BrowserStack Review

Test against a huge range of device and browser combinations but expect some connectivity issues

What is our primary use case?

A lot of times we use BrowserStack because we provide QA services to our clients as part of a bigger solution. We do software consulting. We use it to test across mobile devices — actual mobile devices — so that we do not have to maintain our own collection of devices. Trying to do that would be just crazy for us because there are so many devices and so many potential combinations. We test against different combinations of operating systems, browsers, and versions of browsers. For example, we continue to test IE 11, even though that is painful for a lot of our development team. Unfortunately, we still have to support it for a lot of clients. We use BrowserStack for cross-browser testing to assure compatibility.  

How has it helped my organization?

It allows us to test our development against a huge range of product combinations that we could not realistically maintain in house. It really adds to our core capabilities.   

What is most valuable?

Just the ability to test across devices is probably the most valuable feature. For example, a website that we might be building out has to be responsive. Our initial design may work on some devices, but then in testing with BrowserStack we find that it does not work on all of them. So it reveals what we need to include in recommendations for our clients. From a practical standpoint, that could be letting them know what devices we might want to support or not support any longer.  

The other thing that we had to do — because some clients have their test environment secured — is to use the product's local testing abilities as a workaround. That feature lets you test web and mobile apps without hosting them on publicly. To be able to do that and provide the workaround is a pretty good feature.  

What needs improvement?

Sometimes connectivity can be a problem. We will be in the middle of testing and we will lose connectivity sometimes. That is the biggest issue that I have seen. That is a stability issue within BrowserStack, not an issue with services.  

I have thought about features I would like to see included in the next release of the BrowserStack. I do not know if it is even possible to support this or not. Being able to test GPS within applications would be useful for us. What I mean by that is being able to do real-time testing based on your location. I do not know if BrowserStack could support that in emulations in a future release. Being able to emulate GPS positions during testing would be valuable for what we do and the clients we serve. For example, if we are doing something and need to do QA for a rideshare or delivery service the GPS testing would come into play.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been dealing with BrowserStack for about four years.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Overall, I think the stability is good. It is a tried and true product. I think they are the leader in this category of products. Part of it is the price. The other part of the reason they are leading is because of the performance. We have had some issues with the connectivity, which is a stability problem, but it is not generally an issue.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I believe this product is quite scalable. One thing we have not done with our version of BrowserStack is to use it for automated testing yet. Because we are using a client's solution for a particular job I am working on, we are going to be using Perfecto in that case. Both Perfecto and BrowserStack offer the ability to perform automated testing across devices. So that is something we are definitely going to be checking into with some interest in the near future and that is another way to scale usage.  

Our company has a lot of different clients. With the particular one that I am assigned to, we are going to be building additional teams if everything goes well. It is a large client, or it has the potential to be a very large client. With that in mind, we are looking to add more teams and that would include using additional QA resources. As we build that up right now, we are willing to make important decisions. What we are using will need to be scalable when we add more users. Whatever we need to do over the next two or three years to meet those demands is what we are going to do.  

How are customer service and technical support?

So far when I have had an issue, I have been able to go into BrowserStack's online documentation resource and find the answers pretty clearly. Because of that, I have not had to contact tech support. I think their knowledge base is pretty extensive.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty straightforward. It is pretty easy to follow the product guides and set it up properly. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

They have different pricing plans for BrowserStack. We are looking to grow our presence with a particular client quite a bit. With that in mind, we are going to be adding a lot more teams and users so we looked into competitive pricing. For BrowserStack, the pricing for 25 users is similar to the pricing for 10 users on Perfecto. At the end of the day, our cost per user would be significantly higher using Perfecto versus BrowserStack. I can not say what the exact price is. BrowserStack is an expensive solution as well, but it is certainly a more cost-effective solution than competing products. The price per user license is lower. At least that is what we are seeing.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have not actually done it yet but we are going to be working in a situation where a client already has Perfecto and we will be using that for testing for a product. It will be a great opportunity to check into the product differences.  

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anyone looking into BrowserStack and products like it is to really do some research into the products you want to use. Our company looked to our team of QA personnel to evaluate other products. At the end of the day, they came back and said that most of the competing products in the category did not meet all the needs we have. BrowserStack continues to be the leader as far as meeting the needs of our QA team.  

During the research, we looked for reports on the review sites, the recommendations people were making, and whatever feedback we could find from real users. Certainly, it is important for us to try and be exhaustive in researching before we make any recommendation and the investment that goes along with committing to a product. We have to make sure the product is going to absolutely meet our needs. We do not want to waste time picking the wrong product for the job.  

From the research that we did, I was looking to see the overall percentages of recommendations. I think BrowserStack showed that it was more widely used across the industry than Perfecto. I think they are both similar offerings, but BrowserStack systems just seem to be the clear, popular choice. A lot of that is probably just that their pricing model is more favorable.  

On a scale from one to ten (where one is the worst and ten is the best), I would rate the BrowserStack as probably a seven-out-of-ten.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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