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Category: Google

Using WebXPRT 3 to compare the performance of popular browsers in Windows 10 and Windows 11

People choose a default web browser based on several factors. Speed is sometimes the deciding factor, but privacy settings, memory load, ecosystem integration, and web app capabilities can also come into play. Regardless of the motivations behind a person’s go-to browser choice, the dominance of software-as-a-service (SaaS) computing means that new updates are always right around the corner. In previous blog posts, we’ve talked about how browser speed can increase or decrease significantly after an update, only to swing back in the other direction shortly thereafter. OS-specific optimizations can also affect performance, such as with Microsoft Edge on Windows and Google Chrome on Chrome OS.

Windows 11 began rolling out earlier this month, and tech press outlets such as AnandTech and PCWorld have used WebXPRT 3 to evaluate the impact of the new OS—or specific settings in the OS—on browser performance. Our own in-house tests, which we discuss below, show a negligible impact on browser performance when updating our test system from Windows 10 to Windows 11. It’s important to note that depending on a system’s hardware setup, the impact might be more significant in certain scenarios. For more information about such scenarios, we encourage you to read the PCWorld article discussing the impact of the Windows 11 default virtualization-based security (VBS) settings on browser performance in some instances.

In our comparison tests, we used a Dell XPS 13 7930 with an Intel Core i3-10110U processor and 4 GB of RAM. For the Windows 10 tests, we used a clean Windows 10 Home image updated to version 20H2 (19042.1165). For the Windows 11 tests, we updated the system to Windows 11 Home version 21H2 (22000.282). On each OS version, we ran WebXPRT 3 three times on the latest versions of five browsers: Brave, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. For each browser, the score we post below is the median of the three test runs.

In our last round of tests on Windows 10, Firefox was the clear winner. Three of the Chromium-based browsers (Chrome, Edge, and Opera) produced very close scores, and the performance of Brave lagged by about 7 percent. In this round of Windows 10 testing, performance on every browser improved slightly, with Google Chrome taking a slight lead over Firefox.

In our Windows 11 testing, we were interested to find that without exception, browser scores were slightly lower than in Windows 10 testing. However, none of the decreases were statistically significant. Most users performing daily tasks are unlikely to notice that degree of difference.

Have you observed any significant differences in WebXPRT 3 scores after upgrading to Windows 11? If so, let us know!

Justin

Reports of CloudXPRT installation failures

Recently, CloudXPRT testers have reported installation failures while attempting to set up CloudXPRT on Ubuntu virtual machines with Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure. We have not yet determined whether the installation process fails consistently on these VMs or the problem occurs under only specific conditions. We believe these failures occur with only GCP and Azure, and you should still be able to successfully install and run CloudXPRT on both Amazon Web Services virtual machines and on-premises gear.

We apologize for the inconvenience that this issue causes for CloudXPRT testers and will let the community know as soon as we identify a reliable solution. If you have encountered any other issues during CloudXPRT testing, please feel free to contact us!

Justin

We’ve updated MobileXPRT 3 to address issues with Android 11

This week, we published an updated MobileXPRT 3 build, version 3.116.0.4, on MobileXPRT.com and in the Google Play Store. The new build addresses an issue we recently discovered, where MobileXPRT was crashing after installation on some Android 11 phones. Permissions requirements and a new storage strategy called scoped storage were causing the problem. By default, scoped storage restricts an app’s storage access to app-specific directories and media, and prohibits general access to external or public directories. It also prevents third-party apps such as email clients or file managers from accessing MobileXPRT 3 results files. This default setting requires an opt-in permissions prompt that MobileXPRT 3 did not have prior to this week’s release.

MobileXPRT 3.116.0.4 points all of the benchmark’s file references to its private directory and allows users to zip results files and attach them to results submission emails. Neither change affects the testing process or test scores. If you have any questions or comments about the new MobileXPRT 3 build, please let us know!

Justin

New MobileXPRT 3 installations may crash on Android 11

We recently received a tech support inquiry about problems with new MobileXPRT 3 installations on some Android 11 phones. The tester installed MobileXPRT 3 on a selection of phones running Android 11, and the app crashed immediately upon opening. We were able to reproduce the issue on multiple phones in our lab, and currently know that the issue may happen on the Google Pixel 3, Google Pixel 4a 5G, Google Pixel 4XL, Google Pixel 5, and the OnePlus 8T (running Android 11 with an Oxygen OS skin).

MobileXPRT 3 continues to run without issues on Android 9 and 10 phones. When we updated an Android 10 phone with an existing MobileXPRT 3 installation to Android 11, we found that the benchmark ran successfully. This suggests a lack of fundamental incompatibilities between MobileXPRT 3 and current versions of Android 11. Because some of our lab techs experienced crashes immediately after the app asked for permissions, we think it’s possible that new permissions-setting requirements in Android 11 are causing the problem.

We’re currently working to isolate the problem and identify a course of action. We’ll share more information here in the blog as soon as possible. If you’ve encountered this problem in your testing, we apologize for the inconvenience, and we’re thankful for your patience as we work towards a solution.

If you have any information you’d like to share about running MobileXPRT 3 on Android 11, please let us know!

Justin

CloudXPRT version 1.0 is here!

The CloudXPRT Preview period has ended, and CloudXPRT version 1.0 installation packages are now available on CloudXPRT.com and the BenchmarkXPRT GitHub repository! Like the Preview build, CloudXPRT version 1.0 includes two workloads: web microservices and data analytics (you can find more details about the workloads here). Testers can use metrics from the workloads to compare IaaS stack (both hardware and software) performance and to evaluate whether any given stack is capable of meeting SLA thresholds. You can configure CloudXPRT to run on local datacenter, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure deployments.

Several different test packages are available for download from the CloudXPRT download page. For detailed installation instructions and hardware and software requirements for each, click the package’s readme link. On CloudXPRT.com, the Helpful Info box contains resources such as links to the Introduction to CloudXPRT white paper, the CloudXPRT master readme, and the CloudXPRT GitHub repository.

The GitHub repository also contains the CloudXPRT source code. The source code is freely available for testers to download and review.

Performance results from this release are comparable to performance results from the CloudXPRT Preview build. Testers who wish to publish results on CloudXPRT.com can find more information about the results submission and review process in the blog. We post the monthly results cycle schedule on the results submission page.

We’re thankful for all the input we received during the CloudXPRT development process and Preview period. If you have any questions about CloudXPRT, please let us know.

Justin

A new playing field for WebXPRT

WebXPRT is one of the go-to benchmarks for evaluating browser performance, so we’re always interested in browser development news. Recently, Microsoft created a development channel where anyone can download early versions of an all-new Microsoft Edge browser. Unlike previous versions of Edge, Microsoft constructed the new browser using the Chromium open-source project, the same foundation underlying the Google Chrome browser and Chrome OS.

One interesting aspect of the new Edge development strategy is the changes that Microsoft is making to more than 50 services that Chromium has included. If you use Chrome daily, you’ve likely become accustomed to certain built-in services such as ad block, spellcheck, translate, maps integration, and form fill, among many others. While each of these is useful, a large number of background services running simultaneously can slow browsing and sap battery life. In the new Edge, Microsoft is either reworking each service or removing it altogether, with the hope of winning users by providing a cleaner, faster, and more power-efficient experience. You can read more about Microsoft’s goals for the new project on the Microsoft Edge Insider site.

As we’ve discussed before, many factors contribute to the speed of a browsing experience and its WebXPRT score. It’s too early to know how the new Microsoft Edge will stack up against other browsers, but when the full version comes out of development, you can be sure that we’ll be publishing some comparison scores. I’ve installed the Dev Channel version of Edge on my personal machine and run WebXPRT 3. While I can’t publish the scores from this early version, I can tell you that the results were interesting. Have you run WebXPRT 3 on the new Microsoft Edge? How do you think it compares to competitors? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Justin

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