Researcher: Chrome Is The Slowest JavaScript Browser

It has been no secret that JavaScript benchmarks are usually very biased and fine-tuned toward the talents of the browser you would want to shine. Yet we tend to interpret JavaScript benchmark results as the often only indicator of browser performance, which currently suggests that Chrome is the fastest browser out there, even if IE9 outruns Chrome in some tests, such as Sunspider.

Last week, famous JavaScript expert Douglas Crockford published his own benchmark based on JSLint. According to Crockford, the benchmark represents real world JavaScript apps. The result: Safari 5.0.5 is the fastest JavaScript browser - and is about 3x faster than Chrome 10, which is the slowest of the bunch. Opera came in second, followed by IE10, IE9 and Firefox 4.0.1. "I think these results are more indicative of actual JavaScript engine performance than those provided by the performance-oriented benchmarks," Crockford wrote.   

Is he right? I have no idea. It may be difficult to compare the JavaScript performance in typical applications, given the diversity of applications available. Also, keep in mind that JavaScript performance may only be about 20-25% of the criteria that determines your overall browser speed. However, it is interesting that, in this particular case, it is Chrome that comes in last. I do not know any other JavaScript benchmark that would provide such a result.

Douglas Perry is an author and journalist from Portland, Oregon. His many articles have appeared in the likes of Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, The Oregonian, and several newspapers. He has covered topics including security, hardware, and cars, and has written five books. In his spare time, he enjoys watching The Sopranos.

  • subgum
    He is wrong.
  • Random Article Commenter: Anybody who suggests you're browser choice should be influenced javascript speed is either a misguided lemming, or being paid to say so.
  • johnsmithhatesVLC
    subgumHe is wrong.Stop being a blind fanboy. I bet you think Chrome can actually block ads too. Guess what, it can't; blame the extensions api.
  • Yuka
    johnsmithhatesVLCStop being a blind fanboy. I bet you think Chrome can actually block ads too. Guess what, it can't; blame the extensions api.
    You sure it's an extension's API thing? Cause if it is I'll go flying back to Firefox.

    I hate those phishing ads the AdBlock doesn't block that go full screen. Really hate 'em.

    Anyway, if it wain't the fastest in Java, i don't care. It's plenty fast for me: It opens itself *real* fast, it loads pages fast and has a clear interface IMO. Even more than IE9 I'd say.

  • Tomtompiper
    Browser choice is about personal preferences, people choose the attributes to suit their personal preference, or whoever has given them their last bung. Me I like no Ads and a familiar setup so I choose Firefox, now if somebody at MS wants to make IE work on Linux so I can surf in safety and can push a load of wonga my way I may reconsider my choice, but until then I'll stick with what I consider the best, a personal choice based on what I consider important, stability, addons and ease of use.
  • natmaster
    Directly from the benchmark site linked to:

    JavaScript Performance
    (Smaller is better) Browser Seconds IE10
    Chrome 10.0.648.205 2.801 4.9
    Firefox 4.0.1 0.956 1.7
    IE 9.0.8112.16421 64 1.159 2.0
    IE 10.0.1000.16394 0.562 1.0
    Opera 11.10 1.106 1.9
    Safari 5.0.5 (7533.21.10) 0.984 1.7

    This puts ie10 as #1, followed by safari barely beating firefox, then opera 11, ie9, followed by the hugely behind chrome. Way to get the ranking wrong. Typical of toms browser reporting.
  • natmaster
    Also missing from this report: the researchers work for Microsoft.
  • natmaster
    Disregard the comment about researchers from Microsoft. That paper is merely a citation by douglas crockford.
  • sykozis
    It makes sense for Firefox to "win" in a comparison of JavaScript code execution, considering many of the developers were part of Netscape....who helped create JavaScript.... But, the time it takes to execute the JavaScript code embedded in websites is short enough that it makes no difference.... Also, these results would be directly impacted by the method used....if the script is contained within the HTM/HTML file, there will be no noticeable difference in execution time. The difference would come from cases where the JavaScript code is in an external file....which has to be opened, read, then executed. So, I take this benchmark as a measure of file access performance more than JavaScript execution performance as the "expert" probably used an external JavaScript file...
  • The comparison is flawed.

    Ask yourself this question: why is the only cutting edge, beta engine IE10?

    For example, I'm running Chrome 11.0.696.57 Beta. Shouldn't be comparing Alpha to alpha, not alpha to production-stable-release?