Site-loading speed battle 2: Motorola Xoom vs. Apple iPad 2

The iPad 2 and Xoom go head-to-head in a bloody site-loading-speed battle to the death!

Eric Franklin Former Editorial Director
Eric Franklin led the CNET Tech team as Editorial Director. A 20-plus-year industry veteran, Eric began his tech journey testing computers in the CNET Labs. When not at work he can usually be found at the gym, chauffeuring his kids around town, or absorbing every motivational book he can get his hands on.
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Eric Franklin
2 min read

Watch this: Site-loading speed battle 2: Motorola Xoom vs. Apple iPad 2

A couple of weeks back we put the original iPad up against the Xoom in a site-loading speed battle. While most of the feedback was positive, a few commenters expressed their disappointment that we used the original iPad instead of the iPad 2. Well, now that the iPad 2 has been released, we can in fact post the story you've been waiting for. One that will no doubt completely satisfy everyone.

So, let's get right to it.

Site-loading speed is one of the simplest things to test, and it's a test many users can immediately relate to. As I said in the previous post, I'm a greater fan of real-world tests like going to actual, real sites, than of synthetic benchmarks.

We used three different Web sites for the tests: CNET.com, CBSNews.com, and GiantBomb.com. Each tablet was connected to the same closed network with no other devices on it, with the router about 5 feet away. We considered the test to begin the moment we pressed Enter and run to the time the blue progress bar on each tablet disappeared. We used iOS 4.3 for the iPad 2 and iPad, and the Xoom is using Android OS 3.0.1.

Although in the video you'll only see one iteration for each test, we actually ran each test several times; over those runs we got results consistent with what you'll see here. Also, we cleared each tablet's browser cache before each iteration of the tests was run.

Now, as much as we'd love for these tests to be completely relevant for everyone in every situation, that's nearly impossible. We tested these tablets under specific conditions in a "free" environment. The network was closed, but we can't account for noise from other networks interfering. This is a snapshot of performance in our testing environment, and your results may vary.

Web site Motorola Xoom Apple iPad 2 Apple iPad
CNET.com 5 seconds 6 seconds 12 seconds
6 seconds 10 seconds 16 seconds
5 seconds 5 seconds 6 seconds

Tested specs Motorola Xoom Apple iPad Apple iPad 2
Maximum brightness 312 cd/m2 388 cd/m2 432 cd/m2
Default brightness 131 cd/m2 161 cd/m2 176 cd/m2
Maximum black level 0.26 cd/m2 0.44 cd/m2 0.46 cd/m2
Default black level 0.11 cd/m2 0.18 cd/m2 0.19 cd/m2
Default contrast ratio 1,190:1 894:1 926:1
Contrast ratio (max brightness) 1,200:1 881:1 939:1

The iPad 2 shows a huge improvement over the original iPad and holds its own against the Xoom for the most part. On a really busy site like CBSnews.com, however, the iPad 2 chokes a bit, while the Xoom flies through with relative ease.

We were surprised that Apple increased the maximum brightness on the iPad 2 and it will be interesting to see what effect that has on the iPad's battery life. Look for some battery life test results very soon.