Flutter vs. React Native – the battle of titans

Flutter vs. React Native – the battle of titans
flutter vs. RN

Developing effective applications have always been one of the biggest problems that all developers have had to pass through for all of eternity. Because of an ever-increase in the number of platforms available: Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows, and whatnot – it has become increasingly difficult for developers to port their applications to another platform. 

Though Apple intends to streamline the process for iOS and macOS, the most popular platforms: Android and Windows have nothing as simple as that. 

There are major platforms for cross-platform frameworks to this date: Flutter and React Native. This is going to be a Flutter VS RN battle, where we will be pitting one against the other to see which one will be a better choice for you – as a developer. Let us begin:

What is a cross-platform framework?

It is always imperative to start a comparison guide with some information that can help build the entire concept from the ground up. Cross-platform refers to the ability of an application to be used on multiple platforms. 

Just like how you can use Facebook on both your computer and mobile phone, or how there is Chrome for both your computer and your Android/iPhone – cross-platform applications thrive a lot because there is twice the market. 

What is a cross-platform mobile framework?

A cross-platform mobile framework allows mobile applications to be developed for multiple mobile platforms at once. For example, you can develop an application that works both on Android and iPhone at the same time, with minimal effort using a cross-platform mobile framework. 

Benefits of using a cross-platform framework:

Here are some benefits of using the cross-platform framework:

  • Faster deployment – you can quickly develop applications and launch them in the market because apps will be developed for multiple platforms at once.
  • Efficiency – your business will not only save a considerable amount of money that would otherwise be spent on developing the same application on another platform, but you will also save significant time and effort. 
  • Streamlined coding – many cross-platform networks provide ready-made APIs that can easily be implemented to provide a streamlined coding experience. This will also potentially improve the UX of the application for the user.

Flutter – The first titan

Flutter is the first cross-platform framework on this list. It is an open-source development kit for the User Interface (UI) that is used to develop natively compiled applications. Flutter is available for iOS, web, Android, Linux, macOS and FuschiaOS. 

History of Flutter

Flutter is a very new platform that was released to the public in its stable 1.0 form at the end of 2019. It was first showcased by a developer in the 2015 Dart developer summit that could render applications at 120 FPS – twice the FPS that you see on a normal display. It was named as Sky but has been renamed to Flutter afterwards. 

The current version of Flutter (Flutter 1.17) supports Metal API that was once used in Battlefield game series but hasn’t been heard of ever since. It allows mobile applications to improve performance for iOS applications considerably – because iOS natively supports this API. 


The Flutter API uses Dart programming language for its engine, main components and all of its Foundation library. Here is the entire architecture of the framework:

  • Programming language – Flutter works on top of Dart programming language that is natively built on a Dart virtual machine. This virtual machine can provide run-time compilation for all platforms. Through Flutter Desktop Embedding Project, it provides support for macOS, Linux and Windows. 
  • Compilation – Flutter uses the Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler to provide the capability of hot-reload to allow applications to boot up and run significantly faster while reducing resources used. For mobile applications, early builds can be used for both iOS and Android, enabling the framework to have peak bleeding-edge, performance always. 
  • Engine – The engine is written in one of the fastest languages around C++. Through the use of low-level rendering support that is given by Skia graphics library for Google, as well as platform-specific APIs on the popular mobile platforms, the engine provides compile-able applications for both Android and iOS. The engine uses file and network input/output abilities, animation & graphics, architecture, accessibility support and build components for Dart. 
  • Foundation library – the foundation library is also written in Dart and provides most of the functions and classes that are used to make the application buildable. It also contains widgets for both Android and iOS’ implementation. For Android, it uses Material design, while for iOS, it uses Cupertino.

Where Flutter shines the most and the least?

Here are some use-case scenarios where Flutter may be useful and where it might not be so useful:

  • Flutter can provide multiple iterative solutions through several built-in native tools and features.
  • It can be used to create an MVP in real-time. 
  • Applications that are focused on mainly UI will benefit the most from Flutter.
  • Apple’s 3D Touch will not work with Flutter-based applications. 
  • Applications that require a platform-specific design will not be comfortable with Flutter.
  • Rare native libraries that are specific to a platform may not be available, though might be added in a future iteration.
  • Some of the most popular applications of Flutter are Alibaba, Google Ads and Tencent’s applications. 

Why use Flutter

Here are some of the reasons for using Flutter:

Native platform-specific features

Features like geolocation and camera for Android and iOS require the application to probe into native APIs. Flutter can significantly reduce the time it takes to implement these platform-specific features by allowing developers to re-use their already-programmed JAVA/Swift and Objective-C code. 

Fast – one way to describe it.

Because it usually uses native APIs, is directly compiled into machine code, and is programmed to use as fewer resources as possible while providing more functionality – and through JIT, Flutter is able to provide performance that is very close to what native applications can provide. 

With the help of a clean UI that offers sophisticated animations, the user will not even notice the difference between a native application and one that is built on top of Flutter. 

Hot Reload – almost real-time updates

Flutter’s feature: Hot Reload is able to provide developers with the ability to make modifications to code in mere seconds. The developer can then test, add features and remove bugs in the least time possible. This feature also enables multiple developers to test the same build of an application in the least time possible. 

Cleaner and lesser code

Dart is a very strongly-typed Object Oriented Programming language. Because it has a reactive and declarative programming style, the developer does not need to spend extra effort trying to build unique functions. 

They can be reused. Flutter also does not require a JavaScript bridge to improve loading times: it comes with both JIT and AOT compilation. JIT, when combined with Hot Reload, offers significant performance boosts for both users and developers alike. 

Skia rendering engine

Google’s Skia rendering engine is built into the cross-platform mobile application, making it an extremely powerful platform for developing UI-intensive applications. Users of flutters will need not adjust the UI, because the scaling is automatic and Skia is intelligent enough to understand. 

What can be wrong?

Here are some reasons why you would want to stay away from Flutter:

It is very new

Flutter was just introduced to the public at the end of 2019. Though tech geeks would argue that new is always better, there are many things that will get in the way of a developer if they start developing an application on a new framework: bugs, instability as well as lack of legacy features. Because Flutter is a very new platform, some features are yet to be implemented and there are a lot of libraries that are in the pre-alpha stage. 

The programming language

Though many people will prefer Dart because it is a young language, it is not as refined as Swift, JavaScript or Kotlin. Because of this, it is difficult to efficiently code and there might be iterations where other programming languages would provide the same ability, but Dart would not. 

React Native – the second titan

The second titan on this list is React Native or RN for short. It is a JavaScript library from Facebook that is used in the native development of applications for mobile platforms. 

History of React Native

Native has been around for quite some time, but it was not made popular until Mark Zuckerberg – the owner of Facebook – decided that the company should start working on Native instead of HTML5. React Native is, in one sense, a type of Native that is specifically developed by Facebook.

Jodan Walke took this concept and created UI elements for iOS to be used for React Native. Through a hackathon, the ability to develop native applications for React Native was improved and it was launched to the public in 2015. 


The React Native (RN) architecture is very similar to ReactJS: it has identical operating principles but does not use Virtual DOM. 

  • Background process – React Native (RN) works within a background process that communicates with user-created JavaScript directly. 
  • Independent – React Native does not require HTML for its working. It uses JSX and JavaScript syntax. 

Where React Native shines the most and where it doesn’t?

Here are some use-case scenarios for React Native:

  • React Native is used for the development of very complex cross-platform applications. 
  • Projects that require a lot of effort and are expansive will benefit from React Native’s extensive library.
  • It offers in-depth documentation and stronger support from both the developers and the community. 
  • Improves usability for building desktop and web applications.
  • The ability to implement Bluetooth is not available, apparently – although possibly because of the security risks behind this protocol.
  • React Native applications are considerably bigger than native applications and are not efficient for projects that use only one OS. 

React Native is used by many tech giants like Facebook, Walmart and even Bloomberg. 

Why use React Native

Here are some reasons why you would want to use React Native:


Performance is one of the areas where React Native shines a lot, mainly because of its modular approach and native control. RN can connect native components for both Android and iOS and can create code that links to native APIs without a bottleneck in-between.

Streamlined pushing of updates

React Native can streamline the process of updating an application: you only need to push a few buttons and the updated application will be uploaded on Google Play Store/Apple Store. The time needed to build applications is also significantly reduced. In fact, Ui components can be directly added into an application without having to completely rewrite the code: making updates very easy to implement.

Modular approach

Like we mentioned earlier, React Native uses a very good approach: modular for its applications. Modular approach is renowned among developers because it can dramatically reduce development complexity and make it easy to find bugs. Reusability is also increased considerably.

OTA updates

Live reloading is a feature that React Native uses to the max: enabling developers to make code modifications in almost real-time. This – combined with OTA updates – can significantly improve the user experience when their application gets updated. Users will not even be able to figure out when their application was last updated, because all of it will be almost seamless. 

What can be small issues with React Native?

Here are some reasons why you would want to stay away from React Native:

  • Native developers – the need of developers for specifically implementing native functions inside the application is still needed. 
  • Incomplete – even though it has been around for more than half a decade, there are still some components that you might not find on React Native. 
  • BETA – Apparently, React Native is still in Beta, even after all these years. We guess Zuckerberg isn’t exactly confident about this framework yet. 

Flutter VS RN – which one to choose?

Now that we understand everything behind React and Flutter, let us do a quick comparison between the two platforms:


Here are some similarities between the Flutter VS RN:

  • Cross-platform – kind of obvious, but both Flutter and RN are cross-platform frameworks that work on Android and iOS. 
  • Open-source – We could understand Flutter being open-source, but surprisingly enough, RN is also open-source. 
  • Reload – Flutter offers Hot Reload while RN offers Live Reload. They are fancy names for the same concept. 
  • Fast and native – both platforms are designed to be fast and offer an experience similar to what you would find on native applications. 
  • Documentation – both provide support for in-depth documentation.
  • Learning Curve – both are very easy to learn, and you will not find difficulty adjusting to either.


Some of the differences for this Flutter VS RN showdown are:

  • Documentation – though both Flutter and RN provide documentation, Flutter has official documentation while RN doesn’t. 
  • Release date – Flutter was released in beta stage back in May 2017, while RN has been around since March 2015.
  • Programming language – Flutter works on top of Dart, while RN uses JavaScript. 
  • Architecture – Flutter works on top of Google’s Skia, while RN uses Flux. 
  • Popularity – Oddly enough, even though RN has more work done, it is less popular than Flutter – at least on GitHub. 
  • Stability – Flutter has been completely released, while RN is still in beta phase. 

Flutter VS RN | which is ‘more popular’?

Though popularity does not really matter for many developers, it is still a defining force for a lot of others.

  • According to Google Trends, Flutter was the most widely-used platform in 2020, while React Native came at a close second.
  • Statistica shows that React Native is adopted in 42% of the market, while Flutter is at 39% by 2020. It is catching up very fast. 
  • GitHub shows that Flutter has 102k+ stars while RN only has 90k+.

Winning in two of the three Flutter VS RN popularity tests, Flutter is officially more popular and will eventually overtake the market against React Native in this decade. 

Flutter VS RN | Which is ‘better’?

’Better’ is a rather vague term because ‘better’ depends on the person who is doing the comparison. For us, it is the programming language. The difference between Flutter and React Native is considerably big. Nonetheless, the Flutter VS RNbattle might continue. 

Flutter uses Dart programming language that was released by Google in 2011 but is still not very popular among developers. Its syntax is easy, and developers of JAVA will find it very easy to relate to the OOP principles involved in this language. 

React Native works on the JavaScript language. JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages ever used. Any developer with a degree in Computer Science in the last decade or so will already have experience in developing an application on this platform. 

Flutter VS RN | Which is ‘more productive’?

Productivity plays a vital role in determining the ability of a developer to code efficiently. Here are some factors that will help determine which platform is more productive: 

  • Reload – Flutter uses Hot Reload features to make fast backend changes and get them implemented. RN uses the same feature, though it is more popularly known as Live Reload. The productivity indicator shows that both are fundamentally equal in this test. 
  • IDE – the development environment is very important for any developer. Developers can use virtually any JavaScript-supported IDE for RN, while there is a clear limit for Flutter. 
  • Programming Language – JavaScript is easier for a lot of developers because they have already done development on this language. Dart is a unique language and might have to be learnt from the start. RN wins here. 
  • Configuration – Flutter is easy to set up and the guide easily guides developers to set the framework up for both Android and iOS. There is no such thing for RN. Flutter takes the win here. 
  • Community – both Flutter and RN have a very big community, though Flutter’s community is considerably more active than RN. You might find more fixes to bugs on RN though. We rate both Flutter and RN the same in this test.

Flutter VS RN | Which is ‘easier and faster’?

React Native is better for developers who want to develop light-weight applications or applications that rely mainly on the GPU. Any application that relies heavily on the CPU will suffer from a high bottleneck. Flutter can develop fluid and efficient animations for its applications. 

React Native is considerably easier to learn and implement, though optimization is much easier for Flutter. The documentation is free for Flutter and you can get free learning resources, as well as a better and more active community to make sure your experience in developing applications is as easy and quick as possible. 

If a developer has already learnt JavaScript, RN is easier and faster in terms of development. 

Flutter VS RN | Final features

Flutter offers a unique and natural user interface that imitates native components through the use of a single codebase and special widget-sets for either platform. Though because it does not utilize system optimizations natively, users might experience higher power usage and power drain.

React, on the other hand, uses third-party libraries to imitate native components. It is better in terms of system optimizations because it automatically updates app components with UI updates. 

CI/CD – or delivery method for fast delivery and deployment of applications is very important for all developers. CI/CD is a part of Flutter documentation and the whole system has been built around this concept. RN, however, lacks any official support but you can set up CI/CD using third-party libraries. 

Final Thoughts:

Our verdict is that in this death-battle of Flutter VS RN, there is no clear winner. There are only instances where one is better than the other. Flutter is increasingly getting more popular, though the programming language is immature and relatively less used. RN has been around for longer, though it is still in beta phase. Its programming language is one of the most used in the world and is easy to work around with. 

If you want to develop CPU-intensive applications that focus on animations, we suggest Flutter, but if you want efficient applications that are meant to be used for long periods, RN is the better choice. We hope this Flutter VS RN was helpful for you.


What is cross platform?

A cross-platform mobile framework allows mobile applications to be developed for multiple mobile platforms at once. For example, you can develop an application that works both on Android and iPhone at the same time, with minimal effort using a cross-platform mobile framework. 

What are the pros of Flutter?

– Native platform-specific features
– Fast
– Hot Reload
– Cleaner and lesser code
– Skia rendering engine

What are the cons of Flutter?

– No web browser support
– Limited libraries
– App size larger than native

What are the pros of RN?

– Performance
– Streamlined pushing of updates
– Modular approach
– OTA updates

What are the cons of RN?

– Still in beta
– Native devs are still required
– Small number of components

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