With the build 10041 of Windows 10 available we can finally take the new Microsoft browser Spartan for a ride. An what is most important for our browsing experience? Performance and features. So let’s see how Spartan is compared to Chrome, Firefox and of course it’s predecessor Internet Explorer 11.
How Did We Test?
For fairness we ran all tests on the same machine running the latest build of Windows 10. No browser plugins or flash have been installed and all tests are run after a cold start of the browser. Our tests were:
- Browsermark Real Usage Benchmark
- HTML5Test for HTML 5 feature support
Interestingly there is no clear picture here. Both Spartan and IE 11 perform better on SunSpider which tests more low level stuff but show less performance on the more advanced Octane test.
So let’s move on to the next, more real world oriented benchmark.
HTML 5 Performance
To measure more real world like usage including heavy HTML 5 and CSS usage we’ve run the Browsermark test.
Here we can see a strong dominance of Chrome, followed by Internet Explorer 11 and Firefox. Surprisingly Spartan get’s less than half of the points of Chrome here which is a rather bad result. Let’s be generous here and don’t forget that Spartan is still in early development and will most likely improve strongly in this area. After all part of the reason we do this tests is to get Microsoft early feedback on which they can improve on.
Support For HTML 5 Features
Let’s not forget that performance is not the only thing that matters, we also want to use all the new and great features of HTML 5! Here Microsoft is moving in the right direction even actively seeking out user feedback and votes on features. But what features are already implemented and available? The results generated by HTML5Test.com:
Once again Chrome is on top this time followed by Firefox and Spartan just a little better than IE 11. Still that counts for something as this in only an early development version.
As of build 10041 Spartan has added as new features (not counting features behind flags):
- Device Orientation
- Device Motion
- Pointer events
- Gamepad support
- Video track selection
- DRM support
- Media source extensions
- WebM support
In my opinion Microsoft is on the right track. Less so because of the current state of development which is not that impressive given the massive resources Microsoft can put behind the browser. But for the first time we see a real and open dialog between Microsoft and the users of it’s browser. This has never been happened on this scale in the past and matches the new Microsoft which develops out in the open and even makes the code of various Microsoft only components open source. I’m really curious were this is all going.
Photo by Arup Malakar