This topic will be interesting for game lovers and users who are continuously in search of tech-savvy updates. An emulator is a computer program that emulates another computer program. Hence, emulators make it possible to run macOS on Windows and vice-versa.
What is an Emulator?
The concept of computer emulation is majorly used in the context of computer gaming. It was initially conceived by IBM to run programs designed for their older devices on newer models. However, instead of designing new applications for the new computers, IBM built compatible software and hardware, which clicked instantly as it gave enormous flexibility. Emulation, and emulator, has become a common word in the gaming world. Emulators enable gamers to play old video games on new desktop computers. With the latest technology of smartphones and Android, these are in good demand.
Examples of Emulators
Coming to the emulators, there are many open-source and commercial emulators for all operating systems. Listed here are a few examples:
- Appetize.io is an example of a browser-based emulator that supports iOS apps on any PC.
- Console emulators like the SNES Classic are emulators that help gamers play old video games on modern HD televisions, which is a fantastic flexible attribute.
- Emulators for the PlayStation Portable allows users to play games for other consoles on the PSP.
- PPSSPP is a popular PSP emulator that allows users to play PlayStation Portable games on PC and Android devices.
8 Best Android Emulators for Windows and macOS
Let us see the best android emulators for PC and macOS:
BlueStacks is an American company that was introduced to push mobile gaming to the next level. It is the de-facto Android emulator for gamers. In fact, BlueStacks is the one who spearheaded the Android emulation on PCs. It allows running android apps and games on a desktop. This is the de-facto emulator when it comes to emulating Android. BlueStacks is accountable for almost $30 million in funds from Samsung, Qualcomm, Andreessen-Horowitz, Intel, and others. The emulator is great for gaming and is significantly easy to install and set up. You can either download it from the official website or various online software portals. BlueStacks 4 offers excellent gaming performance, thanks to its low CPU and memory usage. Moreover, it claims to be 6x faster than the latest Samsung Galaxy S9+. Features:
- Customizable gaming controls. Provides support for custom key mapping, which helps users to play mobile games with a keyboard.
- Does not occupy a lot of space in RAM and supports a range of Android games.
- Has experience-enhancing options.
- Offers great graphics.
- Requires no technical knowledge.
- Runs multiple applications and games, simultaneously.
- Supports multiple accounts.
Price: It is an open-source app. The premium version, however, is available for $24 per month.
NoxPlayer is another leading emulator for Android gamers. It gives the best results for massive games like PUBG and Justice League. Users can experience a whole new level of gaming with the NoxPlayer. It is free-to-use and free from sponsored ads. The best part of NoxPlayer is that it allows the users to map keys of the mouse, keyboard, and gamepad. Moreover, users can enhance the features by assigning the keyboard for gestures which makes the experience more interesting. Also, advanced users can adjust the CPU and RAM usage in the settings options. If users are particular about rooting the Android, NoxPlayer facilitates the same. However, NoxPlayer does not allow you to use a lot of apps simultaneously as it puts too much load on the system. Price: Free Features:
- Enables mapping shortcuts on controllers.
- Makes rooting Android easier.
- Powerful operation since it is written in C.
- Users can use open multiple Android windows on a single device.
Genymotion is the most versatile and powerful Android emulator. All gaming enthusiasts love this. However, Genymotion is designed for enabling application developers to enhance testing in a safe and secure virtual environment. Being a versatile Android emulator that Genymotion is, it provides a lot many custom features, such as Disk IO throttling for emulating devices with slow internal storage and Sms & Call that lets you test out how an app reacts to interruptions. With Genymotion, you can emulate more than 3000 Android configurations. You can easily test run an app on multiple Android versions and screen sizes. Features:
- Allows sharing of live demos and monitoring app performance.
- Compatible with test automation tools via ADB .
- Emulate devices with low internal storage.
- Supports high-definition media playback.
- Offers Android as a Service.
Other Supported Platforms: Linux. Price: Ranges between US $136/year - US $412/year.
AMIDuOS is a leading American android emulator that offers seamless integration between Android and the user system. It also supports full screen and the user can run any Android game or app. Features:
- Allows high performance without any limitations.
- Delivers a smooth operation.
- Easy switching between Android and Windows environments.
- Leverages Windows device drivers.
- Straightforward setup.
- Supports 3D acceleration.
Other Supported Platforms: Linux. Price: Free and open-source.
KoPlayer delivers an excellent user experience by providing a quality Android emulation environment on any desktop running Windows or macOS. With the primary aim of “providing a lag-free gaming experience,” KoPlayer is designed with gaming in mind. The Android emulator lets you test a custom ROM you built for an Android device or test an Android app that you’ve been working on for quite some time now. Regardless of that, the best apps that you will experience on your system with KoPlayer are gaming apps. KoPlayer supports a drag-and-drop operation that lets you easily move apps inside the emulated Android device. Features:
- Comes with a built-in video recording feature.
- Supports all peripheral devices, like keyboard, mouse, gamepad, microphone, and camera.
- Prevents most compatibility issues.
- Provides quick access to screen capturing, volume adjustment, resolution.
- Simple to use.
Price: It is an open-source application.
This one is a special Android emulator in the way that it isn’t an application but instead a runtime environment for Google Chrome. That means you can simply emulate and use Android inside your web browser on Windows, macOS, or even Linux. ARChon android emulator is well known for its flexibility. As it runs inside Google Chrome, you can also enjoy it on Chromebooks. Features:
- Enables users to run many Android apps simultaneously.
- Features a quick setup.
- Runs in Google Chrome.
Other Supported Platforms: Linux. Price: It is free and open-source.
AndY is another reputed Android emulator preferred by both gamers and app testers. It provides support for PlayStation and Xbox controllers, which means that you can play your favorite Android games on your desktop with your PS or Xbox controller. Don’t have a controller? Worry not as AndY allows you to use your own smartphone as a joystick. With AndY, you can run all your communication apps from the desktop, whether it be WhatsApp or Viber, or some other. The Android emulator for desktop also updates the users to the latest Android versions. Features:
- App sync to mobile available.
- Get developer support and keyboard mapper with the Enterprise - paid - license.
- Offers full-fledged Android UI.
Price: It is an open-source application.
PrimeOS is very different from a typical Android emulator for PC. It is not just an Android emulator but an entire operating system for desktops. Based on Remix OS , PrimeOS lists among the most feature-rich Android emulators. The Android emulator provides support for keyboard shortcuts and the option to disable multi-window. Being utilized as an operating system, its performance levels are unmatchable by other Android emulators. Features:
- Comes with the usual Android emulation features, like choosing from multiple Android devices, running multiple apps, and downloading apps from the Play Store.
- High performance.
- Provides dual boot facility with a single click.
Price: It is open-source.
Tips Before Using an Android Emulator
- #01 - Always check whether the Android emulator supports the latest version of Android, if not, it may impact user performance.
- #02 - Check if the Android emulator has a customization facility to modify the controls, screen layout, et cetera, as per the requirements.
- #03 - No matter what, it should support a few external devices like a keyboard, mouse, or even IPad for a better gaming experience.
- #04 - Make sure it does have customer care support for resolving queries and/or to resolve technical glitches.
- #05 - Thumb rule for Emulators, always check for the reviews before buying one to avoid any compatible issues later.
Although Android emulation on PC started as a better way to enjoy mobile games, it has now become an essential practice for testing out Android apps with the many Android configurations - such as different Android versions, screen sizes, RAM, and internal storage - easily on a desktop. What is your favorite Android emulator? Think we might have missed on your favorite Android emulator? Let us know via the comments.
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