Native Apps vs. Hybrid Apps: What’s the Difference?

Updated Aug 31, 2023

Native or Hybrid app — which one is better for your project? There is no one-size-fits-all solution for all projects. To make the right choice, let’s explore the features of native apps vs. hybrid apps and compare their pros and cons. We’ll also inevitably bring up near-native development and explain why it can be a great alternative.

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What Are Native Apps?

Native applications are software programs designed and developed for a particular operating system. They are written in official, platform-specific languages (Objective-C or Swift for iOS, Java or Kotlin for Android) and can be installed on either platform.

The pros of native apps 

  • Speed. Native applications are renowned for their speed. They function faster because they are native to the platform they are developed for.
  • Distinct look and feel. Native mobile apps fully adjust to the UI and UX of the particular operating system they target.
  • High FPS and quality graphics. With native applications, developers can add rich graphics and high-quality animations. For instance, HD games are often developed as native applications.
  • Support of market leaders. When building native applications, developers rely on robust and intuitive tools offered by Google and Apple.

The cons of native apps 

  • Not platform-agnostic. Native applications focus on just one platform. If software engineers created an application for iOS and want to develop an Android application as well, they will have to create an entirely new codebase.
  • Expensive. Each platform needs completely different programming skills for development, which increases the expenses.
  • Time-intensive. It takes an equal amount of time to develop separate native applications for each target platform.
Native apps

Examples of native apps

  • WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a VoIP and messaging application. It offers a wide variety of features, such as voice and video calls, group calls, and encrypted messages. Users can also share different types of media, including photos, videos and documents.

  • Spotify

Spotify is a popular music application that provides on-demand access to songs and podcasts. The native app offers a rich audio library and built-in radio as well as additional features: a sleep timer, playlist enhancement, and social media integration.

  • Tesla

Tesla is a great native IoT app example. With the help of a Tesla application, car owners can remotely control the vehicle by monitoring the speed of charging, locking/unlocking the car, diagnosing its condition and regulating the temperature.

  • Duolingo

Duolingo users can choose a language they want to study from a wide selection of available options – and start honing their grammar, vocabulary and listening skills, for free. The native app provides entertaining well-structured lessons that rely on such features as text analysis and speech recognition.

  • eBay

eBay is a robust native app that lets users view products, add them to the cart, and check them out right in the application. The app has additional features such as personalization based on past purchases and viewing history, price comparison, and individual discounts. Moreover, users can sell their items via this app and contact potential purchasers.

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What Are Hybrid Apps?

Hybrid applications are a type of cross-platform applications that are written in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. They can run on various browsers thanks to Progressive Web Application (PWA) technologies. In essence, these are web apps that can be installed on a device thanks to Cordova (formerly PhoneGap), Ionic, Sencha, and other ‘wrapper’-tools. Developed once, the code of hybrid applications can run on any platform. 

The pros of hybrid apps

  • Cross-platform. Thanks to the same code base, software engineers can create code once, introduce some platform-specific modifications, and publish the apps to Google Play and App Store.
  • Time-saving. Due to high code reuse, companies can deliver hybrid mobile applications to various platforms a lot quicker compared to native applications .
  • Cost-effective. The same team, skilled in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, can create hybrid applications for numerous platforms and environments. There’s no need to hire additional staff with a different skill set.
  • Great for simple apps. The hybrid option is a perfect choice for applications if you don’t need advanced functionality.

The cons of hybrid apps 

  • UI and UX inconsistency. The look and feel of hybrid applications is the same regardless of the platform and may differ a lot from other native applications on the device. Unless you customize the UIs to fit specific platforms, you can end up facing user frustrations. 
  • Inferior performance. Compared to native applications, hybrid applications are somewhat slower, may occasionally lag, and don’t support high-quality graphics.
  • Need for custom integrations. Hybrid applications can communicate with the GPS, accelerometer, and cameras on the device, just as native applications do. However, certain plugins should be developed to make that happen. If the team doesn’t have professionals with the appropriate skill set (usually, C++ language expertise is necessary), they will need to hire extra staff.
Hybrid apps

Examples of hybrid apps

  • Sanvello

Sanvello is a mental health care application written with Ionic. This app allows people in need of support to connect with therapists or groups of fellow patients via real-time text chatting or video calls. It also features automated training sessions for self-care.

  • Sworkit

Sworkit is a customizable fitness trainer that offers pre-set combinations of workout exercises for various needs: cardio, weight loss, muscle building, yoga, and more. Built with Cordova, this hybrid app is fairly simple. Its core functionality includes showing animated images of exercises and a timer for a user’s convenience. 

  • JustWatch

Similarly to the IMDB app, JustWatch is a guide with movies and TV series that provides summaries, user reviews, recommendations, and the latest announcements. The key difference is that JustWatch focuses only on the content shared on streaming services and lets its users know where exactly a show or a movie can be found.

Difference between Hybrid and Native Apps

As you’ve seen from the examples, hybrid applications have simple functionality and aren’t the best fit for global brands, who mostly opt for native app development. However, going hybrid is a very smart choice if the planned app is simple.

CharacteristicNative AppsHybrid Apps
SecurityHighly secureLess secure
SpeedHigher speedLower speed
PlatformDeveloped for one specific platformCross-platform
PricingExpensiveMore cost-effective
Development timeTime-intensiveFaster development
CodebaseSeveral codebasesOne codebase
Maintenance Complex maintenance (several teams/experts)Simple maintenance (one team/expert)
User experience (UX)Native by designShould be customized

Your third option is choosing a near-native technology – React Native, Flutter, or Xamarin. These tools help to build a shared code base but guarantee much more stable and high-quality performance, which makes them a great fit for more complex applications. Walmart, Instagram, and Twitter are some of the near-native application examples.

  • Walmart

Headquartered in the USA, Walmart is a well-known corporation that manages a chain of grocery stores around many countries in the world. To be more competitive among their rivals and keep up with the latest tech trends, the company created a feature-rich near-native app for their clients, reaching the users with iPhones and Android-powered phones at the same time.

  • Instagram

Instagram social network offers a wide range of possibilities to users: they can shoot long and short videos right in the app and enhance photos with the help of advanced filters or image editing tools. Most users don’t even suspect that the application isn’t native because Instagram’s performance is highly stable and fast.

  • Twitter

Twitter is another great near-native application. This social network with millions of users can handle a huge amount of traffic and provide smooth performance across different platforms. Twitter offers such robust features as live streaming and voice chatting, which is possible due to React Native’s capabilities.

Reach a wider audience by delivering your software to multiple devices with the assistance of SaM Solutions’ React Native developers.

Why You Should Choose SaM Solutions for Cross-platform or Native App Development

With more than 30+ years in the IT industry, SaM Solutions has profound expertise in building highly scalable efficient native, hybrid, and near-native applications. We have successfully delivered mobile projects for companies of all sizes across different business domains.

Our team can develop a native, hybrid, or near-native application for you according to your unique requirements and business needs. We have well-structured work processes, comply with strict security guidelines and follow time-tested industry best practices. Thanks to our constant communication with clients and high expertise in software development, we manage not only to meet, but also to exceed their expectations.

As a well-established IT company with proven experience in the software field, SaM Solutions offers the following advantages to clients:

  • Deep expertise. Our experts possess deep knowledge in building both native and hybrid applications and are well-versed in cutting-edge technologies and tools.
  • High quality. Thanks to the thorough testing and quality assurance that goes hand-in-hand with our development processes, we deliver high-performing applications that are bug-free and user-friendly.
  • Transparent communication. Clarity and consistency are the key factors that help us ensure trouble-free communication with clients. We always stay in touch with our clients and provide them with regular updates on the development process.
  • Cost-efficiency. With our digital transformation solutions, companies can optimize their business processes and cut unnecessary expenses.
  • Maintenance and modernization. We offer ongoing maintenance services so that your software would always perform smoothly and keep up with the latest tech trends.


We hope that you now have a better understanding of the difference between native and hybrid applications. To make the right choice for your business, you should take into account all the advantages and disadvantages of both types. 

For a large business that needs a fast-performing app with great user experience, native applications are likely to be a more appropriate solution. For startups that aim for high visibility at a more affordable price, hybrid applications are better as they are faster to deliver and less expensive. And if you want the best of the two worlds – decent performance and lower costs – opt for near-native tools instead.

If you need advice on which option to choose for your specific project, SaM Solutions can help you. Our skilled software engineers would be glad to plan or develop a mobile app for your company too. Feel free to contact our team and schedule a consultation.

Which app is better: hybrid or native?

It depends on the type of software that you need. Hybrid applications are built for different platforms, and native applications are built for a specific OS. Native applications are known for their speed, they are more oriented to user needs, but they are a more expensive option. In many cases, hybrid applications are more cost-effective, but there may be lagging issues.

Hybrid vs native app: which is more secure?

The security of applications depends on the development process, the used platform and the implemented security features. However, native applications are usually more secure than hybrid applications as the security measures are integrated into the applications. Hybrid applications are more vulnerable to threats, but it’s also possible to increase their security with additional security features.

How much does it cost to develop an app?

The exact pricing depends on the complexity of the app, the used platform, and the hired team. For a simple app, the price may vary from $10,000 to $50,000. For more complex apps developed for multiple platforms, the price may amount to $100,000 or more. Hybrid apps are more cost-efficient than native apps, but native apps are often more secure and robust. It’s important to take into account your budget and project requirements before choosing the most appropriate option for you.

Leave a comment
  • Thanks for the article. If I were to choose between hybrid and native apps, my choice would be the hybrid apps. There are a few major reasons for it: they are more cost-effective, and they are usually developed and deployed faster.

  • In this discussion, I vote for hybrid apps. Such applications are much easier and faster to build, as they can be created with just a single codebase that can be deployed across many various platforms.

  • As for me, native apps are the best. The user experience you can get with hybrid apps is nothing to be compared with native apps. I have experience with both hybrid and native apps, and I prefer the native option.

  • My choice is definitely native apps. They are faster and more responsive solutions, because they are optimized for the specific platform they are designed for.

  • From my point of view, you should try both solutions to appreciate their distinctive features. Both native and hybrid apps offer a rich set of device-specific technical features.

  • To me, a decent hybrid app is the best option. I was interested in a more cost-effective solution for my project, so I decided to try building a hybrid app. Besides, they can be deployed on multiple platforms, which is definitely an advantage.

  • Thanks for the blog post. As someone who values high performance above all else, I am an adherent of native applications. They are designed to perform seamlessly on the specific OS they are created for.

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