Best Android emulators on PC

Android emulators are programs that run applications and games from the mobile platform on personal computers running the Windows and Mac OS operating systems.


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This is a convenient and simple way to use familiar programs on powerful computer hardware, especially when it comes to modern mobile games.

Let's consider several Android emulators for Windows: BlueStacks, NoxPlayer, Andy, MEmu Play, Genymotion, GameLoop, etc. We will try to highlight the key features and competitive advantages of each of them.

Installing an Android emulator on a PC

Prior to installation, you need to download the distribution from the official developer's website or a trusted resource. Usually, this is an installation file with the extension "program_name.exe".

The official emulator website also specifies the minimum and recommended system requirements for running it on a PC. Below, you can find average data for all the programs mentioned in this material.

Minimum Recommended
Operating system Microsoft Windows 7 Microsoft Windows 10
Processor Dual-core 64-bit with virtualization support Quad-core 64-bit with virtualization support
RAM 4 GB 8 GB
Graphics card Intel UHD Graphics 610 Intel UHD Graphics 750
Hard disk space 5 GB or more without swap file -
Drivers latest version -


Follow the instructions before installation - choose the installation path, check the option to create shortcuts in the taskbar/desktop, and wait for the process to complete.

BlueStacks

The most popular Android emulator for PC, created in 2011 in Silicon Valley. Initially, the program was designed as a cross-platform player.

Today, BlueStacks is the market leader, supported and developed by a team of over 400 specialists. The client base has 500 million users in 200 countries around the world.

It is presented in two versions - BlueStacks 5 and BlueStacks X. The first one is a fast and optimized launcher for Android apps and games.

Bluestack App Player for Windows

The second one is a launcher for launching Android apps using hybrid cloud. Unlike classic cloud computing, BlueStacks X is based on artificial intelligence, allowing you to choose how to launch the app - locally or from the cloud. This eliminates the need to download games to your PC, which is especially relevant for laptops and computers with limited storage.

Most users prefer using the classic BlueStacks 5.

As for advantages over competitors:

  • By optimizing the program, it consumes 50% less RAM, allowing you to run two or more windows;
  • In multi-window mode, BlueStacks reduces CPU and GPU usage by up to 87%;
  • The library of games and apps exceeds 2 million;
  • The emulator remains stable even with 6-8 hours of use;
  • Manual frame rate adjustment is supported.

BlueStacks is versatile and offers fine-tuning of controls for each application or game. The ECO feature is available, reducing resource consumption on low-performance systems. The emulator is GDPR certified, ensuring user data security.

NoxPlayer

NoxPlayer is an Android emulator designed as a soft player and developed by a team of enthusiasts from Hong Kong. As of 2022, the user base has exceeded 150 million worldwide.

Its key feature is optimization for gaming applications. It is a smooth and performance-stable emulator. The settings include an option for root access, where you can allocate additional CPU cores and define RAM capacity.

It offers the ability to freely remap control keys, create detailed and complex macros, as well as connect and configure gamepads, steering wheels, and pedals.

Despite this, the program supports running regular apps with full functionality. NoxPlayer implements all modern smartphone features such as zoom, slide, shake, screen rotation, etc.

If needed, you can choose the resolution of the most popular Android smartphones and tablets, set your own resolution, and select the graphics engine (OpenGL, OpenGL+, and DirectX).

The emulator is free and does not have a paid subscription. This is both a plus and a minus of the program - periodically, users will see pop-up ads in the upper right corner of the screen.

In 2021, a critical vulnerability was found in the emulator, and some users' devices were infected with Malware, but the developers promptly fixed the issue. Moreover, it had no impact on the majority of users. This case was the only known security issue with the program.

MEmu Play

MEmu Play is a partially free emulator for Windows computers that allows you to run most apps from the Google Play Store. It does not require a physical smartphone to work.

The emulator falls under the adware category - it distributes advertising materials inside the program, allowing developers to monetize it while users can use the software for free.

Additionally, two advertising shortcuts are fixed at the bottom of the desktop for monetization purposes.

Partially free MEmu Play emulator

Advantages of MEmu Play include:

  • Performance on par with BlueStacks and NoxPlayer, with screen recording capability;
  • Support for keyboards, mice, gamepads, as well as detailed key and control customization;
  • The presence of a "File Explorer" for installing apps from APK files and viewing files through the emulator;
  • Multi-window function and geolocation spoofing for augmented reality games.

One drawback is relatively high CPU and GPU requirements if stable 60 FPS is desired in modern resource-intensive games.

LDPlayer

LDPlayer is a free Android emulator for Windows developed by the Chinese company XuanZhi. It supports game downloads from Google Play Store, AMD AppZone, and Amazon Appstore.

For virtualization, it uses Oracle VM VirtualBox, which requires a compatible central processor to run the program on a PC.

The advantages of LDPlayer are:

  1. Full localization in Russian, including reference materials on the official developer's website. There is a VKontakte group for user communication and support.
  2. The emulator comes with Google Play and its own app store. This allows running apps without connecting a Google account, enabling app usage without a smartphone.
  3. Support for keyboard and mouse, customization of complex macros. For shooters, presets for settings and controls are provided, including support for gamepads.
  4. The settings include the option to allocate additional CPU and RAM resources to enhance emulator performance. Root access is available.
  5. Running multiple synchronized windows and resource allocation among them.

In comparison with competitors, LDPlayer works great on low-performance PCs and laptops, but detailed configuration may be required to achieve maximum FPS in games. Otherwise, LDPlayer is one of the "lightest" Android emulators for gaming.

GameLoop

GameLoop is an emulator from Tencent, a conglomerate focusing on online games, social networks, and advertising. Despite the company's activity being concentrated in mainland China, the emulator is localized and freely available in Russia and the CIS countries.

The primary task of the emulator is to run demanding and resource-intensive Android games on a PC, such as PUBG Mobile, Free Fire, Call of Duty, Genshin Impact, etc. The ability to install apps is severely limited, especially for inexperienced users. It is better to choose another program for these purposes.

The emulator lacks extensive settings like BlueStacks, but it ensures high performance through code optimization and resource allocation. The developers believe that technical superiority outweighs austerity and minimalism. The program has its own game store.

GameLoop supports game recording with subsequent streaming to Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook.

The software allows you to choose HD, Full HD, Ultra HD, or other custom resolutions to achieve the desired number of FPS, which depends solely on your PC's performance.

Andy

Andy Player is a free minimalist and easy-to-use emulator for virtualizing Android applications. During installation, it offers to install the Opera browser and third-party antivirus, but you can decline. It presents a clean Android interface with limited fine-tuning.

The emulator comes with the pre-installed Play Market and supports most apps, except for modern 3D games. You can also download apps directly from the browser on your PC.

It is recommended for use when a simple and accessible emulator is needed for working with Android applications and basic games like Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, Fruit Ninja, etc.

Genymotion

Genymotion is an Android emulator used for app development and testing. It is positioned as professional software. It supports various versions of the operating system and devices.

You can launch the program through cloud services, but this feature is only available in the paid version. All screen sizes on different platforms are available, including AWS, Google, MS Azure, and Alibaba.

The official emulator website also lists the minimum and recommended PC system requirements for running it. The table below provides average data for all the programs mentioned in this material.

Minimum Recommended
Operating system Microsoft Windows 7 Microsoft Windows 10
Processor 2-core 64-bit with virtualization support 4-core 64-bit with virtualization support
RAM 4 GB 8 GB
Graphics card Intel UHD Graphics 610 Intel UHD Graphics 750
Hard disk space 5 GB or more without swap file -
Drivers latest version -


Before installation, follow the instructions - choose the installation path, select the option to create shortcuts in the taskbar/on the desktop, and wait for the process to finish.

PrimeOS

One of the current Android-based operating systems, exclusively oriented towards gamers. It is similar to Phoenix OS but can run and function properly even on low-performance PCs with 32-bit processors.

Three versions of the system have been developed:

  1. PrimeOS Mainline 64 bit - for devices based on Intel and AMD processors that support SSE2 instructions.
  2. PrimeOS Standard 64 bit - for computers and laptops with 2nd to 4th generation Intel processors.
  3. PrimeOS Classic 32 bit - for weak PCs based on components released before 2011.

To assess the capabilities of PrimeOS, it can be run in LiveCD mode without direct installation on the hard drive. For a full installation, Windows Installer and ISO Image are provided.

Visually, PrimeOS is a minimalist system that presents familiar PC windows and a taskbar. The system is optimized for both keyboard and mouse input as well as touch input. Some applications and games come preinstalled in the system by default.

Phoenix OS

Phoenix OS is a free customized Android-based operating system. It is specifically designed for use on personal computers with a familiar desktop interface for users.

It features a Windows-like desktop, a proprietary Start menu, and a taskbar, but users can switch to classic Android settings if desired.

Notable features of the system include:

  • clean and flat design;
  • built-in file manager;
  • support for NTFS HDD and SSD;
  • availability of Russian language for the interface.

In 2022, the official Phoenix OS website is no longer functional, but installation files are still available on software internet portals. The OS based on 7.1 and 5.1 is available for installation as a Windows installer and as a bootable ISO image.

There are also many other emulators familiar to many people: Leapdroid, AMIDuOS, Droid4x, KoPlayer, etc. Some of them are no longer supported, while others lack competitive advantages and fail to run modern games. The emulators mentioned in this article are sufficient to meet the needs of both undemanding users and avid gamers.

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