As technology continues to evolve, the need for effective testing of software applications on real devices has become more crucial than ever. With an increasing number of devices, operating systems, screen sizes, and configurations, it has become essential for businesses to ensure that their applications work seamlessly across various real devices. In this article, we will discuss the factors to consider when choosing the right real devices for testing and the benefits and challenges of real device testing.
What is Real Device Testing?
Real Device Testing refers to the process of testing web, hybrid, and native applications on physical mobile devices that end-users would use. By testing on real devices, you can ensure that the application operates in the exact way that users would interact with their own devices. It enables you to thoroughly test the functionality of your application and ensure that it performs smoothly on customer devices.
During real device testing, factors such as temperature and other software must be considered to ensure optimal app performance. In addition, smartphones can be interrupted by phone calls, battery issues, screen locks, and other factors affecting the app’s performance. To test these interruptions, it is necessary to test directly on real devices.
Real device testing provides highly accurate results, but the cost can be high as companies must purchase multiple real devices, which one must regularly update to keep up with the latest device releases in the market.
Importance of Real Device Testing
Real device testing refers to testing software applications on actual devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or wearables, to ensure their compatibility and performance in real-world scenarios.
Emulators and simulators can be helpful in initial testing, but they cannot accurately replicate the complexity of real devices. Real device testing allows businesses to identify and fix issues specific to particular devices, operating systems, or configurations, providing a better user experience.
The main advantage of testing on real, physical devices is that it closely mimics how users interact with their devices. While simulators and emulators can provide a close approximation, they can’t replicate every environmental factor or user action on a real device. For instance, emulators cannot simulate high traffic volume, which can impact performance and functional testing results.
Furthermore, simulators and emulators are known to produce false positive and negative test results, which can hamper developers’ progress and negatively impact their ROI and bottom-line goals. Therefore, testing on real devices is more accurate, concise, and user-specific, making it essential for performance, reliability, operability, sanity, and regression testing.
Advantages of Using a Real Device Cloud for Mobile App Testing
A real device cloud for mobile app testing can offer numerous benefits to developers and testers, regardless of whether they work on-site in an office or a remote/hybrid setting. These benefits include:
- Secure access from anywhere, at any time: You can test your mobile app from anywhere, with immediate access to clean devices and the specific device/OS combinations you require.
- Support for automated testing: A real device cloud can support both manual and automated testing, giving you more testing options.
- Increased productivity and collaboration: By providing everything necessary for mobile app testing in one place, distributed development and QA teams can share test results more quickly and collaborate more effectively to resolve application issues.
- Expanded device coverage: With a cloud-based testing platform, you can test your native and hybrid apps on a broader range of Android and iOS devices, giving your teams immediate access to a more comprehensive mix of devices.
- No maintenance or updates required: You can eliminate the challenges of maintaining physical and on-premises devices, such as ensuring an appropriate device mix and dealing with complex device, OS, or browser updates.
- Accelerated test execution: You can run more significant volumes of real device tests with low error rates, resulting in faster test execution.
However, testing on real devices can be expensive, and testers may opt for simulators and emulators as more cost-effective options. Nonetheless, third-party cloud providers like LambdaTest offer solutions to this problem by hosting a wide range of devices, which reduces costs and enables faster testing through parallel testing.
LambdaTest is a cloud-based automation testing platform that enables testing on a wide range of mobile devices, operating systems, and browsers, making it an essential tool for mobile app developers.
Using LambdaTest, developers can ensure that their app works seamlessly on all popular devices and operating systems. They can also save time and resources by conducting tests in parallel. In addition, integrating LambdaTest with the testing process can provide developers with valuable insights and feedback that can be used to improve the app’s performance, usability, and user experience.
Ultimately, testing on real devices is necessary because it allows for identifying a more extensive range of issues that users may experience when using your app.
Selecting the Right Mobile Device for App Testing: Strategies
With the growing reliance on mobile devices and apps, it is critical to ensure that apps meet user expectations. Choosing the right device for testing is a vital aspect of the process, as performance and functionality may vary based on the mobile device being tested. It is because numerous devices with varying screen resolutions, processing power, and hardware components are integrated into the apps.
Here are some strategies to help you identify the appropriate test devices for mobile app testing:
- Focus on Specific Devices
To identify the list of test devices that are a perfect fit, you need to narrow your scope by following these steps:
- Collect product requirements: Collect all product requirements and check if there are any devices that must be included.
- Analyze market share: Analyze the market and potential customers to easily identify the market share for different platforms. Different regions or countries may have varying market shares for other devices and platforms. Utilize trusted sources and statistics to identify the devices the target audience is most interested in. It will enable you to target users more efficiently.
- Establishing testing goals and constraints: Before starting the testing process, it’s crucial to clearly define and understand the testing goals and probable limitations that may hinder the process. Testing goals may include usability, performance, security, network connectivity, functionality, compatibility, and many other aspects. Once the goals are defined, prioritize them and assess the number of test devices.
For instance, if an app is a mobile banking app, security is a top priority. Therefore, testing the app on only a few devices is sufficient since the app’s security doesn’t depend on the firmware or hardware. On the other hand, if performance is the core priority of an app, testing across multiple hardware and firmware is an essential aspect.
When it comes to constraints, the budget remains one of the most significant. Testing the app on several devices requires more time and results in more working hours for the QAs. Therefore, any budget limitations will directly affect the number of devices that can be tested. In this case, one can use the most popular devices for the target audience and return to the second picks later if required.
- Parameters for Choosing Mobile Devices for Testing
When selecting mobile devices for testing, it’s essential to consider several parameters, including:
Operating System (OS) Versions:
Testing on Apple devices is simpler since their hardware and software are unified. Only the latest and second latest versions are necessary to support. On the other hand, Android device testing requires testing on several OS versions simultaneously. For example, Android 9.0, Pie, Android 10.0, Android 11.0, and Android 12.0 are popular versions that coexist, and all of them need to be considered. Key factors to consider when testing on different Android versions include:
- Identifying the precise target audience and their preferred OS versions
- The countries where the target audience resides
- The distribution of various operating system versions in these countries.
Screen Sizes and Resolutions:
It’s essential to ensure that the app’s user interface is compatible with different screen sizes and resolutions. With multiple devices with various screen sizes and resolutions available in the Android market, checking the statistics to observe users’ devices’ DPIs is advisable. These data are crucial when choosing devices for testing as they help show the preferences of real users who will be using the app.
Certain applications require specific hardware to function correctly. In such cases, choosing devices that can provide the necessary hardware is essential. Moreover, focusing on the processor architecture is also vital. While testing, ensure that the app works well on primary architectures.
Certain apps depend on specific built-in features of devices, such as biometric support or 5G. Therefore, if the app is built around these features, it’s mandatory to choose devices that possess the required functionality; otherwise, the app might not deliver as intended.
Selecting devices based on factors critical to your target audience is essential to ensure broad testing coverage. Key data points include; traffic volume, popularity, region, industry, different device configurations (as discussed priorly), and company size.
- Analyzing device statistics
Analyzing device statistics is essential to identify the most popular and widely used devices in the global and local markets to narrow down the list of devices for testing. Various websites like StatCounter and Statista provide constantly updated statistics related to operating systems, processors, screen resolutions, and device models that can help in device selection.
- Selecting the appropriate number and range of devices
The number of devices required for testing often depends on the type of tests being conducted. For manual testing, testers can select a small number of devices from the range of devices popular among the target audience. A high-end device, a low-end device, and a tablet can make the right combination for manual testing. When testing Android devices, it is advisable to incorporate a renowned device brand such as Samsung and start with testing a high-end as well as a low-end device. Google Pixel devices can assist in commencing the Android beta version testing. For automated testing, adding a broader range of OS versions is advisable to achieve optimal coverage and ensure faster test execution.
It is also essential to consider parallel testing, which allows testing multiple configurations of an app simultaneously, enabling faster testing and better alignment with testing goals and metrics.
- Periodically re evaluating test devices
With the constantly evolving mobile devices market, it is essential to reassess the test devices periodically, considering new models, device configurations, and OS versions to ensure optimal testing coverage. Technical specifications of similar models can be evaluated for selecting appropriate device versions. Google Pixel devices are often the first to support the latest version of Android OS for Android devices, making them a suitable choice for testing.
- Building a device matrix
After gathering all the necessary information, the next step is to create a device matrix. This matrix should include essential details such as the OS version, model, resolution, CPU, memory, and the associated market distribution data.
- Identifying similar devices
Once the device matrix is ready, it is essential to look for mobile devices with similar characteristics. It will help narrow down the possibilities and eliminate devices that have features already covered by a similar device.
In conclusion, choosing the right mobile devices for app testing is crucial in ensuring a successful market release. While there is no fixed list of devices that can be used for testing, implementing a strategy that considers factors such as target audience, popular devices, and test requirements can help select the most suitable devices.
Additionally, utilizing a cloud-based testing platform like LambdaTest can provide access to a wide range of real mobile devices and assist in streamlining the testing process. Thoroughly testing an app on various devices can lead to better user experiences and, ultimately, increased success in the market.
Thorough testing of mobile apps is critical in maintaining a positive brand reputation as a developer and building solid relationships with users. Furthermore, with the rapid pace of device and software updates, reassessing and updating the device matrix periodically is essential to ensure optimal testing coverage. By following these guidelines, developers can increase the chances of delivering high-quality mobile apps that meet the expectations of users.