6 Best Android Emulators for Windows – Turn Your PC into Android Handset
Computers and Mobiles are two devices which have acquired a great amount of place in our daily lives. When mobiles and computers are concerned, two Operating Systems promptly come to our mind – Android and Windows. While both of these giants have more than 1 billion active users across the globe, these two OS’s have become the most popular Operating systems used at the moment. That very aspect makes us think what if we could have mixed these two! Yes, running Android OS on your Windows PC sounds exceptionally well and the Android Emulators for Windows make your dream come true!
Several reasons can be found which would persuade a user to use the Android emulator on the Windows PC. You may want to customize your Android Phone’s User Interface without causing any harm for your phone, debug your Android apps on the desktop, play the Android-based games on PC (this is the mostly preferred reason), and do much more things by emulating your Android OS on Windows. All of these reasons may tempt you to use the Android Emulators. But lots of the emulators are fussy. So, we have tried over a dozen of the emulators and jotted down the 6 best Android Emulators for Windows.
Note: No Emulator is perfect. So, you may run into some glitches like crashes, lags, and bugs. Moreover, you would also require a fairly powerful PC to handle those emulators.
Pick the Best Android Emulator for Windows from the List of Top 6
So, without any further ado, let’s jump into the main topic and explore the emulators which can turn your PC into an Android Handset!
BlueStacks is one of the pioneers of the whole concept of Android on PC. This emulator is one of the most acknowledged and well-accepted Android emulators focused mainly on gaming. BlueStacks is based on the Android 4.4 KitKat and is a capable Android Emulator. Its easy installation process and effortless usability make BlueStacks a great destination for the people who have little to no technical knowledge.
Simply install the emulator on your Windows PC and get into a whole universe of 2 Million + Android Apps ready to download and install on your Windows PC. The BlueStacks interface is more like a game app store which makes the job easier to download a game and start playing. BlueStacks comes with the pre-installed Google Play Store.
Advantages of BlueStacks
- Live streaming on Twitch through BlueStacks help the gamers flaunt their gaming skills to the followers.
- Live streaming on Facebook Live using the BlueStacks TV is also a great way of showcasing your gaming
- Further, the emulator comes with multitasking support just like an actual Android Phone.
BlueStacks appears with two versions to download – Free and Premium. While the Free version would come with loads of irritations and ads nagging you to install the sponsored apps, the premium version comes with a fully ad-free performance.
Considering the fact that BlueStacks has been bloated a lot lately, the developers are working hard to get back into the competition and retain the throne of the best Android Emulator for Windows. As a result, we can now find BlueStacks+N which supports the latest Android Nougat.
2. Nox Player
Much like BlueStacks, Nox Player is another Android 4.4 KitKat-based emulator for Windows that focuses on the gamers. You will hardly find a more stable emulator than the Nox Player in the market. This very aspect denotes that you will be provided with the specific controls and tools for playing games by operating your PC’s keyboard and mouse or a gamepad! Nox Player will surely get listed among the top places in any list of the Android emulators for Windows PC for the exceptional features it comes with.
Nox Player ticks a great range of topnotch and advanced features in terms of Android emulation on Windows OS. So much of high-end features may make you feel a little overwhelmed when you’d start using the emulator. But along with time, you will get used to its functionalities and love the emulator for sure. Nox is going to offer you a feeling like an actual emulator as you will be able to specify the RAM, CPU, or FPS you want to allocate to the emulator. So, it doesn’t matter whether you are testing an application or playing a high-end mobile game, Nox will make your experience effortless. Also, the couple of graphics rendering modes – OpenGL and DirectX can be switched and used.
Nox comes with the pre-equipped root access. So, the Android modders, now, can simply allow the root in the System Settings and download the best customization apps on your PC. Also, you can avail a range of keyboard shortcut options with Nox Player such as swiping left or right which cannot be done through a keyboard.
Advantages of Nox Player
- Users can drag and drop APKs to the Nox Player to install.
- ‘Simulate Touch’ functionality in Nox Player is synonymous with the keyboard mapping which helps in playing games on PC.
- Users can record the particular events on screen and replay them afterward by the ‘Script Record’ functionality of the emulator.
Nox Player is an outstandingly crafted and featured Android Emulator for Windows which comes with no cost despite the array of features that it provides. Except for the older version of Android, the emulator is a perfect fit for all the works that we may do. Also, this emulator is also available for Mac so, it can also be labeled as the Android Emulator for Mac.
While talking about the best Android Emulators, we have discussed the emulator for gaming, free emulator, and the feature-rich emulator. But Andy is one of the fastest Android emulators for Windows which also does not have any price tag (If you don’t need the developer support)! Andy comprises a little more involved installment than what BlueStacks and other emulators offer but the users will get a considerate support from Facebook during the installation process.
Andy takes a leap when it comes to awesome features and functionalities. Along with the Android features, you may require for emulating the smartphone experience on your Windows, Andy, in its bite-sized application frame, comprises the most possible number of features. The current Android version of Andy is another reason why experts consider it as one of the top names among the Android Emulators for Windows. Currently, Andy’s version is based on the Android Marshmallow!
With an in-built Google Play Store, you can download any app on Andy. The emulator is compatible with both Windows and Mac OSX. Much like Nox Player, Andy also comes with a Keyboard Mapping option which is incredible for gamers. You can also make use of Andy’s virtual machine settings to customize and modify the RAM usage.
Advantages of Andy
- Users can control Andy with their Android smartphones as a remote
- Andy supports the Xbox and PS Controllers too!
- Along with Android games, you can also install the other Android apps on Andy such as Instagram, WhatsApp, or SnapChat.
- Andy helps you access the local files stored on your PC.
Andy generally comes without any cost involvement. All the features come free with Andy which makes the emulator a free one for the users. However, if you require the developer support, you need to avail the Enterprise license and upgrade your plan.
MEmu will always appear in the list if you are looking for a free Android Emulator for Windows. This emulator is high-performing and based on the Android Lollipop version. However, the pre-installed Android version of Jellybean 4.2 in MEmu is a bit disheartening and also, you need to download the additional packages to upgrade the Android version to Lollipop!
Nevertheless, if you can neglect the above aspect, there’s a whole new window of awesomeness waiting for you in MEmu. From the simple installation process to the feature-packed offers, MEmu got to be found in your wishlist when the time comes and you crave for an Android emulator for your Windows PC. Well, MEmu’s exceptional qualities don’t stop here! It is compatible with the Nvidia and Intel-powered Windows PCs as well as AMD chipsets.
MEmu, like the others in this list, comes with the pre-installed Google Play Store which allows you to browse and download almost any app or game you want. MEmu always pops up in mind whenever the discussion concentrates on the best Android Emulator for Windows OS. The single-click APK installation adds fuel to the fire since MEmu lets you install any APK on MEmu from your local machine. So, whenever you see an exciting app, get it right off the bat as MEmu pushes the app to your phone via the USB Cable!
Advantages of MEmu
- MEmu supports up to 4K resolution when it comes to playing Android Games.
- MEmu also comes with a CPU and RAM modification option which speeds up the already-fast emulator.
- Keyboard Mapping is also a great feature offered by the emulator to the gamers.
- Operation Record tool of MEmu lets users record specific touch-screen actions and play it later.
- Keyboard and Pointer Integration is another interesting part of MEmu, adored by all.
This emulator comes completely for free of cost! The only downside is the Android version it comes with. Even the upgraded Android 5.0 Lollipop is also 2-year old! If you can overlook the features of Android Nougat, MEmu is capable of becoming one of the finest Android Emulators for Windows PC you can ever avail.
All the above Android emulators were quite focused on the gaming segment somehow. But we do care about the developers reading out the article. That’s why we are here with Genymotion which is a great emulation tool for the Android developers to test the environment on PC or do the other development works. However, you can also use Genymotion for the personal use. This emulator allows the developers to test their Android application with a range of Android versions.
Before downloading and using Genymotion, make sure you have to finish a few things. Enabling the virtualization technology in the BIOS should be the first step to take. And your next move should be installing the latest version of VirtualBox before using Genymotion. Moreover, signing up for an account is a necessity before you start using the Android Emulator. Genymotion doesn’t come with a pre-installed Google Play Store. Nevertheless, you can manually install GApps to enjoy all the facilities of the Google Play Store.
By default, Genymotion is packed with an incredible range of features that seem uncountable. Tight from the moment you subscribe to Genymotion, you can explore the unlimited plugins, tools, and support staff for your requirements. Well, Genymotion isn’t called one of the best Android emulators for Windows without any reason – the cloud-based online emulation has made Genymotion a leading name in the world of Android emulators. The online emulation process can be tried on your browser but it requires a private access from the Genymotion authority.
Advantages of Genymotion
- Availability of plugins for Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, and Android Studio makes it immensely helpful for the developers to test apps within the Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
- Genymotion is capable of simulating any Android version from the 4.4 KitKat to 7.0 Nougat.
- Genymotion comes with the camera, battery level, and GPS coordinates.
- Premium version of the Android emulator for Windows OS contains features like remote controlling and screencasting.
Genymotion does not come for free for business purpose but it has a fun zone (Personal Edition) where you can use the emulator free of cost. The fun zone mainly concentrates on the gaming and other fun activities. The Android emulator has a great use for casual gaming but is more focused on the development segment. There are different ranges of pricing that Genymotion offers.
- Personal Edition (Fun Zone) – Free
- Indie Plan – $136 per annum per unique user
- Business Plan – $412 per annum per user
- Enterprise Plan – Requires Contacting the Genymotion authority
Without the above, there is a trial option as well which you can avail as mentioned earlier.
6. Android Studio
Much like Genymotion, Android Studio is also focused on the development more than gaming. It is completely trustworthy since this is Google’s official Android emulator for Windows. While the Genymotion focuses also on gaming, the Android Studio is specifically focused on the development job. More specifically to be said, Android Studio is a developer toolkit that creates the Android apps with an inclusion of an emulator.
Since the tool is made for testing apps in the development, Android studio doesn’t always appear in the list when it comes to the Android emulators for Windows. For a normal user, developing and testing app is quite unlikely. That’s why Genymotion is also an unlikely option to be the choice for a normal consumer who loves gaming or social interaction. That is also the reason why usual consumers do not find this emulator easy to install or use.
Android Studio lets you create the complex layouts easily with the Visual layout editor. Then you can preview your layout on different screen sizes. Also, this emulator is fast and is capable of simulating various configurations and features such as ARCore (Google’s own Augmented Reality Platform). All these may label Android Studio as the best Android Emulator for Windows from a developer viewpoint.
Advantages of Android Studio
- Intelligent Code editor makes the job effortless for a developer to code.
- Developers can generate multiple build variants by customizing the build with the help of Android Studio.
- You can calculate and measure the real-time statistics for your application’s Network Activity, Memory and CPU.
- Instant run feature of Android Studio allows you to see the live changes while coding.
If you are not a developer, we would not recommend you Android Studio. But if you are a developer and rummaging for a tool to test your Android apps, nothing can be better than this emulator. Android Studio comes completely free and is available for the Windows (32-bit and 64-bit), Mac, and Linux with the SDK tool packages.
How to Choose the Best Android Emulator for Windows?
Well, this is the million-dollar question! You have seen the top Android emulators listed above which will run comfortably on Windows OS. But we always require the best. There are, certainly, some differences between the good and the bad emulator. So, you have to be attentive to your requirements and how many of those are being fulfilled by the Emulator. However, there are certain aspects which definitely needs your focus while choosing the Android Emulator.
If the Android Emulator stalls, freezes, lags, or misbehaves, make sure, you are searching for another one.
Go through the features the emulator is providing you with. Ultimately, the features will define your ease of work. So, make sure you are choosing an emulator that offers a good number of features.
Third-party APK installation and Root capabilities is also an important part while choosing an emulator.
So, these are the top Android Emulators for Windows OS. You have gone through every little detail of each of the emulator above. You have also read which aspects are needed to be considered for choosing the best Android Emulator. Now, the ball is in your court. You have to think whether you require the emulator for gaming or for the development purpose.
We have not listed AMIDuOS, Remix OS and Leapdroid in this list. Don’t be surprised! These three top Android emulators (previously recommended) are either shut down or does not provide support anymore. We want you to obtain the best Android emulator for Windows and that’s why we have listed only the emulators which can be fruitful in a longer period. If you still like to avail these three Android emulators, you can avail but we cannot recommend to our readers.
Please provide us with your valuable feedback regarding the article. Also, let us know whether there’s any other emulator we have missed to mention. We will certainly review the emulators of your recommendation and list them if found authentic and stable.