Benchmarking Safari on the iPad

Since purchasing the iPad, I've constantly been amazed by how fast everything works—switching between large apps is no longer a game of roulette, and browsing the web is a breeze.

I ran some tests on Safari on my iPad, just to see how things compare to my MacBook Pro...

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark

Here's the screenshot from my iPad (14068.6ms):

Sunspider Results - iPad

And from my Mac (406.8ms):

Sunspider Results - Macbook Pro

The MacBook Pro (2.53 Ghz 15" with 4 GB of RAM) is about 34x faster than the iPad in raw JavaScript performance... not too surprising, but I'd guess this margin will be trimmed in the next five years, when everyone's carrying around a tablet :-)

Acid3 Test

Here's the screenshot from my iPad (took about 5 seconds):

Acid3 Results - iPad

And from my Mac (took about .5 seconds):

Acid3 Results - Macbook Pro

It looks like, in terms of raw power, the iPad isn't anything amazing, but it isn't nearly as slow as my iPhone (iPhone took SDFJSOIFJD ms). On most sites, I don't notice any lag while browsing on the iPad. Every once in a while a JS-heavy page takes about 2-3 extra seconds to load up all its widgets, but this is definitely tolerable. The decision to ditch my personal laptop is getting easier and easier...

The Bottom Line

Just basing things off the SunSpider test on Safari across my Mac, iPhone and iPad, you can see a very large gap between a 'desktop' Mac vs. the iPhone OS devices. This is understandable, as the iPad and iPhone are built for a completely different purpose than a laptop—they are not 'desktop replacement' computers, but rather mobile computing devices.

  • iPhone (Cortex 600 Mhz A8): 17002.6 ms (baseline)
  • iPad (Apple 1 Ghz A4): 14068.6 ms
  • MacBook Pro (2.53 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo): 406.8 ms

Also be sure to check out my comprehensive review of Apple's iPad.


But I still find it interesting that a netbook underclocked to 1ghz (I underclock on battery power to 90%cpu) Still gets more than 4x the javascript performance compared to the ipad... I have found that many heavy html5/ajax do not run well on my buddies iPad... though some of this may be fixed with new versions of mobile safari... There is some major lag on sites where you want to do more than just view information...


Yeah; we'll see how the next firmware update improves the situation... hopefully Apple can pull a bit more power out of the A4.