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Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Device Labs for App Testing 

So you’ve decided to test your app on real devices; is it better to create your own device lab or outsource it to a vendor?

Planning a mobile app testing strategy comes with many decision-making junctures that can heavily affect time, budget, and staffing. In today’s entry we’ll presuppose that your strategy choices have led you to choose testing on real devices to maximize real-world coverage. The next step lies between deciding on either hosting an on-premise device lab or outsourcing it to a cloud vendor. Let’s go over the pros and cons of both options from a time, budget, and operational lense.  

Benefits of Outsourcing Device Labs 

Pairs well with automation. When you have devices available at scale, you can run test cases easily at scale with automation testing. If you’re transitioning from manual to automation testing, or haven’t started your actual testing yet, you have the opportunity to radically scale down the human-hours spent on this once time-consuming task. All while maintaining stellar accuracy.  

Better for geographically diverse businesses. If your organization has teams and individual contributors in different nations and time zones, they may need device access at any hour. Cloud device labs provide this easily and nearly instantly.  

Better for remote/hybrid businesses. For the same reason that businesses may rely on an increasingly international team model, businesses that no longer rely on on-premise work may also benefit from not having a device lab, well, on-premise.  

Combats fragmentation faster. By choosing a cloud device lab vendor, you’re handing off the time-consuming work of setting up and maintaining the latest devices. Instead, they’re simply ready for you. Your team will be free from needing to  

Don’t need to factor in costs for purchase and maintenance. It goes without saying that this cost is absorbed by the platform you select, not by your organization.  

Don’t need to factor in time for set up and maintenance. Similarly, the large amount of time (and staffing) used to set up and maintain devices is taken off your organization’s plate. This in turn offers time for more valuable QA processes.  

No need for physical structures. In addition to the raw square footage needed, physical space needs can be robust. These include the need for impeccable internet, humidity control, and security. By handing these off you can save yourself time spent on yet another resource project.  


Cons of Outsourcing Device Labs 

May not be a good fit for unique use cases. App testers occasionally run into scenarios in which specific devices absolutely must be used. In this rare instance, QA leaders could still optimize efficiency by finding a platform that would allow them to send in these specific devices to the cloud lab for testing and general maintenance. 

Less control. By outsourcing your devices to cloud platforms, you’ll be opting for less physical control. Outages and technical difficulties may still occur. To combat this, choose a vendor with multiple cloud locations as backups and a stellar reputation if you move forward.  

The cost of transitioning from on-premise to cloud. If you are re-strategizing your testing plan at an organization that already houses an onsite device lab, getting buy-in may prove challenging. You still have the option to augment your existing devices with further cloud devices as new hardware becomes available.  


Generally speaking, if you want to have maximum real-world test coverage and are experiencing time or budget constraints, outsourcing your device lab needs is a clear winner. Teams that have not yet implemented their device strategy can easily opt to have this handled by a vendor instead, removing potential time and budget bottlenecks in advance. 

 Cloud device labs may be an unnecessary option for organizations that already have on-premise device labs installed, funded and staffed. Transitioning to a vendor in this case may prove to be more hassle than it’s worth. In this use-case, organizations still have the possibility to benefit from recruiting a cloud device platform for expanded coverage.