If you are an Android fanboy, then you might have thought of getting some of the best android emulators for your PC to try out new apps or even some development works as well. You’ll not only get big screen estate which is better for gaming, you could also do a bunch of other things as well including rooting & trying root apps. Well, having an android emulator doesn’t cost you a penny, as there are tons of free ones out there if you need extra features you have to shell out some bucks.
Let’s go through some of the best Android emulators for Windows PC & MacOS for 2017, these software works fine in Windows 10, 8 & 7. without any further ado let’s dive in!
12 Best Android Emulators For Windows PC & Mac 2017
1. Nox App Player
Minimalism at its peak, Nox App player is one of the minimalistic yet best Android emulator available for Windows & Mac. If gaming is your area of interest, then it has your name written on, the efficient game rendering engine makes effective use of your system resource & provides you enough headroom for other multitasking as well.
The full-fledged operating system expands your possibilities even further, you could install apps directly from the Google Play Store or install through apks (make sure you enable installation from unknown sources). If you are a developer, then you could make use of if to test out your apps or games.
After all, the whole package comes for free of cost, which is the notable thing among all. If you need more information about this android emulator, check out our in-depth review here. Currently, it is only available for Windows & MacOS. Linux users, have to wait until they develop one for the platform, which is in the near future.
2. Remix OS Player
Remix OS player is a Windows-only Android emulator that is easy to use with little to no hiccups. It’s based on the Marshmallow (v6.0.1), which isn’t far behind from Android Oreo. What sets Remix OS apart is its dual booting capability, you could use as a desktop client or install Remix in a separate partition in x86 compatible systems. Follow this guide to install remix OS 3.0 on your computer.
The user interface is easy to use & seems stable throughout our testing, Google Play Store comes by default, so you don’t have to sideload. The team behind Remix OS player touting the games it supports & experience you’ll get. It does perform well in the demanding games but still needs refinement. You could remap the keyboards shortcuts to raise any action you need, and also run multiple games simultaneously, thanks to the effective resource utilization. If you are covered under the recommended system configuration, it is a pleasant experience.
The unavailability of the MacOS & turns off the Apple users, it is not a big deal as the developers claiming this as the Android emulator for Windows PC, not the Mac.
Uncommonly, Bluestacks is one of the most popular yet free emulators. Being a complete Android package on both Windows & Mac, it offers way more functions than most of the commercial user needs. It still runs on Android KitKat version, which makes it a no go for developers, apart from this it is nothing short than its rivals.
The multi-gesture support, & seamless integration with the computer peripherals like keyboard, mouse, trackpad & web camera are notable features. Also, there a compatibility with Android TV, if you are into that sort of thing.
Simple one-click installation and straightforward user interface make the Bluestack as the top performing player. To play the graphics intense games, ensure that you have a dedicated graphics card installed on your computer. Unlike most of the Android emulators, you can open most of the apps or games in full-screen mode, which is a bonus for watching videos on Youtube or Netflix.
Everything is fine with Bluestacks, except the resource intensive nature. It doesn’t need much CPU horsepower, but it is a memory hog. If your Windows computer/Mac has 4 GB or less RAM, then you’ll notice lags & even freeze. We don’t recommend, if your system has less than a couple gig of RAM, it might not be the best experience. You can go with any Bluestacks alternative emulators, which we already covered here. Apart, from that everything is good enough. Considering it also received the best software award in CES 2012 for the innovative idea.
If you are an app developer or one who tests lots of apps, then you should give Genymotion a shot which is one of the self-claimed developer suits. It is a complete package for developers that’s is compatible with Android SDK tools, Eclipse and Android Studio. Further, you can go ahead & install Genymotion plugins on your Android Studio for quick access (you should also install Genymotion). Deploying multiple instances, testing your websites through various browsers – user agents, try your location permission required apps, battery status & pretty everything.
Further, you can also automate your app testing through Genymotion’s Java API. It manipulates the sensor values of the specified app & tests it in the different locations & scenarios. Changing the device’s name, IMEI, MEID is seamless, you can even emulate the fake SMS/calls to know how your app reacts to that situation. And other geeky stuff!
It takes advantage of the OpenGL compatible graphics cards, which slightly makes it faster & more responsive when performing any graphics-oriented tasks. It is power packed with the developers, Genymotion Cloud is something exciting, you could get Android emulator online using Genymotion Cloud, which resides in the cloud & you could browse your internet browser. Team collaboration & seamless integration is something Genymotion Cloud advertises about.
It is a paid android emulator, which turns off many. Many of the features are only available for the paid version, although there is a free version available to download, you are only limited to use few basic features for non-commercial purpose only. If you are app developer professionally, then you should get your paid version without any doubt, nothing comes to it. Also, compatibility isn’t an issue, it is available for Windows, MacOS, Linux & Cloud based as well.
MEmu is a light-weight Android emulator for Windows PCs comes in few kernels that support Android Jellybean, KitKat & Lollipop, as they tout it will get Marshmallow & Nougat soon. Being a freeware, it has got most of the things like it’s contenders. It supports both Intel & AMD Systems also the dedicated & integrated graphics, in most of the popular games. It is a flexible emulator, means the user can configure CPU, ram, device model & other settings.
You can also create multiple instances & perform a sort of multitasking within the emulator, which sounds cool though. And it supports full-screen support in some popular games, you can play using keyboard, mouse & even joysticks. Other features including drag-and-drop to install apk files, faster loading times, keyboard mapping, easy file sharing between Android & windows and bunch of others.
Ever since the launch of Andyroid in 2011, it has been a major player in the Android emulator market for a while now. Giving the top priorities for the gaming sector, few games perform better in Andy when compared with other emulators. To take things to next level, you can control the gameplay with your Android device if it is synced with the emulator. Which eliminates the need for any wired/wireless controllers, no other emulator provides this option as of writing this post.
It could run most of the apps available on the play store, including communication apps like Hangouts, IMO and others.You can customize anything right from the launchers to the lock screen. The Android skin it has got is stock and without any bloatware, Google Play stores services come by default. The OpenGL acceleration is enabled, which make uses of your computer’s discrete GPU to render graphics. While concentrating on the gaming, Andy doesn’t fall behind in productivity. It is pretty responsive and doesn’t need any high-end system to the requirement to run smoothly.
Unlike other developer kits, you will not get apps testing environment you have to deal with what it has got. It is targetted towards to broad demographic audience who likes to game, multitask and do the normal usage. If you are streamlined audience like Developers, App testers, better you go with Genymotion or Android Studio’s emulator, it provides you the headroom and lot more intuitive tools.
It is available for both Windows & MacOS, sorry Linux. On the whole, it is sort of a complete package, it isn’t a specific niche targeted software, it suits most of the consumer needs.
7. Ko Player
Ko Player is another great Win-only Android emulator, which is decent enough to give a shot. Google play store comes by default, also it is compatible with most of the games & apps. The adaptable resolution makes it the best solution for apps like Youtube, Netflix & others to watch the content in full-screen. Other features include drag & drop for installing apps, supports most of the wired/wireless keyboard, mouse, and trackpads.
It needs a discrete graphics solution and virtualization technology, you could easily enable in your BIOS settings. It is compatible with both AMD & Intel processors platforms which made it reach most of the user. The one con being, it is only available for Windows, for Mac users you have to wait until they come up with one. Meanwhile, check some other emulators which are far better than Ko Player.
Youwave is elder among all the Android emulators for PC available, it has not updated for years.It has got two different versions, Free & Premium versions. If you are booted into free software, you’ll be greeted with Android ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) with some advertisements. Premium has got nothing but Android Lollipop as the OS & no ads that’s what it is. The major drawback being the lack of apps support, apps require any sensor information and apps which use closed APIs might not work in Youwave.
Unlike most of its competitors, it doesn’t need high-end system configuration because it runs Android ICS which is not a demanding OS at all. It brings nothing new to the table, but if you are looking for a basic software to emulate the Android apps and does light gaming then you can check Youwave. But anything above this requirement you have better options. It is available only available for Windows, no MacOS or Linux version out there.
VirtualBox is not an Android emulator specifically, it is a software that installs other operating systems as Guest OS on your computer. You have to download VirtualBox & Android iOS to get this going, it is quite time-consuming & tedious to set up. Once, you have grounded yourself with the setup, you could play around with Android like you do on a physical device. Even, few Android emulators like Andyroid are based on the VirtualBox & VMware software.
This is powered by Android x86 project, which is one of the unofficial initiatives to bring the Android to the desktop & workstation grade platform running Intel & AMD chipsets. Thanks to the Android’s open source nature, they tweaked few things and made it run on desktops.
You need to create a new instance in VirtualBox & make change settings, add the downloaded Android iOS as disk image you are good to go. If you still unable to get through this step, follow this guide by howtogeek. Though you could up & running Android in few minutes we don’t recommend this for most of the consumers. Better go with an android emulator for your computers, rather than downloading iso and setting up the instance.
10. Android Studio’s Emulator
Android Studio is the successor to the old yet still used Eclipse IDE. Android Studio grown by leaps and bounds since its initial release in 2013 as beta. Now, Android Studio also includes an inbuilt emulator to try out the app you develop. That’s another android emulator right? Sort of. Android Studio is meant for developers, not for consumers, so that emulator would be most suitable for developers.
Although the consumer could give a shot, we don’t recommend as there are tons of other best android emulator for both Windows & MacOS out there. You’ll get most of the developer options within the emulator, only with few exceptions. It comes only with Android’s Studio, you have to install it first. You can check more the emulator by clicking here.
11. Xamarin Android Player
Update: After the successful run, Xamarin Android Player is discontinued. You can continue with the Visual Studio but you will not find any emulator.
Xamarin Visual Studio (Rebranded from Xamarin Android Studio) the Microsoft version of Android Studio, developed for Windows & MacOS. As you might know, every mobile app development comes with a built-in emulator to test things. As this might not the best Android emulator for everyone if you’re a developer or student, it could be a learning curve. If you have got touchscreen laptop or any trackpad, it is compatible with most of them.
It is not meant for general consumption, so the consumer might find it hard to navigate. And without Visual Studio you cannot use the emulator, if your desktop is low powered then this might crash. If you’re a pure developer or need something geeky, then you can go with this Android emulator.
LeapDroid was a robust Android emulator for PC a few years back, after the acquisition by Google they stopped the updates & closed customer service door. Still, you can install & use Leapdroid, but you won’t get any sort of updates in the future including the security patches, which is not recommended.
With a clutter-free user interface, well-supported apps & games and lighter impact on system resources, LeapDroid stands out. Unlike other emulators, LeapDroid has sharp features built-in which is best for enhanced gameplay, seamless apps, games compatibility. The built-in GPS helps you in the navigation system, after all, you don’t have to worry about the shortcuts you can manually assign with the keyword mapping.
If you are into gaming, then LeapDroid is the hands down emulator you need. Unlike others, It boots in seconds which is crucial.
If you’re not sure which Android emulator to pick for your desktop, go to this table to get an idea.
|Nox App player||v4.4 (KitKat)||Free||Yes||Yes|
|Remix OS Payer||v.6.0.1 9 (Marshmallow)||Free||Yes||No|
|GenyMotion||v4.4 (KitKat) to v7.0.1 (Nougat)||Paid||Yes||Yes|
|Ko Player||v5.0. (Lollipop)||Free||Yes||No|
* Needs additional package.
Well, we can provide you the different choice & explains which one excels in what, that’s all. It’s up to you to choose the best Android emulator for your needs. It solely depends on the purpose for wishing the emulator, like X emulator, would be best at gaming but requires lots of horsepower & memory and Y might a great option for the normal consumer, which doesn’t require too much resource but performance won’t be up to the par.
After all, it depends on your needs & how you use it.
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