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DROID 3 vs ThunderBolt vs iPhone 4: web browsing comparison

DROID 3 vs ThunderBolt vs iPhone 4: web browsing comparison
Continually seeing leaps in technology, the proliferation of web surfing on smartphones has been aided by network carriers aggressively expanding their data infrastructure across all four corners of the world. At first, 3G was undeniably accepted with open arms as it produced significantly faster speeds compared to the generation before it – and much like that, LTE and the myriad of 4G labeled networks are doing the same thing for our time. However, there are still other factors that come to play in profoundly earning a great web browsing experience on a smartphone. Knowing that, we decided to pick up a trio of top-notch devices and pit them against one another in a battle for web surfing supremacy.

Taking the Apple iPhone 4, HTC ThunderBolt, and Motorola DROID 3, we decided to run a few different web browsing tests to see how they stack up against each other. And to make things as fair as possible, especially when the 4G LTE enabled HTC ThunderBolt would smite the other two in raw data speed, we placed them all into airplane mode and connected them to the same Wi-Fi network. At this point, that takes out the network carriers out of the equation and mainly places the burden on the handset’s hardware and software to see which one is able to pull off the best results.

Motorola DROID 3

Motorola DROID 3

Before jumping right in, it’s worth noting the kind of hardware we’re dealing with, just because it can obviously adjust the balance of power towards one device. Specifically, the Apple iPhone 4 utilizes a single-core 1GHz Apple A4 CPU, the HTC ThunderBolt sports a single-core 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, and the Motorola DROID 3 rounds out the bunch with a much more modernized dual-core 1GHz TI OMAP 4 chipset. Not only does processor speed affect page loads in a way, but it’s also worth noting that certain customized interfaces can also be taking up precious resources that can handicap a specific device more than others.

First up, we disabled plugins from loading on the two Android powered smartphones and went ahead to load the same web page in separate windows on all three devices simultaneously. Right off the bat, the Motorola DROID 3 is able to render text and images first – with the iPhone 4 and ThunderBolt chiming in afterwards at the same time. Needless to say, it didn’t take that much time to actually display anything, but in terms of fully loading every single item on the page, the DROID 3 is able to accomplish that feat first – followed by the iPhone 4 and ThunderBolt. Running the same test, but using a different link on our site of course, the results are pretty much replicated with the DROID 3 able to display images and text first before the two.

Apple iPhone 4

Apple iPhone 4

Doing the same thing with other web sites, like the desktop versions of the New York Times and USA Today, the Motorola DROID 3 and HTC ThunderBolt are impressively able to completely load pages in about the same manner – with the iPhone 4 coming in last.

Things take a different turn when we enable plugins with the two Android powered smartphones and open a link on our web site. Unsurprisingly, the iPhone 4 is able to completely load the page first, while the two Android smartphones take a bit longer due to Flash content being downloaded and displayed. Obviously, the longer wait times seemingly enable us to get that desktop-like experience with the Android browser– whereas, that’s not something we can actually say with mobile Safari. Just from these short tests, it goes to show that plugins definitely impact the outcome on how fast specific pages are loaded.

HTC ThunderBolt

HTC ThunderBolt

In terms of navigational control between the three, the iPhone 4 is able to manhandle the competition with its significantly more favorable fluid executions. In fact, pinch zoom and kinetic scrolling are by far gracious and wickedly responsive with the iPhone 4’s experience. And even though the performance is indeed tolerable, the choppy movements exhibited by the DROID 3 and ThunderBolt are completely noticeable. Furthermore, the Android browser doesn’t play nicely when trying to navigate while pages continue to load, which is not a problem with the iPhone 4 with its tighter and instant response.

Needless to say, it’s still rather hard to characterize which handset is the supreme winner in the web browsing category. Naturally, the HTC ThunderBolt will win over people with its real world network performance due to its faster 4G LTE connection. However, if responsiveness is something placed highly on your list, then the iPhone 4 is the clear-cut choice with its eloquent, yet responsive navigational performance. And finally, the DROID 3’s all around well-rounded performance will get things to pop up lickity split as soon as you click a link. Through it all, there are still a host of other factors that impact the experience, but nevertheless, we’re sure that most people would be more than appreciative with their actions.



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posted on 20 Jul 2011, 04:47 11

1. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Considering that the iphone 4 is over a year old, it looks like it's still keeping up quite well compared with the recently released android phones. And still beats the others in smoothness and responsiveness. The droid3 seems to be snappier though, but only a tad. Just proves that the iphone is really ahead of the game. And please don't start with flash support. Those flash supported ads are not important.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 07:30 6

12. iankellogg (Posts: 155; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


the iPhone has similar specs as all phones of last year and most of this year. It isn't surprising it did so well at all. I am disappointed that google has not spent more time trying to make their operating system more fluid.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 08:10 1

14. Jasonhunterx (Posts: 110; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)


Iphone is hardware accelerated an android does not use that they should have used a Samsung galaxy they are only android phone with that in the browser to do a real comparison an ice cream sandwich will add that to android

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 10:48

26. tuminatr (Posts: 637; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


think about this for a little bit, the only phone that has new hardware out of the three is the droid 3. The thunderbolt has basically the same hardware as the sprint EVO launched in early 2010 the oldest hardware of the bunch. I am surprised it did so well. This is a tough comparison I would prefer a real world test because hooked up to a mobile network we all know what phone would win

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 11:09 2

29. iguanad (unregistered)


Flash is not just for ads. Flash support is a deal breaker for me. Some web sites cant be viewed at all without it.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 11:17 1

31. 123kid (unregistered)


i own a samsung droid charge and a 16gb iphone 4. I use my iphone for calls pretty much but my droid to use the internet and download music, and stream and watch movies that require adobe flash to play. sometime when i forget my droid at home and just have my iphone and i got down time at work and want to go to tubeplus and watch a movie or tv episode for free. i get so frustrated that my iphone doesnt have flash it like why not just throw that in why keep making accuses just put it in the iphone and give it removable memory. we went to disne world i have some albums on my iphone and apps and pictures and videos, about 2gb left in memory space i recorded about an hour of video of us walking in disney world the kids playing and the parade. then i want to download the disney app i didnt have enough space so i had to start deleting apps got for free to free up space. not an issue with droid my apps save to phone memory and some to micro sd memory and all picture videos songs ringtones etc etc to the micro sd card and when that fills up, go to my glove department and throw in my 8gb micro sd card and keep it moving easily, No syncing to itune at the computer that thousands of mile away at home on my computer, software update right over the air on my droid easy. view whatever i want on my droid just like i do on my desktop and laptop, lay over at the airport pull up tubeplus or project free tv and let the kids stream nickelodeon on my droid cause its flash capable. on iphone i have to PURCHASE something from itunes. Iphone is a very very very nice device but droid is leagues better i will probably get the iphone 5 when it comes out just because but better believe the trusty droid i will also have no matter what. besides i dont want to get rid of iphone because i PAID for somany apps and i dont want to get away from apple cause ive invested so much money in apps. With the android i can have htc, samsung, motorola, lg and still have my same majority FREE apps, i can even go to a sprint, tmobile, verizon, virgin mobile, wifi tablet, us cellular android and still havemy apps as sone as i log into gmail, if i purchased the app I can easily reinstall it right one the device and not sync up with itune at home. and just redownload the MAJORITY FREE apps that the android marketplace has.
Quality is nice but more with just as good quality is better to me and for most people. Im not an apple basher just stating facts, how can you say removable memory, full web browsing, bigger viewing screens, majority free apps is not what you want when its the same price as an iphone that doesnt have all that
DROID x2 $199.99 with full web browsing, removable memory, android marketplace with majority free apps, 8mp auto focus camera
iphone 4 16gb 199.99 without all of that... easy choice to go with droid

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 13:21 3

41. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Pretty sure you're a troll but why do you have an iphone if android is so superior? You basically just went on a rant about how great your droid is. You use the iphone for mostly calls???

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 18:58

53. who's irrational? (unregistered)


again, taco50, AGAIN.. troll? really? are you that desperate for attention?? are you really that insensitive and inhumane?

now you've moved from making bad comments on phones to bad comments on people... how much lower can you degrade yourself??

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 23:25

57. biophone (Posts: 1884; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


He doesn't have a iPhone and charge neither does he have a life. SIGH

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 23:26

58. biophone (Posts: 1884; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


DUDE come on use better taste next time. Your close mind won't get you far.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 05:07 3

3. 1701nino (Posts: 215; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)


Iphone is the best!!!

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 05:14 8

4. Heatfan316 (unregistered)


You can not use three phones on the same wifi network they are all stealing bandwidth from each other and how are you surprised when the iphone4 finishes last sometimes both those phones are way faster then the iPhone4 I don't know why you have the droid3 in this competition it's not fair it's dual core. You have to time them separately then it would fair

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 08:57 2

15. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


Not at all unfair. I think you are missing the point. It's interesting to see how a 1.15 year old iPhone stacks up to current models. Would have also been interesting to see how a current Windows phone compared.

posted on 23 Aug 2011, 17:45

67. The007 (unregistered)


May not be correct. Even though a wi-fi network is shared, access point will give the bandwidth to the guy who contacts first. So the speed also depends upon the ability to send IP packets to internet gateway (wi-fi ap on this occassion). Droid is the winner. Its okay to be patient for pinch and scroll feature, better than not having much needed features like Flash!

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 06:36 4

6. bubba78 (Posts: 54; Member since: 23 May 2011)


Lets turn off wifi and turn on their network data connections and see which one would win..wait we already know that answer :-)

This article makes me lol

posted on 21 Jul 2011, 10:11

66. lollipop (Posts: 43; Member since: 15 Feb 2011)


Seeing how 4G isn't everywhere turning off Wifi would make no difference. Or am i going to hear a "4G is ubiquitos enough" argument to really make me LOL.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 06:50 3

7. android_hitman (Posts: 587; Member since: 07 Jul 2010)


are you sure that you disabled on android phones all the features that iphone4 doesn't have? (java+flash) because if not.. it's an unfair test ..

cheers

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 09:02 3

16. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


Disagree. Android fans bash Apple all the time about not having flash. I think every test run on Androids should have flash enabled. If flash is so great, prove that it doesn't impact my normal web browsing (in fact prove it makes it better). Enough of this "unfair" junk, if you want to split hairs, it's not "fair" to compare a 1.15 year old iPhone to a current DROID 3.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 09:30 2

20. beatlesfan (Posts: 150; Member since: 03 Mar 2011)


Then compare the iphone to an HTC incredible. An android phone that is older than the iphone. But we have to disable all the things the iphone isnt capable of on the incredible because its only fair that way. Its not splitting hairs, its common sense. Thats like saying a phone loading m.google.com and loadingwww.google.com could be compared to each other.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 09:31 1

22. jroc74 (Posts: 3977; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


...I agree with this too...lol

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 09:31

21. jroc74 (Posts: 3977; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


There was a browser test of the iPhone 4 vs. the LG 2X. Flash and everything enabled on the 2X. It had a decent showing against the iPhone, loading faster in some cases.

I think the Android phones shoulda had Flash enabled.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 13:27 3

42. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


More fandroid logic. Its fair to compare a 1yr old phone to a brand new one but its not fair to have flash turned on but iphone sucks because there's no flash. Makes perfect sense.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 20:45

54. Jonny (unregistered)


It's not fair to have the flash turned on because it slows down the browsing speed. And to make things fair you should let all the phones have the same advantages without any disadvantages.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 23:30

59. biophone (Posts: 1884; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


TACO really you expect a fandroid to make sense. They are rebels going against apple. They just want to say its better then a iPhone. They don't really want these things. What do you need flash for on a mobile phone thats at all decent.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 06:52 4

8. Medalaster1 (unregistered)


Yaah Let's try and try till thE iPhone wins...........

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 07:03 3

9. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3515; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


I just hate these tests. Each phone should have its own Wi-Fi network. Only single-core phones should be put against single-core phones, & the same can be said of dual-core phones also. Obviously the dual-core phone will outperform the single-core phone. Also when you are in the street or the park how is Wi-Fi going to make a difference? Use the networks that they come with. The Droid 3 wins in the battle with the iPhone 4 if they are on Verizon's 3G network unless the Droid 3 has Flash on then maybe the iPhone 4 might win maybe, & the HTC Thunderbolt will kill all of the phones because of its Verizon 4G LTE even with Flash on because 4G LTE is just too vicious compared to the dying old tech of 3G. I am more concerned about real world tests not these ridiculous controlled tests that 9 out of 10 times would never present themselves anyway in a real life situation!

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 10:31

23. gallitoking (Posts: 4630; Member since: 17 May 2011)


dont be chicken u guys said that the android phones are complete with flash and other wonderful things.. well test them with that... only fair... what good is to have flash is you will disable it for faster browsing... dude your are making Android look bad.. good morning btw

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 10:56

27. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3515; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Yes I know what you mean. The person who made this test is making Android look bad. A great feature of Android is Flash. Why disable it? I think the web minus Flash is a weak web experience. This controlled test doesn't make sense to me. Anyway what's up gallitoking?

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 11:13

30. gallitoking (Posts: 4630; Member since: 17 May 2011)


not much .. just here in AZ supporting tempetatures above 110.. degrees... staying indoors... for sure... for the record.. hate test of any kind because it nevers shows true results...

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 13:08

39. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3515; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Holy crap, yes you better stay in 110 degrees is no joke. Unless you are sitting by a pool or in the pool. lol I want to go to AZ. it must be a beautiful state. Also I am so with you on dumb tests. I think they are pointless also.

posted on 10 Oct 2011, 14:28

71. sam (unregistered)


did you know that android can play AZ porn? :D

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 23:33

60. biophone (Posts: 1884; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


I had an android never once used flash. for most it won't make a difference. If i want to watch a video i can. What i need flash for is to see ads but not seeing them doesn't make much difference.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 07:10

10. Chakra (Posts: 116; Member since: 02 Dec 2009)


Wait, so you test three phones for their browser performance, so you pick 2 android, and 1 apple. Why not a WP7 phone? I mean, personally, it's not a phone I'd consider at least until the official release of mango, but what I've seen, it could give both apple and droid a run for their money in the respective categories they won.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 07:32

13. iankellogg (Posts: 155; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


is there any wm7 phone out with specs similar to those three?

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 14:45

44. Chakra (Posts: 116; Member since: 02 Dec 2009)


All WM7 phones have a hardware requirement akin to Iphone. So with that being said, they are 1Ghz processor and 512MB RAM. What other requirement do you feel needs to be considered to join this party?

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 07:25 4

11. heller (unregistered)


The iPhone does not even load flash or java so how can it win web browsing??

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 10:34 1

24. gallitoking (Posts: 4630; Member since: 17 May 2011)


simply because u can browse the internet... thats why...

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 11:06

28. iguanad (unregistered)


Web browsing without java and flash is not really web browsing in my opinion. Who wants a lamed down version of the internet? If the iphone had flash, I might have actually bought it.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 23:34

61. biophone (Posts: 1884; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


Dang i missed out on all those ads. HTML5 FTW!

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 09:04

17. p0rkguy (Posts: 677; Member since: 23 Nov 2010)


Wait wait wait. Why are all these phones tested on a wifi network again? All three of them are available on Verizon...

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 09:16 3

18. bubba78 (Posts: 54; Member since: 23 May 2011)


Because that is the only way the iPhone would have the slightest chance of competing against these two androids. What can you say PA loves their iPhones.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 12:58 3

37. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


I agree PA should only report bad things about the iphone. Any test done should be done in a way to make the iphone look bad. That would be the only fair way. Any unbiased reporting clearly proves PA are isheep. They should just rename it iphonearena.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 15:17 1

46. p0rkguy (Posts: 677; Member since: 23 Nov 2010)


It's too bad you're trying so hard just to defend yourself and your beloved iPhone that you're just looking stupid.
Please give a good reason why these tests weren't done on the Verizon network especially when Apple fan boys brag about how the iPhone 4 is now available on it.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 15:47 2

48. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


I don't have to give any reasons it's explained in the article.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 09:26

19. jroc74 (Posts: 3977; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Why are they even still comparing phones to the iPhone 4?

All this shows is other manufactures using more current internals and the benefits vs older tech.

If the next iPhone has the same cpu/gpu as the iPad 2 or a newer one it should dominate tests like this and other tests.

I wanna see some 4G tests now.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 10:40

25. gallitoking (Posts: 4630; Member since: 17 May 2011)


stop being little boys at take this test as simply that...... you will have a real life scenario ..simply because it would take forever.... I can come up with at least 1000 scenearios ..there is never a fair way when it comes to tesing except the customer who buys the phoen and will test it everyday.. all 3 all wonderful phones for different kinds of people....

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 11:27

32. Tmachaveli (Posts: 425; Member since: 01 Apr 2011)


P.A. do love there iphones..they made it so that the iphone had a chance to win wow..P.A. you can do better then that knowing dam well both of the phones will beat the tar out of the all mighty iphone. Put them on the network and do the same test case closed this test mean nothing to me

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 12:09

33. bucky (Posts: 1222; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


Have to give it to the iphone, still holds up quite nicely no matter what fandroids say. my sgs2 would beat the piss out of all of them though :)

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 12:17 1

34. DIYguy (Posts: 190; Member since: 27 Feb 2011)


Android

A great looking laggin' OS plagued by software errors.

IOS

Simple looks, boring, non customizable OS with ugly interface

WP7

beautifully simple OS but misses life easing operations due to its newness.

MeeGo

also beautifuly simlpe OS and very easy to use

Symbian

Not as laggy and poor as it's too often described but yes it has it's own failures.

It doesn't matter if you have fast new multi core processors if your phone is android...
It's still laggy! So the processor isn't everything! MeeGo proves this. It has a 1Ghz processor and it's single core and still the N9 can run plenty of apps simultaneously.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 12:19

35. DIYguy (Posts: 190; Member since: 27 Feb 2011)


hope that covered everything :)

So go ahead choose your favourite OS

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 13:05 2

38. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Not too many people would agree about the ugly ios comment. Most agree Apple has the best looking OS.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 17:32 1

51. wassup (Posts: 565; Member since: 23 Jun 2011)


more don't

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 23:37

62. biophone (Posts: 1884; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


Most agree who don't spend time on phone sites iOS is good looking

posted on 21 Jul 2011, 08:54

64. iPoop (Posts: 58; Member since: 21 Jul 2011)


most iSheep agree that iOS is good looking, i mean what's good looking about a rectangular shaped slab of feature phone goodness?

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 12:50 1

36. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Its just a test for fun they used wifi because you don't need a test to know 4g is faster. I think it was done fairly with and without flash. For the fandroids complaining if flash and java is so great then why complain it was used in the test?

Day two with my Droid Charge. I got 17 mbps down in Portland, typing on this sucks compared to iphone. Same experience as this test fir browsing. Its very choppy and not as responsive as iphone. Battery life much better than Thunderbolt but not that great compared to iphone.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 14:19

43. Sam G (unregistered)


Three phones on the same slow wifi network competition for bandwidth is a pretty bad comparison. The iPhone has always been more fluid, but without flash will always be a dumbed down experience overall. Taking out the carrier speeds was only done to protect the iPhones reputation as much as possible. My Tbolt loaded all of the tested pages in 6 seconds or less with flash enabled versus like 26. REAL world includes 4gLTE and it makes any 3g phone look pathetic in speeds. And in the first test when the OP said the thunderbolt Finally finished last, it was a dead tie between that and the iPhone. Love how the OP was all surprised when the iPhone lost. Lol.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 15:30 1

47. dallas90733 (Posts: 35; Member since: 06 Mar 2011)


Omg!!..I recall when our choice was High-A$$ Iphone, freeze-up-battery-pulling Window and small-screen-no fun Blackberry.....Android change all that, thank you Apple & Google from everyone who has a high-end phone (Apple or Android user)

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 16:01

49. lubbalots (unregistered)


The fanboys rant and rave but they never explain why. They never back their mouth up with any real world evidence or their own experiences as a matter of fact.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 16:47

50. Whateverman (Posts: 3158; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Droid 3 is looking pretty good right now. I wonder how the Bionic and other Motorola devices will perform with the Droid 3 performing so well.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 18:54

52. getalife (unregistered)


i love how you guys are really arguing over phones and operating systems. even if one is better than the other, what does that solve? nothing. they're phones. chose what you like and ignore what you don't.

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