So, when's that gonna be Phil???? No answer. Thought so.

Shadowriver says:

Don't worry, as Flash really start disapper from Android, sites will turn on HTML5 videos for as that iOS users been using since.... iPad release? I'm not joing here, most sites already uses HTML5, but simply they prefer flash since there Flash video players are more ready then HTML5.

Apple even had a list of sites that support HTML5:

http://gigaom.com/video/apple-lists-ipad-compatible-video-sites/

But it's gone now, not sure what happened

It's go even creazier when you discover that UStream are streaming via HTML5 when you enter to there site with iOS Browser:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RK0pfLjxz8

shizzle says:

If you haven't noticed, Chrome for Android offers Preloading of webpages... So that test is quite useless.

timberga says:

I think Phil was smart enough to turn that feature off for the test.

bulvine420 says:

I love the chrome browser it just needs to be smoothed out.pages load while you move down them after the page loaded already.

15israellai says:

Viewing this with chrome on gnex now. One comment - fast. The browser's as fast as hell. I really felt the difference when I started using it.

nmoreman says:

Good comparison, love it your wife has an Iphone!!
Anyway, I just switched to Iphone after years of hacking my
Androids to get them to do what they should've done out of the
box, just thought I would give Apple a try (Sprint).
I actually love the phone, everything is quick, including the
browswer and I don't have to tweak.
I have done the same tests with the Nexus s4g (I love my phone
but dropped and broke screen, hence Iphone trial). I have
found the Iphone beats the hacked/rommed/and now 4.0.4 on all
tests, some more than others. Battery life is also better, I
can actually use as mp3 player and use phone all day without
recharging - this is the sweetest deal.
I'm keeping the Nexus to play with on wifi and check upgrades,
but after jailbreaking my 4s, I have it doing just about every
thing the Nexus did with a lot more effort, trial and tribulations.
I actually have flash on and can watch and see what I want, another
sweet deal.
But love this forum, the people and how much they have helped me
over the years.