What’s the Difference Between Flutter and React Native, and Which One Is Better for Development in 2023?

When pondering over which technology will allow the creation of a prosperous application for your business, it’s important to consider the cost efficiency and cross-platform compatibility, with Flutter and React Native being two commonly used alternatives.

According to Statista, Flutter and React Native have emerged as the leading cross-platform frameworks for creating mobile applications in the past two years. Adoption rates of these frameworks are increasing rapidly, superseding rival options.

Before starting any project, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the unique features, pros and cons of each option.

To determine which one is superior in 2023, let’s compare the performance and other metrics between React Native and Flutter.

A Brief Comparison of React Native and Flutter

ComparisonA Native ResponseFlutter
Date of PublicationMarch 2023May 2023
Language for Computer ProgramsJavascriptDart
TypeTo Create A Software FrameworkCreate Software. Kit

Introduction to “React Native”

Developed using JavaScript and available for free, React Native is an open-source mobile application framework that combines native development with the React toolkit. It allows developers to create user interfaces using JavaScript.

Initially an internal project at Facebook, React Native was released for public use by Facebook on GitHub in March 2023, after being previewed at the React.js conference in January of that year.

It should be noted that React Native applications are not web apps. Using JavaScript and React, one can develop native Android and iOS applications, replacing the need for Java or Kotlin.

Below are a few examples of applications built using React Native:

  • Developing applications for Android and iOS using JavaScript.
  • Cross-platform programming made easy.
  • Utilizing the same user interface library as React to create mobile interfaces.

React Native has been used to build a wide range of highly efficient applications, some of which we use regularly. A few examples are provided below.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Facebook Ads Manager
  • Pinterest
  • Bloomberg
  • Tesla
  • Skype
  • Wix

An Introduction to Flutter

Flutter is a mobile application development toolkit from Google that enables efficient cross-platform application development for multiple platforms. Unlike separate native applications for Android and iOS, Flutter uses a single codebase for both platforms, simplifying the development process.

React Native is another framework for developing mobile applications that enables single-codebase development, eliminating the need for native app versions for each supported device.

Here are some popular examples of applications developed using Flutter:

  • Alibaba
  • Tencent
  • Google Ads
  • Hamilton
  • Reflectly

Flutter vs. React Native: A Comparison of Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Flutter

  • Flutter provides a “hot reload” feature that facilitates quick iterations, allowing updates to be reflected in milliseconds, preserving the app’s current state.
  • Thanks to its unique set of widgets, Flutter is platform-agnostic. These controls follow the design guidelines for both Google’s Material Design (Android) and Apple’s iOS, eliminating the necessity for a separate team of Android and iOS developers. A single Flutter developer with expertise can handle the entire development process.
  • Java code used for Android development can be transferred to an iOS platform using either Swift or Objective C. This saves time by reducing testing and iteration cycles, thus reducing the overall build time.
  • Using Flutter, the app’s UI remains consistent on all devices, ensuring optimal appearance and operation of the UI, regardless of the device’s age.
  • Since rapid and easy cross-platform code production and sharing are possible using codesharing, Flutter is an ideal choice for MVP development.

Disadvantages of Flutter

  • Despite its impressive frameworks and plugins, Flutter cannot match the capabilities of React Native. Additionally, since Flutter apps are created using the less popular Dart programming language, it can be considered a disadvantage when compared to JavaScript.
  • Since Flutter is fairly new, your developers may have difficulty locating the required features in existing libraries, which could necessitate additional effort and resources to build the necessary specialized features.
  • Occasionally, there may be problems with the vector graphics and animation rendering plugins in Flutter.
  • Flutter has limited compatibility and is not supported on mobile or automotive operating systems such as Android, Apple’s iOS, or the Apple Watch.
  • Standard release procedures must be followed before applying software fixes and upgrades in Flutter.

Advantages of React Native

  • React Native’s major advantage is that it is written in JavaScript, a widely-used programming language, which means there is a larger pool of available developers when compared to Flutter.
  • When APIs are represented without the use of markup languages such as HTML or CSS, their representation may vary depending on the hosting platform.
  • React Native takes the application’s markup and presents it as genuine UI components, all while maintaining high speed.
  • React Native utilizes the rich UI library and various components of the ecosystem to cater to users’ constantly changing contexts.
  • The smart debugging tools available in React Native aid in reporting and fixing bugs.
  • React Native and Flutter both enable Hot Reloading, which allows software to be updated while still running, thereby facilitating rapid implementation of bug fixes, changes, and new features.

Drawbacks of React Native

  • It must be noted that the experience of using a React Native app may differ from that of native applications. While there might be some similarities, it cannot be expected to be completely identical, much like a web application framework.
  • Due to some APIs not supporting all native UI components, an unexpected visual style may be observed in certain cases.
  • It is recommended to explore the use of third-party libraries to enhance implementation. While there is a broad range of libraries available for React Native, they are not all of equal quality, and some are no longer supported. Prior to using a package, it is advised that the development team checks the number of reported issues to ensure it is an actively-maintained one.
  • Performance issues may arise due to the absence of support for multi-processing and parallel threading.
  • React Native apps tend to be larger than their Native counterparts, as they require an additional library to enable JavaScript code, which is not available on Android. As the app size increases, it can proportionately reduce the storage capacity of your customers’ devices.
  • Debugging can present a challenge when attempting to modify and analyze UI components and scripts using Chrome’s debugger.

Now, let’s compare and contrast Flutter and React Native in regard to app compatibility, actual performance, and overall project size.

Comparison of Flutter and Native Apps


Upon comparing Flutter to React Native, it becomes apparent that the former provides better performance due to its direct access to native components without the requirement of a bridge for communication between native modules.

For instance, a fundamental “hello world” application in Flutter can draw each frame in less than 16 milliseconds, which translates to a frame rate of 60 fps.

Flutter uses the Skia graphics package, which triggers a UI re-render whenever there is a modification in the application’s view, resulting in fewer frames being dropped compared to the usual rate. Consequently, it is not surprising that Flutter can deliver a consistent performance of 60 FPS.

A Response from Native Development

The discrepancy in performance between React Native and Flutter is noticeable. As mentioned in the cons section, a JavaScript bridge is utilized to connect native components in React Native. The “hello world” application built using Flutter showed significantly fewer frame drops as compared to the one built using React Native.

In case the rendering time of a program takes longer than 16 milliseconds, the app can become unresponsive. To further optimize bytecodes, one can incorporate third-party libraries like Proguard. Doing so can potentially enhance the application’s speed.

Contrasting React Native and Flutter’s Animation Frameworks


Flutter’s fundamental tools, functionalities, and customized widgets enable effortless implementation of animation.

Dart’s generational garbage collection is an essential asset for building user interfaces using transient object codes. This functionality in Dart streamlines the development process by reducing UI clutter, debris, and animation delays.

A Response from Native Development

Employing different UI packages like React Virgin, Shoutem, and Ant Design can pose a daunting task while aiming to establish uniformity in design across multiple platforms in React Native. This is primarily due to the constantly evolving nature of material design on Android and style design on iOS, making it challenging for React Native to keep up-to-date.

An Evaluation of the Frameworks of Flutter and React Native


Flutter is composed of various layers, commencing with root functionalities known as platform-specific widgets. This layer serves as the underlying building block for all platform-based applications. After the platform layer, the renderer layer, and any additional fundamental widgets are integrated, the end product is ready for use.

Operating immediately above the rendering layer of the program are the animation gestures that manage the transmission of API requests to the backbone of the application. Scaffold is implemented on platforms that need a platform-specific embedder, like a C/C++ engine.

To keep a clear distinction between the UI and business logic, Flutter offers the BLoC architecture as a suitable choice. With a minimal set of basic components, both proficient and inexperienced Flutter developers can utilize this structure to build complex applications.

A Reaction from Native Development

In React Native, an intermediate thread is created between the JavaScript and Native threads, allowing the native API to interact with the JavaScript source. React Native for iOS runs all applications with its own JavaScriptCore.

JavaScriptCore is integrated into the system on Android. It is essential to account for the impact of app size expansion, as this can result in poor performance or device lag.

Comparison of Flutter and React Native for User-Friendliness


Flutter has restricted capabilities for handling intricate tasks, nevertheless, it is suitable for swiftly developing prototypes and testing ideas. As a result, numerous start-up firms perceive Flutter as a valuable resource for building their initial Minimum Viable Products (MVPs).

A Reaction from Native Development

React Native is capable of generating intricate native applications; still, the triumph of such an undertaking is contingent on the seamless assimilation of React Native with native app development.

Under such circumstances, it is probable that your app will be more of a hybrid than a cross-platform one. To construct sophisticated React Native applications, proficiency in both JavaScript and native coding is necessary.

Comparison of the Learning Curves for Flutter and React Native


Flutter has a comparably shorter learning curve, as Dart is a novel language that streamlines app development. Beginners to the framework can commence with a basic understanding of native Android or iOS development. Several developers have attested that Flutter documentation is more comprehensible compared to that of React Native.

Native Learning Curve of React

Familiarity with JavaScript should enable your team of engineers at Works to grasp React Native with ease. However, mobile app developers may face a learning curve due to the distinct features of mobile app development compared to web development. Nevertheless, the vast array of available libraries and tutorials can assist in decreasing the learning curve for React Native.

The Scope of Your React Native or Flutter Project


The minimum size of a “hello world” application generated with Flutter was around 7.5MB. The potential of Flutter-based projects is established by the Dart virtual machine and the C/C++ engine. As Flutter is capable of containing all its code and assets, it does not necessitate attention to this matter. The inclusion of tags, such as “split-debug-info,” can help to reduce the overall size of the code.

A Reaction from Native Development

In React Native, the size of the Hello World app has expanded from 7 MB to 13.4 MB after integrating native dependencies. The utilization of solutions like Proguard or the creation of all native and external libraries into individual builds can substantially reduce the size of the app.

React Native or Flutter: Which is Superior?

Choosing between React Native and Flutter can prove to be challenging, as both platforms offer high-quality and dependable software solutions for businesses.

The following outlines how to assess the benefits and drawbacks of each alternative and make an informed decision for your organisation.

  • If your developers specialise in Dart, Flutter is the recommended choice; on the other hand, the corresponding choice would be React Native for JavaScript-based development.
  • If you haven’t assembled your software development team yet, you may want to deliberate whether you want your application to incorporate native user interface elements. If that is the case, hiring React Native developers might be worth considering.
  • It would be advantageous to prioritise hiring Flutter developers if you want your app’s user interface to mirror your brand’s aesthetics.

To make an informed choice between React Native and Flutter, we advise seeking guidance from developers with significant experience in these respective technologies. Keep in mind that both frameworks are capable of delivering satisfactory results for cross-platform projects.

Development Costs for React Native and Flutter

Numerous factors like app complexity, size, and scope, the level of expertise of your development team, whether they are contracted or employed full-time, and their work location determine the cost of app development.

To gain an estimation of app development costs for a particular platform, it could be beneficial to investigate the typical salaries of Flutter and React Native engineers in the United States. A React Native developer earns a median salary of $88,000, while a Flutter developer‘s median salary is $76,000.

If your budget is confined, because of lower costs and an average developer pay rate, Flutter may be the better alternative for prototyping.

Final Thoughts

It is essential to consider the precise needs of your project when deciding between Flutter and React Native. Flutter is a top-notch platform for collaborative prototyping and progressive development. Conversely, React Native offers a simplified development process for both native and cross-platform applications.

If you have limited financial resources, and don’t require native features for your idea, then Flutter could be a viable option. However, if you aim to develop lightweight, fast native apps with an easily customisable user experience and an asynchronous build, React Native may be the recommended choice.

At Works, we can assist you in finding a highly skilled developer for either Flutter or React Native, based on your specific needs. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us, and we will do our best to connect you with the most compatible individual.

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