iOS runs HTML5 3x faster than Android

Despite all that Google is doing to champion HTML5, Android still lags far, far behind iOS when it comes to the standard. A new study from mobile development software maker Spaceport claims that iOS performs 3 times faster than Android.

The test employed a variety of different hardware and OSes, ranging from Android 2 - 4 and iOS 4 and 5. BlackBerry Playbook OS and the Kindle Fire's custom Android based OS were also tested. Basically, the test revolved around how many objects could be displayed on screen at one time without impacting performance. Spaceport set 30 FPS (frames per second) as the minimum threshold for smooth gaming.

As you can see from the chart below, Apple's latest iOS devices left Android in the dust by a very healthy margin. Even the worst iDevice that was tested - an iPhone 3GS - could handle 50 moving objects and keep a smooth performance. The worst Android device tested, a Motorola Droid 2, wasn't able to display one object on screen at that rate, essentially meaning that it couldn't handle even the lightest HTML5 gaming.

Even the Kindle Fire couldn't come close to the three year old iPhone's performance. Beefier Android tablets still had issues, but Spaceport warns that their results regarding Android tablets should be taken with a grain of salt, due to issues in the Android 3.0 browser and the lack of any Android 4.0 tablets in testing.

Ultimately the iPad 2 had the best performance of any device tested, despite others technically having more powerful hardware. It smoothly displayed 326 objects. The iPhone 4S wasn't too far behind at around 250 images. The best performance the test saw out of an Android device was the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, running Android 4.0. It smoothly processed over 140 images.

The study also shows that Apple has been improving HTML5 performance by leaps and bounds with each successive iOS update. iOS 5 shows a really significant bump in terms of performance compared to iOS 4.

Since Apple has been championing HTML5 for a while now, in no small part due to their vendetta against Adobe and their Flash software, this may not come as too big of a surprise. The originally concept for the iPhone, after all, didn't run apps at all - it relied on web apps, which was a major reason Apple decided to release Safari for Windows.

What is surprising is how far ahead Apple is in terms of performance when compared to Android. Even though Google has done some HTML5 championing of their own, Android is just pitiful at running it. Right now this may not seem like that big of a deal to most users, but HTML5 is supposed to be the future if the web, and more and more developers may turn to it and its multi-platform compatibility in the future. Google needs to catch up before then.

Chart courtesy of Spaceport

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I have ran the test on IPhone4S and Nokia Lumia 800 (both running latest OS releases) using Microsoft Fish Tank and i got
IPhone4S = 60 FPS
WP7 = 49FPS
Which surprised me honestly.

As for the WP7 speculation... It would be nice to see some tests.

Our techs have ran a ton of tests, and have yet to find an Android device that can compare, even when the hardware is 2 to 3 times the WP7 hardware.

Right now on my desk I just popped open a few HTML5 tests from around the web.

WP7 Trophy (1st gen, slowest WP7 device) 1ghz Snapdragon

Android 1ghz processor, technically slightly faster than the Snapdragon in the WP7, and the GPU benchmarks 5 times the speed of the Snapdragon GPU.

Test 1
WP7 30fps
Android 12fps

Test 2
WP7 30fps
Android 6fps

Test 3
WP7 30fps
Android 16fps

Test 4
WP7 26fps
Android 6fps

Test 5
WP7 30fps
Android 9fps (no sound)

Test 6
WP7 24fps
Android 4fps (Animation doesn't match voice)


The main reason WP7 does well is IE9, as the pre-Mango WP7 scored around the Android numbers. IE9 is the same code base as the desktop IE9, that uses GPU assistance in low level rendering, base rendering, and composition.


Google was insane to not design in basic GPU assistance in the GUI. Even Windows 95 have 2d GPU assistance in drawing GDI, so for Android to come alone over 10 years later and Google shove a half baked OS on low end device and NOT use the GPU acceleration capabilities is INSANE. Even PocketPC(Windows Mobile) in 2002 and WinCE back in the 1990s all had GPU assistance for the GUI using basic 2D GPU functionality.


Everyone that has access to both device, try some HTMl5 tests, or go to Best Buy where they have a 'live' phone and run tests on WP7 that are HTML5 graphics performance, and then try to find any Android or iPhone that can outperform it... You will find that the sales people catch interest, and they will make some WP7 sales from other customers.

For Android users that are 'crying' foul...

Android has virtually NO GPU assistance in rendering. iOS has 'some' GPU assistance.

So by default, the CPU is being overstressed on the Android devices as they are having to perform GPU functions that iOS is letting the GPU perform.

This is why WP7 also bests Android (and iOS) as everything is GPU accelerated, and the IE9 code is using the same rendering and GPU assistance that IE9 on the desktop uses.
(Which to date is STILL why Chrome cannot do the FishIE demos as fast as IE9 without having to use WebGL (which is NOT HTML5).)

These are the times I wish a Neowin.net was a real news website. At the end of the article, something like, "Neowin.net tested these parameters and we came to the conclusion that..."

But no, just copy and paste and put a little fluff in.

ccoltmanm said,
These are the times I wish a Neowin.net was a real news website. At the end of the article, something like, "Neowin.net tested these parameters and we came to the conclusion that..."

But no, just copy and paste and put a little fluff in.

Well Neowin does have the occasional good editorial but it's nice just to have a site that can bring all the news from other sites into one. To each their own but

"Ultimately the iPad 2 had the best performance of any device tested, despite others technically having more powerful hardware. "

It has to be noted that most CSS transforms on iOS are GPU accelerated, and the GPU in the iPad 2 is the most powerful of all devices released so far - the PowerVR SGX543MP2, which does give no surprises about its performance. IIRC CSS transforms are also GPU accelerated, starting from ICS.

Well, what can I say? Steve bashed flash all over the way for it... So, the least Apple can do is do it right, right?

Jose_49 said,
Well, what can I say? Steve bashed flash all over the way for it... So, the least Apple can do is do it right, right?

Of course, iOS did it right with their mobile Safari but Google did it better with Chrome.

Daniel_Pooh said,
I tested on my phone Galaxy S2 and these scores are bogus I got over twice the score of IOS reported on here.

No you didn't. Nice try though...

neonspark said,
lol android is slow as molasses. ICS just made it barrely usable. google ware is always lag central.

Barely usable? Yeah, people are really going to take you serious now.

They tested the stock browser folks.
Stock browser on Android is awful until ICS.

Try Opera or Firefox on Android and see the scores jump much much higher. Especially in HTML5 where stock browser is among the worst on a mobile device.

I'm not saying it would beat iOS but the gap would be much closer to the point where it is insignificant.

A note for the researchers is that Canvas is definitely the way to go on a proper HTML5 browser.

Sasha Said
They tested the stock browser folks.

Although I would usually agree, that's the point of this comparison. You must compete with the software that comes de facto bundled, not something you could do with an extra aid.

Sacha said,
They tested the stock browser folks.
Stock browser on Android is awful until ICS.

Try Opera or Firefox on Android and see the scores jump much much higher. Especially in HTML5 where stock browser is among the worst on a mobile device.

I'm not saying it would beat iOS but the gap would be much closer to the point where it is insignificant.

But you cannot test Safari on iOS for comparison. According to your criteria, you cannot test the default browser on the OS, and since Safari is the default on iPhone/iPad/iTouch they are excluded.

Hint, this is a way of saying that your argument does not make sense. IE will never be tested against the competition, because it is installed by default on Windows and WP7. Safari is installed by default on all Apple platforms. Firefox (?) is installed on Linux.

All benchmarks can be manipulated by using different software, but then you are not benchmarking you are trying to find the most optimized. By your argument, you are not benchmarking browsers, you are benchmarking the OS.

Sacha said,
They tested the stock browser folks.
Stock browser on Android is awful until ICS.

Try Opera or Firefox on Android and see the scores jump much much higher. Especially in HTML5 where stock browser is among the worst on a mobile device.

I'm not saying it would beat iOS but the gap would be much closer to the point where it is insignificant.

A note for the researchers is that Canvas is definitely the way to go on a proper HTML5 browser.


i'm not an android user, but I thought firefox for android sucked real hard or something?

Tom said,
No test against Windows Phone?
Boooo. I was waiting to see WP obliterate iOS.

Unfortunately the test would most likely include webkit only implementations of the developing specs, in which case WP would fail miserably at NaN fps.

dotf said,

Unfortunately the test would most likely include webkit only implementations of the developing specs, in which case WP would fail miserably at NaN fps.

Yet ironically, people don't have a problem using Sunspider a 'WEBKIT' designed test for measuring IE9, Firefox, Opera and other browsers.

Apple has to support HTML5 with their upmost if they want to really to rid Flash. However, these tests aren't really beneficial to every user, as most people don't really look at the capability of the web browser on a mobile since it's so intuitive already and you don't really need to load that really objects at once on screen, or you'd very likely to be running into a site that does.

I'm sure Chrome will play a major role in the future and will have a large integration with Android in the future, and we'll see a huge improvement, I've been asking why Chrome wasn't ported to Android phones earlier, and it's finally available and I'm sure it'll become more developed, to the point it might replace the stock browser [?].

Also this article is kind of old, but yeah, still interesting.

The Teej said,
I'm actually pretty curious how well the 4S/iPad 2 would fair against a Lumia 800 when it comes to this test.

Like I said above, most Windows Phones are of around the same spec (i.e. Snapdragon S2 chips). It might be better than some android devices, but the GPU in the Snapdragon S2 (found in the Lumia series) is still no match for the GPU in the iPhone 4S/ iPad2. We'd....get smoked by iOS devices.

When Windows Phone 8 'Apollo' arrives with Dual-core support, I think we'd see Snapdragon S3/S4-based Windows Phones, which are much more comparable to the iPhone 4s/iPad 2. Till then, it's a no-go.

It's understandable that you're curious about how the Lumia 800 performs (i'm curious about my Lumia 710 as well), but i'm not holding my breath considering what I said above.

greenwizard88 said,
of course if they had tested a Windows Phone device, it's single core, .000001ghz CPU would have out-performed ALL the competition!


Aren't both iOS & Android using webkit? Comparing them to IE sounds unfair (maybe...).

Still, I wonder how much those HTLM5 "performance" really affect the user experience when it comes to browse the internet on a phone (will high ping, low bandwidth and so on).

It's called hardware acceleration which, for the most part, is non-existent on Android. However it is quite present in iOS and WP7.

iPhone 3GS 800mhz, single core processor. Motorola Droid 2, 1/1.2 ghz single core. And yet the 3GS beats it, by a huge margin.

You can have the best hardware in the world, but if the software can't manage it properly it makes no difference. That said, ICS does bring some quite nice improvements and since Google is finally bringing Chrome to Android that should help too.

Razorfolds said,
It's called hardware acceleration which, for the most part, is non-existent on Android. However it is quite present in iOS and WP7.

iPhone 3GS 800mhz, single core processor. Motorola Droid 2, 1/1.2 ghz single core. And yet the 3GS beats it, by a huge margin.

You can have the best hardware in the world, but if the software can't manage it properly it makes no difference. That said, ICS does bring some quite nice improvements and since Google is finally bringing Chrome to Android that should help too.

ie9 is actually really good. faster than webkit in many instances

greenwizard88 said,
of course if they had tested a Windows Phone device, it's single core, .000001ghz CPU would have out-performed ALL the competition!


I'm not so sure. I have a Lumia 710 and most Windows Phones are of around the same spec (i.e. Snapdragon S2 chips). It might beat some android devices, but i'm sure that the iOS devices are definitely faster, especially the iPad 2, it has an extremely powerful GPU, it's pretty insane how fast that thing actually is.

we'd probably get smoked by iOS devices (see what I did there?)

Razorfolds said,
It's called hardware acceleration which, for the most part, is non-existent on Android. However it is quite present in iOS and WP7.

iPhone 3GS 800mhz, single core processor. Motorola Droid 2, 1/1.2 ghz single core. And yet the 3GS beats it, by a huge margin.

You can have the best hardware in the world, but if the software can't manage it properly it makes no difference. That said, ICS does bring some quite nice improvements and since Google is finally bringing Chrome to Android that should help too.

Yes, Chrome does outperform Safari Mobile. But right now it is limited to ICS devices. In the future (Jellybean) I see Google getting rid of the Android browser and making Chrome their default browser. They can't do that now since it will defeat the use of Flash. Adobe has already said they don't plan on bringing Flash to any future versions of Android beyond ICS.

FalseAgent said,

I'm not so sure. I have a Lumia 710 and most Windows Phones are of around the same spec (i.e. Snapdragon S2 chips). It might beat some android devices, but i'm sure that the iOS devices are definitely faster, especially the iPad 2, it has an extremely powerful GPU, it's pretty insane how fast that thing actually is.

we'd probably get smoked by iOS devices (see what I did there?)

I'd beg to differ. I've had to explain this so many times... You're thinking just like many who think more power is always faster... Incorrect. I could take a 1600LB car with 300HP and blow the doors off a 3500LB car with 600HP. iOS is relatively smooth but even I can find ways to make it lag. Windows Phone I have yet to be able to do so. Another thing to take into consideration is that there have been many demos at least pre iOS 5.x that showed WP7 on the weakest hardware beating the crap out of the iPhone 4. New iOS has new Safari which runs much faster than old iOS. On the other hand WP7 was made to work lightening fast always on the lowest hardware specs and 1Ghz~ which isn't lowest either. iOS and Safari are fast with HTML5 as of iOS 5 but pre iOS 5 it choked which you can look up on youtube.

tmaxxtigger said,
Oh brother, I'm gonna get some popcorn and watch this topic!

Am I the only one who hates "popcorn" comments?
Paypal me $20 if you agree that they are incredibly annoying.

Shiranui said,

Paypal me $20 if you agree that they are incredibly annoying.

Sure thing, I will gladly send you that $20 however I am going to need your PayPal email account first and before I can send you the money I will send you a PayPalbill for only $10 (don't worry this is only the authenticate that your account is indeed a real account & active you will get the money back!)

soldier1st said,

I'm with ya on that.

Yup. There is nothing better today than watching an argument with android fanboys, especially the ones that own a galaxy nexus. "NO WAY, IMPOSSIBLE, MY GALAXY NEXUS WITH ICS IS DEFINITELY BETTER THAN THAT"