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Which are the Best Mobile Testing Tools – Simulators, Emulators, or Real devices?

Which are the Best Mobile Testing Tools – Simulators, Emulators, or Real devices?

Mobile testing has become a nightmare because it involves cross-checking a lot of mobile devices and websites. If a company wishes to keep and expand its user base, it must invest in these tests to ensure it runs smoothly. If the customers find any flaw in the app, they may tend to switch apps quickly. Fortunately, we now have a plethora of debugging software at our disposal for thoroughly checking apps from start to finish. These tools are classified into three types: emulators, simulators, and real-world devices. Many people argue that emulators and simulators should be considered a single category – true if mimicking an object’s outer behaviour is regarded as the same as mimicking an object’s internal behaviour. Real application testing does just as the name suggests; Mobile testing checks applications as they run on your smartphones.

 What is a Real device?

Real testing devices are actual handsets used by end-users outside the testing environment. For testing, the team usually acquires mobile devices in great variety in models, OS, OS versions, screen sizes, etc. Testing on these devices also allows testers to check the functionality and behavioural pattern of the application.

 Advantages Of Using Real Device:

  • Testing on live devices is more accurate because it helps testers to simulate nearly all possible real-time scenarios.
  • Real testing devices can easily replicate battery problems, incoming interrupts, and the exact colour and brightness displays.
  • It also allows testers to perform usability testing on the screen’s colour resolution and the application’s looks and feel.

Disadvantages Of Using Real Device:

  • The real testing device is expensive.
  • Testing on real devices can be complex due to the wide range of handsets available, mainly when teams operate on a tight timeline.

What are Emulator And Simulators?

Emulators are virtual testing tools that emulate both the software and hardware configuration of a mobile device or another computer. It is based on an ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) written in machine language that the processor understands. Through the binary translation method, the emulator imitates the target processor by converting its ISA into the one used by the machine. This assists the computer in creating a dependable virtual testing environment.

Simulators are pieces of virtual testing tools designed for particular operating systems. They are primarily designed for iOS devices, as opposed to Android devices, which are easily emulated. The iOS simulator mimics iOS and runs the requisite programme inside the environment by taking over the computer’s operating system. Furthermore, iOS simulators only run on macOS because the simulator requires Apple’s native Cocoa API. As a result, testers must use a MacBook or a virtualized macOS on their systems. Furthermore, these simulators cannot mimic hardware and cannot be used to evaluate those functionalities.

Advantages Of Using Emulators And Simulators:

  • Emulators/Simulators testing makes it much easier to access various testing apps on different mobile devices.
  • These are usually free apps that can be downloaded from the internet and used to test mobile applications.
  • When testers are unsure of the mobile devices to select from the large variety available or operating on a budget or a deadline, these devices are easier to test.

Disadvantages OF Using Emulators And Simulators:

  • Emulators/Simulators can produce both false positive and false negative results, which will reduce an organization’s ROI.
  • While they simulate real devices, they do not cover all of their functionality, such as push notifications, battery life, camera, etc.
  • The results of this testing may not be as reliable as predicted.

When To use Real Device, Emulator or Simulator?

Both actual and virtual devices have dynamic features that make them better suited for one step of testing than the other. When used correctly for mobile application testing, these testing devices may assist organisations in meeting their objectives. The given below points are some scenarios when to use real device, emulators or simulators.

Deadline-driven scenarios: Purchasing the appropriate mobile devices can be challenging in these situations, but using an emulator/simulator can suffice. However, not all techniques can be thoroughly tested, which is possible while testing on a mobile device.

Scenarios with ease of use: Emulators or simulators check the multitude of applications available today on the various mobile devices much more straightforward. They lose out on measuring the UI and UX of an app on a mobile device, as well as the colour and brightness of the monitor.

Ease of access: Mobile device testing is adequate. However, testing on emulators and simulators is more straightforward because all that is needed is the app’s URL.

Initial Testing: Emulators and Simulators may be considered ideal for the initial stages of testing. They have improved debugging capabilities to accelerate the application’s testing cycle. Furthermore, virtual testing systems are less expensive than purchasing new smartphones. They allow testers to test their applications on a wide range of handsets and mobile networks worldwide.

Final Testing:  Real testing devices are the best choices for testing the application before it is released. It yields more reliable results by allowing testers to run through any possible scenario throughout the testing period. As a result, actual devices can be used for performance testing, network feasibility testing, smoke testing, interoperability testing, sanity testing, and a significant portion of regression testing.

Conclusion: Because of the significant role that mobile apps play in our daily lives, mobile testing is becoming increasingly important. While it will take a lot of testing to achieve the specified goals, one way to do so is to use the correct methods (real devices, simulator, and emulator). 

So, which choice is the best one?

While both Emulators and Simulators appear to be excellent options for app testing, they both have flaws that can lead to false-positive and false-negative results, both of which will have a negative impact on an organization’s ROI. Another downside is that, no matter how similar they are to the real software, they may not cover all features/situations, and the results may not be as accurate as you would like. 

With QA Testing that can check for every potential case, real device testing wins substantially over any two. Each of the three alternatives has its own set of advantages and are all three advisable to be used in various ways to help businesses reach their objectives.

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