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Old December 17th, 2011, 12:31 AM   #1
Exodus
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Web Browser fluidity test - RAZR, SGS2, Galaxy Nexus, Rezound, and iPhone 4s

Figured I'd repost this here as well since it already made front-page at Phandroid. Had to use a Best Buy demo phone for the SGS2 since I was using mine to record. Had a hookup at a local VZW store open the Gnex for me and set it up (I was the first to use it, after tied to their little kiosk crap). Had to wait for it to load the 4.0.2 update first.

--------------------------------------------
Awhile back a user on Android Forums suggested to me that he felt that the Rezound's web browser was as fluid or moreso than the iPhone's. I suggested that in my experience, the Rezound's web browser was very far behind. Out of curiosity, I decided to try it and compare it to several other top tier phones. This first post will be devoid of all technical BS and will only show videos so that you can see yourself. The second post will elaborate and attempt to provide technical details. Also, for the laggier phones in this comparison, the ICS update WILL address the issue, and all phones in this comparison (except the iPhone) are getting an official ICS release. The hardware is NOT the issue (will elaborate further later on).

Phones:
  • Apple iPhone 4s
  • HTC Rezound
  • Motorola Droid RAZR
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
  • Samsung Galaxy SII (AT&T Attain model)

Test: While I ran the web browser on each device through several webpages and tests, I wanted to keep the video short and to illustrate my point. So, I chose a website that is VERY demanding for a mobile device, http://forum.xda-developers.com (expanded view). This website will be a virtual slideshow on many Android devices.

Videos:

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Old December 17th, 2011, 12:31 AM   #2
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So, now the technical mumbo-jumbo. First, let me preface this with the fact that I've always been a hardware guy, not a software guy. My programming is very limited and not very impressive. So, I had to consult with some guys who know more than me on the subject, specifically, just what is going on with these web browsers and why they occur in that fashion.

Some people will look at the results and immediately assume that it's hardware. This is false. First, the Galaxy Nexus and Droid RAZR are using virtually identical hardware, yet look at how differently they handle the web browser. Second, while not recorded, I compared several Galaxy S2 models. One of those was the T-Mobile model which uses the same exact hardware as the Rezound. This variant had the same browser performance as the Galaxy S2 displayed, despite having different hardware. So, what's causing these differences? To illustrate these differences, I'll need to break down these five phones into four groups.

Group 1 - iPhone 4s

It was explained to me that the iPhone 4s uses a tiling method. The web page is broken into tiles and the phone only renders (in full detail) the tile being displayed, as well as the adjacent tiles. When you try to scroll, there is a page-down affect (you can't scroll indefinitely like in Android), which allows the iPhone to drop tiles that are no longer adjacent. This reduces performance overhead and increases perceived performance.

Group 2 - Moto RAZR and HTC Rezound

These phones are still running on Android 2.3.x. It was explained to me that Google never liked the tiling method. They preferred to render the entire website and allow for a more consistent scrolling experience (even if that means consistently laggy). That is why these phones are laggier in this test. It should be noted that in most websites, both were VERY smooth and that the videos above are simply a worse-case scenario.

Group 3 - Galaxy S2

Samsung has been accused of copying Apple numerous times and this is no exception. Samsung here tries to copy Apple's method by using a form of tiling, but tries to keep Google's consistent scrolling approach. The result is a VERY smooth browsing experience, but you'll occasionally see a checkered pattern if you scroll faster than the phone can keep up. I saw this in the Zune HD upon release too, if I recall correctly. It should also be noted that I have rarely seen this checkered pattern on my i9100 (global SGS2) but saw it every time I tested the i777 (AT&T Attain) and the T989 (T-Mobile model). I suspect this could be thanks to the extra carrier "optimization" but cannot say for sure.

Group 4 - Galaxy Nexus (and ICS)

Google supposedly decided to finally implement their own method of tiling. The result was an experience that appeared to be as smooth to me as the SGS2, but it somehow felt less "artificial." It's hard to describe, I simply liked it more than the SGS2. There was also no apparent checkering. This is the new browser in ICS and not just a Nexus-based optimization. So, the RAZR and Rezound should see similar gains when they get their ICS updates.
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Old December 18th, 2011, 04:25 PM   #3
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I'm loving the browser in my galaxy nexus. So fast...has all the options I require and the quick controls are sweet...especially in 4.0.3 they added more options.
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