Xamarin Vs. React Native Performance: A Benchmark Comparison

Xamarin vs. react native

Xamarin and React Native have emerged as two popular cross-platform frameworks for mobile app development. Xamarin was created in 2011 and allows developers to use C# and .NET to build native iOS, Android, and Windows apps with shared code. React Native was open-sourced by Facebook in 2015 and enables building mobile apps using JavaScript and React, compiling native code on each platform. 

Both frameworks offer potential benefits over traditional native development in Java/Kotlin for Android and Objective-C/Swift for iOS. They allow code reuse across platforms, which can accelerate development. They also leverage skills that many developers already have in web development languages like C# and JavaScript. However, there is an ongoing debate about whether Xamarin or React Native offers better overall performance. Benchmarking could provide objective data to compare these two cross-platform options.

Xamarin Performance

Xamarin allows mobile app developers to use C# and .NET to build native Android, iOS, and Windows mobile apps. Xamarin apps compile down to native binaries for each platform. The Xamarin SDK provides bindings to native UI controls.

Several benchmarks can give insights into Xamarin’s performance:

Startup time

Xamarin has relatively slower cold start times compared to native, often ~2-3x longer. But warm starts are generally comparable. The .NET runtime and garbage collection contribute to a longer initial load.

RAM usage

Xamarin consumes more RAM than native, up to 2x as much in some tests. The .NET runtime requires additional memory allocation.

CPU usage

In most benchmarks, Xamarin has higher CPU utilization than native apps during UI operations. More processor power is needed for .NET and binding calls.

Frames per second

Xamarin apps typically have lower FPS for animations and scrolling compared to native. Additional overhead for drawing through .NET bindings causes some frame drop.

App size

Xamarin build sizes are larger, often 2-3x native size. More runtime components are included in the .NET libraries bundled into the binary.

In general, Xamarin delivers close to native performance for some metrics like warm start and runtime CPU. But its .NET architecture incurs additional overhead in other areas like memory and FPS. Next, we’ll compare to React Native performance. As we wrap up our exploration of Xamarin and React Native, you might be curious about how React Native stacks up against other frameworks. Dive into our detailed comparison in ‘NativeScript vs. React Native‘ to see how these technologies compare and contrast, offering unique insights for your mobile app development journey

React Native Performance

React Native allows developers to build mobile apps using JavaScript and React. The codebase runs in a JavaScript engine and communicates to native views through a bridge. Apps are compiled to native code at runtime.

Looking at key benchmarks provides insights into React Native’s capabilities:

Startup time

React Native has slower cold start times than native, in the range of 2-5x longer. The JavaScript engine and bridge add latency. Warm starts are closer to native.

RAM usage

React Native uses more memory than native, up to 2x as much. The JavaScript VM requires additional allocation.

CPU usage

React Native benchmarks show higher CPU utilization than native during UI work. The bridge and JavaScript layer add overhead.

Frames per second

Animations and scrolling often have lower FPS in React Native app development compared to native. More time is needed for JavaScript thread operations.

App size

React Native build sizes are larger than native, often by 50-100%. JavaScript bundle and framework code are included.

The JavaScript architecture creates tradeoffs like slower cold starts and reduced FPS. But warm launch and runtime performance can approach parity with native. Next, we’ll directly compare React Native and Xamarin benchmarks.

Xamarin vs. React Native Performance Comparison

Looking at the benchmark data side-by-side, we can draw some direct performance comparisons between Xamarin and React Native:

  • Startup time: Both frameworks have slower cold start than native. React Native appears slower, often 2-5x native time versus 2-3x for Xamarin.
  • RAM usage: Xamarin and React Native consume more memory than native, with React Native generally using less RAM than Xamarin.
  • CPU usage: The two frameworks have similar CPU utilization profiles, both requiring more processor time than native for UI operations.
  • Frames per second: React Native tends to have lower FPS rates for animations/scrolling than Xamarin, likely due to the JavaScript bridge.
  • App size: Build sizes are larger than native for both, with Xamarin apps generally 2-3x native and React Native 50-100% larger.

Some key advantages of Xamarin are closer to native warm launch times and better RAM utilization. React Native’s strengths are in TLbuild size and lower memory usage. Both still have limitations in cold start, FPS, and higher CPU demands compared to native.

And if you’re specifically eyeing iOS app development, you might be wondering how React Native measures up against Apple’s native Swift. Don’t miss our blog on ‘React Native vs. Swift for iOS‘ where we shed light on the strengths and trade-offs of these two powerful contenders.


In reviewing the benchmark results, we can summarize the key performance differences between Xamarin vs. React Native:

  • Xamarin has slower cold starts but better warm launch times closer to native. React Native has slower overall launch times.
  • React Native uses less RAM than Xamarin, but both require more memory than native.
  • The two frameworks have similar CPU utilization profiles, generally higher than native.
  • React Native has lower FPS rates for animations and scrolling due to the JavaScript bridge.

Overall, Xamarin delivers better performance in some areas, like warm starts and RAM usage. React Native has advantages in build size and lower memory demands.

For mobile apps requiring consistently smooth UI animations or complex visualization, Xamarin is likely the better performance choice today. React Native may be a better option for apps with critical download size and memory utilization.

There are still opportunities for performance improvements in both frameworks. Enhancements to the JavaScript engine and bridge could boost React Native’s FPS and startup times. Xamarin could reduce launch latency and memory usage by trimming the .NET runtime overhead.

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