Internet Explorer 10 May Score Well with RoboHornet, but It’s Even Better for Web Browsing in the Real World

Yesterday Google released its latest micro-benchmark, RoboHornet, in which Internet Explorer 10 scores rather well.  While we appreciate the gesture, members of our engineering team took a look at the benchmark and found that RoboHornet isn’t all that representative of the performance users might encounter on real-world sites. Like all micro-benchmarks, RoboHornet is a lab test that only focuses on specific aspects of browser performance.

We decided to take the RoboHornet micro-benchmark and run it in the context of a real-world scenario. Using modern browser capabilities like CSS3 Animations, CSS3 Transforms, CSS3 Text Shadows, custom WOFF fonts, Unicode, Touch, and more, we created a site that looks a little bit like the familiar Matrix. We then ran the RoboHornet micro-benchmark in the context of this real website. While running both the Matrix and RoboHornet micro-benchmark at the same time, Chrome slows to a crawl and stops animating the screen, because it wasn’t designed to handle a benchmark load in the context of a real-world scenario. Meanwhile Internet Explorer 10 remains responsive, continues animating the screen, and finishes the test in less than half the time that Chrome does.  You can check out my demo of RoboHornet Pro on a Samsung Series 7 PC running Windows 8 below.

This is a great example of why we have consistently said real-world performance matters when evaluating a browser. We have made RoboHornet Pro available on IE Test Drive, so you can check it out for yourself.

Internet Explorer is built from the ground up to perform incredibly well on web sites, not lab micro-benchmarks. Third-party results like those from Strangeloop Networks last week showing that that Internet Explorer 10 is 8% faster than Chrome 20 at loading web pages from the top 2,000 retail websites reinforce that we’re taking the right approach as we strive to build the fastest web browser available.

For sure, more micro-benchmarks will be released in the future. While we will look to see how we stack up on other browser vendors’ tests, our focus will remain on real-world site performance. After all, Internet Explorer is built for web browsing – in the real world.

Roger Capriotti

Director, Internet Explorer Marketing