At their core, the browsers inside the iPhone 4 and the Galaxy S are the same. They’re both derivatives of the WebKit project. It’s 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 – it’s 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 may’ve 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 it’s 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.
Hold on, don’t 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 it’s impressively fast. You’ll 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 it’s 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.
It’s 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.
Something else related more to the manufacturer’s policy than software – on Android you can install other browsers, you don’t have to use the stock variety. Apple are usually not so open-handed but they did allow in Opera Mini after all. However you can’t 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 you’re 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 page load test was done with static pages hosted on a local server over the local network – 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 S||Apple iPhone 4|
|Test page 1||4.6 s||5.5 s|
|3.4 s||2.7 s|
|Test page 2||22.6 s||20.5 s|
|Test page 2 (reload)||19.2 s||3.8 s|
|Test page 3||7.7 s||8.2 s|
|Test page 3 (reload)||7.7 s||3.8 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.
|Galaxy S (Eclair)Galaxy S (Froyo)||Apple iPhone 4|
iPhone 4: 7/10 • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S: 9/10