Samsung I9000 Galaxy S vs. Apple iPhone 4: Collision course

GSMArena team, 06 August 2010.
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At their core, the browsers inside the iPhone 4 and the Galaxy S are the same. Theyíre both derivatives of the WebKit project. Itís the same layout engine and both phones are evenly matched as far as page rendering goes.

The difference essentially is in what Apple and Samsung have chosen to package the renderer with. The clearest example of such differences is Flash Ė itís not that the Galaxy S has a proper support, but at least it has Flash Lite 3 and the full Flash experience is on its way with the eagerly awaited Froyo update in September. You mayíve even caught a glimpse already of our experience with the latest test firmware.

The iPhone on the other hand will hardly ever dip its toes in Flash waters.

There are other things too of course. Text reflow (making sure text fits on the screen so itís easier to read) is another point in favor of the Galaxy S, as are the find on page and save page features, as well as the download manager.

Samsung I9000 Galaxy S vs Apple iPhone 4 Samsung I9000 Galaxy S vs Apple iPhone 4 Samsung I9000 Galaxy S vs Apple iPhone 4
The Galaxy S browser visits our homepage

Hold on, donít declare victory for the Samsung Galaxy S just yet, the Apple iPhone 4 has a few advantages of its own, which might be more important to you than the Find-On page feature.

To begin with itís impressively fast. Youíll see that clearly when we get to the benchmarks. Also, it pioneered some of the usability features used in almost all touch browsers today and itís still one of the easiest browsers to handle. And the latest Safari that comes on the iPhone 4 is clearly better than the older versions. The improved address suggestion is a good one to note, not to mention that it finally has background wep page loading, so you can do other stuff while you wait on a heavy website to load up.

There are differences between the two phones that are not software related. The iPhone 4 Retina display has the upper hand in terms of resolution.

Itís hard to call this one as it comes down to the individual user. The sharper, higher-res display on the iPhone 4 makes sure text is readable at even very low zoom levels, while the SuperAMOLED on the Galaxy S has more zooming latitude stretching half an inch longer.

Samsung I9000 Galaxy S vs Apple iPhone 4 Samsung I9000 Galaxy S vs Apple iPhone 4 Samsung I9000 Galaxy S vs Apple iPhone 4 Samsung I9000 Galaxy S vs Apple iPhone 4
Mobile Safari on the iPhone 4 tries to impress with the high resolution screen

Something else related more to the manufacturerís policy than software Ė on Android you can install other browsers, you donít have to use the stock variety. Apple are usually not so open-handed but they did allow in Opera Mini after all. However you canít use it as a default browser for opening links from various applications or your email. Then again, jailbroken iPhones can do whatever they please in that respect .

With the Samsung Galaxy S youíre free to use a different browser and upon clicking a link you get offered a choice which browser to use. By the way, the superb Opera mini is available for Android as well.

The pros and cons up till now do involve a measure of subjectivity, but benchmarks are the real deal. We did three tests Ė page load times, JavaScript performance, and Acid3 benchmark, which measures compatibility with web standards.

The page load test was done with static pages hosted on a local server over the local network Ė eliminating variables like server load, Internet connectivity issues and so on. The demo video were shot with the phones loading those pages real-time. Note that the numbers in the table aren't extracted from the video but are the best we could achieve with the phones when going through the test several times.

Samsung I9000 Galaxy SApple iPhone 4
Test page 14.6 s5.5 s
Test page 1 (reload)3.4 s2.7 s
Test page 222.6 s20.5 s
Test page 2 (reload)19.2 s3.8 s
Test page 37.7 s8.2 s
Test page 3 (reload)7.7 s3.8 s

The Mobile Safari browser on the Apple iPhone 4 is a bit faster than the Android Browser on the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S when loading a page for the first time. At reloading however Safari can be faster by quite a margin.

It still has the advantage in JavaScript performance but the test Froyo firmware for the Galaxy S shows potential to overtake Safari. Not much has been done to improve Acid3 performance though where the iPhone 4 scores a perfect 100/100.

Galaxy S (Eclair)Galaxy S (Froyo)Apple iPhone 4
JavaScript Benchmark304441
Acid3 test9393100

iPhone 4: 7/10 ē Samsung I9000 Galaxy S: 9/10

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