Mobile Browser Speed Battle: iOS Devices Faster On 3G, Android Faster On LTE
A new study on mobile browser speed offers mixed results when comparing iOS and Android devices, and shows that it’s not just the device/platform that you’re using, but also the cellular network that you’re on that matters.
Strangeloop Networks has just published its 2012 State of Mobile Ecommerce Performance report, which looks at how fast the top 200 e-commerce websites load on mobile web browsers. It’s a companion report to the desktop browser speedy study that Strangeloop issued last week.
For this study, Strangeloop measured 200 e-commerce sites over 3G and LTE networks in July and September of this year. The company used six devices: iPhone 4, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S smartphone, Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone, iPad 2 (“the new iPad” as Apple calls it) and the Samsung Galaxy tablet.
Overall, mobile was much slower than desktop. The median web page takes more than 11 seconds to load on both iOS and Android devices, compared to about seven seconds on the desktop. But the mobile speed you’ll get depends both on your device and network.
3G Page Speed: iPhone & iPad Are Faster
On the slower 3G cellular network, which is how more than half the world’s mobile users access the web, iOS devices performed better than their Android counterparts.
The median home page took 11.5 seconds to load on an iPhone 4, compared to 11.8 seconds on the Samsung Galaxy S.
Strangeloop says that mobile-specific pages loaded faster on both devices, but the iPhone 4 was still faster (5.4 seconds) than the Galaxy S (6.8 seconds).
Likewise, the second edition iPad loaded pages faster over 3G than the Galaxy tablet.
But when it comes to the faster LTE network, Android devices outperformed iOS.
LTE Page Speed: Android Wins
I had my first experience with LTE this week at our SMX East conference in New York City, and it was noticeably faster on my iPhone 5 than when I’m on 3G at home. But my experience would’ve likely been even a little better if I’d been using an Android phone. Strangeloop says pages loaded 9% faster on the Galaxy S3 than on the iPhone 5.
Overall, the study found that the LTE network was 27 percent faster than 3G. The average load time for pages on 3G was 11.7 seconds, compared to 8.5 seconds for LTE.
Strangeloop points out that there are other factors that influence mobile page load speeds beyond the device or network you’re using. Latency — the amount of time it takes a server to process a web page request — is a big one. Latency depends on how close the user is to the server, and it can vary from 34 milliseconds on LTE to 350 milliseconds over 3G. The increasing size of web pages also affects page speeds both on mobile and the desktop. And there’s also the possibility that website owners are optimizing pages specifically for one platform over another.
You can download the full report for free, but contact information is required.