The latest Android tablet Nexus 7 powered by Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) gets many favorable reviews (see the analysis from e.g. Ars Technica, AnandTech, or The Verge). Google Chrome, the default web browser for Jelly Bean, works quite well on this 7″ tablet. How does it compare with other tablets? I’ve done a quick check and here is the result.

My first test is DOM performance. Looking at how millions of web pages use JavaScript to spice up the contents, I am always a believer that a fantastic performance of DOM access and modification will have an important impact in the perceived smoothness of the page interaction. That was also the basis for my previous web performance analysis of various tablets and smartphones (also for testing Amazon Kindle Fire and Nokia N9/N950). Using the collection of DOM core tests from Dromaeo, here is the colorful chart of the comparison (longer is better) of some tablets within my reach:

For more detailed results, check out the Dromaeo numbers (left to right: Playbook, Nexus 7, iPad 2). Playbook is running Playbook OS 2.0.1, Nexus 7 is obviously powered by Android 4.1.1, and iPad 2 has the latest iOS 5. Seems that the race is rather neck and neck.

As for pure JavaScript performance, there are already tests like SunSpider and V8. I decided to pick something else, namely running the parser benchmark suite of Esprima. Since I already spent a crazy amount of time of optimizing Esprima, I was anxious to see how it performs on devices with limited computing power. It is also interesting to witness how the system copes with a complicated parsing process which involves a lot of recursions, object constructions, and branching. The outcome is as follows (shorter is better), showing that the latest V8 helps Chrome to be ahead of the others:

All in all, by no means the above tests were extensive and complete. In addition, it would be nice to get some numbers with the new iPad and the upcoming iOS 6. In few months, perhaps including Windows Surface as well.

Feel free to stress-test your Nexus 7 tablet and share your findings!

  • Brilliant. The Jellybean / Chrome combination on the 7 does seem to be particularly potent. It certainly often feels faster than my higher specified Galaxy s3.

    • Would be interesting to see once Jelly Bean hits S3.

  • Steven Weathers

    Ran the DOM test on my iPad3 and it scored 222.23runs/s.
    Esprima Full Benchmark ran on iPad3 scored 9.2417 s.

    So only slight improvements over iPad2.

    • Thanks for the additional numbers! I think it makes sense, consider that the A5X in the new iPad is an minor CPU-core improvement compared to A5 (the huge boost in performance is for its GPU).

  • Freddywang

    Benchmark being mere numbers doesn’t tell much when it comes to real-life usage. My simple test run: Try maps.google.com on Nexus-7, Nexus Phone, iPhone 4. The 2-year-old iPhone 4 is still way smoother and responsive than the Android webkit, even on Chrome Android. iPhone 5 and the new iPad is even better. I am not sure what to say about Android, maybe we set too high expectation simply because of Google strong web presence.

    • Most likely there is not much focus from the Maps team to optimize that case. Android users are usually using the native Google Maps application.

      • Freddywang

        Agree, native apps are definitely more appealing than its mobile web offering. You just don’t expect much of great mobile web experience with Android.