Real Devices Vs Emulators



To check the mobile applications and programs, the testers can use both real devices and emulators. The procedure of product testing on actual devices demonstrates the real behavior of the app utilized by the end users.

Emulators are not real devices. They just imitate the main features of the mobile software. Emulators should be installed on PC or mobile device. Besides that, the specialists can also use simulators – virtual devices. There are several differences between simulators and emulators.

How Do Simulators Differ from Emulator-Based Testing?


  • Development language. Simulators are created in the languages of a high level. Emulators – in the assembly language of a machine-level.
  • Debugging. It may be rather difficult to use simulators for debugging, and emulators are more suitable for this purpose.
  • Replacement of the original software. download emulators for pc¬†Simulators submit the software only partially, and emulators can submit it totally.
  • Simulators are oriented to testing of the external behavior of the product, while emulators – to the internal behavior.
  • Simulators are designed to simulate the internal state of the product, while emulators – imitate the outer behavior.


Often, there are such situations when the usage of emulators/simulators is more convenient than the testing on real devices. For example, the deadline is coming and there is not enough time to buy a real device or it is impossible to get it in a short period time. In such a case, the emulators are the way out.

Besides that, it is impossible to get every model of the mobile device required for testing (especially, when the budget is limited). Emulators help to save money and time. Usually, they are free of charge and to use them, it is necessary just download the emulator and run it.

Emulators are more suitable for web testing, as one should only cope-past the URL of the developed application to launch it. And for testers, it is easier to make the screenshots of the detected errors on emulators.

But the main disadvantage of emulator-based testing is that emulators cannot imitate the issues of the product battery. Moreover, it is impossible to simulate various interruptions, e.g. incoming calls, notifications, messages, etc.

It is rather difficult to imitate the full performance capacities of the product. Usually, they are lower than the original software has. But the mobile devices have their own minuses.

What Are the Cons of Real Devices?


  • The price of modern mobile devices is really high.
  • The number of available mobile devices – their models and OS version – is large. It is impossible to have a device of every type and model.
  • During¬†unit testing, it is difficult to connect the real devices with the IDE.
  • Sometimes the USB port that connects the real device and machine does not work properly. Thus, the test results will not be correct.


Despite all pluses and minuses, the choice of emulator or real device should be based on thorough analysis of product peculiarities, deadlines, available budget and resources.

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