Sorry RIM, the iPhone 4’s Browser is Still Faster

The iPhone 4 and the BlackBerry Torch 9800 have been put through a head to head browsing speed test and while the Torch is a massive improvement over the Bold 9700, it is noticeably slower than the newest iPhone. Don’t believe me? I have a YouTube video to prove it—one made by BlackBerry fan site CrackBerry no less. Don’t get me wrong though, the Torch is far faster at web browsing than the 9700 can manage, but it looks like it’s the hardware itself that is the key limiting factor.

“If we had an iPhone 3G here, I bet it would be on par with that, in terms of speed”—a guy from CrackBerry talking about the new BlackBerry Torch 9800 and web browsing.

That one quote from the YouTube video comparison pretty much sums up what I want to say here. I decided to run a test of my own with an old iPhone 3G using Safari Mobile and go to the same sites as the video does. The results of my test? The iPhone 3G is faster than the Torch 9800 when loading the mobile sites, a little bit slower when it comes to loading full sites (probably limited by the 128MB of RAM it packs) and actually scrolls more smoothly than the Torch on many pages.

However, the web browser in the Torch is far better than what Research In Motion (RIM) offered before. In the video, the Bold 9700 crawls along at almost unbearably slow speeds (every Android OS smartphone I have used is faster). The big question is, are you satisfied with a web browser about as fast as one from a 2 year old iPhone? Chances are, if you are a BlackBerry user, yes. You don’t really have a choice in the matter.

I mentioned before that I think the hardware is the limiting factor for the new web browser in BlackBerry OS 6. Another factor is the fact that RIM channels data through its own servers, adding latency and lag. The data compression features that this enables may save you bandwidth in the long run, but really? A just launched, flagship smartphone should not be as fast as a 2 year old phone that isn’t even sold or used anymore. RIM has made a few steps here, but it is still a few feet behind the iPhone and some of the higher-end Android OS phones.

Here is the video:


Let’s give RIM some breathing room here. It still has some more product launches planned for this year, and hopefully they will be packing faster processors and higher resolutions screens. In the meantime, let the fanboy comments fly and tell me what you think of the video and my own test. I await your responses.

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