Emulator vs. Simulator

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Testscenario Testing Team

Emulator vs. Simulator

Simulation and emulation are used interchangeably. However, there is some major difference between emulators vs. simulators. Both these mobile testing techniques which used to mimic the real thing in a virtual environment. Although, the differences between emulation vs. simulation are quite big for mobile automation.

Before knowing the differences between the two, let’s learn the definition of both mobile testing approach.

What is Emulator?

An emulator is hardware or software which makes one mobile operate similarly to another mobile. In other words, we can say that the emulator helps the host system execute software or use hardware devices designed for the guest system. Emulators emulate the functions of one mobile on another. That’s why the second mobile device behaves like the original device and try to helps reproduce the external behaviors of the first system.

So, emulation can be considered a computer program’s capability in an electronic device to emulate another device or application. Various types of emulators are available that allows you to replicate software, hardware, CPU, or operating. The most important components of a typical emulator are CPU emulator, various output/input device emulators, and memory sub-system emulator.

What is a Stimulator?

Simulator is computer software or a device that can mimic a real-life situation. It can provide outcomes depending on various actions and assumptions without causing any risk. It is a general practice to use a simulator to create electronic devices. That’s why many universities use simulation software to teach electronic designs.

Simulators help you to avoid designing faulty circuits. You can simulate the circuit and view the outputs. After obtaining the required outcomes, you can implement them using the real Integrated Circuits (ICs), breadboards, and other components.

Advantages of Emulator

Here, are some important advantages of Emulator:

  • The emulation technique helps to replicate the hardware and software atmosphere of a computer system on another machine.
  • It provide an authentic environment that does not require the original system. However, the process of making an emulator is quite tedious and time-consuming.
  • You can achieve the applications or the OS that is emulated. You should remember that there are not much differences for a user when using the emulation method.

Advantages of Simulator

Here, are some advantage of Simulator:

  • Simulators are highly accurate for ensuring the display of the interface of an application is the same in various screen resolutions.
  • It also offers quick and simpler means to create a software environment to test applications without replicating the related hardware.
  • Simulators surely have more uses than application testing, such as mathematical modeling in medicine, technological development, etc.

What is the Difference Between emulators and Simulator?

Here are some important differences between Emulator and Stimulator:

Parameters Emulator Stimulator
Process Emulation is a process of enabling one computer system to replicate like another computer system. Simulation is simulating an abstract model of a particular computer system.
Provided by Device manufacturers provide emulators Simulators are provided by device manufacturers and various other service provider companies.
Internal Structure The emulator is written in Machine-level assembly language Simulator is written in High-level language.
Reliability Emulators are reliable and best suitable for debugging. Simulators are less reliable and not so suitable for debugging.
Binary translation It includes binary translation as it becomes much slower due to latency It does not include a binary translation. As a result, it is much faster as compared to emulation.
Work On It works on Mobile device hardware, software, and Operating System Internal behavior of the mobile device.
Main Job Emulators imitate the external status of an object, Simulators can imitate its internal features.
Consistency Not very consistent, as it cannot simulate all types of user interactions. It is the same for emulation, as it is impossible to simulate all types of user interactions.
Usage It helps to imitate the behavior of another program or device running an OS hardware platform. It helps to predict and forecast the system’s future behavior.
Best for Simulators are widely used for mobile testing scenarios. Emulators widely use to for testing how software interacts with underlying hardware.

Similarities between Emulator and Simulator:

Here, are a few similarities between Emulator and Simulator

Emulators and simulators help you conduct software tests inside flexible, software-defined environments. These both testing approach helps you to run tests more quickly and easily than you could if you set up a real hardware device.

Real-device testing performed only late in the software delivery pipeline, before releasing application into production. Therefore simulators and emulators are widely used to perform most software tests.

That’s helps you to take benefits of the speed and flexibility of simulated and emulated test environments for most software tests while and still getting the deep insight of real-device testing before releasing software to end-users.

A simulator/emulator not able to mimic the following features −

  • Battery of mobile device
  • Mobile device’s camera
  • It is very difficult to mimic interruptions like SMS and incoming calls.
  • Does not offers realistic simulation for mobile device memory usage.


In the sum up we can say that simulator provides fast and easy way to set up a software environment for application testing without the need to mimic actual hardware.

On the other hand, an emulator takes things a one step further by emulating software and hardware configurations. You can take the service of a professional software testing company for this purpose.

Both software testing platforms are useful when you require to test your code across a large range of variations. However, it is not a totally suitable for real-device testing, which you should also perform at critical points, like before releasing software into production.

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