Android has now become a part of everyone’s life. The OS which was released a decade ago now powers more than 95% of the total smartphones. But that’s not the end of it. Android is now installed in almost all the in-car navigation systems and on many smart devices like refrigerators, Smart TVs etc. This brings us to the topic for today which is to try and find the best Android Emulators for Windows and Mac. The list will consist of both Free Android Emulators and Paid Android Emulators. Before moving forward, let’s introduce our test setup for this review. We have used an HP Pavilion laptop powered by 6th-gen Intel i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, and 1 TB HDD.
For those who are wondering why do we need Emulators, head below to understand some of the reasons why you should use Android Emulators.
- App developers use emulators to test their application before shipping it out.
- Emulators provide a better gaming experience because of the availability of a mouse and keyboard.
- You can configure the hardware specifications on emulators depending on your needs and the emulator capacity. You can configure RAM, OS version, SD Card existence, SD Card size, etc.
- Android emulator provides a workaround for people who don’t have an Android phone or high-end Android device.
Since you now know where Android Emulators can come handy so without further ado let’s get into different emulators.
Bluestack is one of the most popular Android Emulator till date and is my favorite as well. It is also one of the widely used Emulator for PC right now. It comes with Google Play installed so you can easily download any app directly from the Play Store and use it. The emulator also supports rotation and comes with Twitch live stream for gamers and you can use Bluestack TV to steam on Facebook.
The emulator, however, is losing its value due to the intense competition present right now and the extreme amount of ads present in the Emulator. Nevertheless, Bluestack is still one of the best emulators to work with right now and you can download the free version from the link below.
Download: (Free version, $3.33/month premium version)
Nox Player is another very popular emulator for PC. It has been crafted specifically for gamers and has some amazing features. The UI of the emulator is little different from others but you will get a hang of it once you start using it. Nox also comes with Google Play installed so you don’t need to worry about apps and has a file explorer in case if you want to install any APK file.
Apart from this, the emulator also comes with options to simulate touch or gestures and an option to record the screen so that it can be shared or played later. To amaze you further, it comes with a rooted version of Android out-of-the-box. Also, the multiplayer feature lets you run multiple instances of Android at the same time.
Remix OS Player
This is the latest addition to the list of emulators currently available. The emulator runs on Marshmallow instead of Lollipop or Kit Kat. It also supports both Mac and Windows and can be used without going through a hassle of installing it. The UI of Remix OS is great and it supports Google Play so you can directly download apps and games. The one thing I really liked about Remix OS is the ability to map keyboard keys for touch-based games so that you don’t have to go through the hassle of using mouse taps to interact with the game or app. The only downside of Remix OS is the inability to run on AMD chipsets as it requires Intel Virtualisation Technology enabled from BIOS.
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Xamarin is a relatively new addition to this list. It is an IDE like Android Studio. The difference is that it can be used with things like Microsoft Visual Studio. Also like the Android Studio, this comes with a built-in emulator for developers. It’s for developers only unless you feel like setting up an entire development environment to use it. It’s free for personal use. Companies and larger teams may have to negotiate a payment plan.
Genymotion is another very powerful emulator for Android. It can emulate almost every single Android device available in the market right now. The emulator restricts the use for free users and one has to buy the premium version to get all the features. Also, the emulator doesn’t come with Google Play integration so that might prove to be a deal-breaker for some users.
Nevertheless, it is an amazing Android emulator with advanced features like OpenGL and Hardware Acceleration support. Also, make sure your device supports Intel virtualization technology before buying the full version.
Download: (Free for non-commercial use only)
AMIDuOS is developed by an American company and if you’re an AMD user then you might consider skipping this since AMIDuOS requires Intel virtualization technology and Microsoft .Net Framework 4.0 and above to work perfectly. Also, it ships with Amazon’s Store instead of Google Play Store which might be another deal-breaker for some users. Although, you can download and install APK files on the emulator.
AMIDuOS is powered by Android 5.1 which is kinda old right now. The emulator supports gamepads and external devices however it misses the option to map keyboard keys. Also, the emulator has built-in root privilege which is a bonus.
Download: (30-day free trial, $15 Full version, $10 Lite version)
The emulators mentioned above are the best among the best emulators available in the market right now. They all are equally good and the final decision goes into the hands of the person who’s going to use it. Everyone has their own requirements which bring us to the point that you have to basically compare and see which of the emulators suits you the best. That being said, you have to understand that you can’t find everything in a single software and hence you have to get your priorities straight. Also, we don’t recommend using two emulators at a time since they might conflict with each other causing the system to become unstable.
We recommend you to download the trial/free versions of these emulators and test them before going for the premium version. This will give you a hang of whether your PC/Mac will be able to run the emulator smoothly.
You can also have a look at Top 5 Playstation Emulators for Android