React Native v/s Xamarin: A Cross-Platform Frameworks Standoff

Understand the differences between two cross-platform frameworks: React Native vs Xamarin.

December 30, 2020
12 mins read
Last Updated July 20, 2023

React Native v/s Xamarin: A Cross-Platform Frameworks Standoff

Businesses often find it difficult to expand their app offerings to multiple platforms while managing their resources on a tight budget. Luckily, there’s a solution: cross-platform app development frameworks.

Cross-platform development frameworks offer your business the best of both worlds – they offer an app experience that’s almost as good as native apps while also allowing for code sharing, and thus, saving time and cutting costs.

To help you make the right choice of a cross-platform framework for your mobile app, we’ve compared two popular technologies: Xamarin vs React Native. We have considered factors such as app size, performance, modularity, and ease of finding developers. Read on for an unbiased comparison to help you make an informed decision.

Let’s begin with understanding what React Native is and the use cases it is ideal for.

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What is React Native?

React Native is a widely used open-source framework that utilizes JavaScript to create native applications for both Android and iOS platforms. It employs a unique blend of XML-like markup and JavaScript, known as JSX, to build user interfaces. This framework is actively supported by Facebook, with a dedicated team of over 50 engineers continuously improving its capabilities.

React Native Performance: Major issues and insights on improving your app’s performance

Statistics around the market usage of React Native:

  • React Native has already captured the attention of 36,032 customers across the globe, which covers 0.96% of the entire market share.
  • In the Stack Overflow Survey 2022, 12.57% of respondents specifically selected React Native as their preferred framework over other alternatives and libraries, highlighting its growing popularity and trust among developers.
  • The same survey also revealed that over 55.98% of the developer community loves using React Native, indicating a high level of satisfaction and enthusiasm for this powerful framework.

Use cases of React Native

  • Simple cross-platform apps
  • Quick prototype applications
  • Apps with simplified UI
  • Apps that look nearly native with responsive UX using FlexBox
  • Apps with reusable components
  • Apps that operate with synchronous APIs

React Native Examples

Here are a few examples of how companies across domains have leveraged React Native in their applications:

  • Facebook – Developed a supercharged, supportive mobile UI with simple navigation.
  • Walmart – Improved user experience by building smooth in-app animations identical to native functionality.
  • Bloomberg – Streamlined simple-to-access, personalized content for users with automatic code refreshing features.
  • Instagram – Implemented push notification in the form of WebView without building navigation infrastructure.
  • SoundCloud – Bridged the time gap between updates and patched versions simultaneously for iOS and Android.
  • Wix – Achieved high speed and agility in the development of configurable navigations and screen options.

What is Xamarin?

Xamarin is a powerful open-source platform that revolutionizes application development by allowing developers to build cross-platform applications for iOS, Android, and Windows using. NET.

Here are some interesting facts to know about this platform:

  • Xamarin was founded on the Mono project, which Microsoft acquired, bringing it into the.NET environment.
  • Xamarin utilizes C#, a widely used programming language for enterprise-level projects, which makes it relatively easy to master.
  • The most popular integrated development environments (IDEs) used with Xamarin are Visual Studio and Rider.
  • Xamarin’s performance is close to native, but it depends on whether you use Xamarin Native or Xamarin.Forms.
  • In 2022, Xamarin evolved into .NET MAUI (Multi-platform App UI). This platform-agnostic framework incorporates low-code elements and an improved Xamarin.

Statistics around the market usage of Xamarin:

  • Xamarin is being used in 1.91% of total apps in the market.
  • More than 12k apps are built using the Xamarin framework, amounting to over 2 billion downloads.
  • 12% of developers worldwide used Xamarin for cross platform app development in 2022.

Use cases of Xamarin

  • Efficient cross-platform apps
  • Apps with native-like performance
  • Apps with access to native APIs
  • Apps with reusable components
  • App that leverage hardware acceleration

Popular Xamarin Examples

Here are a few examples of how companies across domains have leveraged Xamarin in their applications:

  • The World Bank: Released an app called Survey Solutions, which stems from their expertise in C#, to launch their survey tools across mobile platforms.
  • UPS: Got rid of nearly half the code used for platform-specific versions by bringing Xamarin into the picture.
  • Aggreko: Used Visual Studio for Aggreko Technician App that is used by more than 5000 field officers globally.
  • Alaska Airlines: Developed mobile-centric customer experiences with C# that delivered the right information to the right person at the right time.
  • HCL: Adopted Xamarin framework and Microsoft Visual Studio to synchronize their geographically dispersed teams.
  • Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences: Xamarin played a key role in Academy’s migration from paper, DVDs, postal mail to digital means.

Pros and Cons— React Native vs. Xamarin

Here are the pros and cons of going with either of the technologies for cross-platform solution development.

Pros of React Native

  • Native rendering: Uses host platform to natively render APIs without the need for HTML or CSS markup. 
  • React Native Performance: Translates the markup of an application to mimic authentic UI elements and yet maintain high performance. 
  • Ecosystem: Leverages rich ecosystem and UI libraries to automatically re-render app appearance with each state change. 
  • Debugging: Provides accessibility to intelligent debugging tools and error reporting. 
  • Hot-reloading: Allows hot reloading to add new codes directly into a live application. 

Cons of React Native

  • User Interface: Native rendering of APIs may not support certain native UI elements, which may make the UI look a little off. 
  • Tools and Plugins: Third-party libraries that can be used for better implementation may often turn out to be outdated.  
  • Performance: Does not support parallel threading and multi-processing, resulting in slow performance. 
  • Debugging: Chrome debugger might be inconvenient to edit, inspect codes, and UI elements properly. 

Pros of Xamarin

  • Faster development: Reduces the development time as it uses a single tech stack and shareable codebase. Developers need to make only slight changes to release apps across different platforms.
  • Native user experience: Uses native APIs and toolkits that cater to native app design and performance. Since it leverages system and hardware-specific APIs, it’s nearly impossible to distinguish between a Xamarin and a native app.
  • Single technological stack: Creates apps for multiple mobile platforms using a single language that don’t need switching between environments since everything can be done in Visual Studio.
  • Convenient prototyping: Xamarin.forms gives developers a UI toolkit to develop an interface for any device, resulting in code reusability.
  • Easy on the pocket: Develop, test, and deploy apps for different mobile platforms without hiring multiple teams. Testing and deployment can also be handled by the same team, adding more flexibility to the budget. 
  • Simpler maintenance: Update changes in the source file and they reflect accordingly across the different apps.

Cons of Xamarin

  • Larger app size: Adds 3-5 megabytes for the release and 20 megabytes for debug builds, increasing the app size. 
  • Not suited for heavy graphics: Xamarin isn’t very good at incorporating rich graphic elements and animations. It is therefore not the best choice for gaming and other apps involving advanced graphics.
  • Delayed updates: Updates for latest iOS and Android releases take 1-3 days to get integrated into the ecosystem.

Reactjs vs React Native – Key Difference, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Performance Comparison— React Native vs. Xamarin

Xamarin vs React Native performance doesn’t differ much. Both frameworks strive to match the performance of native applications. However, Xamarin holds a slight advantage thanks to its utilization of platform-specific hardware acceleration.

On the other hand, React Native doesn’t support parallel threading or multi-processing, which impacts its performance negatively. If performance is a crucial factor for your app, Xamarin may hasa slight edge in this aspect.

Here is a brief comparison of Xamarin vs React Native on important parameters:


React Native


Programming Language


C# (with .NET)




Native APIs

Accessible via plugins

Direct access

Platform Support

iOS, Android

iOS, Android, Windows

Code Sharing

High code sharing (70-80%)

Very high code sharing (90%+)


Large and active

Large and active


Fast iteration and hot reloading

Slower iteration and full compilation

UI Components 

Rich and extensive library 

Native look and feel


Large ecosystem of all libraries

Microsoft ecosystem integration 

Learning Curve


Moderate to steep

Suitability for building complex apps— React Native vs. Xamarin

The ability to build a complex app using a cross-platform development framework can have a lasting impact on your bottom line. Let’s see how suitable these two technologies are for building complex mobile apps.

Is React Native suitable for building complex apps?

Yes, you can leverage React Native to build complex native apps. But it’s important to note that will be likely to be possible only when you involve native app development along with React Native. At that stage, your application is more likely to be hybrid than cross-platform. The entire process of building complex apps with React Native does not only involve Javascript but the utilization of native development skills.

Is Xamarin suitable for building complex apps?

Xamarin is natively compiled, making it one of the better cross-platform development options to create performant apps that look and feel like native apps. The sound functioning is a result of the combination of C# and native libraries under the .NET framework-hood.

Additionally, Xamarin utilizes the capabilities of native platforms through APIs, which further allows developers to add complex functions to apps. The fact that you can also create platform-specific UIs favors building complex apps on the framework. Xamarin also supports apps for wearable devices such as smartwatches.

Ease of Testing— React Native vs. Xamarin

A mobile app needs to go through rigorous testing before qualifying to be on an app marketplace. Moreover, app stringent app testing is necessary to deliver a pleasant experience to the end-users. Let’s see how easy it is to test apps built on these two cross-platform frameworks.

How easier is it to test a React Native app?

React Native boasts of no official support for UI level testing and Integration testing. Furthermore, there are only a few unit level testing frameworks available to test RN apps. No official support means developers have to rely on third-party tools like Appium and Detox and unearth bugs with the help of them.

Moreover, It is still relying on third-party libraries for build and release automation. Succinctly put, the entire framework doesn’t offer any automated steps to deploy the iOS apps to App Store. Instead, RN suggests developers define the manual process of deploying the app through Xcode.

How easier is it to test a Xamarin app?

With Xamarin, you can easily test all the features of the app across thousands of devices to get rid of bugs before the release and shorten the development cycle. It also facilitates automated and stern UI testing that filters out all the anomalies in the app by replicating user-behaviour.

Be it taps, swipes, rotations, or even waiting for UI elements to load, it’s all possible while testing with Xamarin. Apart from being convenient, testing with Xamarin is quick as you get results from comprehensive tests in a matter of minutes before application deployment.

Communities around React Native and Xamarin

How big is the community around React Native?

Since its launch in 2015, React Native is a widely used technology, empowered by a massive community of hundreds of thousands of developers and downloaded over 1 million times every week.

According to StackOverflow, there are 131,518 questions related to React Native. The community is also active on GitHub with 93.7K stars and 20k forks.

Some of the common platforms where you can find other React Native developers, projects, conferences, and live events are:

  • Meet Up
  • Slack
  • Discord
  • Telegram
  • Reddit
  • Stack Overflow

How big is the community around Xamarin?

The Xamarin Community Toolkit has quickly become one of the most popular open-source Xamarin libraries with 80+ contributors, 2.8 million downloads, and used in 2000+ open-source repositories and 1.6K stars on GitHub.

You can easily get in touch with active Xamarin community members on platforms like Xamarin Blog, Stack Overflow, Xamarin Q&A, Reddit, etc.

Modularity support for React Native and Xamarin

Does React Native support modularity?

React Native may offer less modularity support. Android, iOS, and Reactjs developers might find it hard to correlate with each other. Without expertise, different teams may have issues with code fragmentation in React Native. However, React Native offers the possibility to combine simple native elements of different OS platforms for different developers to work together to some extent.

Does Xamarin support modularity?

In a word, yes. You can use Prism as an effective tool to bring about modularity in your Xamarin applications. Then, there are a few libraries such as ReactorUI that let you follow a component-based approach. However, modularity isn’t as intrinsic a property of Xamarin as it is for some other cross-platform development frameworks. But with the use of certain tools and libraries, you can simplify complex projects and enjoy the benefits of modularity.

User experience— React Native vs. Xamarin

At the end of the day, if app users aren’t satisfied, all your efforts may go down the drain. It is, therefore, necessary to deliver a satisfactory user experience. Let’s see how these two technologies fair up in this department.

React Native’s ability to give the best user experience

Android’s Material Design and Style Design in iOS are transforming by the day, and it’s tough for React Native to keep up with the constant change in the requirements of native platforms. Additionally, ready-made React Native UI kits such as React Virgin, Shoutem, and Ant Design make it even more difficult to create consistent designs across platforms.

However, some valuable components like ScrollView fixed header, Modal components, Activity indicators, Snap carousels, and Pagination components help greatly in improving the UX across multi-platform.

Xamarin’s ability to give the best user experience

In Xamarin, you can create platform-specific UIs and access all the native APIs such as Bluetooth, SDKs, etc. to bring apps to life. Since Xamarin uses native UI controls to bring hardware acceleration into picture, the apps do far better than solutions doing code interpretation during runtime.

Developers can also add elegant themes, charts, UI controls, and graphics from Xamarin’s component store. What’s more, you can also leverage material design components to build custom applications.

Code Maintainability— React Native vs. Xamarin

It determines how easily the components can be modified to deal with faults, make adjustments with respect to a changed environment, and improve performance. Let’s see where the two technologies stand when it comes to code maintainability.

How convenient is it to maintain code in React Native apps?

In React Native, upgrading and debugging the code is a pain, perhaps. When you fork the code to suit your application, it interferes with the framework’s logic thereby slowing down the development process. In addition to that, most of the native components might have a third-party library dependency. Often these libraries are outdated and cannot be maintained properly due to the issues that come along with it by default.

How convenient is it to maintain code on Xamarin apps?

Most stats suggest that there are more Xamarin openings than developers available in the job market. It is why finding the right Xamarin developer might be tricky for you. The average annual salary for Xamarin developers is $114,934 in the United States with an hourly rate of $56.25.

However, if you already have a team of skilled C# developers, then introducing them to the Xamarin might not be a bad idea after all. A lot of organizations have already adopted Xamarin for this reason and so could you.

Application Size— React Native vs. Xamarin

Even though smartphones now sport bigger batteries, users are ever so cautious as to which app deserves a piece of their phone’s memory. Smaller apps bring bigger benefits. And since cross-platform app development ends up bloating an app, it’s always a key consideration when choosing a technology. Here’s what’s up with app sizes on React Native and Xamarin.

What is the minimum application size in React Native?

The initial size of the Hello World app with React Native is 7 MB and when native dependencies were added, the size increases up to 13.4 MB. React Native can iterate applications faster and at a minimal size, better than Flutter.

In addition to that, enabling Proguard and using enableSeperateBuildPerCPUArchitecture element will reduce the size in large by auto-generating split builds for all native and external libraries.

What is the minimum application size in Xamarin?

The Hello World app can be as large as 15.6Mb for Xamarin.Forms and as low as 3.6Mb for Xamarin.iOS. Whereas the Xamarin environment adds a considerable overhead leading to larger app size, the smaller file size for native apps is a result of Xamarin Libraries, Mono runtime, and Base class library assemblies used in Xamarin.

The Learning Curve—React Native vs. Xamarin

You’d want to know how easy or difficult it is going to be to incorporate a cross-platform framework into your existing infrastructure. If it’s easier to get the developers acquainted with a new technology then you can easily plan future operations with better clarity. Let’s see what’s the learning curve on React Native and Xamarin like.

How good is the learning curve of React Native for developers?

Learning React Native is considerably simple for those who have built applications using JavaScript. But, web development is different from mobile app development which is why mobile developers find it relatively difficult to learn and implement the framework. Over time, React Native has released various libraries, extensive documents, and tutorials that improve the learning curve.

How good is the learning curve of Xamarin for developers?

To be proficient in Xamarin, one needs to have the knowledge of C#, mobile development, and architecture. Since C# is quite a popular programming language, most developers don’t take long to adapt to this environment. This is not to say that developers with limited experience in the Microsoft ecosystem wouldn’t take a tad more time to get a grip on the framework. Thankfully, Microsoft offers learning resources for developers to get familiar with the various components in Xamarin.

Hiring Developers— React Native vs. Xamarin

How convenient is it to hire React Native developers?

The average pay for a React Native developer in the United States is $133,180 annually; the average hourly rate of hiring a React Native Developer goes up to $60.54 per hour. To build an application with React Native, you’ll need about 4 to 10 developers. This team can be a mix of talents with 4-5 developers, one project manager, and one account manager that helps enterprises in product launch and growth.

Additionally, since code maintenance of different platforms is crucial for the success of a React Native application, it’s recommended that you team up with developers who have a diverse technical background.

How convenient is it to hire Xamarin developers?

Most stats suggest that there are more Xamarin openings than developers available in the job market. It is why finding the right Xamarin developer might be tricky for you. The average annual salary for Xamarin developers is $114,934 in the United States with an hourly rate of $56.25.

However, if you already have a team of skilled C# developers, then introducing them to the Xamarin might not be a bad idea after all. A lot of organizations have already adopted Xamarin for this reason and so could you.


Both React Native and Xamarin bring some unique set of advantages to the table and some flaws, as well. However, if you are still in two minds as to which technology to choose, here’s a quick cheat guide to help you out.

Choose React Native if you wish to:

  • Develop cross-platform apps with simple UI that are easy to maintain.
  • Create native-looking apps on a tight budget without compromising much on the performance.
  • Leverage various ready-made solutions and libraries to quickly deploy app solutions for your target audience.
  • Create apps with reusable components while also having the capability to create prototype applications.
  • Develop apps that load fast and provide a smooth user experience.

Choose Xamarin if you wish to:

  • Develop performant cross-platform apps with native-like user experience.
  • Create apps that can leverage hardware acceleration for better performance and have reusable components.
  • Create multiple apps using only a single programming language i.e. C#.
  • Leverage your existing team’s C# skill for mobile app development and create apps that take less time to market.
  • Create cross-platforms apps that are easy to test, fast to make, and light on the pocket.

React native or Xamarin- Which framework is best for your project?

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Hiren is CTO at Simform with an extensive experience in helping enterprises and startups streamline their business performance through data-driven innovation.

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