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iOS 4.3 testing: JavaScript on the iPad 2.5 times faster

updated 03:10 pm EST, Wed March 9, 2011

We bench iOS 4.3 in SunSpider

The launch of iOS 4.3 has brought a much improved web browsing experience through the Nitro engine for JavaScript, which until now was previously available only in Safari on the desktop. Electronista has benchmarked the original iPad using the official SunSpider test to see just how much speed comes from software alone. Read on for a comparison with iOS 4.2.1 and just how much faster the iPad 2 is expected to be.

The iOS 4.2.1 test was, to put it mildly, slow. At 8,217.5ms to complete the test, it was not only slower than most Android phones but felt slow to run: some tests, such as the 3D and string tests, took well over a second to complete. When you're loading a website, adding a few seconds just adds to the perceived slowdown.

In iOS 4.3 tests, the results were dramatic: only the string test took any longer than half a second, and it shaved about 0.6 seconds off what was previously a very long time. The subjective difference was large enough that we were willing to see the test complete with the iPad in our hands in iOS 4.3 where we'd set the iPad down for a break waiting for 4.2.1 to finish.

How does the iPad 2 fare? While we won't know for certain until the iPad 2 ships, early tests have given a score of 2127.2ms, or about 34 percent faster than what we saw today. The result might disappoint those who were expecting the iPad 2 to match Apple's "twice as fast" claims in every case, but it's likely dictated by other factors as well; we don't know how optimized Safari is for dual-core processors or graphics acceleration, for example.

As such, the iPad 2 won't make a dramatic difference over a 4.3-upgraded iPad unless you spend all your time in complex web apps. However, it's clear that 4.3 is not just a virtually necessary update and, from what we've seen, should outperform the current Android phones and tablets that outran iPads using iOS 4.2.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. dagamer34

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2007



    SunSpider isn't multi-theaded, it only shows the raw performance of the A4 vs. 1 A5 core. Webpages have several javascript threads running at once, which is where the "twice as fast" comment comes into play.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: Disappointed

    Really? All webpages have several javascript threads, all running at once? Who knew.

  1. dpicardi

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2006


    Will we see...

    an improvement in other browsers like Atomic Web Browser too or does this fix just address Safari. I like the tab feature far better in Atomic...

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