8 best Android emulators for PC
There are a lot of valid reasons why someone would want to run Android emulators on their PC. App developers may be trying to test their application before shipping it out. Gamers may want to use a mouse and keyboard on their games. Maybe you just want it there to have it. In any case, Android emulation on PC is possible and we’re going to take a look at the best Android emulators for PC. Please note, the process is rarely easy and some of these require some technical knowledge and
- If you were looking for the emulators on Android, we have that list right here!
- Check out the best office apps for Android that you’ll be able to use on your PC!
Leapdroid is an excellent option and one of the newer Android emulators out there. Like most, it utilizes a virtual machine to create an Android instance on PC. However, a ton of tweaks and optimizations have made it one of the sleeker options on the list. It runs smoothly, boots quickly, and it scores impressively well on gaming benchmarks. It also comes with built-in root access, support for over 98% of apps and games (as per the developers), and it has a fairly active development team. There’s a thread where you can learn more and get assistance if you need. We also did an in-depth review of Leapdroid which you can read here!
AMIDuOS is first on our list and this is a relatively newer Android emulator for PC. This one comes in two flavors: Lollipop and Jelly Bean. Aside from the version type, the only other difference between the two is Jelly Bean costs $10 while Lollipop costs $15 and those are one-time charges which is kind of nice. AMIDuOS runs very well. It’s a smooth emulator that does things like productivity and gaming quite well. Most users should be able to use this for pretty much whatever they need it for and the install process isn’t bad at all. Obviously, it’s not overly great for developers since it doesn’t give you device-specific configurations but on a consumer level, this one works very well.
Next on our list is an entirely free emulator called Andy. We reviewed this when it first came out and while it did have some issues back then, it still managed to prove itself as a capable replacement for apps like Bluestacks. It runs pretty much the entire gamut of the Android experience including productivity apps, launchers, games, and you can even install root access if needed. It has fixed pretty much all of its early day issues but it is still a little bit more involved of an installation than something like Bluestacks. In any case, it is free and it does work very well. We have our video about it linked below if you want to know more.
[Price: Free / $2/month]
Bluestacks has long been the de facto solution for putting Android on your PC. For a while, they fell behind but have spent much of the last year bringing much needed updates to their platform. The result, dubbed Bluestacks 2, is a faster, more stable, and an overall better Android emulator for PC than its predecessor. It supports multitasking apps and has built-in functionality for things like shaking the screen and setting a location, features it did not previously have. It’s still marketed mainly to gamers, but it is now far better for those looking for productivity solutions as well. The price remains the same as it did previously, which is free with an optional $2/month premium subscription. It’s still quite bloated and many of its new features cater to a very specific gaming audience, but it’s still a good option overall.
See also: The best Android apps!
Our next emulator is called droid4x and it’s an interesting choice for an Android emulator on PC. It runs in a similar fashion as Andy or AMIDuOS and the performance and productivity is about the same as well. I may not have said that a year ago but like the other two, there have been improvements made. What makes this one interesting are the add-ons. This one includes an application you install on your smartphone so that you can control games on your computer. For instance, you’ll be able to use the accelerometer to turn your car in Asphalt 8. It’s definitely better than Andy or AMIDuOS for games although we believe that Andy and AMIDuOS may be a bit better in terms of stability and speed.
[Price: Free with paid options]
First on our list is Genymotion. This Android emulator is geared toward developers who want to test their apps or games on a variety of devices without actually being required to own those devices. 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. The choice is yours and you can easily switch between “devices” at will. It’s not great for consumer uses such as checking email or using apps, but Genymotion does offer their services for free for personal use so that option is there if you really want to.
MEmu is another of the up and coming Android emulators that seems to do quite well. It boasts complete compatibility with Intel and AMD chipsets which is nice and their latest releases are for Android Lollipop 5.1.1 which is also great news. It comes with root access as well as a sidebar that comes complete with a ton of extra functionality and features. It’s not bloated and scores well on benchmarks. It’s a nice alternative to many other Android emulators, especially if you need one for both gaming and productivity. You can also get help in their forums, check out new releases, and more on their official blog.
Last and certainly not least on our list is Nox. Like Bluestacks, Nox is one of those Android emulators that is set up to cater to gamers. This includes utilities and additions that are specifically catered to helping gamers control their games using their keyboard and mouse. This includes things like the capacity to assign “swipe right” to, say, an arrow key and simulate actual gesture movements directly on your keyboard or joystick if you have one. It’s a lot of fun and seems to work rather well most of the time. It’s also entirely free. The video below was recorded with laggy software (not Nox, but the screen capture software), but there is a good explanation on how the key macros work.
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If we missed any of the best Android emulators for PC, tell us about them in the comments! To see our complete list of best app lists, click here.