Software Development

Real Devices Vs. Emulator/Simulator: Which App Testing is for You?

Real Devices Vs. EmulatorSimulator Which App Testing is for You

With technology, mobile app testing is also updating with time. Different devices are also getting involved in keeping up with the users’ demands. There are mainly three types of devices- real devices, Emulators, and simulators.


Emulators are programs that can act like mobile devices, including hardware, software, and operating systems. They utilize binary translation to simulate the target device’s ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) on the testers’ computers.


Simulators are also programs that create virtual devices, but they are not the same as emulators. It is designed primarily for iOS devices and may mimic their inner workings.

Real device

A mobile app’s functioning is verified by running it on a real device during testing. App developers and QA professionals may obtain real-world feedback by testing their products on a real devices cloud, enabling straightforward access to thousands of iOS, Android, and other mobile devices.

Also read: 10 Best Innovations in Mobile Application Development

Advantages of testing on emulator & simulator

  • Since various simulators and emulators are available for free download online, they allow teams to undertake mobile testing at a lesser cost.
  • With accessible debugging features in virtual environments, it is simple for testers to detect flaws on virtual devices.
  • Teams can run tests on multiple platforms or needed devices because virtual testing devices mimic various devices and operating systems.
  • Since testers may always begin from the same state in a Simulator or Emulator, the dependability of test execution is significantly increased, and factory resets are no longer necessary.
  • Most Emulators are open-source and can simulate the vast majority of test devices at no cost. Sometimes they are used to mimic real-world conditions like low power and specific GPS positions, using several OS versions.

Disadvantages of testing on simulator & emulator

  • For the sake of reliability, it is always preferable to retest the actual devices, even if they seem to perform identically in the Emulator. Compared to a real-world situation, the hardware the program is being tested on needs to be improved. The presented material may have a different visual style depending on the Emulator.
  • The mimicked program may uniquely respond to the simulated lack of network connectivity.
  • Unlike the hardware they pretend to mimic, Emulators often ship with an unaltered operating system image. It’s impossible to use an emulator since smartphone makers usually supply devices running customized versions of the underlying OS. It’s also possible that components of the device’s hardware, such as the central processing unit (CPU), network module (network), camera (camera), and global positioning system (GPS), may not perform as you would expect. Since there is such a wide range of Android devices from different manufacturers, this is especially important to keep in mind.
  • Depending on the device’s specifics being emulated, a modern computer may be too quick for you to feel any lag or slowdown. Due to their relatively modest processing power and memory, devices may sometimes stall or freeze completely. You may use an emulator to customize the test device’s hardware to get around this limitation.
  • Due to a lack of connectivity, the Emulator cannot precisely simulate the same circumstances as the entire carrier network. It also doesn’t account for scenarios in which the device switches Wi-Fi networks, has a poor Bluetooth connection, or gets a call or notice in the middle of the test.

Advantages of testing on a real device

  • Using actual gadgets in tests has the best benefit of simulating a realistic setting. A real device allows the developer or tester to experience the program as it would function for a real user.
  • It is much simpler (and sometimes even feasible) for developers to identify unusual behavior of the program on actual devices since they utilize all hardware like GPS, network, Bluetooth, and many others in real time.
  • The overall quality of the user experience is greatly improved by rigorous testing on real devices. Since enhancing the user experience is one of the most challenging tasks, testing on actual devices is highly recommended.
  • Compared to virtual devices, Emulators and Simulators often need to catch up in speed. The program runs at the pace a user would experience on a real smartphone. The app’s intended performance speed must be achieved on devices used by its intended audience.
  • When working with actual devices, programmers and testers may use sensors like the orientation sensor and the gyroscope.
  • Sometimes, an app’s utilization of resources like battery life, central processing unit time, graphics processing unit time, and random access memory needs to be revised. Most of these issues would be detectable with an emulator. However, battery consumption is one major problem that cannot be replicated with a simulator or emulation.
  • The developer may want to see how the software performs when emails, texts, and phone calls are interrupted. An actual device is required in such circumstances.

Also read: How To Check For Your Software’s Scalability Testing

Disadvantages of testing on a real device

  • A significant drawback of utilizing real devices in testing is how difficult and expensive it is for developers to use this method. Testing on various models may be tedious, time-consuming, and costly due to the wide variety of Android smartphones available (the number of iOS device models is much less, but this issue exists on that platform, too).
  • Real device testing is money and time-consuming.


Although Emulators and Simulators are viable options for testing applications, they both have flaws. It may have a detrimental effect on any given business’s return on investment (ROI).

When It’s about the simulator and emulator vs. real device, accurate device testing tops Emulator and Simulator because it performs better when creating high-performing mobile applications and adapting swiftly to changing business needs.

Utilize HeadSpin’s automated software testing platform and actual device cloud to safely and effectively test your app’s functionality and user experience on real devices in a real-world setting.

Written by
Barrett S

Barrett S is Sr. content manager of The Tech Trend. He is interested in the ways in which tech innovations can and will affect daily life. He loved to read books, magazines and music.

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