Most developers and hobbyist will agree that it’s often easier to test an app on a desktop environment as opposed to a mobile one. Indeed, even the most avid gamers nowadays barely use their phones. A desktop experience is simply bigger, easy to navigate and more immersive thanks to the larger screen size. For this reason, emulators came about and since android is the most popular mobile OS out there, you will find many options catering to this niche.
Android emulators are useful on multiple occasions. Whether you need to test an app before shipping it out, or you simply want to experience your best android game on a larger screen, you will need the best android emulator to get the job done.
Obviously, you will be looking for an option with fast, reliable and lag free performance. Ease of use is yet another important factor as well but if you like to stretch your curiosity, you can also go with options that suit the tech-savvy. If you are already familiar with android emulators, you must have come across BlueStacks or Nox. But, apart from these two options, on this post we give you other emulators that can be worth your time.
Best Android Emulators for Windows PC
You can pretty much run any android app on the Nox app player. However, most users love to use it for its strong compatibility and the fact that it has smooth game play for massive games like Justice League and PUBG. One of its most outstanding features is the fact that it comes at no cost yet does not support any ads.
Basically, if you need game performance that will surpass you Smartphone’s capacity, going with the NoxPlayer is a brilliant idea. The emulator boasts of reliability and with an Android 4.4.4 and 5.1.1 based technology; this emulator is bound to be compatible with your X86/AMD graphic cards.
It supports mapping of keys to your mouse, keyboard or gamepad. In fact, even if you want to assign keyboard keys for certain shortcuts, the Nox emulator has got you covered. It is available for Windows 10, as well as other previous versions of the OS.
If you need to further improve your gaming experience, you can easily root your device to allocate the RAM and CPU usage on your PC for lag free gaming. The only noticeable downside with this emulator is the fact that it is only compatible with Android 5 Lollipop or 4.4.2 which, according to some users, might be rather an outdated version of android.
⦁ Easy to root for fast performance
⦁ Reliable and stable
⦁ Easily compatible
⦁ Easy to map keys to mouse , gamepad or keyboard
⦁ Free with zero ads
⦁ Designed keeping the gamers in mind
⦁ You can install APKS outside Google Play store
⦁ Only compatible with android 4.4.2 and 5.1.1
If you are a regular android user and looking for an android emulator for PC gaming experience, you might want to pass on this one. The android studio is designed with the developer in mind.
It’s the default development console for android apps and features a bunch of tools that help developers test and create apps for android. Since it’s from Google itself, it boasts of regular updates that make it easy for developers looking to develop and test fast and reliable apps.
It even supports a variety of plug-ins including Kotlin which makes it easier for the developers to use. For regular users however, even though it can still be used with most of android apps and games, it is quite slow and a bit too technical to set up.
⦁ It usually has regular updates
⦁ It’s the official Goggle emulator
⦁ It is free
⦁ Comes with a variety of plug-ins
⦁ Too slow for gaming enthusiasts
⦁ Set up is not easy
⦁ Does not support APKs out of Google play store
It’s hardly surprising that BlueStacks is the most popular android emulator. Not only does it have quality reliability, it also comes with ease of use which is what most regular android users need.
BlueStacks is not the best when it comes to supporting gestures however it supports keyboard mapping well and even comes with a front end interface designed specifically for downloading games.
Plus, apart from being able to visit Google Play to download your apps, BlueStacks also comes with an option of downloading BlueStack optimized apps from the BlueStacks app store.
Apart from its sluggish performance with productivity apps, BlueStacks gives a decent gaming experience as long as your hardware is reasonably stable.
⦁ Easy to use
⦁ Reliable gaming performance
⦁ Comes with its own app store
⦁ Slightly slow performance with productivity apps
⦁ Supports ads
Ko Player is yet another android emulator that boasts of popularity simply for the fact that it provides a lag-free gaming experience. Additionally, it’s a lightweight software and even though it supports ads, it still stands as a reliable option for running android on your PC smoothly.
Ko Player comes with a speed mode as well as a compatibility mode. If you need to maximize your gaming experience, you can choose the speed mode. On the other hand the compatibility mode is useful for times when the emulator freezes or while testing an android app.
However, even with such great features come a couple of downsides. The Ko Player can get a little buggy when put to hard use and the uninstall option can refuse to work in most cases.
Apart from that, it comes with a simple user interface not to mention an easy set up that makes it a favorite among most users.
⦁ Easy to use and set up
⦁ Comes with a variety of modes for different performance levels
⦁ Fast and stable performance
⦁ Can be used with multiple accounts
⦁ Occasionally lags in performance
Andy is an android emulator that brings about a bunch of cool features that most gamers will enjoy. For starters, it comes with a feature to download any app from your desktop browser straight to the Andy operating system. This means you can get seamless performance and compatibility.
Furthermore, it features a keyboard mapper that comes with a capacity to connect with your phone so that you can use it as a joystick.
This way, you never have to compromise when it comes to gyro gaming elements or other multi touch elements. This android emulator is basically designed to bring an android gaming experience into your PC such that it also supports Xbox and Play Station controllers as well.
The only noticeable downside is the fact that it is a rather large software of 3GB. This is however easily manageable since you can choose not to install the extra bundles that come with the installer. Apart from that, the emulator has a decent level of performance and gives developers as well as gamers the option of rooting virtual android devices in order to run more apps.
⦁ Easily runs apps from your desktop
⦁ Supports phone camera and microphone integration
⦁ You can use your phone as a controller
⦁ Developer support requires an paid license
⦁ Set up not favorable to the non-tech savvy
⦁ Large in size
If you are a developer or a hobbyist looking to get up close and personal with the new android operating system, Bliss is by far one of the best emulators to help you do just that. The software is Android based meaning it has a high level of compatibility with most android applications.
However, unlike most of the emulators reviewed here, Bliss has a more complex and different set up. It operates as an android emulator but runs on PCs through a virtual machine. This means it can be used as the primary OS on your PC though installation with a USB stick or DVD
You need, however to make sure that you back up your original OS before running it. For most novice users who do not know how to burn ISO images to a black USB drive or DVD, using this android emulator can be a tall order.
However, once you have gone through sophisticated installation process, this emulator offers reliable performance with the new Android Oreo which is one of the latest Android versions you can find on an emulator. The downside is the fact that it is incompatible with most of the apps on play store and operations on different devices tends to be buggy on most occasions.
⦁ Comes pre installed with a couple of apps
⦁ Ideal emulator for developers and hobbyists
⦁ Comes with the latest Android version
⦁ Compatible with a variety of devices
⦁ Set up is complicated
⦁ Occasional lag in performance
Google has made great efforts to make it easy for users to run android on multiple devices. Apart from Android Studio, another software solution from Google towards this purpose is ArChon.
It is designed to be installed as a Google Chrome extension so as to give Chrome the capacity to run practically any Android app. Granted, it’s not the easiest emulator to install however it gives developers a capacity to run android on any operating system that supports an instance of Chrome.
In terms of performance, ArChon delivers pretty impressive results. It can also be used for light gaming. At the moment however, the software is still unstable especially when run on non-Chrome OS machines. Furthermore, the emulator has limited compatibility (only to a few numbers of apps) and cannot be run on more widely used operating systems.
If you are a curious developer or hobbyist, you can override some of the software’s limitations so as to run the emulator on any device that runs chrome. Downloading and installing APKs is also a bit complicated with ArChon as you will have to run your APK files through a secondary program that converts them into readable files for ArChon.
⦁ Allows running of apps on Chrome
⦁ Sound performance for light gaming
⦁ Ideal for hobbyists and developers
⦁ Occasionally unstable and sluggish
Although MEmu is rather new to the emulator world and it’s from outside the Google play store environment, it boasts of being one of the easiest android emulators to install. It is specifically designed for gamers and it even comes with a virtualization mode that you can enable on your PC for the best gaming experience.
The fresh-new key-mapping panel lets you use powerful macro functions for a more engaging experience. Apart from being easy to install MEmu comes with a pretty intuitive interface that allows you to easily copy files to the emulator with a simple drag and drop function.
Its compatible with most of the popular android games and you can set you smart keys just the same way you would on your phone. Synchronization to the app store is seamless and you get access to regular updates on your apps. Here, the only let down is the fact that the app store is geo-restricted and therefore you might not be able to download apps from particular locations across the globe.
Also if you are an enthusiast of the latest android version, the MEmu emulator might disappoint as it’s based on Android’s earlier 5.1.1 version.
⦁ A variety of keyboard mapping options available
⦁ Straightforward installation and set up
⦁ Intuitive interface
⦁ Lag free performance
⦁ Easy drag and drop functionality
⦁ Comes with some restrictions based on location
⦁ Based on an earlier version of android
Even though Genymotion is a paid android Emulator for Windows 10, 8 & 7 it comes with a trial version that still offers a ton of features geared for developers. You can choose to test your apps from a variety of virtual devices and with different android versions such as Android Studio, Android SDK as well Linux and MacOS.
Some of its main developer friendly features include a capacity to easily use GPS to test location based apps. You can also use the emulator to test how your app will react to different battery levels. Additionally, you can forward multi-touch events from any android device that is connected to your computer.
In fact with its capacity for a pixel perfect display, you get to see the real size of your app as it is set to appear on screen. Whether you are looking to test your installation tracking system or simply categorize your device, the Genymotion emulator comes with an identifier widget that lets you view and edit its values without having to reboot.
With Genymotion, installing apps from Google Play store is easy with just one click. You can use the emulator with multiple virtual devices by cloning them for iteration tests not to mention the easy reset protocols that it comes with. Overall, Genymotion is one of the best android emulators for developers but for casual gaming, its best to look at other options in the list.
⦁ Designed with the developer in mind
⦁ Easy to use with multiple virtual devices
⦁ Comes with up to 300 Android configuration tests
⦁ Paid version is affordable
⦁ It’s not designed for gamers and casual users
Compared to the rest of the emulators in our list, Remix OS is one of the latest android emulators created by JIDE Technology (a renowned JAVA UI component provider). It’s a free android emulator and comes with a pretty straightforward installation process.
One of its main outstanding features (apart from being easy to install) is the fact that it has an intuitive interface that resembles the Windows OS more than the regular android OS. In fact, the software was called Remix for the simple reason that it adds style to the Android interface.
It is easily compatible on any device and with support for 32 bit architecture; you can use it to bring back to life any old computer.
Basically, this android emulator is designed with productivity in mind since you can install it on a USB stick and use it on the go with any computer. Its other game changing features include a Linux file manager, a right click mouse feature and compatibility to Microsoft Office with the android version of MS Office.
Granted it does not offer the best features especially when compared to desktop operating systems, however, it is currently one of the best mobile OS platforms that mix the best of both the PC and mobile world.
⦁ Promising design
⦁ A variety of productivity features
⦁ Easily compatible with other devices
⦁ Maintains a homogenous system
⦁ Still under development therefore expect some bugs
The advantages of running an android emulator are clear. With an emulator you can easily switch from one OS to another while gaming or during a test on your apps capabilities. As we have reviewed, BlueStacks stands as one of the most popular options our there but if you want to get the best out of your gaming experience, we recommend you try out the Nox Player. Nox boasts of speedy performance especially if you have hardware that can handle it and its graphics performance is one of the best. The list also contains a bunch of paid options for developers. Here you can choose between Genymotion and Ko player however even though it still has bugs, Remix OS seems to be an additional alternative as well.