With the technology emerging with new trends every day, there are a lot of things fitting into our lives. One such essential and much appreciated tool is an Android Emulator. If you are someone who is a gamer, app developer or just curious tech-savvy, you must know what are Android Emulators.
There are several reasons why an individual would wish to run Android Emulators on their Windows or Mac PC. Web application developers may want to try testing their applications before dispatching it for delivery. Gamers may wish to use a keyboard and mouse for their games. Or, someone may just want it for the sake of having it.
Be it for any purpose, getting the best Android emulators for PC is now possible and we have got you the top names to choose from. But let us discuss a few important things about Android emulators.
What is an Android Emulator?
An Android emulator is an Android Virtual Device or AVD representing a particular Android device. An emulator can be used in several ways.
Uses of Android emulators
There are many uses of android emulators. The main three involves the following:
The most common use of Android emulators is for gaming. If you are a gamer, you can use emulators on your PC to make gaming easier. You no more need to depend on the battery life of your device and the macros and other tricks assist in the process. In the case of most games, these tricks are not illegal, so nobody should be having a problem with it. For gaming, the best Android emulators include MeMu, Nox, Bluestacks and KoPlayer.
For App development
Most Android game and app developers desire to test games and apps on as many devices as possible before shipping for delivery or making its official launch. With Android Studio emulator, developers can check their apps on Windows and Mac PC. The most trusted emulators for this purpose include Genymotion and Xamarin.
Another important use of Android emulators is productivity. However, these kinds of emulators are not so common for productivity use as Chromebooks come cheaper for using Android apps on a PC (Windows or Mac) and a maximum of the productivity tools are cross-platform. You can use any gaming emulator as your productivity emulator. If you have got specific uses of a productivity emulator, you can try using Bliss and ARChon (only if you have little knowledge about emulators). However, experts still recommend Chromebook for the purpose.
Best Android Emulators
Earlier called Tencent Gaming Buddy, GameLoop is one of the best Android emulators for PC. All thanks to its exclusive support for Call of Duty (COD) mobile game on the computer.
Before the launch of Call of Duty, it supported only PUBG and a few other gaming titles from the Tencent Developer. Typically, Game Loop is dedicated to Android gaming and thus, it lacks support for other Android apps. But the one good thing about this Android emulator is it is fantastic for Android gaming.
You can use it for various popular Android games and can also try testing your Android apps. Though, a guaranteed success is not promised.
- Fantastic keyboard and mouse integration
- Ultimate performance
- COD official partner
The next on the list is BlueStacks, a well-known Android emulator amidst Android users. This Android emulator is typically used for gaming. The best part is you can set it up easily. Apart from downloading the app from Google Play Store, you can also download and install BlueStacks optimized apps from its app store. Yes, it has its own app store!
Even though BlueStacks supports keyword mapping extensively, you won’t find it supportive of gestures. One of the downsides of this Android emulator is that it becomes sluggish when used for productivity apps. And, the sponsored ads make it a little less favorite among the other best Android emulators on this list.
Considering the Android emulator for gaming, it is capable of outperforming several emulators for Android gaming. However, you may still come across some lags, specifically on underpowered computers. The Android emulator is still based on Nougat (Android 7.1.2).
Price: Free (Premium version for $24)
- Supports multiple accounts
- All-rounder Android emulator
- Easy to use
- Demands no technical knowledge
MeMu is one of the newest Android emulators as compared to other names mentioned in this list. With its official launch in 2015, MeMu is also another Android emulator best for gaming. Considering the speed, it shows similar results as BlueStacks and Nox.
One of the most significant features of this Android emulator is the support it offers for both Nvidia and AMD chips. You can use it for different Android versions, such as Android Kit Kat, Jelly Bean and Lollipop. While the emulator is known best for its high-performance gaming support, the graphics performance is not much talked about. It lacks smoothness when it comes to its comparison with other app players. Gamers use MeMu on Android Lollipop and it works fantastically with productivity apps as well. If you want to use an Android emulator for your Android games like Pokemon Go or Ingress, MeMu should be your pick.
- Supports keyboard mapping
- Supports both Nvidia and AMD
- Allows you to set a virtual location on Google Maps
Like various Android emulators available in the market, KOPLayer delivers an exceptional and lag-free gaming experience with its lightweight software. As you get to access this Android emulator for free, you might come across a few sponsored ads once in a while. It is easy to install and navigate the app player. It even supports gamepad emulation and keyboard mapping.
The drawback of KOPlayer is that it freezes sometimes out of nowhere. Also, the player can get a little buggy, making it a little difficult for you to uninstall the program.
- Easy to set up
- Simple and intuitive user interface
- Setup on any Android device
Genymotion is another amazing Android emulator, but mainly for developers. Yes, we have been focusing on several emulators for gaming. Let’s help the developers too! Genymotion is a great emulator that allows you to test apps on different virtual devices having different Android devices. It is compatible with Android Studio and Android SDK. It also works on Linux and macOS.
As this Android emulator is mote inclined towards development, it has got plenty of developer-friendly features. However, it might not be a good option for people wanting to test Android on their PC.
Price: Trial or Premium $136 annually
- Compatible with Linux and MacOS
- Supports both Android Studio and Android SDK
- Runs on different Android versions
6. Nox Player
Nox Player is particularly used for gaming. Android gamers love this Android emulator. Although the emulator is suitable for using Android apps as well, it is used most extensively for playing popular Android games like Justice League and PUBG.
Nox Player supports keyboard mapping efficiently. Not just this, it also supports mouse integration and gamepad emulation. You can assign keyboard shortcuts for gestures. Suppose, for swiping right or mapping shortcuts.
If that’s not enough convincing to get the Android emulator, it allows you to specify the RAM and CPU usage in the settings for experiencing the best gaming results. If you want to root Android, it gets easier with Nox Player.
One major drawback of using Nox is that it puts a load on your system. This way, you fail to use several other apps. It is based on Android 5 Lollipop, which many people don’t prefer anymore.
However, there are several reasons why you should buy Nox Player for Android gaming like its free.
Note: Several popular antiviruses have declared Noc system files to be suspicious.
- Amazing user interface
- Easy to root Android
- Mapping shortcuts on external controllers
- Supports multiple windows on a single device
This one is a bit different from other Android emulators described in the blog. Android Studio is a development IDE or Integrated Development Environment from Google. It is developed specifically for developers. It is available with a bunch of plugins and tools in order to help developers build and test Android apps.
Android Studio consists of an in-built emulator but doesn’t have enough features as Genymotion. It is not suitable for playing heavy games or general usage. It is also a little difficult to set up but still preferred by many developers.
- Frequent updates
- Google’s official emulator
8. Remix OS
Remix OS is another Android emulator you can get for free. One of the best emulators that are entirely an Android OS you can boot into. Unlike other Android emulators that you can have easily on the top of the Window, this emulator requires installation on a different partition.
It is a Jide technology Product, a company set up by the former employees of Google. You put this Android emulator on a USB device and boot to any PC from there. It is perfect for productivity apps but not for heavy gaming.
Although Jide Technology doesn’t offer support, you can still get Remix OS downloaded – the latest Android Marshmellow Version.
- New file manager
- Perfect for productivity apps
- Android OS experience
The next on the list of the best Android emulators is PrimeOS. It is built keeping in mind the people who follow RemixOS. It is an open-source Androidx86 based OS that you can boot using a USB or can be dual booted on a computer.
Its performance in gaming is superb and the ultimate potential of PrimeOS is in offering you an Android-like experience on your computer. It is for its Android support and incredible UI, this Android emulator surpasses ChromeOS in many situations.
PrimeOS can be a perfect alternative for Bluestacks and other tested Android emulators for PC.
Talking about its use for gaming and heavy usage, the Android emulator features keyboard mapping and multi-window support in games. However, you may find lags in graphics incase of intense games.
- Ultimate overall Android experience
- Multi-window support
- Stunning user interface
ARChon is not an outstanding Android emulator but can be of great help or say, works as a great backup to run Android apps on PC (Chrome OS).
When Google came up with support for two or three Android apps on the Chrome browser, ARChon came into the scene. Developed by GitHub developer, ARChon was later released to run all kinds of Android apps on Chome.
Though this Android emulator is not a fix for hardcore gaming, it is still perfect for using Android apps on PC easily.
- Easy installation and setup
- Integrated into Chrome
- Useful for productivity apps
FAQS while looking for the best Android emulators
Which is the fastest Android emulator?
Considering the independent testing performed, the fastest Android emulator is MeMu, However, it depends on the purpose you are using the emulator for. In comparison to the competitors of MeMu, such as BlueStacks, it performs faster.
Which is the best Android emulator?
It won’t be possible to count a single emulator as the best. All the names mentioned above are best in their own way. However, some of the features you can consider to find the best Android emulator are its user-interface, performance and price. If you are getting a simple, intuitive and free Android emulator, that’s probably the best option for you.
Which Android performs best for PC?
As per the experts, MeMu works incredible for PC. However, we suggest to go through a proper review and consider your use before buying an Android emulator.
Which is the lightest Android emulator?
From the above list of the best Android emulators, Nox is the lightest to date.
Which Android emulator works best for Mac?
Nox is the most favorite Android emulators when it comes to using it for Mac. It delivers ultimate performance even with the apps running in the background.
Are emulators legal?
Yes, definitely! Emulators are absolutely legal.
Android Emulators are used in various ways, for gaming, test runs of Android apps on PC and also productivity apps. If you are a gamer or developer who wants to use the best Android emulator that suits your requirements, we hope our list helps you make a wiser choice.