Now that I’m finally able to run Chrome and Firefox on my Android phone, it’s time for another round in the cross platform browser test – will Android make a difference in the eternal battle of the browsers ? To find out, I ran a couple of benchmarks on all 3 platforms.
I ran my tests, quite naturally, on the hardware that is available to me – for Android I’m using my new HTC Desire X Smartphone, for Linux, it’s my trusty Asus 1215N Netbook running 64Bit Mint 13 XFCE, and the Windows checks are done on my work PC, a 2012 IBM ThinkCentre (Intel i5, 8GB RAM) running 64 Bit Windows 7. Due to the very different hardware capabilities this comparison offers no insight about Windows vs. Linux performance, this has been examined in detail by Tom’s Hardware Guide.
You can find the detailed results here, but to sum it up, Chrome won all benchmarks, except Microsoft’s Robohornet Pro. When doing real work the difference is not as big as the almost 80% difference in Peacekeeper suggests, but still notable, at least on the netbook. You can ease the pain a bit by using Fasterfox but Chrome always feels more snappy.
The real dealbreaker for Firefox is Flash performance on Linux, NPAPI Flash 11.2 on my netbook is 10% to 400% slower than Chrome’s PPAPI Flash 11.5, which means fluent HD video replay is only possible in Chrome. I tried all known tweaks (including FlashAid with “Override GPU Validation” and turn off hardware rendering) but wasn’t able to get better results out of Flash 11.2, neither with Firefox nor any other browser (including Chromium and Opera).
HTML 5 performance is better in Chrome, too, even though the difference is not as drastic as for Flash.
Feature- wise both, Chrome and Firefox are viable alternatives for the desktop (see my comparison from September) and on Android there are very few differences, either. So which browser do you pick, the faster one, of course, which is Google Chrome.
It remains to be seen if Mozilla can achieve a turnaround in 2013 with interesting new projects like PDFjs, Firefox OS or Shumway, or if their steady decline in user numbers and importance will go on.