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How to Get the Most Out of Live Device Testing 

It's no secret that live device testing over imitations (like emulators) provides piece of mind. But why exactly is this the case?

If you’re not live device testing, it’s time to talk. We know that it’s not hard to scare away users. In a competitive marketplace that’s producing thousands of mobile applications and new features each year, people have plenty of options to choose from. So, in this fast-paced, saturated market, how do you stand out? How do you keep users coming back? First, you’ve got to avoid things that scare away your users. 

There are many reasons that users leave. Some of these reasons are feature-related like a clunky user experience or a lack of integration capabilities, and some are performance related like failing processes, slow startup time, or battery drain.

Feature-related issues are harder to diagnose and fix. Performance issues, on the other hand, are more obvious and offensive to the user. The good news is that many of these performance-based issues are avoidable with better testing. Specifically, with live device testing.

No one is arguing about the benefits of mobile application testing—unit testing, integration testing, and end-to-end testing are all well understood. For end-to-end testing, many are satisfied with going the route of emulators and simulators, only to be surprised months later when they receive an influx of performance-related complaints. Upon investigation, they notice they were all reported by users who use the same Android model. This could be prevented with live device testing.

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Wait, I use a simulator. Isn’t that the same thing? 

Simulators and emulators mock the behavior of a mobile device by replicating the software and configuration settings. In the end, both of them are only representations of a real device and not the actual device. The issue with emulators and simulators is they’re not interconnected the way a live device is. Both simulators and emulators fail to replicate some of the most important behaviors of the real device.

  • Battery: Battery drain remains one of the biggest reasons users report abandoning an application. Does your application drain more battery than it should? Are background processes sending your users to their chargers? Using real device testing can uncover battery usage issues in a way that emulators cannot.
  • Network noise: A live device is connected to a network and experiences traffic. Are text messages, notifications, and other background processes affecting performance? Do changes in network traffic cause the application performance to degrade? Live device testing can monitor that.
  • Usage: A live device consists of real hardware, with fluctuating usage, memory allocation, and background processes. Emulators and simulators can’t determine how much memory your application uses or what performance looks like when the battery is low.
  • Camera, GPS, etc.: Only live devices can successfully test the performance of GPS, touch sensors, and camera use. The closer testers can get to the real user experience, the more accurate their test results will be and the more likely they are to find and catch issues before they are released to production. The live device is the closest to the real user experience because it is the real user experience. These live devices replicate the operating system, configurations, hardware, and network changes that occur in real life.

The challenge

Real devices come in hundreds of different variations, versions, and configurations. It would be incredibly expensive, time-consuming, and resource intensive to purchase, maintain, and store real devices to effectively test. So how do you scale with real device testing?

Easy! You use a real device cloud.

Sofy’s Real Device Lab and the cloud

Think of the real device cloud as a virtual storage locker for mobile devices. Instead of storing the physical device, they are virtualized on the cloud. Everything about them, from the hardware to the UI, to the network, is real. When you need a specific device, on a specific network, or a specific version, you can simply acquire a fresh instance of the device and start testing. 

With Sofy’s real device lab, testers can quickly provision a device from the cloud, perform manual tests, and automate them. Wherever your team is, they have access to real device testing. With each device acquisition, you get a clean device with your application installed – no more searching for builds and environments. You can even bring your device and host it for your team. 

  • Save time: Run tests concurrently on multiple devices and save time performing end-to-end testing. With a device lab, you can quickly regression test changes against multiple devices without having to open different emulators relying on the physical device.
  • Save money: Let someone else worry about the cost to store, manage, update, and maintain the mobile device library. 
  • Scale better: Add more devices to your end-to-end testing strategy as you scale.


Don’t scare your users away with avoidable performance issues. Including live devices, testing can increase user adoption and catch insidious performance issues before they sprout up. The Sofy device lab has everything you need to start testing on real devices.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed above are those of the contributor and do not necessarily represent or reflect the official beliefs or positions of Sofy.