The Dreaded Ultimatum in the App World. Native or Hybrid?

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Comparing Native and Hybrid Apps

Native or Hybrid? Hybrid or Native? The question that plays on repeat in the heads of purchasers. We’re going to try and make this question a relatively easy one to answer.

At Opinsta, 9/10 times we opt to build Native apps as opposed to Hybrid apps. This isn’t to say this is the best choice for you, but it has typically been the best choice for our clients so far. But what is the difference?

The key difference in layman’s terms is that Hybrid apps only require coding to be written once, while Native apps require specific coding to be written for each Operating System. Windows, Blackberry, Android and Apple.

But which method is better?

Neither. Probably a contentious answer…

The truth is there are advantages to both methods and deciding which way to move forward with your app idea will likely come down to how much value you put against each of these two factors.

Quality of app and Cost required.

Native Apps – High Quality & Performance

Native apps as mentioned need to be coded individually for each system and require developers to have mastered more challenging coding languages. You may have guessed, this is the more expensive route to take as the software takes longer to develop. The old saying “you get what you pay for” applies as Native apps deliver a superior end product for the reasons below.


Native apps have far better performance speed than hybrid apps. If you are looking to avoid user frustration, manage many interactions or include high requirement functionality then Native apps will have the advantage here.

Look and feel of native applications

The trendy look and feel of native applications are eye-catching, familiar  and inspiring allowing users to connect easily and quickly to the icons and button as they will feel alike to other social apps they may use.

Rich native library

Using Native SDKs(Software Development Kits)  allows the developer to access the latest features specifically designed for those platforms, without the disadvantages of dealing with plugins. This is key when you need to provide a rich contextual user experience such as facial recognition for iOS or touch ID for Android.

Optimise usage of the devices existing hardware/software

By building exclusively with a Native toolset, developers aren’t bound to any third-party to access the core features like camera, location services, and other functionalities, and there’s not a problematic dependency on open source communities like Cordova to keep up with the latest features.

More secure and safe

All the native apps on Android or iOS are only accessible through the app stores. Before all the apps get approved to be featured in the stores, they are fully tested and reviewed by the app store approval team. This provides a certificate of reliability and assurance.

Summary of advantages

  • Longevity & platform specific language
  • Responsive & superior performance
  • Best-in-class user experience

Direct access to hardware such as GPS, Display, CPU etc

Summary of disadvantages

  • Higher development cost
  • Requirement for expert talent

Longer development cycles… although we would challenge this at Opinsta. Our team are flawless at project management and works with a “scrum” methodology which means areas of work can happen in parallel. In simple terms, if you have a complex app requirement we’ll still complete the project very quickly (1-3 months max), we may just allocate a very large team to help!

Hybrid Apps – Cheaper & Faster to Build

The emergence of Ionic and React Native languages (Hybrid code) made mobile app development very easy for developers to develop apps without having to learn complex Native programming languages such as Swift for iOS and Java for Android. 

But sometimes it comes with a poor user experience and which can be disappointing to mobile users.

Hybrid Apps

The Hybrid app allows you to easily build on multiple platforms like iOS, Android, Windows by using low-level languages like HTML, CSS, Javascript to create multi-platform code. If you are looking for a quicker and cheaper way to develop an app and are willing to compromise on certain expectations, you should certainly consider Hybrid app development. 

Write Once, Run Anywhere

The hybrid framework like Ionic gives you the power to run your app on any platform or device, all from a single codebase. As hybrid technology is web-based, you can run your application on the browser as a Progressive Web App which provides users with a similar experience across platforms and devices, and you only have one codebase to worry about.

Faster Development cycle

The key difference is that hybrid apps are built using open web technologies like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, rather than the proprietary or specialised languages used by iOS, Android, and others. That means the same codebase can be re-used to make development faster and cost-efficient.

Easier to find developers with web-based skill sets

Surveys in 2019 suggested that less than 10% of developers cited Swift & Java as familiar languages but over 80% of respondents were well versed in web development. 

Advantages of Hybrid App:

  • Single coding base
  • Faster development
  • Cheaper development

Disadvantages of HybridApp:

  • Hybrid apps add an extra layer between the source code and the target mobile platform result in a possible loss of performance.
  • It can not directly access the hardware like GPS, display, CPU needs the help of 3rd party plugins.
  • Can affect the user experience as it is developed for cross-platform and therefore not optimised for any single platform.
  • Reliant on external frameworks like ionic or Cordova for developing an application.


We’ll keep this short as it is for you to decide. You will need to understand your goals to determine whether you prioritise speed & cost, or user experience & performance.

If this all still sounds like gibberish, then speak to one of our team members. They’d be happy to advise! 

See some of the native applications we’ve developed for Bombardier, Virgin Trains and Emirates!

Talk to us today.

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