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Final Placing And The iOS Winner's Circle

Which Browser Should You Be Running On Your iPad And iPhone?
By

With the mobile Web Browser Grand Prix, we've dropped the placing tables, brackets, and point system entirely. Since we lost so many categories of testing in the transition from the desktop to mobile, the remaining categories are mostly from the Essential bracket: CSS, DOM, JavaScript, and Standard Conformance. At the same time, the remaining categories from the Important bracket are upgraded due to the slower time scale on mobile devices: HTML5, Page Load Times, and Security. Only hardware acceleration (HWA) remains. But, due to the slow progression of titles able to exploit HWA, even that will arguably play a bigger role for casual gaming on mobile devices long before supporting hardcore games on the desktop.

Our new final scores are the geometric mean of all eight mobile WBGP composite scores, which makes creating the placing table and applying a point system unnecessary.

Drum roll, please. And the winner is...

Surprise, surprise, it's Apple's own Safari.

Placing
Browser
Score
1st
Safari
70
2nd
Maxthon
54
3rd
Dolphin
53
4th
Axis
52
Chrome
5th
Sleipnir
51


Safari's access to Nitro really pushes it way ahead of the other browsers designed for iOS. While Dolphin, Axis, Chrome, and Sleipnir all have slightly different scores, they are basically equals. With page load times and a smoothness nearly equal to Safari, Maxthon is really the only third-party iOS browser that stands out. But, in the end, any third-party Web browser on iOS is essentially tantamount to using an older version of Safari with a slightly different user interface and additional features. Therefore, if for whatever reason you decide against using Safari on your iOS-based device, you're best off simply going with the browser that you like the best.

Due to Apple's App Store mandate that all third-party iOS browsers utilize Safari's stock engines, browser competition on this mobile operating system is practically non-existent. Unless Apple reverses course, allowing other developers to compete using their own unique rending and JavaScript engines, we really only need to check in with iOS every time the platform receives a substantial upgrade.

But Tom's Hardware, I hate Apple. What about Android?

We're already working on it, folks. With Chrome, Firefox, and Opera providing their own unique engines, distinct from the stock Android browser, and Dolphin, Maxthon, and Sleipnir providing their own take on WebKit, Android is where the real mobile Web browser action is. That mobile operating system should be just as vibrant and competitive as any on the desktop. Stay tuned next week for the Android Web Browser Grand Prix.

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    esrever , October 19, 2012 4:59 AM
    All of them are the same since apple doesn't give developers any freedom.
  • 13 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , October 19, 2012 5:20 AM
    Was this review even necessary?
    There is no choice of browsers on iOS. None. Every "browser" is just a sub-par Safari wrapper.

    It's not like people buy iOS devices for the ability to tailor the device to their liking, after all- it's not called the "reality distortion field" for nothing.
Other Comments
  • 20 Hide
    esrever , October 19, 2012 4:59 AM
    All of them are the same since apple doesn't give developers any freedom.
  • 8 Hide
    ksampanna , October 19, 2012 5:10 AM
    I mean, c'mon ... bt obviously
  • 13 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , October 19, 2012 5:20 AM
    Was this review even necessary?
    There is no choice of browsers on iOS. None. Every "browser" is just a sub-par Safari wrapper.

    It's not like people buy iOS devices for the ability to tailor the device to their liking, after all- it's not called the "reality distortion field" for nothing.
  • 2 Hide
    victorious 3930k , October 19, 2012 6:50 AM
    You may have forgotten the useful extra features category, where Chrome for iOS wins by MILES.
  • 4 Hide
    murzar , October 19, 2012 7:08 AM
    Quote:
    But Tom's Hardware, I hate Apple. What about Android?


    Such condescension! What about people who actually like Android more? Or find its features more beneficial?

    Not every Android user hates Apple.


  • 2 Hide
    barathn , October 19, 2012 7:20 AM
    I like the last paragraph
  • 1 Hide
    gamecube , October 19, 2012 7:23 AM
    I hope next week we see not only tablet review. I'm more interested in the phone part of Android.

    And Ubuntu just release 12.10. This is a good time to have another Ubuntu Web Browser Grand Prix.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 19, 2012 8:41 AM
    I'm curious what the benchmarks would be like if they installed the Nitrous Cydia tweak, which allows third party apps to use the Nitro engine. Any chance we can get a follow-up?
  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , October 19, 2012 9:28 AM
    no IE ?
  • 7 Hide
    amdfangirl , October 19, 2012 9:33 AM
    Quote:
    no IE ?


    On iOS?
  • 0 Hide
    amigafan , October 19, 2012 9:46 AM
    No iCab mobile and no Atomic Web Browser :( 
  • 1 Hide
    blackmagnum , October 19, 2012 9:46 AM
    Hey Apple... This is unfair!
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , October 19, 2012 10:09 AM
    why should you buy apple products to begin with?
  • 2 Hide
    abbadon_34 , October 19, 2012 1:06 PM
    hmm...this article seems to imply I can stomach any Apple product post-Apple II
  • -2 Hide
    jaquith , October 19, 2012 2:03 PM
    If you don't have an Apple iOS product then frankly go away, you're talking out your 'back side,' and go Troll somewhere else. Keep in mind all but two of the TH Editors have an iPhone and a slew of other Apple products - fact.

    I've tried Chrome and Dolphin and keep coming back to Safari. Most of these benchmarks are within milliseconds so ± <0.05~0.10 seconds or ± <1~2FPS in the real world is negligible, so it comes down to features. Chrome isn't bad but it still needs some improvements in it's UI and features which still aren't ready for prime time.
  • -1 Hide
    monkeysweat , October 19, 2012 2:10 PM
    I have noticed on iOS 6 the newer Safari is much faster than it used to be, but speed isn't everything here,, how about features? I use chrome because it is better at blocking popups, quicker to switch to 'incognito' for banking, etc, also it syncs with my desktop history and favorites --- AND in my opinion has a better way of managing the tabs,,, Safari doesn't do any of this. I get lots of popups and redirects which I don't get on Chrome.
  • 0 Hide
    jaquith , October 19, 2012 2:24 PM
    I like that Chrome syncs with my PC but where's the history (aside from recently closed tabs)? As far as pop-ups (even with Block Pop-up - 'on') and ad bars I've seen little differences between Safari and Chrome; try TH site. I do agree and I do like the 'incognito' but most of my e.g. banking is done on either my PC or Bank's App.

    On some sites Chrome isn't recognized as mobile friendly but it's not Chrome's fault, it's the site's fault.

    I have little doubt and look forward to later versions of Chrome that will solve many of these odd problems and fine tune their App.
  • 1 Hide
    drip50291 , October 19, 2012 3:02 PM
    um...what about Opera? Its faster with one bar of 3G than Safari is on Wifi.
  • 0 Hide
    blackened144 , October 19, 2012 4:51 PM
    murzarNot every Android user hates Apple.


    Maybe not but they yell the loudest.
  • -1 Hide
    kajunchicken , October 19, 2012 7:21 PM
    What about web browsers available through Cydia? You know... the ones that AREN'T stuck with Apple's crappy limitations.
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