There are a lot of legitimate causes why anyone would need to run Android emulators on their computer. App developers is also seeking to test their application before delivery it out. Gamers may want to use a mouse and keyboard on their video games. Maybe you simply need it there to have it. In any case, Android emulation on computer is possible and we’re going to take a look on the 15 best Android emulators for computer.
What is Emulator ?
In computing, an emulator is hardware or software that enables one computer system (called the host) to behave like another computer system (called the guest). An emulator typically enables the host system to run software or use peripheral devices designed for the guest system. Emulation refers to the ability of a computer program in an electronic device to emulate (or imitate) another program or device. Many printers, for example, are designed to emulate Hewlett-Packard LaserJet printers because so much software is written for HP printers. If a non-HP printer emulates an HP printer, any software written for a real HP printer will also run in the non-HP printer emulation and produce equivalent printing. Since at least the 1990s, many video game enthusiasts have used emulators to play classic (and/or forgotten) arcade games from the 1980s using the games’ original 1980s machine code and data, which is interpreted by a current-era system.
What is Android Emulator ?
An Android emulator is an Android Virtual Device (AVD) that represents a specific Android device. You can use an Android emulator as a target platform to run and test your Android applications on your PC. Android Emulator is used to run, debug and test the android application. If you don’t have the real device, it can be the best way to run, debug and test the application.
The Android Emulator simulates Android devices on your computer so that you can test your application on a variety of devices and Android API levels without needing to have each physical device. The emulator provides almost all of the capabilities of a real Android device. You can simulate incoming phone calls and text messages, specify the location of the device, simulate different network speeds, simulate rotation and other hardware sensors, access the Google Play Store, and much more.
Testing your app on the emulator is in some ways faster and easier than doing so on a physical device. For example, you can transfer data faster to the emulator than to a device connected over USB. The emulator comes with predefined configurations for various Android phone, tablet, Wear OS, and Android TV devices.
Android Emulators are seemingly becoming more popular as Android’s popularity keeps growing. From developers testing apps to Gamers playing on a large screen, users yearn for experiencing Android OS on a Windows PC, complimented with a mouse and keyboard.
Who uses emulators?
There are three foremost uses for emulators. The first is the most original and it’s for gaming. Gamers can use emulators on their computer systems to make some video games less difficult to play. They don’t ought to depend on the battery life of their devices and the existence of macros and other tricks aid the system. Probably, these little tips aren’t unlawful (in most video games) so no person quite has a problem with it. The quality Android emulators for gaming comprise Bluestacks, MeMu, KoPlayer, and Nox.
The 2nd most customary use case is development. Android app and game developers like to test apps and video games on as many gadgets a viable before launch. Traditionally the Android Studio emulator is pleasant for this kind of work. However, Xamarin and Genymotion are excellent for this style of use as good.
The final most important type is productivity. This isn’t nearly as original considering that Chromebooks are more cost effective and better for using Android apps on whatever as opposed to a telephone and most productiveness tools are cross-platform. Any gaming emulator works as a productiveness emulator to an extent. Nevertheless, those with hyper precise use instances and a little bit knowledge can are trying ARChon and Bliss. The full list is below. Revel in!
15 Best Android Emulators of 2020
There are some great emulators available in the market; some are free while others cost money. Here i am listing the best android emulators for PC and Mac that you can download and use.
Android Studio Emulator –Android Emulator
Android Studio is a development IDE that Google approves and recommends to people who want to develop their apps. The software offers a lot of features that help the developers make their apps and games.
Android Studio is the default development console for Android. It comes with a bunch of tools to help developers make apps and games specifically for Android. As it turns out, there is also a built-in emulator that you can use to test out your app or game. The setup is rather complicated and it can take a long time. Thus, it’s not one we would recommend for consumer level use. However, developers can simply use this tool as their emulator for testing their apps. It also supports Kotlin in case developers want to try that out. It’s too much of a pain for regular people, but it’s excellent for developers.
One such feature is the ability to use a full-fledged Android operating system through emulation. This emulator is for developers who want to test out their apps now and then.
ARChon – Android Emulator
You cannot call ARChon an emulator per say, but it does work as one. Users have to install it in Google Chrome, and once the installation is complete, you can load APK files and use them as you would please. It is neither made for gaming, nor for development.
ARChon isn’t a traditional emulator. You install it as a Google Chrome extension. It then gives Chrome the ability to run Android apps and games (albeit with limited support). It’s not an easy emulator to get running. You’ll have to install the thing to Chrome. From there, you have to obtain APKs and load them in. As an added rub, you may need to use a tool to change the APK in order to make it compatible. There are a lot more steps to make this work than most other Android emulators for PC. On the plus side, though, it works with any operating system that can run an instance of Chrome (Mac OS, Linux, Windows, etc). We linked to the official GitHub where you can find detailed instructions for its use.
However, it is excellent when it comes to quickly running and testing your apps to see if they work. The installation process is tricky, but the fact that you only need Google Chrome, and some basic knowledge to get it working is the reason why it is here.
Bluestacks – Android Emulator
Bluestacks or is perhaps one of the oldest Android simulators available in the market at the moment. Apart from being oldest, it is also one of the most common emulators, and for all the right reasons.
Bluestacks is the most mainstream of all Android emulators. There are several reasons for that. For starters, it’s compatible with Windows and Mac. It was also one of the first that worked really well that still gets regular updates. The emulator targets mobile gamers. There is a stigma with Bluestacks because it can feel a little bloated at times. Bluestacks 4 (launched in 2018) aimed to fix that with mixed results. However, it has the ability to launch multiple instances so you can play multiple games at once (or the same game multiple times). It also includes key-mapping and settings for many games installed. That should help make things much easier. It’s one of the heaviest emulators on the list. However, it also has the most features for better or for worse. Recent updates put Bluestacks at Android 7.1.2 (Nougat), one of the most recent of any emulator. The update to Bluestacks 4 also improved speed, even on older computers. It should work well on most reasonably recent computers and laptops.
Being rewarded the best emulator time and again, Bluestacks brings the ease of access to the consumer level. The emulator is extremely easy to use, comes with a lot of features, and has free and paid versions available.
Droid4X– Android Emulator
For many, the Droid4X has some ups and downs, and it is not the perfect emulator. However, its simplicity means that it works well in all situations. The emulator is created with Android gamers in mind. Hence, the focus primarily lies on the games.
Droid4X is currently available, but it’s a tough one to recommend. It’s one of the classic Android emulators for PC and t features a simple design that should easily work for a lot of people. It markets itself towards gamers and boasts support for simpler, casual games. However, like most Android emulators, you can do productivity stuff if you want to. This one is not in active development anymore. Its last update was March 28th, 2016. Thus, we recommend you tread with caution as this could be a buggy and unstable product. Droid4x is also Mac compatible. We have the Windows version linked up, so Mac users will need to search a bit for it.
Since Droid4X is mainly for Android games, it can run the entire Android game library with ease. However, if you want to, you can use it for productivity purpose as well. Sure, your experience may vary, but it should work smoothly.
Genymotion– Android Emulator
If you are a developer who always needs a device running a different version of Android just so you can efficiently check your apps, then Genymotion is excellent. This emulator is for developers who need to test their apps and games on multiple devices without having the devices.
This Android emulator is mostly for developers. It lets you test your apps on a variety of devices without owning them. You can configure the emulator for a variety of devices with various versions of Android to help suit your needs. For instance, 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. It’s not great for consumer uses, but Genymotion does offer their services for free for personal use. It’s most useful feature is its availability on both your desktop computer and the cloud. Those without powerful computers can make Genymotion’s servers do all the work for them.
The developers can configure the emulator to emulate different versions of Android like 4.2 or 6.0. While this may not be very important for the general consumer, it is fantastic for developers. They can make sure their app works on all Android versions without any issue.
KoPlayer – Android Emulator
So far, KoPlayer is the emulator that not a lot of people pay attention to or let it fly under their radar. That is because it is the newer kid on the block, but shows a lot of promise at the same time. It is a gamer-centric Android emulator for windows.
KoPlayer is a newer Android emulator for PC (comparatively speaking). It has also managed to fly under most radars until recently. Its main focus is for gaming. You’ll be able to use key-mapping to emulate a controller with your keyboard. Players will also be able to record game play and upload it wherever they want. The install process is easy enough and it seems to work okay. It runs in a virtual machine like most other Android emulators for PC. It’s a middle of the road option and it’s also usable for productivity. There is the occasional but, but most emulators on the list have them. It’s not bad for a free option.
Since the emulator caters more towards the gamer, you get features like the ability to remap. You can even emulate a controller with your keyboard. One unique feature about KoPlayer is that it allows players to record their gaming footage, and upload it anywhere.
MEmu – Android Emulator
It is hard to find Android simulators for PC that are focusing more on making the lives more comfortable. For instance, several emulators that I check do not support AMD chips. Well, MEmu is among the few that does. It is a relatively new emulator, meaning it has some miles to cover.
MEmu is another of the up and coming Android emulators that seems to do quite well with gamers. One of its biggest features is support for both AMD and Intel chipsets. Most work on AMD processors, but it’s nice to see developers specifically pay attention to AMD’s platform. Additionally, it supports Android Jelly Bean, Kit Kat, and Lollipop. You can even run multiple instances at once for multiple games or testing features. It aims itself at gamers much like Bluestacks and similar emulators. However, it’s also quite usable as a productivity tool as well. Its most recent update was in late December 2018 according to its blog and that means its development is still in full swing. We appreciate that.
It comes with support for Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Lollipop. I hope to see more of the latest OS versions in an update. It also supports the ability to run multiple instances of different apps or the same ones.
This feature is particularly important for developers who want to test the same app on different OS versions. MEmu lets them do the testing without creating any hiccups. Even after that, it does not tout itself as a developer-centred emulator.
Nox Player (BigNox) – Android Emulator
If you want an Android simulator strictly for playing games, then Nox is the right option for you. Available for free, this Android emulator for windows pc aims to bring a right amount of control to the gamers. It gives the user some a slew of advanced features and controls.Nox is another Android emulator for PC for gamers. That includes the usual stuff like key-mapping with your keyboard, actual controller support, and even the ability to key-map gesture controls. For instance, you can assign the function to swipe right to an arrow key and use that in a game without actual hardware controller support. It’s a lot of fun and seems to work rather well most of the time. It’s also entirely free and in active development. The demo video below is rather old and it definitely ran better than that on my laptop.
The features revolve around making sure that gamers get the most out of their experience. Nox is one of the few emulators that will allow you to use a full-sized game controller to play your games. Talk about having a good experience.
Remix OS Player – Android Emulator
Remix OS Player was a surprise as soon as its arrival, and that too for many reasons. For starters, it was one of the first few Android simulators for windows that were running Android 6.x Marshmallow. Other emulators were still on the older OS versions.
Remix OS Player by Jide is one of the newer Android emulators for PC (comparatively speaking). It runs Android Marshmallow and that’s still relatively new compared to many of the others on the list. The installation process is pretty simple and using it also fairly easy. It caters mostly to gamers. There are a few gamer specific features along with a customizable toolbar. It boasts features like running multiple games at once. That said, it’s a fairly clean emulator so it’s still perfectly usable as a productivity tool. The site runs a little slow, though, and it hasn’t received a substantial update in a while and its social media accounts have been inactive since 2017. We’re concerned about this one in the long term, but it still works for now.
That is not all; Remix OS Player is also incredibly simple and straightforward when it comes to setting up. Once you are done, you can start using it the way you would want it to use. There are some handful of features in this Android emulator.
Xamarin – Android Emulator
Xamarin more of an IDE than an emulator; you can say that it is like Android Studio, but there are quite some differences. To begin with, Xamarin has a list of different features than Android Studio.
Xamarin is an IDE similar to Android Studio. The difference is that it can plug into things like Microsoft Visual Studio for an even larger development environment (for better or for worse). Also, like the Android Studio, this comes with a built-in emulator for app or game testing. In case it wasn’t readily apparent, we only recommend this one to developers. The setup is simply too tedious for regular consume use. Xamarin’s emulator is not as powerful as something like Genymotion, but it’ll get the job done if you intend on using this and it’s also configurable for your needs. It’s free for personal use. Companies and larger teams may have to negotiate a payment plan.
For starters, the Xamarin can plug into the Microsoft Visual Studio, and for those wondering, it does offer emulation just like Android Studio does. It caters to both developers and gamers alike.
YouWave – Android Emulator
YouWave can be considered as an Android emulator from the Jurassic era. That is because it is one of the older Android simulators for PC. However, the good thing is that it is still relevant since it got an update last year. The emulator is available for free and paid versions.
YouWave is one of the older Android emulators for PC. It’s been around for a long time. Its last update was in 2016, though. That makes it fairly current. The free version uses Ice Cream Sandwich. Forking out the $29.99 will get you the Lollipop version. We didn’t experience any major issues with either one. The installation process was easy enough. It doesn’t have any game specific features but it will still play games. That makes it good for light gaming and productivity. We haven’t seen a meaningful update in quite a long time, though, so even its Lollipop version is woefully out of date. We don’t recommend the premium version, but the free version works nicely for those who want an older emulator that runs older Android.
The free version does get you pretty much everything, but your OS will be Ice Cream Sandwich. However, paying $29.99 will get you Android Lollipop, and I hope it gets the update to the latest Android OS.
Andy – Android Emulator
Andy is a handy little emulator for PC that has been around for some time now. While the early version had some issues, most of the bugs do not exist anymore. Ever since its release, there have been a handful of fixes.
At this point, Andy is the perfect replacement for people who do not want to use Bluestacks or some other Android emulator that is available. Andy is capable of running the entire catalogue of Andriod apps that are available.
You can even grant root access if you want to test the apps that require root access to work. Andy can also run on Mac, providing the best possible experience to the users on both operating systems.
Windroy – Android Emulator
Most of the emulators that are in the list focus more on the modern hardware, and play well with it as well. This means that older machines do not get much love from the emulators. Windroy does things differently as it is made for older computers.
It is highly focused on productivity, and you can run the majority of your office apps on it with ease. It does not go well with games and is not very reliable. However, if you have a machine with dated hardware, Windroy is a perfect fit.
It will be hard to say that Windroy is the perfect Android emulator, but it is excellent, and there is no denying that. It comes for free, works well on older machines, and is suitable for productivity.
Bliss – Android Emulator
Bliss is something a little bit different. It works as an Android emulator for PC via virtual machine. However, it can also just flat run on your computer through a USB stick. This is definitely a power user option and not recommended for simple. As a VM install, the process is fairly simple, if tedious.
The USB installation method is even more complicated, but it lets your computer actually run Android natively from boot. That makes Bliss a super unique emulator if you can make it through the steps to the end. Of course, it only really runs well if your system is compatible so be prepared with a backup of your current operating system. The system runs Android Oreo and that’s among the newer versions of Android offered on an emulator. This is a bit of a diamond in the rough, but again, we only recommend this one to the tech savvy.
PrimeOS – Android Emulator
PrimeOS is kind of a standout in the Android emulator space. It’s not actually an emulator. You install this as a partition on your computer and it boots up running native Android. It’s a gamer-focused Android experience, although you can totally use this for productivity if you really want to. PrimeOS includes a gaming center, support for mouse and keyboard, and access to most Android apps and games.
To be frank, it almost runs like ChromeOS minus all the Chrome parts. You can multitask, watch video content, or play games as you choose. We haven’t tested this one in-depth yet as it is new in 2020 from an Indian start-up. We’ll update the article if we noticed anything peculiar about it.