Mobile App Testing on Virtual Device Vs Real Device

App design and development are challenging, but Mobile Application Testing Services are no less complicated. Mobile app testing is the only way to ensure delivering high-quality and reliable applications to users. But first, you need to determine which practice you want to follow during the Mobile App Testing Process.

When it comes to the best practices, there are two primary options, each presenting a different problem-solving approach, different accuracy, and different approach to user experience. Without having some knowledge and expertise, it's impossible to choose between these two methodologies.

But worry not! Here, we will dive into the differences between testing on virtual devices vs. real devices, as well as the pros and cons of the two virtual testing practices to help you decide the right strategy to follow. Let's begin:

Table of Content

What Is a Virtual Device?

A virtual device is a software program or simulation of a physical mobile device that offers the same qualities, characteristics, and performance details of a real device in virtual reality. The whole purpose of a virtual device is to replicate everything real mobile devices might do in all possible conditions and allow developers to test their program more efficiently.

Virtual devices are designed by using two well-known software tools: emulators and simulators. Emulators and simulators mimic how certain hardware or operating systems run a program, making them essentially the playground to explore different creative ideas without worrying about costs and troubles of hardware damage, repair, maintenance, etc.

Virtual devices became popular because they are easy to manage. You have no limitations in terms of hardware specification and performance details, which means you will have the opportunity to make unlimited tests on an app. Secondly, it is a cost-effective solution, so you don't have to purchase a wide range of devices for each project.

That said, Virtual devices have drawbacks. For instance, even with the latest technologies, there will always remain a margin of error in the testing process. In other words, they don't always replicate the exact performance and behavior of physical devices, which means you might miss some details in the developing phase.

Emulator And Simulator

We mentioned that virtual devices are typically designed using emulators and simulator tools. But what exactly are they?

As its name suggests, an emulator is a software tool that replicates the hardware specification and software environment of a particular device or OS. Testing your app on an emulator allows you to ensure the device's hardware components, such as the processor, memory, and display, are sufficient for the smooth representation and performance of the app.

Simulators have pretty much the same purpose, but they are more focused on the software aspect of the device and imitate their functionality in a customizable virtual environment.

Difference Between Emulator Vs Simulator

By now, you probably have a good idea about the purpose and general features of emulators and simulators. But let’s take a closer look at the advantages and drawbacks of each one.

Pros of Emulator

  • Emulators are quite cost-effective, which means you don’t need a huge investment for each project to ensure your app's compatibility with every single device.
  • Emulators are also perfect solutions for maximizing accessibility. You can test a wide range of device configurations and operating system versions and get satisfying testing coverage.
  • Another thing that makes emulators such an appealing solution for beginners is its user-friendliness and easy setup.
  • If you opt for more advanced solutions, you can enjoy an exceptionally broad array of debugging tools and features that significantly simplify the process of testing, troubleshooting, and solving issues.
  • Finally, emulators are great ways to conduct parallel testing on multiple virtual devices. This is especially a huge plus for projects that depend on the examination of various scenarios at the same time.

Cons of Emulator

  • Emulators have some limitations in reflecting the precise behavior and performance of real devices. This is typically a minimal margin of error, but it can sometimes lead to inaccurate problem identification and problem-solving strategies.
  • Depending on the type of hardware you use, emulators may also have some shortcomings, especially when it comes to testing specific functionalities that require advanced components.
  • Moreover, emulators are sometimes slower than real devices, which can potentially impact developers' evaluation and understanding of the app's performance. This can extend to UX and usability testing, indicating considerable limitations for the efficacy of device-specific features like screen size, touch interactions, etc.

get expert to understand difference between emulator and simulator

Pros of Simulator

  • Simulators are more or less enjoying the same benefits that emulators offer. For instance, their accessibility and compatibility with different device configurations and operating systems are exceptional.
  • They are also great tools for usability testing and evaluating the level of an app’s user-friendliness across various operating systems.
  • But Simulators have some advantages as well. They are typically much faster than emulators. This enables you to make testing cycles shorter and perform more executions and representations in less time.

Cons of Simulator

  • Similar to emulators, simulators have limited hardware accuracy. Sometimes, they simply cannot offer the expected performance or predict every potential scenario across all devices.
  • Moreover, while simulators can mimic the actual device, they cannot replicate unpredictable real-world conditions like network connectivity variations or changes in battery performance.

Testing on Virtual Device vs Real Device: What Is the Best Strategy?

Virtual testing tools have significantly improved our ability to predict various performance scenarios and come up with a comprehensive solution to satisfy all users. But the main choice might be testing on a virtual device vs. a real one.

If we want a fair answer to the choice between testing on virtual devices or real devices, we need to understand their difference. And the main difference is the environment. Virtual testing happens in a virtual environment, while real device testing happens in the same environment where users interact with the app.

So, back to our question of testing on virtual vs. real devices, we should admit that leveraging both methods ensures optimal results. There is no doubt about the enormous opportunities that virtual testing device provides us. But ensuring accuracy requires us to test each app in real-life situations as well.


This phenomenal variety of different methods, strategies, practices, and tools for app testing is the clearest sign of its importance. As we move toward more objective-specific and device-specific programs, the need for reliable testing strategies will also increase.

So, you will need a trustworthy, experienced team of experts to help you ensure a high-quality and user-friendly mobile application. And this is what precisely we offer.

PixelQA is one of the leading QA services companies, providing clients with quality engineering services and helping our clients test codes for all purposes and intent. We have a team of experts who are trained and equipped to handle a comprehensive range of software testing services, from functional, compatibility, and security testing services to QA process design.

We aim to provide our clients with user-friendly applications and software, showcasing exceptional quality and accuracy by providing pixel-perfect QA and testing services. Contact us today and we’ll take care of the rest.