Android Emulators: 10 Best to Run Apps and Play Games on PC

best android emulators

Have you ever thought of running your favorite Android app on large screen or playing that killer Android game on your windows PC or a Mac? Yes, of course! Though we are always glued to our phones and spend most of the time on our mobiles, using apps or playing games, but we still love those large screen computers.

It is really cool to have options to run Android apps and play android games on our computers, all the while utilizing the underlying computer hardware and accessories. Android Emulators for PC is what all we need to replicate the android ecosystem on our Mac and windows pc.

Which Android Emulators for PC do You Need?

There are many Android emulators available in the market that claim to bring true Android experience to our pc but not many do the job well. Furthermore, the needs of the Android emulator differ greatly among app users, gamers and app developers.

Enterprise app developers look for much sophisticated Android simulators that complement app development life cycle while gamers love emulator that provides a seamless gaming experience on the large screen.

In an attempt to provide you with the list of top emulators in the market, we analyzed most of the emulators from the perspective of an app user, a gamer as well as a mobile app developer. The key metrics considered for selection were performance, compatibility, games control and user experience and given below are details of the best Android Emulators - 

Bluestacks (Best Android Emulator for PC - for Gamers)

Bluestacks app player is the most popular Android Emulator as of today and boasts a user base of more than 100 million users. Bluestacks was founded back in 2011 by Rosen Sharmaand and team with an intention to let users run their favorite mobile apps and games on large screen computers.

Some of the key features of Bluestacks include camera integration, developer test support, multi touch support, microphone integration, mouse & keyboard integration and windows native graphics support. With more than 95% apps and 85% android games compatibility, one can easily say that Bluestacks runs almost everything Android.

For end users who are not developers, Bluestacks is perfect for the simple reason that it is just one click install, one just need to download the package and install it on windows or Mac to start accessing games and apps. It is just simple!  

Bluestacks recently got upgraded to Bluestacks 2 with many additional features like Screen Re-sizing, Android Notification Bar, Zoom-In, Zoom-out support and many app fixes. You can run best of the games and apps like Temple Run, Angry Birds, Castle Clash, Whatsapp, Instagram, Subway surf and Zynga poker with super performance.

Bluestacks is backed by the biggies like Intel, AMD and Qualcomm and is continuously upgraded for enhanced performance, apps & games compatibility and for better user experience. You can download Bluestacks free for personal use by following this link – download Bluestacks.

There is an Enterprise version of Bluestacks available as well at a nominal cost that offers premium support, early access to new releases and even faster gameplay.

You can read more about Bluestacks at - bluestacks.com.

Genymotion (Best Android Emulator for PC - for Developers)

Genymotion is a true enterprise grade Android Emulator and a very close competitor to Bluestacks in terms of features and apps compatibility. One of the key differences between Bluestacks and Genymotion is the target users. Genymotion majorly targets app developers while Bluestacks primarily targets app users and gamers.

From developers perspective, Genymotion comes packed with plugins for Eclipse and Android studio. Some of the key supported mobile features include GPS position simulation, battery charge levels, SMS and call interruption simulation, multi touch and gesture integration, simulation of Wi-Fi/4G/Edge network environments etc.

Free version of Genymotion targets app users and game players and is available for free download. You can download Genymotion android phone emulator with or without virtual box support. The download option is available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux based Ubuntu & Debian. For developers and enterprises the subscription plans can be checked on the official Genymotion website here at - genymotion.com/pricing-and-licensing/.

Genymotion is the product of company named Genymobile which was founded back in 2011 by ARNAUD DUPUIS and ANGÉLIQUE ZETTOR.

You can read more about Genymotion at - Genymotion Android Emulator.

Droid4X

Droid4X is the latest entrant in the Android emulators market and has made its presence felt within just couple of months after its release. It is one of the fastest growing android emulator as of today and gets continuous upgrades from the makers to meet end user requirements.

Try Droid4X if you are a pro and open to experiments since it is relatively new and still contains few bugs and lacks proper documentation. Having said that, Droid4X is one of the most powerful Android virtual machines available and it would just be a matter of another few months for Droid4X to start giving tough competition to the big players like Bluestacks, Genymotion and Andy.

Droid4X boasts much better performance than other emulators on both Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. It runs on virtual machine as a guest operating system and utilizes the same PC hardware configuration. With the kind of performance it delivers, you can experience very smooth game play with games like Temple Run, Candy Crush Saga, Asphalt 8, Modern Combat 5, Subway Surfers and Meow Meow Star Acers.

Droid4X is the creation of Haiyu Dongxiang Co., Ltd which was established in 2013. You can read more about Droid4X at - Droid4x.com - Android Emulator.

Andyroid

Andy Android Emulator is another powerful and popular product in the Android Emulator for PC market and has successfully established an ecosystem of its own. Andy OS is loved by app users, android game players and enterprise developers alike. It is an all-round performer that runs on both X86 and ARM devices.

For an enhanced game playing experience on Andy, you can use your mobile device as the game controller, all the while utilizing accelerometer, gyroscope, multi touch and other features of your mobile phone.

Other key features of Andy Emulator includes seamless syncing between mobile and desktop, android access to local file system, using cloud storage, OpenGL support, Xbox and PS controllers support.

Blustacks vs Andy

Many compare Andy with Bluestacks in terms of features it offers. Bluestacks, however, seems to be better in marketing and sales and is still doing better than Andy. Many developers like Andy over Bluestacks for the shear fact that it has a better support and documentation.

Andy vs Genymotion vs Blustacks

Genymotion, the third close competitor, is far ahead when it comes to support for app developers and beats both Bluestacks and Andy with good margins.

Andy’s Enterprise version comes at nominal price where you get premium support, access for mobile apps from 3rd parties, early access to new releases and many other features to support development.

You can read more about Andyroid at - Andyroid - One of the Best Android Emulator for PC.

AMIDuOS - Android Emulator

AmiDuOS is the product of company named American Megatrends and a perfect one for running android apps in windows 7/8/10.

When it comes to running Android on windows PC, AMIDuOS is the most feature rich Android emulator and beats its close competitors Bluestacks, Genymotion and Andy in performance when it comes to running graphics intensive games. With AMIDuOS, you experience native Android running on your windows PC without any performance gaps or usability compromise.

AMIDuOS is free for the 30 days trial period post which you need to buy it at a very nominal one time price. 

You can read more abbout AMIDuOS at - amiduos.com.

YouWave

YouWave is another impressive Android Emulator for Windows PC and is best suited for individual use.

There is free version of the Youwave as well as premium one, free version offers most of the features but throws lot of ads on the use interface. Upgrading to premium version is required to get rid of ads and also to get support for the latest and greatest of the features.

You can read more about Youwave at its official website at - Youwave.co - Android Emulator for PC.

NOX - Android Emulator

NOX comes from the house of Beijing Duodian Online Science and Technology Co., Ltd., head-quartered in china and targets to play android games on PC. NOX is a very new entrant in the market with its first English version released back in the last quarter of 2015.

The reason to include NOX in the top 10 android emulators is its aggressive development and release cycle. In just a couple of months after its release, NOX has released many upgrades and is including more and more features for developers and game players alike.

The best part, NOX is absolutely free, at the time of writing this article, and can be downloaded from bignox official website.

You can read more about NOX at - bignox.com.

Xamarin Android Player

Are you into hard core mobile app development and looking for an android phone simulator? Yes! Xamarin Android Player is the definitive tool for you if you work with visual studio or Xamarin Studio.

It offers a native user interface on both windows and Mac and is one of the most sophisticated android emulators for developing and testing android apps.

Xamarin Android Player runs Android on x86 and utilizes open GL and hardware accelerated virtualization which makes is significantly faster than the stock android emulator.

Some of the key features include battery simulator, location simulator and webcam utilization as front and back cameras.

Read more about Xamarin Android Player here at - xamarin.com/android-player.

Manymo (Best Android Emulator for PC - Online)

Manymo takes a different approach and brings apps in the browser. It is light weight program that is more like an android emulator online and allows you to run android apps in web browser. You can add fully functional android apps to websites with as much ease as you would embed YouTube videos.

When it comes to mobile app development, testing plays a key role. With Manymo, you can automate testing with help of virtual Android devices of almost all screens sizes, and OS versions. 

You can read more about Manymo at - manymo.com.

If you are looking for an online android emulator then there is another service named appetize.io which is worth checking out.

MEMU

Memu brings the Android experience on Windows PC like any other android Emulator does but with great performance. Like Nox, Memu too is a relatively new entrant and lacks enterprise grade features that emulators like bluestacks or Genymotion have to offer.

Memu is from the house of Microvirt Co., Ltd, the founders of the company look very determined to take it to the greater heights and compete with the likes of Gneymotion Andyroid and Bluestacks.  

The least you can do with Memu is, Play Android games on PC, do chat conveniently using keyboards in Whatsapp, wechat etc, watch Live show and TV channel and open multiple android windows.

You can read more about Memu at - memuplay.com.

Conclusion

There are many emulators that do the job well. However,the key to select one that suits your requirements is a careful analysis of the features that each one has to offer. As an individual, you can always try free or trial version of multiple different Emulators and pick what suits best before paying a single penny.

From an enterprise perspective, there are multiple factors that need consideration including post purchase support, licensing options etc. and products like Genymotion or Xamarin Android Player lead the race of enterprise grade android simulators.

This article is only an attempt to give you a head start in your selection process and is not associated with or endorses any of the products mentioned above. Do let us know your experience with any Android Emulator for PC -  via comments below!

About The Author: noeticsunil

Sunil is the founder and contributing editor at noeticforce.com. He writes about anything and everything that makes modern mobile apps, web apps and websites possible. Passionate about coding in any language including Python, Swift, JavaScript, PHP, Java, Android & iOS dev, not excluding CSS/HTML. 

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