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Apple’s iPad Mini trounces Microsoft’s Surface RT Tablet… in web browsing

Microsoft Surface RT Tablet

The new tablet wars are getting more and more interesting, but benchmarking performance is getting to be quite difficult thanks to draconian application side loading restrictions. To resolve this, Futuremark has released some performance figures derived from their Peacekeeper browser based benchmark on three hot tablets for the 2012 Holiday Season.

There's no doubt that the battle between tablets will mark 2012 Holiday season. Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Microsoft, Samsung… they're all battling for their space for the consumer dollars. However, comparing which product might be the best performing one is a daunting task, as different operating systems prevent unified benchmarks.

If you think that benchmarking tablets is not as important, as user experience dictates the sales of the products – think twice. It is exactly the benchmarks that dictate the user experience, since the lack of processing power is what keeps the experience behind.

For example, Apple has kept the market share lead in the tablet space, even though Android devices made a big progress forward. In order to address the rise of smaller tablets, the company recently released iPad Mini, which utilizes Apple's own 32nm A5 processor (also used in the latest iPod Touch), and the iPad 4, which relies on brand-new A6 processor. Big challenger for the lead is Microsoft's first computer, Surface RT tablet. Microsoft is using Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor, which is a year old design.

Futuremark came first out the door with a benchmark that compares Apple's latest to Microsoft's first, and the results are quite unexpected.

We give you the quote from Futuremark commenting the scores achieved using its universal HTML5 benchmark called Peacekeeper:

Microsoft Surface RT – Peacekeeper score 348

Tested with Peacekeeper, our universal browser benchmark, the Microsoft Surface is slower than the iPad 2 and the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Now, it's one thing to be slower than other tablets, but the Surface is also slower than the latest phones. For instance, the browser performance of the Galaxy S III is nearly twice that of the Surface, and the iPhone 5 is more than two and a half times faster.

Incidentally, the scores from the Surface are in line with other Tegra 3 devices when running the internal beta build of our next 3DMark, which makes the browser performance all the more disappointing. Internet Explorer 10 is still far behind the competition when it comes to speed.

Apple iPad Mini – Peacekeeper score 515

The iPad Mini has the same dual-core A5 found in the iPad 2, a chip with near identical CPU performance to the A5X found in the iPad 3rd gen. Indeed, Peacekeeper scores from the iPad 2, iPad 3rd gen and iPad Mini are all at the same level provided they are running iOS 6. Against the competition, the iPad Mini outperforms the Nexus 7 but is slower than the Galaxy S III.

Apple iPad (4th gen) – Peacekeeper score 951

Apple says the A6X processor in the 4th gen iPad doubles the CPU and graphics power of the A5X in the third-generation device. Peacekeeper has the 3rd gen iPad with iOS 6 scoring 522 while the 4th gen device scores 951 earning it a place at the top of our leaderboard for mobile devices.

Now, if you are wondering how does a contemporary PC fare, we took a 15.6" Acer Timeline M3 ultrabook with Intel Core i7 processor and GeForce GT 640 graphics card. The score we achieved was no less than 2977, which clearly shows that with tablets, you'll sacrifice some smoothness e.g. user experience. Futuremark also delivered an URL to us with the benchmark results, but at the time of writing – the URL in question was offline.

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