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Performance: Web Browsing Tests

Samsung ATIV Tab Review: A Tablet To Hold Your Breath For?

As the tablet space becomes increasingly crowded, we're more interested than ever in comparing the performance of iOS-, Android-, Windows RT-, and Windows 8-based platforms. That's not easy, since both Microsoft and Apple are pretty restrictive about the software that runs under their respective mobile operating systems.

In fact, there aren't any cross-platform benchmarks available for Windows RT. Browser-based tests are the only way we're able to compare Samsung's ATIV Tab to other devices. Of course, these metrics aren't the last word on performance. Browser support varies by operating system, and we already know that, even on a consistent platform, each rendering engine's performance is different.

So, when you consider the many different tablets we're comparing, along with the permutations of software available for them, these numbers are affected by several variables. Fortunately, Windows 8 lets us test IE10, Chrome, and Safari, creating approximate parallels to other hardware with those same browsers.

Just as we did in the Web Browser Grand Prix, we're retiring the JavaScript-focused SunSpider, Octane, and V8 benchmarks in favor of Futuremark's Peacekeeper and Rightware's BrowserMark 2.0.

Both tests indicate that the Intel Atom SoC under Windows 8 (in Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T) is ~30% faster than Nvidia's Tegra 3 with Windows RT, both running on IE10.

The APQ8060A and Windows RT combination in Samsung's ATIV Tab is slower than the Surface's Tegra 3. We saw the opposite in Snapdragon S4 Pro: Krait And Adreno 320, Benchmarked, though that could be a result of Qualcomm's development platform employing a quad-core SoC running at 1.7 GHz.

Peacekeeper and BrowserMark are useful tools in their own right. At their core, though, they're designed to measure JavaScript performance. They don't necessarily reflect how quickly a webpage renders in a real-world setting. That's why we like BrowsingBench. It evaluates the total performance of a browser: page loading, processing, rendering, compositing, and so on. This more accurately demonstrates the performance difference between two devices in a way you'd actually see.

Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T continues illustrating why an open ecosystem is a good thing for developers and users alike, as Chrome on Windows 8 finishes in first place. 

The ATIV Tab fares better this time around, edging out Microsoft's Surface and landing just behind the Atom Z2760-powered ATIV Smart PC 500T running Firefox. If you want a better experience from the 500T, though, install Chrome.

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