Mobile testing has become a nightmare due to increasing number of devices and configurations that mobile apps and websites need to be cross-checked against. These tests should confirm the seamless running of applications. Thankfully, today we have a wide range of testing tools for thorough testing.
These tools can be categorized into three broad categories: emulators, simulators, or real devices.
Well, few may say that emulators and simulators can be clubbed in a single group. But, real device testing does what the name implies – it tests the application as they run on the users’ smartphones.
Let’s take a deeper look at the categories.
Real device mobile testing requires the use of the actual smartphone. But emulators and simulators are based on the concept of virtual testing. Virtual testing involves testing the software that provides the same functionality as provided by the real phone.
For testing mobile apps, an emulator is a desktop application that mimics the hardware and OS of the applications that should be tested. A simulator does not mimic the hardware/OS, but rather it mimics the basic behavior of a device. While simulators are usually simpler in function than emulators, they are not as useful as emulators. Real device testing checks the functionality of mobile apps thoroughly and ensures the appropriate working of the apps.
Emulators provide better results compared to simulators as they can be used to test specific situations or cases, and also can mimic multiple devices. Emulators are often used more as they are relatively cheaper – specifically if compared to real devices.
Emulator/Simulators VS Real Devices
Which is the better option?
While both Emulators and Simulators look like great alternatives for testing apps, since having a wide range of real devices also accounts for the cost involved. But, they have issues that may generate both false positive and negative results, which will surely have a negative impact on the business ROI. Another disadvantage of emulator/simulator is that howsoever much close their feature may be to the real app, emulator/simulator may still not cover all features/scenarios and the results obtained may not be as accurate as we would want them to be.
Real device testing wins the challenge over either of the two. With an efficient testing process, real devices can validate for every possible scenario with almost 100% accuracy.
However, having all three options have their own benefits, and can be used according to the need, helping the organizations meet their goals.