Calling Out a Video Calling Out Dieter Bohn on Browsing Lag on Nexus 5

This guy recently called out Dieter Bohn for pointing out lag on the Nexus 5 and has claimed that the iPhone 5s is instead the one with lag issues in his video:

iPhone 5s Web Browsing Lag - Android Vs iOS 7 (via Armando Ferreira)

To the undiscerning, it may really look like the iPhone suffers from lag issues which even the Nexus 4 doesn't, which ipso facto leads him to assert that Dieter Bohn's talk about Nexus 5 having scrolling lag is rubbish. I'm not an expert, but I think I know enough about the technical workings of both OS'es to see that this video is misleading.

Scrolling Inertia

It's divided into two parts: the first part he talks about how difficult it is for him to scroll to the bottom of the page in an iOS browser. He tries to show how easily it is to use a single swipe to scroll a massive amount in Android, while iOS requires a few swipes to cover the same distance, and goes on to demonstrate that it takes an inordinate number of swipes to reach the bottom of the page. I am not sure if he was being deliberately misleading as a few quick swipes in succession in iOS actually brings up the momentum of the scrolling to cover a great distance, while he was actually dragging the page along instead of quickly swiping to increase the momentum.

This basically highlights the different ways Android and iOS handles momentum scrolling: Android scrolls a lot with a bigger swipe, while iOS starts off with slow strides and then increases the momentum of scrolling when it detects fast, scroll gestures in rapid succession. I have found that the momentum of initial swipes can also be customised by apps. You can try it by you launching Facebook and then opening a webpage from within the in-app browser; you will see that Facebook has opted for a fast momentum scroll right from the first swipe, which would take a few swipes in Safari to reach the same momentum. It is clearly designed to work this way by Apple, which differs from the way Android handles scrolling.

Pinch-to-zoom Lag

In the second part of his video, he loads up a page from Apple's online store and shows how multiple pinch-to-zoom gestures and swipes lead to lag on the iPhone while the Nexus 4 remains okay. If you notice his gestures, most of his gestures are done to completion on the iPhone 5s, i.e. he releases his finger from the screen after each pinch. Each time a pinch gesture is performed and the finger leaves the screen, iOS (or Android for that matter) renders the page/text, which takes a split second for the browser/OS to then respond again. Inputting multiple gestures like this in quick succession is going to lag the browser on heavier pages on iPhone (and again, Android phones for that matter, even high-end ones).

If you observe him doing an ostensibly similar test on the Nexus 4 to demonstrate how lag-free the Nexus 4 is, he never does lift his finger for the gesture to "complete". The page only needs to render once despite him doing what seems to be multiple and super-fast pinch-to-zoom gestures. If you do the same gestures on the iPhone 5s on the same page, it doesn't suffer the same lag as his previous test did, because they are entirely different tests.

Again, I'm not sure if he is being deliberately misleading in this segment. I don't have a Nexus 4, but I've tried both "tests" with the 5s and the nearest Android phone I could grab (an Optimus G1) and I can confirm that both phones lag when "true" multiple pinch-to-zoom gestures are performed, and both do fine when the fingers are not released from the screen when zooming in and out.

Why Post This

  1. The video is very misleading and yet looks convincing.
  2. His rather sizeable following and huge number of comments drown out any debate there.
  3. He's calling out Dieter Bohn and I love Dieter Bohn (okay, more like I think that The Verge may be flaky in some areas, but I still find their site one of the most reliable ones around and I don't think this video is accurate in its criticism).
  4. http://xkcd.com/386/