Ease of use and setup
Our first category is ease of use and setup. After all, what good is an emulator if you can’t figure out how to use it, right?
For Bluestacks, setting things up was ridiculously easy. You go to the site, download the application, install it, and go. It’s super easy. Once you’re inside you can browse and install various games and access them on the bar at the top. When it comes to ease of use and setting things up, Bluestacks is practically idiot proof.
Andy started out the same way. Downloading and installing the app was easy. I did have a problem actually getting it to run but thanks to their support, I was able to figure out the problem. Once you actually start it up, it runs like any Android phone or tablet so the interface is familiar.
Andy does get some points for having a good support staff. They use Facebook as their support page and their people are generally pretty knowledgeable. In fact, shout out to Charlie from Andy because he’s the dude that helped me.
One of the bigger reasons people want Android on their computer is so they can play some games on it. Thankfully, both Andy and BlueStacks support gaming.
In Bluestacks, it appears as though the main focus is for gaming. They don’t really recommend any normal applications and we assume the recommended games are ones that have been tested with Bluestacks. The games run fairly well. You can get ones in the Play Store that aren’t listed in Bluestacks recommendations but they tend to run a little clunkier than the recommended ones.
Andy focuses on an overall experience and offers a lot. It plays games well and in some cases, like Clash of Clans, it actually plays the game better than Bluestacks in terms of stability. This is especially true for network-based games which seemed to load a lot faster on Andy. Andy does have a remote option where you can use your device as a controller for better gaming support if you so choose. BlueStacks does allow game controller support as well but it requires a wired controller.
The other really big reason people want Android on their PC is for productivity purposes. It’s a fun operating system to have but it can also help get some work done.
Here Bluestacks doesn’t fail utterly but it comes close. It doesn’t seem to like to run regular Android apps as well it does games and that’s a shame. For instance, there was an excruciating amount of lag when simply typing in Google Drive. It doesn’t recommend any productivity apps so you have to go out of your way to find them. Really, Bluestacks wants to be a gaming emulator and it shows here. That said, there are a few productivity apps that do work well so if you need it for something very light, it could still work.
Like we stated earlier, Andy focuses on a more rounded experience and this is where it shows. The same sort of problems I was having on Bluestacks weren’t present in Andy. The Google Drive lag wasn’t present, apps loaded quickly and worked well. It’s also worth noting here that Andy can run things like Hangouts, and third party launchers, deliver notifications, and even use widgets. It also runs a higher version of Android than Bluestacks and that means you’ll have a higher app compatibility as well as better app stability.
We’ve talked about the big stuff, but what about the little things? They matter too!
Bluestacks is pretty much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get deal. In a small way, simplicity is elegance and that means there isn’t as much guess work. That said you can sync Bluestacks with your Android devices to sync app data, texts, and the like if you wanted to. You can also sideload applications which is a fairly simple process. Overall, there are some things, but really not that many.
You can do pretty much anything with Andy that you can do with an Android phone. That includes sideloading applications, putting files on there from your computer if need be, file browsing, and some stuff we mentioned earlier like fully functioning notifications, widgets, and you can even root it if you need to.
One of the things I really liked personally was the ability to install third party launchers. Since it runs pretty much like any Android device, you can customize it like any Android device so between the custom launchers, wallpapers, widgets, icon packs, etc, you can turn Andy into a little window of customization and make it really yours.
The last thing I want to mention here is the ability to change the specs of Andy. It runs in a virtual machine which is actually customizable. You can open up the Virtual Box that comes with Andy and give it some extra RAM, change how many CPU cores it has, and various other small things as well. Beware, this is advanced user stuff, but you can totally go in there and give this bad boy 3GB of RAM instead of one and actually improve the performance.
Overall, picking which one is better really depends on your needs. If you need something super simple that plays some light games and you really don’t need it to do much else, then Bluestacks is still probably your best bet. After all, like we said earlier, there is an advantage to having simplicity.
However, if you’re willing to go through the slightly more complicated set up process, then Andy is by far the more full-featured Android emulator. It’s way better for customization and productivity and, in some cases, even better at gaming. With the power user stuff available like root and adding resources, Andy is simply a better option for more demographics.