This ought to bring iPhone evangelists down a peg. Android phones load Web pages 52 percent faster than the iPhone, according to thousands of field tests by the Web optimization firm Blaze. The tests primarily compared the iPhone 4 running Safari on iOS 4.3 with the Google Nexus S running Chrome on Android version 2.3. They clocked the the phones' speed after more than 40,000 downloads of web pages of varying Fortune 1,000 companies.

"We found that Android’s browser is faster. Not just a little faster, but a whopping 52% faster," writes Dave Horne the author of the study. "Android’s Chrome beat iPhone’s Safari by loading 84% of the websites faster, meaning Safari won the race only 16% of the time. While we expected to see one of the browsers come out on top, we didn’t expect this gap."

Wired magazine calls the study "required reading" for proselytizers of Android and iPhone smartphones. Meanwhile, Chris Davies at Slash Gear says the study is far from definitive:

Blaze used a “fast WiFi connection” at night and during weekends where it could be more confident that network usage was low, but of course that’s not a consistency upon which mobile users can rely on. Stand an iPhone 4 and Nexus S user next to each other and, even on the same cellular network, they could well see different performance from the dumb pipe itself. That’s before it even gets to the rendering engines on either platform.

Regardless, the study comes as Apple is on cloud nine breast-beating mode. They're new "if you don't have an iPhone" ad campaign just dropped today and it's one the more conceited pitches they've had to date: