The Best Android Emulators for PC and Mac
On both PC and Mac, you can install and use Android emulators with increasing performance.
However, which one should I go to? We offer you our selection of the best emulators.
- Why use an Android emulator on your computer
- BlueStacks, the reference Android emulator on PC and Mac
- Nox App Player, a competitor that gets better with every update
- Genymotion, the emulator for developers
- MEmu, the little one who goes up
- Droid4X, the emulator that focuses on simplicity
- Phoenix OS, the almost perfect computer adaptation of Android
- YouWave, the emulator based on optimization
- KOPLAYER, the little one who has grown
- LeapDroid, the emulator bought by Google
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Why use an Android emulator on your computer
For several years, Android emulators have multiplied. If some giants of the sector have been installed for several years as BlueStacks, today there are other alternatives.
Most of these emulators still require a relatively powerful computer to operate.
An emulator can be used to play games that are only found in Android (in our tablets or smartphones), as well as to launch applications.
It should also be noted that some of these emulators integrate application stores, allowing you to easily download and install all the software of your choice.
BlueStacks, the reference Android emulator on PC and Mac
Despite increasingly tough competition, BlueStacks remains a benchmark of its kind. Optimized for mobile games on our computers, this emulator is one of the most powerful today.
The emulator is obviously offered for free and works today in the Android Nougat (7.X).
In a few clicks, you can install BlueStacks easily and quickly. You can then enjoy the Google Play Store by signing in to your Google account. This gives you access to millions of games and applications.
For the vast majority of them, they are compatible with the emulator, which makes it a great argument.
Although specialized in compatibility with Android games, the emulator has many other advantages over paper.
In particular, it offers many configuration options to optimize the virtual machine in the best possible way to run on your computer. Of course, the emulator is free, but you pay with a loyalty points system and an integrated home store.
The interface and easily accessible features, such as the ability to define a location or take a screenshot, are also appreciated. Everything has been designed to be used with the mouse and keyboard.
Nox App Player, a competitor that gets better with every update
Nox App Player is BlueStacks' biggest competitor. Like its competitor, it runs on Android 7 today and has the advantage of being extremely complete and offering interesting features.
It also allows you to run most applications without the slightest problem. Thanks to an optimization that allows it to run in many configurations, it offers a near-perfect experience.
With no advertising and an intuitive interface, you won't get lost if you're already used to using Android. Plus, everything is translated into French so you can easily use the Nox App Player.
Special mention to all the advanced options that allow to adjust the resolution and RAM memory assigned for example to optimize the emulator to the maximum.
If you're looking for a stable, high-performance emulator that offers many options, Nox App is for you. Today it is a must have that also includes the Play Store, which allows you to keep up with your competitors.
Genymotion, the emulator for developers
Unlike other emulators aimed at the general public, Genymotion has another objective. The French company behind the software is indeed targeting developers.
The reason is simple: you can easily emulate many brands of phones. This then allows you to test your application on various devices easily, without physically owning them.
Its greatest strength is to offer a cloud version in addition to a software version. This is the strength of the service, compared to its other competitors. However, this feature is paid for.
Although the service is powerful and very functional, it is not free. However, in exchange for this annual subscription, you will be able to enjoy exemplary customer service.
Add to this many configuration possibilities that allow you to test all the features of an application until simulate SMS, mobile network, GPS (and more) and you will get a powerful emulator, dedicated to developers.
MEmu, the little one who goes up
MEmu is an Android emulator quite similar to its competitors. Very easy to use and going to the basics in terms of features, it will allow you to run all your favorite games and applications on Windows.
If in some cases, MEmu can experience some slowdowns, it is still very powerful if its configuration is powerful enough.
The strong point of this emulator is its stability. Unlike some competitors who may experience some errors or crashes when testing applications, MEmu is surprisingly efficient and even runs several games at the same time.
Of course, the Play Store is integrated and a sidebar allows you to easily access the options that make it easy to use Android on your computer. But be careful, the MEmu is not compatible with all games.
On several occasions, the installation of certain titles was impossible. The experience is finally closer to an Android action than to an emulator really designed to work on our computers.
Droid4X, the emulator that focuses on simplicity
To work, Droid4X is based on VirtualBox. This requires its installation for the emulator to work on your computer.
However, the configuration process is still relatively accessible and in a few minutes, you can get a functional virtual machine that integrates the Google Play Store again.
The emulator is designed to work with the keyboard and mouse, but also connecting a joystick to it.
Interesting additional point, it is possible to use a smartphone (a real one this time) to use it as a game controller thanks to the dedicated application called "Droid4X Controller".
Because it is free, this emulator has managed to win the heart of many players. You will not have problems running all the most popular games such as Clash of Clans or Subway Surfers.
However, keep in mind that in order for it to work properly, you will need a powerful enough configuration.
Phoenix OS, the almost perfect computer adaptation of Android
Phoenix OS is not an emulator in itself. It is an Android based operating system that you can install on a Windows or Mac computer.
It has the great advantage of being able to offer a perfectly designed user experience for our machines and for use with the keyboard and mouse.
Thanks to a complete optimization, you can then boot into this system in several ways: by booting into an external hard disk where the operating system will be installed, by creating a dedicated partition or by installing a virtual machine.
For it to work, it is important to note that the Phoenix operating system only works with Intel x86 processors, to the detriment of AMD and some portable configurations.
With its interface designed for computers and far from its more classic competitors, the operating system manages to do it well. However, all the Android features that we know of are present, including the integration of the Play Store.
This allows for an optimal and particularly smooth experience, even at high resolutions where performance is often limited for conventional emulators.
Here, all the power of your machine is put to use, giving you one of the best Android experiences on a computer.
YouWave, the emulator based on optimization
Rejected in two versions, the YouWave emulator has the merit of being rejected in a free version.
The paid version works with Android Lollipop (5.1.1), while you will have to settle for Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0.4) for its free version. In addition, in exchange for this free version, you will have to accept some integrated ads.
However, the paid version is offered at a relatively interesting price of only $29.99. If YouWave works well on Windows and the optimization is globally good, we will regret that the emulator is not compatible with macOS.
In addition, the interface is a bit limited and outdated. However, we will appreciate the lightness of the free version which is 150MB.
If the software works properly and is very efficient, we will continue to regret that it has not been updated since December 2017.
KOPLAYER, the little one who has grown
If we could cite KOPLAYER as another free Android emulator, it's a totally different matter. Thanks to a very good optimization, it is simply one of the best optimized emulators to run your Android games. Offering a real stability, it makes the use of KOPLAYER very pleasant.
The teams also worked on an interface to easily map all the keys on a keyboard or joystick, which makes the emulator particularly easy to use.
Add to this the support for your webcam or the access to the quick control buttons through a toolbar and you will have an emulator that promises to become one of the leaders very soon.
Even in the most greedy games, KOPLAYER has always been very fluid and powerful, offering even in medium configurations a functional use of Android.
LeapDroid, the emulator bought by Google
Created in 2015, LeapDroid has quickly become one of the best Android emulators. Available at that time on Windows, it was particularly powerful until Google became interested in the project. It is in late 2016 that the emulator disappeared after being bought by Google.
The web giant then made the decision to acquire the company. All the users who still have the files of the emulator can continue running LeapDroid on their computer, but since then, the official website has disappeared.
This has made access to the software much more difficult.
Therefore, LeapDroid was promising and, although it is still functional, it is unfortunately no longer updated after this acquisition.
We can expect to see a new version of the emulator in the future, but Google has erased all traces of this beautiful project.
Android Studio, the development kit that can be used as an emulator.
Available on all operating systems and for free, Android Studio is an SDK (Software Development Kit). It is a development kit that allows developers to have the necessary tools to develop Android applications for the Google mobile operating system.
If it is not strictly speaking an emulator dedicated to run applications on your computer, Android Studio still includes many features. The advantage of Android Studio is that you can also switch from one version to another of Android easily.
After a somewhat complex installation, it is then possible to use the functionality of the integrated emulator to run the applications of your choice.
Although this works very well, not everything is designed for mobile games, for example. Then you will quickly see the user limits of Android Studio as an emulator.
Android emulators are now very functional and complete to give you the best possible experience. To go further, you can even use an Android-based operating system, such as Phoenix OS.
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