Real World iPhone 3G vs. Storm Browser Speed Test!

iPhone 3G vs. BlackBerry Storm Browser Speed Test
By Kevin Michaluk on 20 Nov 2008 12:01 am EST
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After I cleared security at LaGuardia and made my way to the gate, I realized, WOW...if I want to put the iPhone 3G and BlackBerry Storm head to head for a browser speed comparison I had better do it RIGHT NOW while I have each running on their native networks. I threw down my laptop bag on the floor as an adhock table, yanked out my video camera and got it done. See the video, details and results after the jump!

Real World iPhone 3G vs. BlackBerry Storm Web Browser Speed Test

You'll want to take this video for what it's worth. If you think back to my BlackBerry Bold vs. Iphone 3G Web Browser Speed Comparison you'll remember I was all about the scientific process. Not the case here. I had less than twenty minutes to get this done before I had to board the plane, so it was quick and dirty. Consider it a Real World test.

I had time to visit four sites: NYtimes.com, WSJ.com, CrackBerry.com and ArsTechnica.com. It turned out the guy sitting next to me works for Ars Technica and was flying home, so suffice to say he was pretty interested in this little smartphone battle that was being recorded for all to see.

Default Settings: It is important to note that the iPhone 3G by default has JavaScript Support enabled, while the BlackBerry Storm ships with Javascript support disabled (you can go into your browser options and choose to enable it). RIM is still working on optimizing their web browser Javascript support and isn't quite with where they want to be just yet, hence why this setting is disabled for the time being. For day to day normal website browsing, leaving JS support disabled doesn't seem to negatively impact web browsing (the sites I tend to visit anyways).

Test Testings: In the first site visited in the video, NYTimes.com, I have JavaScript support enabled on BOTH phones. For the next three sites visited, I disabled JS on the BlackBerry Storm, back to the default setting. Most people don't even monkey around with their settings, so I figured the best Real World test would be use those default settings.

The Results: 

  • NYTimes.com - iPhone 3G wins, Storm does not bad... but definitely chokes on the Javascript a bit
  • WSJ.com - BlackBerry Storm wins, iPhone 3G loads slower then crashes
  • CrackBerry.com - BlackBerry Storm wins, iPhone 3G loads slower then crashes
  • ArsTechnica - BlackBerry Storm wins 

Conclusions: It's hard to conclude much in 20 minutes, but there are some takeaways here:

1. With default settings, the BlackBerry Storm browser is a bit quicker than the iPhone 3G.

2. If you put the iPhone 3G and BlackBerry Storm head-to-head with the identical settings (either Javascript Support on or off on both), then the iPhone 3G will likely be a bit quicker...

3. that is assuming the iPhone 3G's browser doesn't crash and burn! Seriously, I don't get what was up with the iPhone 3G's browser in this test, but after it crashed on WSJ.com I restarted the device, and it crashed again on CrackBerry.com. Not sure if this was an AT&T network thing, or 2.1 software thing or what, but the Storm's browser proved to be much more reliable during this head-to-head test.

I'm sure we'll see a lot more of these tests in the days and weeks ahead... so stay tuned for Round 2!

Topics: Devices

Reader comments

Real World iPhone 3G vs. Storm Browser Speed Test!

67 Comments

Per the picture above the iPhone looks to be running iPhone OS 2.0.2 or LOWER (THE 3G ICON LOOKS DIFFERENT ON 2.1)

You have a good point... but really, the software isn't going to make THAT big of a difference.

I mean the largest difference here is the loading/not loading of Java Script.

The iPhone is a clear winner in a 100% same, and fair test.

I did the same test with my friends.. both had iPhones and BOTH of their machines crashed repeatedly. My Storm never crashed once out of 3 sites. One of the iPhones crashed 4x in 6 tries. The other crashed 3x in 8 tries. Both were running the newest iPhone app.. one was updated an hour earlier. All phones were working from a fresh boot. When they didn't crash, the 3G was a bit faster.. most sites loaded 2 to 3 seconds faster. But, the crashing took away any possible advantage the 3G speed could provide.

The iPhone does truly suck.

Get a life, and a real phone. This demo doesn't even have up-to-date iPhone software. I picked up the Storm on Friday just to compare it to the iPhone. There is no comparison, the iPhone still trumps all, period. The Storm was returned quickly.

I was sitting in a clinic waiting area surfing on my old, reliable and trusted BB when this guy sat down next to me, leaned back, pulled out his iPhone then crossed his legs. He did it in a way "ha! I have an iPhone and you don't!". Then he proceed to surf. First try, his iPhone froze (I was looking at the corner of my eye). He fumbles around trying to reboot it. I almost chuckle. Second try it crashes. Then, my name was called. I think I told my doctor I'm better now. =)

But the irony of it is that I'm still considering both, the Storm and the iPhone. What does that tell ya? I guess I am still not better.

You see the test in real time.The crappy iphone crashes twice.This test is with The buggy storm software two .When the bugs are all worked out this will no doubt be the iphone killer

excellent!! i like i like.. its good to see its right there with the Iphone.. with all the other advantages over the Iphone this is good to see. BB has made some great strides in the browser area!

I just tried all those sites that crashed on you on my iPhone. Seemed to load fine for me at its normal load time.

Yeah. It's strange. On Rogers my Safari browser handles those sites just fine. I don't know if it was stage fright or AT&T or what, but it became a crashing machine.

There is definitely something strange about the AT&T network. Not just their 3G but their network in general. I took my Bold (rogers) when i was down in Michigan and Chicago. MY DEAR GAWD the Bold choked on everything and just kept restarting.

oh and Storm .. Rogers .. Q2 2009 ?

good little comparison. how come you didn't have both of them in landscape or portrait? it's kind of hard to gauge the layout like that. i think at the end of the day, the speeds will be a wash. some sites will load faster on the storm, while others faster on the iphone. what's really troubling is the crashing of the iphone. i knew it did this on a friend of mine's iphone alot, but this is becoming widespread, like EVERY other time you use safari and it takes more than 20 seconds to load, it will just crash!

good question - i was in such a rush i wanted the storm in full qwerty so i could more quickly type in the urls of the sites i was visiting..then as soon as i typed i was just putting it down... and i thought it looked pretty :)

more vids like this will surely come in the days ahead - you can look at this as just a first look

Ah, if you disable JS on the Storm, shouldn't you disable it in Mobile Safari as well? I certainly do on my iPhone 3G and it loads pages a ton faster.

Agreed. If you see my Bold vs. iPhone 3G test you'll see how anal I get about comparing like settings.

Because I had so little time to get this done, I compared native/default settings... since probably 80% of users don't even monkey with their settings (if you're reading this site and leaving a comment though you're probably in the 20%).

So that's why I say take this for what it's worth... just one real life test. I'm sure more will come down the road. But all in all, out of the box the Storm did well.

Kevin, what did you think of the Storm's browser quality? Disregarding the speed, is it truly iPhone quality, or at least very close? I love my Curve but it would be hard to pass up TRUE desktop-quality (minus flash) web browsing for only $100 more (I'm within the 30 day return policy for Verizon).

Browser seems to be identical to the Bold's in terms of how it renders and displays pages. So a helluva lot better than any other BlackBerry prior to the Bold. Not quite as good as the iPhone, but very usable and pretty close. There's just the odd thing it doesn't like to render quite right on certain sites.

Kevin,

Would you recommend the Opera mini browser as a better alternative? How does Opera compares to safari?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer ....

These folks make money off blackberry and its products, and who knows maybe some under the table funds as well, thus they aren't going to promote opera mini or dignify your question with comment.

First off... I love Crackberries! But lets be honest... The iPhone's browser is gonna be better than the Storm's. Not to mention, NO WiFi for the Storm! I'd love to see that test with an iPhone on a fast WiFi connection, Ha! RIM really screwed us leaving out WiFi (even it VZW made them do it)!! But like I said, I'm an addict, and will probably buy one anyway....

RIM is not at fault for VZW not adding the WIFI feature. VZW stands by their ED-VO and see WIFI as its version of WIFI. If you notice its in all advertisements!

Imagine if the Storm was on TMO! It would have WIFI, but no 3G. From company to company its a gain or lose situation.

Yeah, the iPhone 3g doesn't load Crackberry.com good. On wap, it rocks.

Did you try cb with or without wap?

I use to have an iphone, loved verizon's service more so i came back...but still both phones take AT LEAST 25-30 seconds to load a site. Horrible unless you have wifi of coarse.

but i dont know...probably going to end up with a storm anyway I need a new toy

Guys I love Blackberry as much as the next guy (my love dates back to the 7510 through Nextel) but the iPhone's browser is leaps and bounds above that which is included on the Blackberry Bold. And if the Storm has the same browser then I will take this review with a grain of salt.

I own a Blackberry Bold and an iPod touch. I'm all for hyping up the Storm but let's be real...there is no comparison.

I agree with you on the matter. I have had both the iPhone 2G and 3G. The iPhone browser is second to NONE including the Storm and Bold. What makes the big difference is reliability. I can guarantee that my BB will work 95% of the time, while with the iPhone I would gauge it at a mere 70%. I have had both worlds and will stick to the reliability of the VZ network along with the speed that comes with it.

I know you were just testing the network/browser speed, but why wouldnt you have them both oriented the same way?

My hunch is RIM got mad at him for his bold vs iphone speed test, and with the down economy RIM needs all the pumping it can get. True fairness and capitalism will reign if he did a test using opera mini on both phones. Only then, using the exact same software on both phones, can the hardware be truly scientifically tested. We already know RIM is years behind in browser development. Lol, so he compares the two giving the iphone a handicap, what a freaking canadian socialist communist. =D all in good fun...

May have been slow, but these phones are not computers.... the browsers are not going to load anywhere near as fast as what we are used to...

I think that Safari is going to render faster, just as Kevin said, with the phones in identical settings.

I mean in the comparison above the Storm doesn't have to try and load java script, but still only beats the iPhone by a couple of seconds (which is loading Java), not counting the shitty crashes.

All around Apple knows what the Hell they are doing with Safari, and though the Storm and Bold browsers are 4 steps forward for RIM it's still not going to be BETTER than the iPhone.

And before anyone starts cutting into me, I own a BlackBerry 8830, tomorrow this will change to the Storm, and I have no interest in an iPhone, but my roommate owns one, and I am able to appreciate the greatness that the iPhone is, and that it's great at what it does, but also realize that it is SERIOUSLY laking in what it doesn't do.

In the portion of the Mountain West where I live, Verizon is the only reliable and available service. Without AT&T the iPhone is not an option. So, when I learned that the Storm was on the horizon (sorry, no pun intended), I have been anxiously awaiting its release and reading every article/news item about it. The bottom line is that anything is better than what is available and from what I can see Storm is pretty darn good!! I'll take it.

That seems rather one sided.. Usually a fair reviewer, but this is rather comical.

Now do the test of, talking on the phone and browsing the web or sending emails... *waits* Oh that’s right, its on Verizon, you cant! doh!!!!

read the blog post. i said this wasnt really a fair/scientific test. only had 20 minutes and had to get it done before i left the usa and would be off at&t and verizon's networks.

using the phone with the default settings seemed to be the best bet for a quick test.

more tests will be done..

oh let me copy and paste this and send it to all my friends, oh wait DOH! iphone can't do that. Oh! let me put it in my microSD and put it on my laptop, oh wait doh! iphone don't have that either, dammit iphone. I guess I'll have to call my friends and tell him. Oh wait, my iphone is still searching, oh yeah that's right, I'm on att.

They understand that this phone blows away just about everything that the iPhoney can do. Otherwise they wouldn't be on here making their snide little untruths.....

Pity for them. Maybe in a year or two when they get PUSH mail working, or copy and paste or MMS, or a stable NON-Crashing OS, they can come back and talk with us, and we can then compare

Very nice, Kevin!

TheiPhoneblog.com will, of course, run our own tests, using a cardboard cut out of the iPhone #G vs. your video of the Storm. We predict Safari will crash less!

What's up with the lack of WiFi, though? Is RIM going all Battlestar Galactica on wireless? I know WiFi on the iPhone leaves me open to the frakken Cylons, but with warp speed, exchanging files via Zero Config, sweet, sweet remote desktop over 802.11g, and otherwise integrating with home automation and virtually every other WiFi equipped device on the planet... at least I'll have fun before I'm nuked.

Any chance the GSM Storm will get WiFi?

Waiting on your review. Be kinder than Time. Please :)

Just visited WSJ.com. I used goto and hit enter at the same time you did and my curve loaded the page WAY before either of those phones. The storm screen was still white once mine finished loading.

Iphone 3G browser sucks. I gave up the Iphone to get a blackberry bold because I was sick and tired of the browser crashing all the time as well as the crappy battery life with 3G enabled. I couldn't surf the full myspace website without it crashing. It would work fine with the mobile version but its limited.

Can anyoe with a Storm do a comparison using the Opera Browser? With the latest mprovements to Opera I bet it's leaps and bounds faster than the native BB browser.

Thanks!

You need to update your iphone to 2.1 and then run the tests again (your 3G symbol is the old one). Talk about bias; but i guess that's what I expect from crackberry.

Why are their so many iphone people on crackberry????????? By the way how well does your corporate outlook calendar sync (not docked) iphone users? Seriously though, both phones are very nice. However, the people out there using blackberry's typically sign the checks for the people using iPhones. Look around and have fun with that one.

My BOLD beat both these phones with javascript disabled and emulation mode as firefox. That's the closest looking type pages I could get. I was on 3G and not Wifi. I guess take with grain of salt :P

I really don't care how fast or slow, i just need to get this lovely storm and i don't care how fast Iphone is..
even if they have built superdubbber fast browser to iphone i will be still getting the BB storm.

Many airports have complementary wi-fi and had this been a true real world test the iphone wouldve been using it... and why would anyone turn javascript off?!? unless of course, its too much to handle for the storm... i mean i know this is crackberry.com but try to be at least a little less biased.

It's RARELY ever free WiFI since you have to PAY at most of the airports I've been to in the past 6 months. If perchance they DO offer "public" WiFi, it's one SLOW-ASSED "G" class router with 500 People attached making it slower than waiting for an iPhone to reboot after it's 20th crash of the hour.

Same thing is happending in the HOTELS nowdays. They almost ALL have WiFi, but it's useless for just about anything since they are ALSO "G" routers, with all the guests attached. Fine for checking mail, etc. But no vids, no downloads, etc.... it's WAY too slow.

WiFi is for best for HOME use dude... unsecured or heavily SHARED WiFi points BLOW, and using UNSECURED wifi is really risky. Take NOTE.

While the iPhone may be running outdated it does still crash even with 2.1. My curve has a more reliable web loading then the iPhone my friends have. The storm looks brilliant in this test, a bit slower on SOME even tests, but no crashes.

Hi Folks! Thanks for the great feedback. As part of my job I do a lot of testing using various cell phones to test carrier systems and thought I would throw a few things out there for consideration during your testing process.

First thing is to consider how cell phones might interfere with each other. Depending on how well you can receive the tower site and it can receive your signal will depend on how much power the mobile will be putting out. If the uplink signal is really crappy due to distance to the tower or high noise, your mobile will quite likely be running at full uplink power. While generally mobiles in ideal conditions don't generally interfere with each other, under poor signal conditions they often do. Essentially you have a receiver that is capable of picking up a signal that is millionths of a watt that is right next to a transmitter of the other phone that is putting out up to a tenth of a watt. Its’ receiver is getting hammered even if it technically an out of band signal (cell/PCS phones TX and RX and different frequencies but under the right conditions they will and do interfere). In layman’s terms, this is like you trying to see the plant Mercury in broad daylight competing with the light of the sun. The fix for this problem is easy, just keep them apart at least 10 feet or so minimum.

Second to consider is antenna orientation. FYI, on most communications today we use vertical polarization (unlike for example TV systems that use horizontal polarization). In the good ole days it was easy to tell which way the mobile antenna was oriented since it stuck up out the top. This means when the antenna of the mobile is vertically oriented with the tower antenna which is vertically polarized, signal transmission is generally best. I set up in tethered mode on my computer, used a continuous stream of video and watched the video buffer indicator moving along as an indication of data rate (informal testing we can all do) to test with. I don’t know for sure which way the antenna in a Blackberry Storm is mounted since I’m not brave enough to crack one open (at least yet) but I found when it is on its back facing the ceiling it doesn’t work so well. Holding it up in portrait was just a little better, but holding it in landscape position and then rotating about a little I found it absolutely screams when it gets lined up with the tower site. To say there is directivity is an understatement. Rotating in the landscape from optimal download rate to just about nothing you go about 90 degrees of rotation. I don’t have an iPhone to test with but I would suspect it has similar qualities.

Third, time of day. During certain times of day cellular/PCS traffic is much heavier than other times. To maximize the tower resource (their BTS equipment, switches, and network connectivity, etc.) the carriers run their systems only to the point they can accommodate the average daily peak traffic. This keeps their networks affordable and supposedly the cost of their service as far as we are concerned (although I have a hard time believing that each month when I get my phone bill). The real proof of a carriers system is during typical traffic peaks around 8 to 10AM and 4 to 6 PM each day. Testing at other times, such as in the middle of the night you will probably have much better results so be sure to document what time you performed your test too.

Things I’m still curious about are the resets. Back in the 90’s BellSouth, and IBM developed a touch screen cell phone called the Simon. I was a beta tester and found it to be really cool but would often lock up in poor signal coverage conditions due to the mobile transmitter ramping up to full power and the signal overloading the internal microprocessor. The only way that problem could be fixed was to remove the battery. I’m guessing either it was considered too far ahead of its time, too expensive or had too many problems to see the light of day in the market place. I’m wondering if some of these odd lockup/resets etc. are truly software problems or due to RF overloading. It is just something to think about while you are testing.

Well good luck, and I look forwarding to seeing your test results.

Best Regards,

Jim

great test. there are videos on cnet about about the coming of the storm. cnet's news casters seem to me to be iphone lovers. they go on about the storm on how its hard to type on it & this the "kicker", they say how iphone's browser is faster. huh!!! this video speaks 4 it self...

hi im doin a science fair project nd i wanna kno which phone is better a iphone or a blackberry storm! can u answer my ?

I'm a BlackBerry guy but honestly I can't trash the iphone. Both the storm and theiphone have their sol gitches and it will come downto matter of preference for people on the fence.
Unless of course either rim or apple make a huge
improvement in either phone that would make it the champion. Iphone has had few years to work out thei kins but at least apple keeps thr software up to date. I'm quite diapointed with rim leaving us with scrappy os.

HELP PLEASE!!! I have the storm and it is unlocked and being used on T-Mobile. Email and everything works great BUT I have no browser. The Blackberry people say it is not possible to have a browser on the T-Mobile network. Can anyone tell me something different??? PLEASE I love this phone.

my friend has the iphone. I have the Storm. this is how i see it. The iphone is for little bobby who wets the bed at night and the Storm, the Storm is for someone who actually has a brain and knows how to use it!
Only tittybabies use the iphone cause its "cool". If i was like 5 years old i would think that the ihpone is cool but its for babies and anyone who wants to grow up should get the Storm. :p

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