The introduction of the iPad 2 and iOS 4.3 offered some nice enhancements for Safari. There’s a new Nitro Javascript engine for Safari in iOS 4.3, and the iPad 2 has more RAM on board. What do these features mean in the real world of internet browsing? Well, we have a video comparing Safari internet browsing on the iPad 2 and iPad 1. Both devices are running iOS 4.3 to take advantage of the the new Javascript engine, and they are on the same WiFi network.

*Note the iPad 2 is on the left, and the iPad 1 is on the right.

Going into the test, we assumed the iPad 2 would be faster, and it was. The iPad 2 loaded up each website faster, but the difference wasn’t substantial. The iPad 1 has good internet speed, but faster is always better. The question wasn’t if the iPad 2 would be faster; it was whether the internet browsing experience would be improved.

The major difference between internet browsing on the two devices isn’t speed, but tabbed browsing. In Safari, you can have nine tabs open at once, but on the iPad 1, you have to reload tabs when you switch between them. This can become frustrating when you move between a couple of sites and have to wait for each one to reload before viewing them. With iOS 4.3, the iPad 1 can handle the four most recent tabs without reloading them, but any older tabs have to be reloaded, even if there are no changes on the page.

The pages reload because of the lack of RAM on iPad 1. The device isn’t able to cache many website at once. The doubled RAM of the iPad 2 allows for all nine tabs to be cached, so you don’t have to reload the pages when switching between them. This is a feature you can use in everyday internet browsing that allows for more efficient and enjoyable internet browsing.

The iPad 2 also allows for multiple pages to be loaded in the background. This means you can view one page while another becomes ready to be viewed when you switch to it. The iPad 2 lets you bounce between all nine tabs effortlessly, and go back to where you left off. The iPad 2 allows you to really feel the speed and efficiency of computer internet browsing.

With that in mind, we decided to test an iPad 2 against a Mac with Safari. The Mac was faster each time, but the difference wasn’t much. The speed difference between Mac and iPad 2 was comparable to the difference between iPad 2 and iPad 1. The iPad 2 is really a big leap forward in mobile internet browsing, and it’s coming closer to its Mac counterpart.

The tabbed viewing combined with the faster engine catapults the iPad 2’s internet performance way ahead of the iPad 1. The pages can load faster, and in the background, without requiring constant reloading. The iPad 2 thankfully does away with the hassle of page reloading. The iPad 2’s Safari performance is another little push for those on the fence about an iPad 2.