Microsoft Surface trounced in browser benchmarks, iPad 3x faster

By on November 5, 2012, 4:30 PM

With Microsoft's tablet offering finally in the wild, Futuremark took to Peacekeeper -- its own "universal" benchmark suite -- in order to determine how Surface stacks up against its competition. Perhaps surprisingly, benchmark monkeys discovered that Surface's test performance falls well behind leading competitors and that of higher-end smartphones.

Contrary to the many reviews which applaud the snappy responsiveness of Surface's multi-gesture-capable UI, Futuremark's synthetic tests indicate Apple's latest iPad man-handles HTML5 three times faster than Microsoft's $499 tablet. In fact, Surface -- which scored 348 points on Peacekeeper -- even falls behind the 3rd-gen iPad (522), the iPad Mini (515) and the Nexus 7 (522). 

Tablets aside, the iPhone 5 (907), Galaxy S III (680) and HTC One S (460) were the three top-scoring smartphones on the list, all of which managed to best Surface by rather cushy margins.

It's important to note that Peacekeeper is a browser-based benchmark, not unlike Google's Octane. The fact Peacekeeper runs from a browser is an obvious indicator of its software dependence and thus the major culprit on Surface's low results is bound to be IE10.

Speaking of which, Tom's Hardware shows Surface performing just as poorly under other browser-based benchmarks, including well-known tests like V8, Octane and Sunspider. Since Surface is powered by the same silicon found in the Nexus 7 -- a 1.3GHz Tegra 3 -- it seems evident Surface's benchmark-envy is likely a software issue. The Android-toting Nexus 7 performed almost twice as well under most benchmarks with its own browser.

So, is Surface's benchmark woes an issue with Windows 8 RT? IE10 mobile? Is it a bug, poor optimization or simply working as intended? For now, we can't really be certain However, the upshot here is that the tablet's performance may significantly improve through future software updates. That, at least, ought to give Surface owners a little something to look forward to.

User Comments: 10

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MrAnderson said:

I'm not all that surprised. I say big woop. Show a common implementation of software running that has a horrible experience due to the slow processing of a surface device, or other. Or are they fast enough? When developers/designers raise a real user experience bar, then the browsers really need to step up their game. So great, Apple can relax and be a first world platform. =P

I'm rather more interested in the perceived responsiveness vs the actual.

I have not played that much with iPad and Surface... but I have noticed a big difference in how HTML5 content response on my iPhone 4S verses my Android tablet. My iPhone sometimes can be pretty slow. I think there are so many areas in which to focus speed and in the end (b/c well we are not yet doing HPC in the browser) responsiveness to user interaction is where it matters.

Guest said:

Actually, the SunSpider test on the linked results from Tom's Hardware shows Surface to be overwhelmingly superior to the competition.

Camikazi said:

This is why benchmarks don't mean much to me, I have tried out a Surface tablet and it was smooth and very quick. No matter what these benchmarks say the tablet performs well and don't show signs of lagging in what I wanted them to do.

m4a4 m4a4 said:

I am not surprised with apple since they have been putting all its eggs into the html5 basket. But since html5 is still not popular enough, it means nothing to me...

Trechie said:

HTML 5 is very popular. For example, in Gmail, you can drag and drop a file into the message to attach it. Anything that behaves like that is HTML 5. Google and other big names are embracing it, and it adds alot of convenience functionality to HTML vs. version 4. I was waiting for benchmarks and user reviews before deciding if I even wanted one. I think I would rather have the non RT version, the one that isn't out yet.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think I would rather have the non RT version, the one that isn't out yet.
I think I will be saying that very statement for the next two or three years.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Actually, the SunSpider test on the linked results from Tom's Hardware shows Surface to be overwhelmingly superior to the competition.

And the BrowsingBench test also has it beating the Nexus 7 soundly. The benchmarks where it loses are Google created benchmarks, which would naturally favour Chrome.

Guest said:

My results, windows 7 home premium x64

opera 12.10 x86 1732

opera 12.10 x64 1732

firefox 16.02 1631

ie9 509

google chrome 22 3807

tonylukac said:

The os on a surface also takes up 16 gig, while on the ipad it takes up 1 gig. So when you order a 32 gig device, you get twice as much storage on the ipad.

Guest said:

I get the same results on both my Acer Iconia W500 C50 Windows 7-32bit tablet and Windows 7-64bit desktop pc.

IE 9 - 2887

Opera 12 - 3578

Apple - Zzzzz

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