Web Browser comparison: iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S III vs One X vs Lumia 900

Web Browser comparison: iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S III vs One X vs Lumia 900
No longer a concern for the world’s most popular smartphone, Apple’s always-beloved iPhone has finally been outfitted with 4G LTE connectivity to present itself in the same light as some of its renowned rivals in the landscape. Naturally, the ability to browse the web is arguably one of the most prized features with today’s modern smartphones, as they can now take advantage of speedy LTE networks littered throughout the world. However, if we take cellular connectivity out of the equation, mainly because LTE isn’t prevalent in many markets, we’re pitting some of the best smartphones out now against one another to find out exactly which one provides us with the most balanced experience.

On tap for this web browsing comparison, we’ve got the Apple iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S III, HTC One X, and the Nokia Lumia 900. Broadening the scope as usual, all three major platforms are well represented in this faceoff – giving us a good idea on how they all perform against one another. In addition to the customary benchmark tests, which gives us insights to their technical prowess, there are other factors that we explain that help to refine and complement the true web browsing experience we desperately crave. So without any further ado, let’s dive in and see what these beauties have to offer.

The Contenders:

  • Safari (iPhone 5)
  • ICS Stock Android Browser (Galaxy S III and One X)
  • Internet Explorer (Lumia 900)


BrowserMark Ringmark (features/tests)
Apple iPhone 5 186,755 55/263
Samsung Galaxy S III 103,091 55/236
HTC One X 96,118 55/236
Nokia Lumia 900 31,862 26/95

Before we dive right into the nitty and gritty, we decided to run a couple of browser benchmark tests to show us on paper how this quartet fares against one another. However, as we should point out before proceeding, it’s worth knowing that these benchmark tests don’t necessarily represent the true performance of these browsers on an everyday, normal basis. First up on the chopping block is Ringmark, which basically checks whether a specific browser supports a variety of basic and advanced protocols/technologies that many apps nowadays rely on – such as HTML 5. Meanwhile, Browsermark works on the same premise, since it measures the performance of things like CSS, HTML5, JavaScript, and WebGL. Although the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S III, and HTC One X all perform almost similarly to one another with Ringmark, while the Nokia Lumia 900 seems to be left in the dust, it’s Apple’s pride and joy that blows away the competition in the Browsermark benchmark test.

Page Loads:

PhoneArena.com NYTimes.com NationalGeographic.com IMDB.com Average
iPhone 5 17.1s 7,5s 9,9s 5,6s 10,02s
Galaxy S III 30.7s 6,8s 8,1s 5,9s 12,87s
Galaxy S III (no flash) 20.5s 3,8s 2,6s 4,5s 7,85s
One X 1min7s 30,8s 8,9s 7,5s 28,55s
     One X      (no flash) 50.2s 4,8s 3,7s 3,8s 15,62s
Lumia 900 53.5s 14,9s 30,8s 19,3s 29,62s

Alrighty folks, without question, the first thing we have to check out before anything else, which is also probably the most important item with most people, is none other than page loads. As we all know too well, all four smartphones are 4G LTE capable, but seeing there are many discrepancies that can arise from that, we decided to test out page loads via Wi-Fi connectivity – to make it a bit more fair, since it’s relying on the same connection. One by one, we loaded up our web site and some other highly visited ones as well, to see how they fare against one another.

Amazingly, it seems as though the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III cough up the fastest speeds, while the Nokia Lumia 900 seems to take a significant amount of time with most of the sites we checked out. Strangely though, the HTC One X took an extraordinary amount of time loading our web site, but didn’t seem too strained by the others. Worth noting in this comparison, we had both Android smartphones enabled for Adobe Flash support, which of course, contributes to longer times than its Flash-less rivals in Safari and Internet Explorer.

Navigational Controls:

If there’s one thing we can agree upon with all four devices, we have to say that navigational control is no problem whatsoever with them. In fact, all four smartphones are soundly responsive with their navigation – providing that oh-so lovable amount of movement with things such as kinetic scrolling and pinch zooming. However, considering we have to be a bit more meticulous comparing the four, we find the HTC One X dishing up the least amount of fluidity with its performance. Honestly, it’s not bad at all and almost negligible, but when the other three handsets exhibit buttery smooth executions, the HTC One X’s minor blemish does stand out a bit more.

Rendering on the go:

Showing no pause or delay with its rendering of complex web sites, both the Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III take a commanding lead in this department, as they’re both adept in rendering on the fly. Whether it’s zooming in/out or merely scrolling to the bottom of a page like a mad man, these two class-leading smartphones are supremely quick in rendering text and various multimedia content. With Internet Explorer on the Nokia Lumia 900, it maintains a very similar performance, but on very few occasions, there is a slight delay before it’s able to render – resulting in a one-second delay in displaying items on-screen. Unfortunately for HTC’s flagship, it clearly has some nagging hitches to its rendering performance, since it’s occasionally delayed. Specifically, it’s most noticeable when pinch zooming with its blinking like actions.

Real Estate & Detail:

In terms of details and clarity, the iPhone 5 undoubtedly has the edge there with its highest pixel density amongst the bunch – while the Nokia Lumia 900’s WVGA resolution softens things up tremendously. And of course, with the two Android smartphones in this comparison, they have the balanced combination of high resolutions and large screen sizes to make them the ideal candidates.

Other Noteworthy Features:

Indeed, a lot of emphasis is placed on each handset’s web browsing performance, since as we all know, it’s the bread and butter in what makes the experience so meaningful. Still, there are other tertiary features that aid to complement the experience. With the two Android smartphones, they have support for Adobe Flash to give them that desktop-like experience. Yes, Adobe’s long famous multimedia platform has already made its exodus from the Android scene, but nevertheless, it’s available on these two beauties.

Interestingly enough, all four smartphones employ their own interpretation with sharing functionality – like being able to share a page via Twitter, Facebook, email, text, etc. However, the Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC One X boast the deepest level of sharing versus the bunch, since they’re Android devices and all. Additionally, with the exception of the Nokia Lumia 900, all the other smartphones have a “Reading Mode” that makes pages easier to read.


Here we are, at the end of a long journey finding out exactly which handset packs along the overall best web browsing experience. Taking all things into consideration, we have to say that the most balanced device for the occasion, has to be Samsung’s offering in the Galaxy S III – though, all are undeniably proficient with the job on hand. Speedy load times, admirable benchmark scores, ginormous display, deep sharing functionality, and a high resolution display pushes the Samsung Galaxy S III just a smidgen ahead of its rivals. Being the new kid on the block, the iPhone 5 flexes its muscles with its commanding benchmark scores, superb details, and speedy performance – making it a great all-around performer as well. Obviously, seeing it’s part of the Android family, the HTC One X is still a wonderful device as well, but there are some rendering issues that prevent it from rising higher. And finally, there’s the sole Windows Phone included in the mix, the Nokia Lumia 900, which is capable of getting the job done – albeit, it doesn’t push the envelope as much as its competitors.



1. Wiki_jaan

Posts: 704; Member since: Jun 24, 2012

s3 without flash rocks

31. Danre

Posts: 85; Member since: Sep 02, 2012

Android is best platform for internet browsing. Android rocks..........

43. abhishek48

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 19, 2012

I think these tests are bull shot as my lg thrill loads phonearena.com in 15 secs on wifi 12 mbps, yeahh so my lg thrill 4g is better than all phones

44. Raymond_htc

Posts: 430; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

bare in mind ur using 4G... Not 3G.......

46. abhishek48

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 19, 2012

Dont yoy read the article and comments properly, they are using wifi so am i they have not mentioned their widi speed mine is 12 mbps whicj is avg.. so all these tests are bulls**t

35. denied911

Posts: 361; Member since: May 31, 2012

test international SIII on JB, I have it for a week now (Poland ;)

45. maryaaadil

Posts: 146; Member since: Apr 07, 2012

Still waiting in India. :-[

58. tegradragon

Posts: 68; Member since: May 23, 2012

Or you can visit Kolkata or Bangalore. They've got Airtel LTE there.

2. VJo003

Posts: 365; Member since: Mar 11, 2012

Nokia's performance is a share... Was really hoping it would be a 3 horse race. With all the news of nexus phones in the air... I Suspect these numbers will become obsolete very fast.

49. nnaatthhaannx2

Posts: 820; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

Windosws phone 8 should refresh the competition. Looks like IE really has no chance against other browers. ****** JOHN V: how fast is your internet connection? You mentioned that you were on WiFi... but exactly how fast is your Wifi? I think this is really a KEY THING to include in a test like this... don't you? *****

3. luckysrinu

Posts: 14; Member since: Sep 04, 2012

Looks like phonearena.com is optimised for iphone5

7. eisenbricher

Posts: 973; Member since: Aug 09, 2012


11. kitpogi

Posts: 7; Member since: Jun 17, 2012

PhoneArena! is FOR iPhone any day...no doubt, always have been...


Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

More like iPhone is optimized not to load those silly & stupidly annoying "flash-embedded" commercial banners, also known as iAds, that bogg-down their website loading on any device, mobile or otherwise. PhoneArena should do the speed comparisons on Google's search page like everyone else.

4. infernal88

Posts: 113; Member since: Jun 08, 2012

are u sure u did the browsermark test for the S3 with real S3 !!! ...cuz i get more than that on my stock S2 ...:/

10. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

It's US variant with dual-core S4 SoC. Int version with quad-core Exynos will blow iPhone 5 away.

13. infernal88

Posts: 113; Member since: Jun 08, 2012

oh totally forgot about the US variants ...:S my bad...still i think a Snapdragon S4 should do better than the old exynos 4210

19. Hemlocke unregistered

Uh, no. The international does better, but still gets smoked. Let me repeat myself: With the exception of Geekbench, the iPhone 5 owns the SGS3 in ALL benchmarks, including the quad-core international version.http://www.anandtech.com/show/6324/the-iphone-5-performance-preview

21. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

yea but the quadcore international galaxy isnt a quadcore S4 pro........so try saying that with a phone like the optimus g which does have an quad S4 pro

22. AliNSiddiqui

Posts: 382; Member since: Sep 19, 2012

24. Hemlocke unregistered

Like I said, Geekbench is the only benchmark the SGS3 manages to slide by in, and it gets destroyed by the 5 in ALL other benchmarks.

30. whysoserious

Posts: 318; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

Well, how could you rely on these benchmarks if they're inconsistent to begin with?

47. jironda

Posts: 4; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

Remember...benchmarks are worthless if real life performance is not like benchmarks. Sorry but, on web surfing, GS3 wins, period, the above results speak for themselves. Other story is gaming, where I'm sure iPhone's more powerful gpu will make a huge difference. And just in case, you should notice that for some reason they didn't measured the Optimus G on all the benchmarks, which is the most powerful android phone to date I think. On Egypt HD at 1280x720 is almost as fast as iPhone at 1136x640. Anyway, both crush de GS3 on this department. But then again, the scope of the article is web browsing, not gaming, and the S3 wins at that, even when the browsermark and sunspider benchmarks favor the iPhone. Reality beats artificial tests.

26. infernal88

Posts: 113; Member since: Jun 08, 2012

well i didnt say that the iphone score is wrong just that in browsermark a 103 000 for S3 is way off "atleast fo I9300" .had one to toy with for a while and in 4 tries it was between 140 000-180 000 i get around 110 000 in my S2 "i9100"

52. jlbrazil

Posts: 10; Member since: Jul 20, 2011

It's incredible how people can't accept how the iPhone 5 is faster than the S III. They pretend that the S3 is faster (Because in they're mind, an iPhone can NEVER be faster than the sacred S3), and when someone says the truth they give lots of thumbs down.

53. ae4ever

Posts: 7; Member since: Feb 08, 2012

WOW!! a 4 month old phone gets beat by a brand new phone!! No way!!

5. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

It would be a better web browser comparison if the devices were the new flagships-one x+,lumia 920(which aren't out yet) and note 2. But anyways,all these four devices performed well...

6. darkskoliro

Posts: 1092; Member since: May 07, 2012

HTC phones have a tendency to take forever to load web pages, although they visually seem to be perfect already. Anyone know why??

8. Ronoc039

Posts: 28; Member since: Jul 18, 2012

Lumia 900 took one up the @$#...

27. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Considering it is the only single-core phone of the bunch, and doesn't have WiFi enhancements like the ip5 (or new Kindles, for that matter), I think it held its own pretty well. It's also $50-150 cheaper on contract that the basic variants of the other phones. Looking forward to Lumia 920 v GS4 (or Note2) v HTC One X(whatever the new one announced earlier this week was) v LG Optimus G v iph v ATIV S v WP8X. Battle Royale!

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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