No wonder the app development industry is touching heights worldwide with 6.5+ billion smartphone users. It’s one of the factors increasing mobile app usage across the globe. Witnessing such figures, mobile app development is growing progressively to stay competitive in the industry. 

In the web or app development process, mobile app testing is a must that ensures the app’s stability, usability, functionality, and performance attain various testing needs, offering an expected user experience across different devices. 

Companies are adopting the best mobile device testing solutions that facilitate cost-effective and timely mobile app development. Everyone knows the importance of robust testing, but choosing a suitable device is crucial. 

This post will guide you on a pathway to choosing the best suited device for your app testing. 

Mobile Testing Device Solutions

With time, the technology unfolds; similarly, testing always catches up with its advancements in newly emerged mobile testing device solutions. Such solutions were built to support mobile app testing and cross-browser testing of websites on various mobile phones by analyzing the app’s behavior, UI, and functional aspects. 

Such testing is conducted to assure the consistent behavior of apps and websites on different mobile devices. As these devices are different in hardware configuration, screen resolution, and operating system, what works in a specific way on one such device may vary on the other. 

Mobile testing is conducted mainly on two types of devices:

  • Real Devices
  • Virtual Devices.

What is a Real Device?

Various mobile handset models used to run the app or website to test its behavioral patterns or functioning are real testing devices. End users would use these actual or real handsets to run the apps or websites. 

Mostly, the team of testers buys a few mobile handsets with iOS, Android phones, iPads, and tablets to test their software apps. 

What is a Virtual Testing Device?

Unlike a real device, a virtual device is the computer’s software program that offers simulation for various essential features of an actual smartphone device. It mimics a smartphone’s nature that assists the testers in running the software app on it to know its performance on the designated real device.

However, such devices are cost-efficient but can’t displace real devices because of reliability and accuracy. 

Two types of virtual testing devices:

  • Emulators
  • Simulators

Evolution of Virtual Devices

The results we get from testing on real devices are much more accurate, but the cost of testing is higher, as the company needs to buy a couple of devices and update them regularly when the new devices come to the market. 

So, by introducing virtual testing devices, the companies found a way to overcome testing expenses on real devices. This way, virtual devices come to the forth whenever the testers look to conduct cross-browser compatibility testing for their product. 

Real Testing Device vs. Virtual Testing Device

Criteria Real Testing DeviceVirtual Testing Device
Cross-Platform Testing It can be conducted normally.It can be conducted seamlessly.
Processing SpeedSoftware testing is much faster.Software testing is slower because of Binary translation. 
ReliabilityShowcase accurate outcomes and permit testing in the same situation as a user. Just mimic the device, can’t imitate real user conditions, such as software and hardware configurations. 
Suitable for DebuggingCould be tricky, specifically when locating defects. Ease debugging with its features to help you catch up on defects.
CostCan be costly to buy. Sometimes installation is free. So, the cost incurred is minimal. 

What are Emulators?

android emulator
Android Emulator

Software that simulates the software and hardware of the target device on the computer is known as an Emulator. They attain this by translating the Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) of the target device to the one your computer (you are using to conduct testing) uses, utilizing Binary translation. 

The set of instructions, ISA, is written in Machine Language by every processor family that they use to develop their device configuration, knowing the behavior and functionality of the device. You can mimic your target device’s performance by translating the target mobile device’s ISA and crafting a virtual environment for testing. 

iPhone emulator, Galaxy emulator, and Android emulator are some broadly used emulators for software testing.

What are Simulators?

ios simulator
iOS Simulator

A software that assists your computer run the specific program for varied OS, a simulator is generally for iPad and iPhone devices. 

The iOS simulators mimic iOS devices and run the needed app inside it on top of the computer’s OS. But, you must only perform on the macOS to run the iOS simulator, as it demands Apple’s native Cocoa API. This API is significant for runtime, GUI, and various other operations. 

This appears as a problem for developers because they either have to use a MacBook to work on, or virtualize macOS on their current systems. 

Unlike emulators, simulators don’t mimic hardware. That’s why one can’t investigate specific functionalities, such as cellular interrupts, battery usage, and more while using simulators for testing. 

Emulators vs. Simulators: Know the Difference

Provided ByDevice manufacturers.Device manufacturers and other companies.
PerformanceDue to latency, binary translation slows down its speed.These are faster as Binary Translation is absent.
Internal StructureWritten in Machine-level assembly language.Written in High-level language.
Target AreaMobile device software, hardware, and OS.Mobile device’s internal behavior.
Suitable for DebuggingReliable and more suitable.Less reliable and not so suitable.
ExampleAndroid SDKiOS Simulator

Automated App Testing on Emulators and Simulators – Is it Feasible?

If you automate mobile apps on simulators and emulators, they may fail to locate issues that may emerge in a real-world scenario. Therefore, real device testing should be conducted. Customers will look for other solutions because of common challenges, like app compatibility, low battery life, or an inappropriately placed search bar. 

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Challenges You May Face While Running App Test Automation

  • The unavailability of a Beta version for testing beta apps may cause certain testing limitations. 
  • The internal storage and relevant issues may interfere with app performance. 
  • Testing app behavior becomes impossible while receiving texts and calls or simulating touch screen problems. 
  • The arrival of OS’s new version may shake the tester’s confidence. 
  • During the app development, screenshots may deliver the identified issues differently if the new OS version is released. 
  • Network connectivity, battery issues, gestures, and GPS sensors can’t be replicated. 
  • Mobile automation testing with simulators and emulators doesn’t always lead to better results as the performance validations vary with OS upgrades. 

That being the case, a practical approach must be used for a Real Device cloud for app automation. On real devices, app testing may assist you in testing the apps in a real-world scenario. In fact, you can follow an agile team’s approach, the mobile testing pyramid, to conduct mobile automation tests in a well-organized and efficient way. With the increasing number of platforms and devices, this approach offers a structured approach to conducting mobile app testing easily and quickly. 

Real device cloud for native app testing may assist in diminishing setting up costs of an in-house device lab, easy debugging, native real-device, app monitoring in real-world conditions, and more. 

Emulator vs. Simulator vs. Real Devices Differences

CriteriaReal Testing DeviceVirtual Testing Device
ReliabilityThese offer accurate outcomes and permit testing in the real-user condition.These devices mimic the device and can’t replicate the same condition as the user, like software and hardware configuration. 
Suitable for DebuggingWith real testing devices, debugging may be tricky, particularly while locating defects. These ease sequential debugging with the features, where you can locate the issues. 
Processing SpeedMuch fasterIt’s slower because of Binary translation.
Cross-Platform TestingIt’s conducted normally.Conducted seamlessly.
CostExpensiveMinimal cost with free installation sometimes.
Performance Issues SimulationCan perform seamlessly.Can’t do that.
Ease of Availability – Open source or freeIt’s not open-source or free; you need to buy real devices to check the performance of apps on that devices. In most cases, it’s free and open source.
Suitable ForConducting real-time performance testing.Certain functional test case execution types.
Validation of incoming interruptsEasily simulate incoming interrupts.Fail to do so for incoming calls and SMS.
Simulating memory-related issuesThe memory storage level is less.The available memory is more.

Choose the Best Mobile App Testing Strategy

To make the most out of the benefits of simulators and emulators vs. real devices, you need to understand and start following the best strategy for mobile app testing to overcome the challenges we face with virtual or real devices. 

Cloud-based mobile app testing permits you to connect with various mobile devices and test the app functionalities despite location. This is a perfect solution for testing the app manually or automating it on a large scale. 

Besides, this platform provides varied options that merge various mobile app testing frameworks, OS versions, etc. Also, they record the testing outcomes, support parallel testing, etc. Cloud testing is perfect for agile development, and you may choose a private cloud for testing, so there’s no security issue. 

However, it would be best to choose emulators or real devices at the beginning of the SDLC, but you need to pick a real device cloud provider and run your tests on various devices as needed to locate and scale up your testing strategy. 

How to Choose the Right Device to Test Your App?

When used correctly, these devices with the required features can deliver optimized outcomes easing cross-browser compatibility testing. Primarily, the best practice that comes into play is testing on the right devices for improved outcomes. 

Virtual devices provide a better debugging opportunity, so they are suitable for the initial phases of code development. Virtual devices can accelerate the cycle through the frequent integrations needed.

On the contrary, User Acceptance Testing and Sanity Testing can be conducted better using real devices because of the accuracy aspect. After a certain point, you can conduct regression testing using virtual devices that may lead to compromised results. 

You can move ahead with Real Device Cloud.

Both real and virtual devices have pros and cons that make them suitable for one aspect but not the others. Although, choosing a Real Device Cloud for testing can offer the best of both worlds. 

Choose just a real device cloud to conduct testing in the right way as it’s:

  • Cost-effective
  • Offers native real device experience
  • Reliable
  • Accurate
  • Eases debugging
  • Accelerates testing through app automating mobile testing and web automation testing
  • Hassle-free interactive app testing and live interactive cross-border testing

That’s why a real device cloud is a perfect solution for the testers to locate the bugs. Also, developers find it helpful to find bugs while diminishing the costs.

Wrapping Up

Mobile app testing is an integral part of SDLC. So, to ensure that your software performs seamlessly and accurately on multiple devices, you must test it perfectly before shipping it to the market. Thereby diminishing the risk of releasing a faulty app.

Hence, choosing a real device cloud for testing is cheaper, more convenient, and offers real-time analytics on the app performance. This approach assists the testers in finding the bugs, and developers resolve those issues while keeping the maintenance cost low. 

We hope this post eases you in choosing the right device to test the app. For more, you can connect with our team of app developers and testers to catch up with the right device to test your app/web. 

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EmizenTech's Mobile App Development team is led by Naren Bhati, who designs and develops technically innovative solutions for our global clientele. He has the technical expertise to steer our app development team on the right path.