Unlocking Superior Testing Results: Real Devices Vs Device Clouds Development teams often have a tall order when testing apps, platforms, and websites on devices. With an unending list of device makes, models, and configurations to consider, device clouds offer quality assurance (QA) teams a simpler and more efficient way to perform tests remotely on multiple real devices hosted on a cloud. Although device clouds have several advantages, such as improved time-to-market, reduced costs, and instant access to modern and legacy devices, they cannot entirely replicate the results from testing on real devices with actual users in intended locations. In this blog, we’ll explore the key reasons device clouds can’t replace real device testing. Understanding Real Device Testing Real device testing allows QA teams to perform accurate in-the-wild testing and produce more reliable outcomes. This type of testing generates tangible and precise results that can help development teams identify bugs and issues that may go unnoticed in a controlled testing environment that device clouds provide. Furthermore, real devices enable a feedback loop between software development, product, and end-user groups, allowing for a more collaborative approach to the testing process. Why Device Clouds Can’t Replace Real Devices While there are several areas that device clouds excel at, they have their fair share of drawbacks, too. Network Latency In device clouds, network latency can be a hidden problem that causes significant issues. When you access devices remotely, unexpected outages, slow network speeds, and other connectivity problems can make it seem like your product is slow and unresponsive. In addition, network issues can cause your automation scripts to fail, leading to wasted hours of manual testing. Your team may not immediately realize the issue is network latency, not the product itself. This problem can become a bottleneck in the product development process, slowing down your team’s ability to deliver new features and functionality as quickly as possible. On the other hand, when you use a physical device to test your product, any issue you encounter, including network connectivity problems, is a genuine concern that could potentially harm your user experience. Testing on real devices can help you identify and resolve mission-critical issues before they impact your customers. Security Testing Device clouds usually rely on physical devices located in a specific area. However, depending on the device cloud provider, your access to different locations and devices may be limited. This makes it challenging to test security across all regions and geographies. Although you can use a proxy server to test your application in a different location, there is no guarantee that the results will be accurate. If your industry is subject to stringent security and privacy laws, using a proxy server may not be able to capture the authentic experience of your users in a particular location or region. As a result, companies must invest in real device testing in areas where customers use their products to test security and privacy properly. Eight mobile app security threads every QA team should know about. Hardware Configuration Public device clouds operate on a shared device model, where multiple clients often access the same device remotely. Device clouds must ensure that each device is immaculate by wiping the device clean before offering it to the next client. However, this sanitization process makes it challenging for device clouds to replicate real-life hardware configuration issues, such as battery life, RAM performance, processor speed, storage devices, app interactions, and graphics card capabilities. This is why comprehensive testing strategies should include real device testing. Real devices allow teams to test hardware-specific problems across different makes and models. This approach provides a more accurate and precise test environment to identify issues and deliver superior-quality products to end-users. Real-World Testing Another major drawback of device clouds is their inability to simulate real-world user experiences accurately. Since these devices are remotely accessible, your QA team develops scripts that evaluate the performance and reliability of your app. However, users may interact with your app or platform differently than your team. They may use various devices, have different network speeds, and work on different operating system versions, etc. These differences can significantly impact the user experience and may lead to unexpected issues that are difficult to identify and address through device cloud testing alone. Therefore, testing your app with real users is crucial to obtain more accurate results. This type of testing allows you to see how users interact with your app in real-world scenarios and helps you collect feedback to make necessary improvements. Localization Testing Device clouds often miss specific bugs and optimization opportunities unique to a new region. Localization testing involves understanding cultural nuances that go beyond language translation and requires human involvement to identify opportunities for improvement. Since businesses need to ensure their products and services meet the new region’s language, cultural, and technical requirements, real devices are essential for localization testing. Using real devices, you can identify potential bugs and optimization opportunities that may have gone unnoticed with device clouds. This can enhance the quality of your products and services and improve your reputation and credibility in the new market. Learn about the key strategies for impactfully launching your app in a new region. Payments Testing Financial institutions may consider using private device clouds when they test their payment systems. Private device clouds are device clouds that offer exclusive access to devices in their cloud. However, private device clouds can be expensive and may not provide a complete picture of how the payment system would behave in the real world. Physical devices can perform payments testing with real-world data from different regions, allowing you to ensure that your payment systems can handle the unique requirements of each region, such as currency, taxes, payment methods, and exchange rates. Doing so can provide a better user experience and avoid costly issues arising from regional differences. Enabling a Cost-Effective Device Testing Strategy Device testing is critical to the success of any global app or platform today. Although various strategies and best practices are available, finding the right combination of virtual, cloud and real device testing can be challenging. Some companies may buy several devices for their QA teams to test in-house, while others may ship devices to their employees for testing. However, success for both approaches hinges on your ability to target the right users and devices for your testing efforts. Moreover, they are challenging to scale and require considerable cost commitments and tedious management to verify and collect results. While public cloud devices have some advantages, such as improving test coverage and velocity, they still fall short when testing regional requirements, hardware configuration, and security verification. Therefore, as a best practice, device clouds should be used to perform reusable and repeatable tests with high passing rates. However, this still leaves coverage gaps you can address by testing on a distributed real device network. Companies should adopt a complementary approach using device clouds and real device testing to maximize reach and scale testing to enable cost-efficient strategies. At Testlio, our device crowd can help you perform real device testing across 1200+ devices, 400+ payment methods, 150+ countries, and 100 languages without the added costs or management headaches. If you want to learn how you can leverage the power of the crowd for improved app performance and reliability, schedule a call with our team.