Android has become one of the major driving forces in terms of new applications and growing user base in past few years. A lot of new and amazing application come to the scene everyday! Therefore, it is imperative that some PC enthusiasts would want those apps on their machines too.
The native support for running Android applications on a laptop comes as close to reality as possible only with Google Chromebooks. However, it is still not a daily driver for many people and certainly not a good enough laptop. Therefore, the need for an appropriate and reliable Android emulator still remains.
In this article, we are going to discuss not only the ins and outs an Android emulator but also provide you with the list of top 10 best Android emulators currently available. This list is created with latest options available in 2018.
The requirements for the best emulator experience vary from user to user. Some want a lightweight Android emulator because the PC is not that powerful. While some want the most tech savvy and powerful Android emulator with maximum amount of options.
There are lot of reasons why someone could want to install an Android emulator on their computers. These include playing Android games on PC, running Android Apps, Applications testing by developers and so on. Whatever the reason or task may be, here are the best options for Android emulators out there. Check out the list below to find the best suit for your needs.
Bluestacks 4 – Updated
What started as an enthusiastic project for running Android apps on PC, now a full fledged gaming machine. Bluestacks 4 is essentially an improvement over previous version. However, it should not be taken lightly. The devs claim that it is actually 8 times faster than Bluestacks 4. To make things even more interesting, it is claimed that Bluestacks 4 is 6 times faster than the beast Galaxy S9+ itself.
While these numbers appear very impressive, not everyone can achieve these results. The main reason is the bottle neck caused by computer’s hardware. For example, if a PC is running 8 GB RAM, then it cannot unlock full potential of BS4. Moreover, the GPU and Processor of PC make a huge difference too. However, once BS4 is running at full spec, it is something truly amazing. You really cannot get anything better than this on market right now.
Apart from the performance improvements, lot of changes are made to aesthetics department as well. The UI looks much cleaner and nicer now. It looks sharper than ever. Moreover, the Multi-Instance feature is something all RPG and MMO gamers have wanted. This allows players to run multiple instances of same from from different accounts at same time. This helps in unlocking cool rewards at much faster pace.
Rest of major improvements include the likes of new interface of custom keybinding menu and Bluestacks points system. Earn these points by playing game. Redeem these points in the Bluestacks store and get yourself cool stuff!
Download Bluestacks 4 – Link
Bluestacks 3 – Obsolete Now
No amount of praise can define how good this emulator is. It all started with its first iteration number of years ago. However, it has not grown into a household name (including those people who even know a little about Android emulators).
Compared to first edition, it has not improved massively. It offers features like multitasking (called as multi-instance), custom keymapping and direct interaction with PC storage.
Bluestacks 3 is very much gaming oriented. Therefore, most of popular games will come with pre-defined keymapping for keyboard and mouse. However, it is also used for other applications like WhatsApp, WeChat, imo, Facebook and others.
Bluestacks 3 makes good use of hardware therefore games run very smoothly.
The only downside maybe is that it is only available for Windows PC.
Download Bluestacks 3 – Link
Nox App Player
This is another capable Android emulator. The primary focus of Nox player is running Android games as well. Unlike Bluestacks 3, it lacks in numerous features and therefore, quite easy on the system. It does not use lot of resources and yet gets the job done.
If you are someone looking to have an Android emulator just to play games, then Nox Player is probably the one to look out for. It offers amazing performance even on low-end PCs.
The mobile FPS games are also run on Nox with great precision. You can easily get the custom keymapping running. It makes use of both mouse and keyboard. In addition to this, even attach and external gamepad or controller with Nox Player!
Nox App Player works with both Windows and Mac systems. Therefore, it covers almost all PC users out there.
Download Nox App Player – Link
Seemingly very promising at the start and even as a rival to Bluestacks, Andy has been a hit and miss type. Started out very strong but it ran into some issues over time.
However, it seems to have picked itself up and moved on to better things. The most recent update in April 2018 saw Andy update its Android OS version to Nougat. This is a huge improvement since it offers greater variety for downloading new apps and games.
Moreover, the latest Android OS version also ensures that users do not miss out on important stuff; especially the tweaks and software improvements.
The focus of Andy has always been gaming. Therefore, most of its features are based off of that.
Andy includes some interesting features like using your phone as a controller, Xbox and Playstation controllers support and custom keyboard keys mapper.
Unlike Nox player, it takes lot of space and often feels heavy on the system. However, if your system can run it smoothly, it is one of the better options out there.
Download Andy – Link
KO Player Android Emulator works only on Windows operating systems. It is good to get that out of way quickly.
It is another emulator that is mainly gaming oriented. The key feature of KOPlayer probably is screen recording. So, if someone wants not only to play but record their gameplay, it could be the best choice.
Other than that, KOPlayer offers features like external controller support, keyboard mapping.
User of even Windows XP can enjoy KOPlayer on their computers.
Download KOPlayer – Link
Not everyone wants an Android emulator to play games! Genymotion caters to the needs of Android Application developers.
Genymotion is a highly customizable emulator. Users can set up multiple virtual machines that mimic the behavior of various processors or even entire phones’ architectures. For example, if a developer wants to test their app on both Note 9 and Note 5, then they may set up two different virtual machines with different configurations.
It is not recommended to use genymotion for games and other apps since it is not going to be smooth. It is mainly for app testing and should be limited to that.
Download Genymotion – Link
Remix OS is released with Android Marshmallow OS. However, the developers behind it have discontinued their support. There are no signs of further improvements in it.
The Remix OS was designed to run Android as a native environment on PC. Therefore, it seemed like a cool experience to have. Users can still download and install it on their systems.
It is designed for both gaming and applications. Therefore, it has a much wider approach. Those who want to try it out are welcome to do so.
Download Remix OS – Link
Bliss is probably the only Android emulator at the time of writing that runs a custom Android ROM. Now I understand that people would argue that other emulators also run customized versions of Android OS. But this is actually different. Those who have ever used a custom ROM on their phones will understand how different the experience is.
Moreover, Bliss is supported by Android 8.0 Oreo. This is a good thing in fact. It offers large variety of new applications and features.
Download Bliss – Link
Tencent Gaming Buddy – PUBG Mobile for PC
PUBG mobile is one of the hottest mobile games out there right now. It is pretty much same as the PC version, just a little toned down.
The best part about Tencent Gaming Buddy is designed especially to play the game PUBG mobile smoothly. It works well with keybaord and mouse. Moreover, the controls are changeable. Therefore, anyone can customize it according to their own preferences.
Tencent Gaming Buddy is best suited for those who want to only installed PUBG Mobile on their laptops and computers.
Download Tencent Gaming Buddy – PUBG Mobile for PC – Link
Whether you want to play Fortnite Mobile on PC or PUBG Mobile, MEmu OS has got you covered. It is one of the latest entries in the Android emulators market.
MEmu OS offers crisp graphics and smooth gameplay. You can enjoy the games at HD resolution and great sound effects.
It is based on Android 7.1 OS.
Download MEmu OS – Link
Previously we mentioned Bluestacks 3 and how good it actually is. However, the only downside is that it is not available for Mac OS.
Bluestacks 1 and 2 are available for Mac OS as well. The 2nd version offers features like custom keymapping and multi tabs. However, it does not support true multitasking like Bluestacks 3.
If you are a Mac user and really want to experience Bluestacks, then go ahead and install it.
Since it is not available on official website for download, you have to download it from third party websites.
All above mentioned Android emulators are well-known for what they do. It is only the matter of finding out what works best for yourself. We suggest that you try multiple emulators until you find the best solution.
Top 10 Best Lightweight Android Emulators for PC 2018