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Emulator or Simulator : Which one to Use ?

When developer writes the code for any application, they need to verify the code logic and its UI implementation. In web app development, we setup an local server in our devices and then setup project and start the coding. Then all the codes and web pages, its design and checked in browser with local server address. All the debugging and testing is done in local server before pushing the whole project to Live servers. The same process is followed while developing mobile application. We setup our project in our computer and add packages through package manager. For the debugging and testing of the app we use a virtual devices mostly. We can use real device for testing by connecting it to computer through USB. Our mobile application is designed and developed targeting variety of devices version and different OS like windows, apple and android. Most of the developers cannot afford such variety of real devices just for testing one app. Using For solving this problem, virtual devices are used. Emulator and Simulators are the virtual devices we use for the testing app performance, user interfaces, designs and check if app is working as expected or not.

Emulator and Simulator are basically same if we see through its usage. Both are used to test the app and its behaviours on different user action in app. The simulator and emulator makes the testing the app fast and flexible during development process. But still these devices have differences on performance level, internal structure and debugging level.

Here are some of the major differences between emulators and simulators:

Build Language: The Emulator is written using manchine level assembly language and Simulators are written in high level languages.

Features: Simulator includes the configurations and software variable that real devices provides whereas Emulator completely mimic the real device due to which it includes hardware features and software features of real device.

Memory Usage: Since, Emulator tries to mimic real device hardware and software features it requires more memory space in hard drive and uses more RAM spaces. In comparison to Emulator, Simulator memory usage is less.

Performance: The performance of the emulator and simulator depends on memory and computer processing power. For high performance Emulator requires more memory and processing speed. Since simulator usage less memory, it can perform better than emulator with same hardware specification.

Debugging: While app development process, the emulator is more suitable than simulators for debugging purpose.

Which one is Better ?

While app development right choice of virtual device and its performance impact the project delivery time. Simulators is good choice for testing the application where testing of app is limited to software features rather than testing of hardware specific features. Like testing the data interaction between hardwares and UI display in different screens and resolutions.

Emulator is more suitable for the testing of the app features related to hardware behaviour. The emulators helps us to verify the app performance on different devices with different memory allocations.


The Simulator is fast and easy to setup for testing the software without any hardware mimicking Whereas the Emulator is better for testing app on hardware level and better testing results. Since, Emulator is more costly than simulator so to startup with low cost Simulator works. For the better debugging, the Emulator is the best option for actual app development.

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