Mobile Apps – Native vs. Hybrid vs. Responsive Design

When you are designing a mobile app there will come a point where you will need to decide how your app has to be developed. There are native apps, hybrid apps and responsive design to choose from. But which one is the best? Which one will make it more attractive? Which one will make it more user friendly? Well, that really depends on your business and what you want out of an app.

An absolutely right decision can affect your mobile strategy greatly. For this, you need to have a proper understanding of each type of app and what they are offering.

Native, hybrid or responsive – each has its own good and bad. There are some things you need to consider before you decide on one. Let’s try to break down each of them to know which one is right for you.

Native Apps

Native apps are designed for a specific platform or operating system. It won’t run on any other system other than the one mobile OS it was made for. For example if your make your app for Android it is not going to work on iOS platform. They are built IDE (Integrated Development Environment) specific for the one or selected operating systems.

Advantages of Native apps

They are quite fast as they have been built for a particular platform often giving excellent performance. Normally, they can easily access all functionality of a device. Also they run with no error, given it has been properly developed. They give smoother user experience and interface, thanks to its platform specificity.

Disadvantages of Native Apps

The fact that they cannot be used on device with other operating system is the biggest downfall of native apps. Say you want it to run on Android, Windows as well as iOS then you will have to develop three different apps for the three platforms.

There is also the need to get skilled developers since it requires difficult language for development. It is also found to be more expensive than the other options.

Although it may be expensive, it makes up for it in the long run. This one is great if you are focused on offering the best to one specific group of users.


Hybrid apps works similar to native apps but are made to work across more than one platform.  They are built with standard language code such as CSS, HTML and JavaScript.

Advantages of Hybrid Mobile apps

They are much easier to build and also cheaper than native apps. They can access the device functionality like native apps can; while at the same time they can be used across multiple platforms at a cheaper price than building native apps for different platforms. They also take less time in developing as compared to native apps since they use simpler and single code language.

Disadvantages of Hybrid apps

They are more expensive when compared to web as in responsive web design. They are also slower and less interactive than native apps. Customization is a huge disadvantage in hybrid apps as you can’t customize like you can in native apps. Thus user experience cannot be made optimum in hybrid apps. If you opt to customize more for the sake of user experience it eventually becomes more expensive and time consuming than native apps. In that case you better just go native.


This is not an app but websites which can be tweaked to deliver app like functionality. Responsive design as the name suggests are made so that the website are responsive according to the accessing device. They are developed with JavaScript and HTML. Usually developers make it mobile friendly and follow the mobile-first approach so that the website will give its best user experience even to the mobile users.


Here it is worth mentioning Progressive Web Apps/PWAs which are combination of web pages and mobile apps. PWAs provide native app like features such as push notifications, use of touch gestures, etc. However, it runs only with Google Chrome.

The advantage of responsive design is an inexpensive and simpler option. The disadvantages of responsive websites are that they are not apps so cannot be made available in app store; users always need to be connected to internet and within browser to use you site. They are also behind native and mobile apps when it comes to speed and user experience.

Which one should you develop?

In order to make the final decision consider the factors like -Do you need the app as soon as possible? How soon or early do you need it? What’s your budget for the app? What is the desired quality of the app in terms of user experience? What would your app users want out of the app? What’s your business needs or objective?

If user experience is your top concern and you will be able to meet the required time and expenses then native apps could be the best for your app. But if you aren’t hell-bent on the app interactivity and the UI, or maybe you are in a bit of a rush just to get your app out in a cheaper way than hybrid may be the best. Whichever your situation is, try to choose with the purpose of the app in mind.

Written by Aditya Singhal

Aditya Singhal is the co-founder of Transtutors, an Online Assignment Help platform for Graduation and Post-Graduation level. It has been his passion and vision to help the students across the globe that he along with his co-founder started with this venture. He had worked with Kurt Salmon Associates, a reputed American Management Consultancy.
He wants to incorporate technology in making students learn appropriately through the biggest hub of Questions and Answers bank. He is enthusiastic and passionate about internet products that when used appropriately can make a big difference in the lives of people. You can find more about him on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ as well.

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