Web Browsers: Benchmarks and Observations

browser performance and standards-compliance

I recently re-ran a selection of benchmarks and tests on my phone, laptop and desktop, involving multiple browsers and operating systems. Here is what I found.

You may find the raw table of results in this Google Spreadsheet.

Test Setup


  • iOS 8.1.2
  • OS X 10.10.2
  • Windows 10 Technical Preview
  • Linux 3.18 (archlinux)

Web Browsers

  • Safari (per above iOS and OS X versions)
  • WebKit Nightly r178708
  • Chrome 39-40
  • Chrome Canary 42
  • Firefox 35
  • Firefox Developer Edition 37
  • Internet Explorer 10 (with and without Spartan)

General Observations

Benchmark ownership

Apple and Mozilla both win their own tests. Google generally always wins in the Octane test, but usually loses to Apple in Robohornet, where both tests are Google-sponsored.

Internet Explorer with Spartan

You can enable experimental web features in about:flags in Internet Explorer (on Windows 10 Technical Preview), to switch from Trident to Spartan. Spartan is an evergreen browser engine (like ChromiumWebView in Android 5.0), meaning it will be silently and automatically updated.

Spartan does not appear to improve DOM performance much yet.

The Good

Spartan significantly improves JavaScript performance, enough to beat Chrome in one test. Further Spartan leads the pack in terms of ECMAScript 6 implementation, although Firefox is hot on its heels.

All browser have made some progress towards ECMAScript 6, which is good news for web developers.

It’s terrific to see such competition in terms of performance. No single browser takes first place in every test.

The Bad

Windows 10 Technical Preview seems to perform slower than Linux on the same hardware. This may be due to instrumentation, profiling and other activities that are perfectly acceptable in a technical preview.

Internet Explorer with Spartan could not complete all tests. Internet Explorer in Trident mode did complete the tests but crashed immediately after the last one, oddly.

Safari on iOS was unable to complete the tests. However, whilst the page became unresponsive, the location bar, etc were still interactive.

The Ugly

Chrome 39-40 was unable to complete all tests successfully on any platform, making it consistently unreliable. However, I expect the Speedometer issue to be cleared up in either Chrome 41 or 42 (it’s fixed in Canary already).

Both Safari and Chrome on iOS are even less reliable than desktop Chrome. Worse, Chrome on iOS hangs in a way that causes both the page and the surrounding UI (a.k.a. “chrome”) to become unresponsive.

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Ron -