Android emulators are used for a number of purposes, including helping developers test applications and allowing gamers to play games on a big screen. Android emulators on Windows PCs and Macs open up a world of possibilities. Regular users may want to use the Android operating system on a Windows PC with a mouse and keyboard. It’s time to rely on an Android emulator to be able to easily run Android applications on Windows PC and Mac.
According to Statcounter, Windows and Mac are in second and third place by market share of operating systems worldwide.
What are Android emulators?
Android is an open-source operating system (OS) for mobile platforms such as smartphones and tablets. Android has become the operating system of choice due to its outstanding features, such as open-source, broad developer and community reach, increased commercialization, interoperability between applications, lower development costs, higher success rates, and a rich development environment.
The Android emulator is software that emulates the functionality of the Android operating system on your computer. It also allows you to install and use Android apps natively on your system. The Android emulator is mainly used for debugging. It is convenient to distribute the applications created in your IDE without having to install them on your PC.
We’ll start our topic with a basic introduction to Android emulators, in case you’re new and don’t know what they are. A cell phone emulator allows you to emulate the functionality of the Android operating system on your PC. This program allows you to install Android apps natively on your computer or laptop. This tool is mainly for troubleshooting.
Android emulators are real or virtual machine software programs that allow you to run an Android operating system or application on a computer that does not support it.
Android emulators are very useful for testing and developing applications, e.g. B. for compatibility testing between different versions of the Android platform, for debugging and optimizing new versions before their release, for quick response times when fixing bugs in applications, etc. They can also be used to test new versions of the operating system before they are used in your company.
The best Android emulators for Windows and Mac
To make the life of testers easier and more resilient, we’ve compiled a list of the 16 best Android emulators you can trust without hesitation. After reviewing the list, you can choose the right emulator for your business and save time and money in the long run.
The three main uses of Android emulators
Emulators can be used in three main ways. The first is the most common and concerns games. Gamers can use emulators on their computers to facilitate playing some games. They don’t have to rely on the battery life of their devices, and the existence of macros and other tricks helps. In most cases, these little tricks aren’t illegal (in most games), so no one has a problem with them. The best Android emulators for games are BlueStacks, LDPlayer, MeMu, KoPlayer, and Nox.
The second most common use case is development. Android app and game developers want to test applications and games on as many devices as possible before launch. Fortunately, Android Studio is equipped with an “Android Virtual Device” (AVD), which blows up all other emulators in terms of performance and functionality. The only downside for non-developers is that it comes with the installation of Android Studio and the Android Software Development Kit (SDK), which take up a lot of space. Of course, this isn’t a problem for developers who already have all the necessary software on their computers.
The last major type is productivity. This isn’t that common, because Chromebooks are cheaper and better for using Android apps on anything other than a phone, and most productivity tools are cross-platform. Nowadays, it is recommended that you use a Chromebook (with reasonably decent specs) if you want to run productivity applications in a laptop or computer environment. It is simply better.
Finally, currently, no consumer emulator runs the latest versions of Android. The only place you can find it is in Android Studio and not for playing mobile games. Fortunately, most applications and games still run on older versions of Android, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
BlueStacks is known by many users as the most comprehensive Android app player out there and with good reason. This emulator not only runs on Windows and Mac but is also packed with numerous features that enhance the gaming experience.
The most popular features include the keymapping tool for creating custom control schemes, the instance manager, which allows you to create multiple instances of the emulator and run multiple games at the same time, and quality features like Eco mode, which reduces resource consumption when running demanding games. It’s also the most secure emulator on the market, with certified GDPR compliance: your data is always safe with it.
The latest version, BlueStacks 5, is the lightest and fastest emulator ever, offering powerful games even on low-end devices. The latest version addresses some of the most common complaints about the previous version, namely the fact that it feels bloated, especially when running on inferior hardware. Try it now and discover why BlueStacks has a community of over 500 million players worldwide!
Since Bluestacks is able to play games with high graphics, users can use the applications or play without any problems. The computer must have good specifications that can handle graphics. However, BlueStacks is the most trusted and reliable Android emulator for Windows and Mac.
It is possible to play multiple games at the same time.
Recently, LDPlayer has become one of the best Android emulators for PC, characterized by optimization and fast game performance. It comes with features like gamepad support, high frame rate gaming, and keyboard mapping.
LDPlayer is a lightweight Android emulator focused on gaming performance. Running Android Nougat 7.1, it has the usual array of gamer-focused features, including good keymap controls, multi-instance, macros, high FPS, and graphics support.
It supports many games including Epic Seven, Clash of Clans, Arknights, and many others. This is one of the few emulators in this list that is actively updated to improve compatibility. In the latest versions, LDPlayer has optimized the fluidity of Free Fire and Mobile Legends and fixed the device limitation of Moonlight Sculptor.
In addition, LDPlayer is also an all-round emulator for using TikTok, Instagram, and other popular apps. The design is a bit similar to Bluestacks, but that’s not really a bad thing. It’s a good all-rounder and should meet most people’s needs.
Android Studio is the default development console (integrated development environment or IDE) for Android. It includes a set of tools to help developers create Android-specific apps and games. Apparently, there is also a built-in emulator that you can use to test your application or game. We use the emulator to test new versions of Android from time to time.
It’s quite complicated to install, so not everyone will like it, but it’s by far the fastest and most feature-rich option on this list. You can run vanilla Android, download apps from the Google Play Store, as usual, add custom launchers and keyboards, and emulate devices of any size or form factor. You can even try foldable devices!
ARChon is not a traditional emulator. You install it as a Google Chrome extension. This allows Chrome to run Android apps and games (albeit with limited support). It is not an easy-to-use emulator. You need to install it on Chrome. From there you need to get and download the APKs.
Another problem is that you may need to modify the APK with a tool to make it compatible. It takes a lot more steps to get it working than most other Android emulators for PC. On the positive side, however, it works with any operating system that can run an instance of Chrome (macOS, Linux, Windows, etc.). We have linked to the official GitHub where you can find a detailed guide on how to use the program.
Happiness is something else entirely. It works as an Android emulator for PCs through a virtual machine. But it can also be run on your computer from a USB stick. Booting from USB is definitely an option for experienced users and is not recommended for less intensive use cases.
Installing a virtual machine is easy, but tedious if you’ve never created your own virtual machine. The USB installation method is even more complicated but allows your computer to run Android natively from the start. We don’t recommend this for the faint-hearted. It makes Bliss a unique emulator if you follow the steps to the end.
Of course, it only works fine if your system is compatible, so be prepared with a backup of your current operating system. The system runs Android Oreo and is one of the most recent versions of Android offered on an emulator.
So these are some of the best Android emulators that you can try on your computers to get the Android experience on your computers. All these emulators have their own system requirements. Some of them are lightweight and require low specs to run; however, some of them may require excessive resources to function properly.
GameLoop, formerly known as Tencent Gaming Buddy, is an Android emulator for gamers. In fact, it’s so good that Tencent calls it the official emulator for its games, including Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG Mobile. Of course, it offers other games besides Tencent’s, although its collection isn’t as extensive as it could be.
The emulator was downloaded and installed without problems, and the games we tested worked perfectly. This is not good for productivity or development testing. However, if you are in the mood for mobile FPS games along with some titles, this is a pretty decent game emulator and offers a good collection of recent titles. In addition, the keyboard controls and performance are good.
The Gameloop Android emulator allows you to play mobile games like PUBG Mobile on your PC.
The control overlay in PUBG Mobile can be customized.
You don’t need to create an account with this emulator, so you don’t need to register.
It can work on computers with reduced specifications.
This Android emulator is primarily intended for developers. Allows you to test apps on a variety of devices without owning them. You can configure the emulator for a number of devices with different versions of Android according to your needs. For example, you can run a Nexus One with Android 4.2 or a Nexus 6 with Android 6.0. You can easily switch between virtual devices at will.
Not good for consumers, but Genymotion offers its services for free for personal use. The most useful feature is its availability both on the desktop computer and in the cloud. If you don’t have a powerful computer, you can let Genymotion servers do all the work for them.
Phoenix OS is one of the latest Android emulators for PC. As most of these days, it offers a gaming experience. However, it also offers a desktop-like experience, so it works well enough for productivity too. It has Google Play services, although updating can be a bit annoying at times. This means that you can get all the apps and games you need from the Google Play Store. Phoenix OS also runs Android 7.1, which is relatively modern for an Android emulator.
Phoenix OS has just been released with support for Android 7, which greatly increases performance.
It is best known for its accelerated gameplay at over 30 frames per second and low system requirements.
It offers excellent customer service and is regularly updated.
It offers a pleasant visual interface that appeals to users all over the world.
Remix OS Player by Jide is an old Android emulator for PC. The Android Marshmallow operating system is not the latest addition. The installation process is pretty straightforward and usage is pretty easy too. It is aimed primarily at gamers. There are some player-specific features and a customizable toolbar. It offers features such as running multiple games at the same time.
Despite that, it’s a pretty neat emulator, so it’s still perfectly usable as a productivity tool. The official website does not appear to be available and we are relatively sure that Remix OS Player is no longer in development. You can still download builds from Sourceforge if you want something older but still reasonably stable.
PrimeOS is a prominent Android emulator. It is not a real emulator. It installs as a partition on your computer and boots native Android. This is a gamer-oriented Android experience, although you can use it entirely for productivity if you really want to. PrimeOS includes a game center, mouse and keyboard support, and access to most Android applications and games.
To be honest, it works almost like ChromeOS without all parts of Chrome. You can multitask, watch video content or play at will. Perhaps most interesting is that you can run it on the latest versions of Android (up to Android 11) without the need for a virtual machine. The official website is one of the worst on the list, but luckily you don’t need to go there often, other than to download PrimeOS.
With PrimeOS, dual booting is as easy as clicking a button.
It is integrated with the Android environment and offers a wonderful gaming experience.
It works well compared to an inexpensive Windows machine.
NoxPlayer is another of the best Android emulators, especially for those planning long gaming sessions. They come with a stock version of Android, so you can connect your favorite controller and create custom button mappings for different actions and gestures. You can also stick with the keyboard and mouse and just use macros to accomplish the same tasks.
NoxPlayer is completely free and offers many different tools to use while playing. There is a dedicated toolbar that makes it easy to take screenshots or record your gameplay. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can launch multiple instances of different games, allowing you to play multiple games at the same time. In addition, NoxPlayer simplifies the process of downloading applications when you need to download a specific APK file.
You can launch it with one click and use all mouse and keyboard controls. It is one of the best emulators for PC.
The Nox player has an integrated macro recorder for recording complex processes.
You can’t beat its user-friendly interface and superior performance.