Difference Between Android Emulator and Android Simulator

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Android Emulator and Android Simulator

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Android is a brand name that manufactures almost all electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, notebooks, and many more. It has also been efficient in its development and features, making it stand out from other prominent companies.

Android is an operating system whose devices are so common among people nowadays. This is due to their sustained and consistent performance and attractive features that make them an established operating system now.

Every company has a team that works behind the scenes but passionately and ensures that they provide products at their best performance to the public. It is not just the design, features, or plan that is important. More than that, it is necessary to watch how efficiently you are able to communicate these ideas to the general public. And for these, it is essential to run the programs and features many times prior to the actual release of the new product on the market. 

For the Android operating system, it means the Android simulator and Android emulator, which play a vital role in defining the efficiency and performance of a product model.

Android Emulator vs. Simulator

These devices help in providing the clients with no performance complaints and the best experience reviews from them.

 Both these devices check, run, and process the features and put them into testing multiple times to decrease any probability of errors or artifacts in their programming features. The main difference between an Android simulator and an emulator is the basis on which they run these checks. An Android simulator, for example, only tests its performance and external functionality, whereas an Android emulator tests the entire hardware system. And remove any physical defects in its design that could improve the user experience.

Just like the name suggests, the former one simulates the features that they probably worked for and presents the final result. The emulator was capable of testing both hardware and software-related defects, including checking for source code errors in the bank end.

The emulator provides all of the capabilities of a real-life physical Android device, making it easier to put it through multiple checks. And, hence, do not require the physical device itself to be tested. It also ensures the checking of each function offered by the device separately, hence saving money and resources for the developers.

Difference Between Android Emulator and Android Simulator in Tabular Form

Main parameters of comparison  Android Emulator Android Simulator
1. Functions Check and run applications for errors in both the software and hardware of a product.

This program works pretty well with in-app features that rely on sensors, as it can function with an accelerometer.

Runs source code and identifies coding errors and bugs that can be fixed by the technical team.


2. Processes involved and examples. It is used to run applications on multiple devices without having an actual physical device present under simulated conditions.


An example of an android emulator is the Android SDK.

An example of simulator is the IOS Simulator.
3. Applied for Different applications are put to use for bug-free processing and daily quick testing.

It can test each function offered by a device separately, saving time and resources for developers.

It usually regulates and controls the functioning and internal behavior of the mobile device.
4. The amount of time required for the process. Involves binary translation into machine assembly language and hence makes them relatively slower for testing devices.


Data from the testing app can be transferred faster in comparison to a USB device connected to the device.

As it uses the drop-in feature, virtual data transfer is much easier using this program.

Simulators are faster as there is no binary translation required before testing.
5. Advantages It provides clients with the best functions and ensured features that can bring in great viewership and reviews for the good user experience it provides.


 It makes it easier and more convenient for manufacturers to run the program multiple times in a simulated environment before meeting release deadlines.


You can also use this for some instrumented tests and checks of features. It offers bug-free applications from day one of development.

 Analyze how the source code could be modified to bring in more attractive and apt features.


 It reduces the effort and time required by its staff to analyze and fund errors and is more efficient in time and cost.

6.  Disadvantages  It might be required to conduct and ensure the functioning and efficiency of these devices continuously before checking them. You might also have expenses related to the purchase or setting up of these devices.


Especially, the hardware prerequisites that is essential to work with it. It might cause a crash of your device if there is not enough disk space. It must cause a buildup in the workstation over time.

When only source code is tested, hardware artifacts may be overlooked. It does not offer a complete and thorough check of the device like that of an emulator.

What is an Android Emulator?

The Emulator provides more of a holistic approach. It ensures thorough checking on both software and hardware aspects of the device. These devices give developers a platform for quick and multiple early testing by setting up simulated virtual android devices in their work field. It works by mimicking the architecture of your guest device. It is a program that you can run on your device to work with it.

You can simulate phone calls and text messages, different network speeds, specify locations of the device, simulate rotation and other hardware sensors, access apps within, and a lot more. However, these near-native capabilities of the target mobile device, which enable you to adjust the physical sensors, location, etc., come at the cost of latency. The most important aspect is that this program put each and every function separately to multiple runs and tests.

 Some other examples of emulators include the IOS emulator and the Galaxy emulator.

 To install it from your Android Developer Studio console, you must follow some steps. Go to Configure, select SDK Manager and Android SDK from it. Select the "SDK Tools" tab. Later, choose the option for the emulator and install it.

The data and application data are uploaded using a drag and drop feature, which offers much faster virtual transfer.

 It is usually released to the market with already in-built and predefined configurations for different devices, including tablets, smartphones, TVs, Windows OS, etc.

There are some hardware prerequisites that are essential for this function.

Some of them may be described below:

  1. You may need an SDK version to use this program (usually 26.1.1 or above).
  2. A PC/laptop.
  3. Also, with the webcam, if you work with Android 8.1, which requires 720 p frames.

What is the Android Simulator?

A system that provides an environment similar to the product is made to check its functions and features prior to its release to the public. It simulates the conditions and, as a result, can be advantageous because it eliminates the need for the product to go through the tests multiple times.

 It also saves team’s effort and time and proves more efficient than manual testing.

The main difference between a simulator and an emulator is that a simulator only tests the software aspects of a product, whereas an emulator puts both software and hardware aspects to check. And hence, the latter is more complete and efficient in terms of thorough testing.

They are primarily used for iPhone and I Pad devices and are easily emulated. However , use of this function might require installation of Mac operating system. Thus, a disadvantage of using it can be inability to investigate certain functionalities like battery usage, cellular interrupts, etc. It makes it easy and convenient for developers to conduct daily assessment and tests on its functioning.

Main differences between Android Emulator and Simulator

Functions it provides.

To debug coding and provide better suitable hardware that can be more compatible and error-free in its functioning. The former is the function of a simulator, whereas an emulator comes with both possibilities.

You can use an Android emulator to enable hardware acceleration. This is usually a complex process but offers higher performance value.

Also, emulators are more reliable and better suited for debugging.

While emulators manage and check for mobile device hardware, software, and operating systems, the simulator checks the functioning and internal behavior of the mobile device.

To ensure each function separately by putting it under repeated daily multiple checks without requiring the developer’s resources and time.


The emulator uses a machine-level assembly language, so it might be time-consuming to process.

The Android simulator uses programs written in a high-level language.

The procedures' time and cost

The Emulator makes it much easier to transfer app data to put under checks compared to that of use of a USB to transfer files using the drag and drop feature using the ‘.apk’ files.

Devices for which each check is suitable for

Emulators are typically used to manage the hardware, software, and operating systems of mobile devices. Instead, the simulator checks the functioning of the source code and is involved in efficient debugging. However, it is less reliable relative to an android emulator.

 Almost every android device undergoes prior testing with an emulator and simulator before being released on the market.

This upgrades the quality and performance offered to clients.


An emulator is more reliable for debugging processes compared to simulator functions.

More convenient and quality products are presented to the clients with all possible errors shot down. It consumes less time and effort of the technical team, and while the device runs multiple checks, the employees can actually look into other aspects related to the product.

It is also less expensive as the device itself is not put into exhaustible runs and checked, but rather a similar environment and conditions are created and checked to ensure its functionality and features. 


In the case of an emulator, it may require basic costs for setting up these devices and must ensure its continued efficiency and function in running checks and thorough tests of products.

The translation of CPU architectures can be a time-consuming and complex process, especially when the devices are not compatible with each other. This step may not be required if both devices' architectures are the same.

 Also, as it is written in machine-level assembly language, processing can be time-consuming in comparison to a simulator that uses a high-level language.


These devices enable perfection and high quality of performance and standard features offered to their clients. The multiple checks that a device undergoes prior to its actual release on the market improve its reviews in every possible aspect. These devices put products through thorough testing to ensure their features work definitively and without flaws. Once an error is detected, the team will sit on it until they fix or resolve it.

A simulator is an imitation of only the software and hence can only be used to put source code into testing.

These devices have helped in multiple thorough runs and checks of product features in a similar environment, but not actually the product itself.

Because of these procedures, it is possible to identify the possible flaws that could happen with a particular design, hardware, or software and fix them with alternatives before they actually build it, saving money, effort, and time.

 It may be especially useful in the days just before the release of a product to the market, because with the tensions of many audits, calculations, and marketing strategies left, at least this could be off the list for the manufacturers if the processing could be done using external devices that are highly efficient to check its functioning and performance.

Also, it enables us to compare the standard of our product with other products yet to be made, as they all undergo the same checks and tests. From this, a relative or comparative evaluation of your product could be made.


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"Difference Between Android Emulator and Android Simulator." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 19 Apr. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-android-emulator-and-android-simulator-132>.

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