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RoboHornet Pro Conclusion And Analysis

RoboHornet Pro: Microsoft Snubs Google, Mozilla Concurs!
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RoboHornet Pro Results

According to Microsoft's version of RoboHornet, only a handful of Web browsers can even pass the test.

Operating System
Passing Web Browsers
Windows 7
None
Windows 8
Internet Explorer 10
OS X
Safari and Sleipnir*
iOS
All
Ubuntu
None
Android
Chrome*
* Indicates very minor hiccups to the background animation.


Looking at the RoboHornet Pro winners, one common trend surfaces: only native browsers seem to pass the test. Besides Sleipnir for OS X, only IE10 for Windows 8, Safari for OS X and iOS, and Chrome for Android qualify. Ubuntu, which has no truly native browser, but instead relies on popular cross-platform options, has nothing which can pass RoboHornet Pro. Since IE9 is notably absent from testing, we can only assume that Microsoft killed functionality on the browser because it doesn't pass. That, or the marketing people are simply trying to push IE10 as a selling point for Windows 8, since we're still not sure whether Windows 7 will ever get IE10.

But the real question is: Is RoboHornet Pro any better than the original?

We have a feeling that the other vendors will step forward with critiques now that results have been published.

Can't We All Just Get Along?

The last page of Monday's RoboHornet article asked: "Is RoboHornet The Holy Grail of Browser Benchmarking?"

Not quite.

RoboHornet Alpha1 was more like the Round Table, where Arthur and his knights planned the quest for the Grail. Except in this legend, not all of the Knights showed up, and the few that did ended up walking away.

Perhaps the very notion of RoboHornet, a neutral browser benchmark voted on by the Web development community, where all vendors are given an even say, is naive. Perhaps Google tainted RoboHornet for the other vendors by getting too involved too soon, having three stewards, and handling the registration and the PR effort for the project's launch. Whatever the reasons, what was supposed to be a simple first alpha release and launch announcement turned into a fiasco.

So how does RoboHornet Pro fit into the Web Browser Grand Prix, and what is the current outlook for inclusion of the original RoboHornet?

RoboHornet Pro will not appear in the Web Browser Grand Prix. It attempts to test too many things and the pass/fail plus completion time scores would heavily skew placing as well as the final scores. Last week I was hopeful for the future of RoboHornet and its eventual inclusion in the Web Browser Grand Prix. Today, I'm doubtful, to say the least.

So there you have it folks, in a nutshell, last week was the entirety of the very short life cycle of an ambitious yet divisive new Web browser benchmark. Unless another one of the other major browser vendors decides to fork RoboHornet, we'll post any further developments to this story in the News.

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  • 11 Hide
    techcurious , October 2, 2012 10:17 PM
    ... nevermind.. I would rate myself down if I could.. cause after further thought, I realized that anyone that chose to use OSX over Windows will never choose to use IE over Safari or Firefox.. Something I am sure Microsoft also realizes :) 
Other Comments
  • -8 Hide
    techcurious , October 2, 2012 10:09 PM
    A little off topic, but something just occurred to me.. that we had Safari on Windows, but not IE on OSX..
    Now that OSX market share is increasing, I wonder if Microsoft will ever release Internet Explorer for OSX, and I wonder if Apple will allow it..
  • 11 Hide
    techcurious , October 2, 2012 10:17 PM
    ... nevermind.. I would rate myself down if I could.. cause after further thought, I realized that anyone that chose to use OSX over Windows will never choose to use IE over Safari or Firefox.. Something I am sure Microsoft also realizes :) 
  • 6 Hide
    dalethepcman , October 2, 2012 10:21 PM
    My one complaint about this article, was the contrast between the massive amount of iOS browsers, and the utter lack of Android browsers. You stated yourself.
    Quote:
    Each of these third-party iOS browsers are essentially just a new GUI and additional functionality added to Safari


    Why not also test firefox, dolphin, skyfire and stock browsers on android?
  • 1 Hide
    dalethepcman , October 2, 2012 10:28 PM
    techcurious... nevermind.. I would rate myself down if I could.. cause after further thought, I realized that anyone that chose to use OSX over Windows will never choose to use IE over Safari or Firefox.. Something I am sure Microsoft also realizes


    Actually I have many Mac users that would use IE in OSX just for the convenience of pass through authentication, but since its not available they all have a separately purchased copy of windows to run in a VM or access IE through Citrix for domain resources.
  • -1 Hide
    adamovera , October 2, 2012 10:51 PM
    dalethepcmanMy one complaint about this article, was the contrast between the massive amount of iOS browsers, and the utter lack of Android browsers. You stated yourself.Why not also test firefox, dolphin, skyfire and stock browsers on android?

    I attempted to, they either wouldn't run the test at all, or they hang indefinitely and are unable to complete it. Stay tuned for the Android Web Browser Grand Prix for the full benchmark results of browsers on that platform.
  • 1 Hide
    tipoo , October 2, 2012 10:53 PM
    I agree with Mozilla, perceived speed > benchmarks for browsers. And ironically that's exactly where they fail hardest. Chrome, Opera, heck sometimes even IE10 now always seem more responsive and stay more responsive than Firefox in my experience. I like its font rendering, I like its smooth scrolling (well, IE10 has those too, I think it has to do with DirectWrite more than the browser) but the small instances of UI lag bug me after using Chrome for so long.
  • 1 Hide
    tipoo , October 2, 2012 11:03 PM
    Once more I'm puzzled why browsers in OSX are consistently and significantly slower than Windows and Ubuntu, even the same browser cross platform.
  • 5 Hide
    adamovera , October 2, 2012 11:25 PM
    tipooOnce more I'm puzzled why browsers in OSX are consistently and significantly slower than Windows and Ubuntu, even the same browser cross platform.

    From page 4: "Our current cross-platform test system provides unusually low Web results under OS X Mountain Lion compared to other operating systems. While the OS X browser scores appear to be accurate in relation to each other, none of the OS X scores should be used to draw conclusions about OS X versus the other desktop environments in this test. Until we can pin down the culprit, please view the OS X results as if they were obtained on an entirely different test system."
    I have been unable to track down the cause of this problem - I tried every single network driver I could find, multiple re-installs, and different DSDT files. This is the only Hackintosh system we've ever used that has this issue - our older Lynnfield-based rig didn't. Hopefully, when I build a totally new Ivy Bridge-based rig this problem will just go away, if not, I guess I need an actual Mac - but that could leave Linux twisting in the wind since Bootcamp is just for Windows - on paper, anyway :( 
  • 0 Hide
    tipoo , October 3, 2012 12:55 AM
    Got ya, I missed that part. Maybe a commenter with a mac can give it a quick run to see how it compares to the hackintosh.
  • 2 Hide
    adamovera , October 3, 2012 1:37 AM
    tipooGot ya, I missed that part. Maybe a commenter with a mac can give it a quick run to see how it compares to the hackintosh.

    They have, and they're all reporting Web-related scores are higher on Mac's with lower-end hardware than our test system. Also, our old Lynnfield-based system shows OS X browsers doing way better in relation to Windows browsers on that Hackintosh versus a genuine MacBook Air - so it's definitely our current Hackintosh configuration and not OS X to blame for the lower scores versus other OSes.
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , October 3, 2012 3:25 AM
    adamoveraFrom page 4: "Our current cross-platform test system provides unusually low Web results under OS X Mountain Lion compared to other operating systems. While the OS X browser scores appear to be accurate in relation to each other, none of the OS X scores should be used to draw conclusions about OS X versus the other desktop environments in this test. Until we can pin down the culprit, please view the OS X results as if they were obtained on an entirely different test system."I have been unable to track down the cause of this problem - I tried every single network driver I could find, multiple re-installs, and different DSDT files. This is the only Hackintosh system we've ever used that has this issue - our older Lynnfield-based rig didn't. Hopefully, when I build a totally new Ivy Bridge-based rig this problem will just go away, if not, I guess I need an actual Mac - but that could leave Linux twisting in the wind since Bootcamp is just for Windows - on paper, anyway

    we saw a similar scoring issue with the 'web browser grand prix mac circuit'. If I remember correctly you were running on a Mac, and Win7 in bootcamp that time, and win7 still beat out the OSX scores, granted not by a huge margin.
  • 0 Hide
    adamovera , October 3, 2012 3:41 AM
    CaedenVwe saw a similar scoring issue with the 'web browser grand prix mac circuit'. If I remember correctly you were running on a Mac, and Win7 in bootcamp that time, and win7 still beat out the OSX scores, granted not by a huge margin.

    Yeah, Windows browsers (on a PC or a Mac) have so far trumped OS X browsers, but not by anywhere near the margins we're seeing on this Hackintosh. Gauging from past articles, the actual OS X scores should be somewhere between Windows 7 and Ubuntu (with Safari essentially being the big in-between) - and that order reflects the amount of resources developers allocate to these OSes.
  • 0 Hide
    Cryio , October 3, 2012 1:34 PM
    It breaks my heart when I see in the benchmark listed Opera 12.0x ... since it's basically the WORST release Opera ever had.

    Any, none of this browsers are on an equal foot.

    Internet Explorer Metro in Windows 8 X64 is running the IE10 in x64 mode, opposed to IE10 desktop which works ONLY in x86.

    The future release of Opera 12.10, will be faster on x64 than on x86, because of different coding and different SS2 instruction support. So choose carefully in the future what you benchmark.
  • 0 Hide
    LordConrad , October 3, 2012 6:13 PM
    You include Android as a test bed, but the Included videos won't play on Android Jellybean. Very stupid.
  • 0 Hide
    adamovera , October 3, 2012 10:15 PM
    CryioIt breaks my heart when I see in the benchmark listed Opera 12.0x ... since it's basically the WORST release Opera ever had.Any, none of this browsers are on an equal foot.Internet Explorer Metro in Windows 8 X64 is running the IE10 in x64 mode, opposed to IE10 desktop which works ONLY in x86.The future release of Opera 12.10, will be faster on x64 than on x86, because of different coding and different SS2 instruction support. So choose carefully in the future what you benchmark.

    Opera 12 is perhaps the most disappointing version of Opera ever due to the high expectations it carried, but I'd have to say that the version with a banner ad back in the day was the worst ;)  We benchmark stable browsers only (or RTM in the case of IE) and that's been the policy forever. I realize that IE10 Metro is x64, but in the original RoboHornet test we included both the 64-bit and 32-bit versions of IE9. I'm not sure what you wanted me to do here: exclude Opera, or make an exception for that browser and run a pre-release version?
  • 0 Hide
    meltbox360 , October 4, 2012 4:30 AM
    Hmm. Ran this on my playbook. Super smooth background and finished in 77.107 so... BlackBerry Playbook browser is the fastest mobile browser.

    Edit: According to this benchmark. Although it scores 30.something on the normal robohornet. Pretty robust and quick, has not had an issue running anything yet...
  • 0 Hide
    Cryio , October 4, 2012 11:17 AM
    @Adamovera: You aren't guilty of anything, my friend. It's just Opera version 12 that saddens me. And seeing that you brought it up, since I find v12.0x to be actually THAT awful and unsable (versions 8 to 11.6x tear right through it), a pre-release version here would have helped.

    A last thing.... isn't RTM=gold=stable?
  • 0 Hide
    Cryio , October 4, 2012 11:18 AM
    unusable*
  • 0 Hide
    adamovera , October 5, 2012 12:32 AM
    meltbox360Hmm. Ran this on my playbook. Super smooth background and finished in 77.107 so... BlackBerry Playbook browser is the fastest mobile browser. Edit: According to this benchmark. Although it scores 30.something on the normal robohornet. Pretty robust and quick, has not had an issue running anything yet...

    Whoa, that's interesting. Can you send me a screenshot of the results for that device - just click my name in the byline to email me.

    Also, if anybody out there has one of those HP WebOS pads and has run the tests, I'd be interested in seeing the results for that, too.
  • 1 Hide
    adamovera , October 5, 2012 12:38 AM
    Cryio@Adamovera: You aren't guilty of anything, my friend. It's just Opera version 12 that saddens me. And seeing that you brought it up, since I find v12.0x to be actually THAT awful and unsable (versions 8 to 11.6x tear right through it), a pre-release version here would have helped.A last thing.... isn't RTM=gold=stable?

    I hear ya, man. I held one of the WBGPs to include Opera 12 (I think it was late by over a month), and it finally arrived sans all the good stuff :( 
    Yeah, when it comes to MS/Apple software the RTM/Golden Master are as good as final (but there is always the possibility of massive day one patches which could change results). I wish Linux distros had an equivalent, in my experience the final RC builds just aren't final.
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