Are Android Emulators really that useful?
Well, whether you are an app developer who wants to test their creation before its release, or a gamer who wants to incorporate a mouse or keyboard into various games, Android emulators may prove to be very helpful in achieving your goals.
Although the process is often difficult and requires technical knowledge, the end result can definitely be worth your while. Keep reading for our list of Android emulators available for Mac and PC use.
Who’s using emulators?
The most common use for emulators today is for gaming. Emulators provide gamers with handy tricks for easier gameplay as well as opens the door to previously inaccessible games on their devices. Most of these tricks are not illegal, making the method hugely popular amongst gamers of all sorts.
Other than gamers, the top use for emulators is for development. To ensure their application’s reliability, android app and game developers often want to test their creations on as many different devices and software as possible.
Lastly, productivity is the third largest use for Android emulators. Although most people would rather purchase a simple and cheap Chromebook for using Android apps, some still prefer their other devices.
If any of these reasons sound like something that relates to you, keep reading for this year’s best Android emulators and where to download them! Starting from the top.
1. Android Studio’s emulator
As the default development console for Android, Android Studio remains highly popular amongst developers. With a convenient built-in emulator, programmers can easily test out their merchandise before putting it onto the market. However, the difficult process of running the emulator can be a drawback for some. The setup tends to be more complicated, and thus we do not recommend this emulator for regular consumers. However, if you are armed with a technological background, this is the emulator for you! Download for FREE on Google Play.
Unlike regular emulators, ARChon is simply a Chrome extension that can easily be downloaded. While it isn’t easy to run this emulator, it does allow Chrome to have the ability to run Android apps and games. However, the process can be pretty tedious. After installing to Chrome, you must load APKs in, and then change the APK in order to increase compatibility. With that said, the fact that this emulator may be used with any operating system that can run Chrome definitely gives it a leg up from the others. Download FREE on GitHub.
Bliss is a unique, amazing option for the tech-savvy once again, fantastic for productivity. Offering both a Virtual Machine install as well as a USB installation, Bliss provides a unique way to access an emulator. The process for a VM install is tedious but simpler of the two. If you choose the USB install, the added complications may be worth your while, as it allows your computer to run Android natively from boot. However, the downside is that your operating system must be compatible in order for Bliss to truly run well. Download for FREE from XDA-Developers.
4. Bluestacks 4
At the top of the list for popularity, Bluestacks provides several incentives targeted mostly towards mobile gamers. Not only is it compatible with both Windows and Mac, but it also remains one of the first working emulators still equipped with well-regulated updates and innovations for improvement. While previous versions proved to contain faulty aspects, Bluestacks 4 depicted improved results. Offering key mapping and settings with the capacity for many games, it allows users to play multiple games at once or the same game multiple times. Recent updates have greatly improved the running speed, making Bluestacks 4 a worthy candidate on this list. Download BlueStacks here!
As a classic Android emulator, Droid4X differentiates itself by providing a simple design that isn’t just for the tech-savvy crowd. Targeting gamers, the emulator features support for casual, simple gaming. However, it can also be used for productivity if the user so chooses. While Droid4X seems like a reliable option, there are several downsides. The creators no longer offer updates or development, and the emulator’s last change was made in 2016. Although it is still available for download, we recommend cautious use as the emulator may be unstable in the current era. Download Droid4X FREE.
Created for app developers, Genymotion allows users to test their software on various devices without actually owning them. Although not recommended for the average consumer to use, Genymotion still offers options for free as a personal use emulator. Compatible with PC, Mac, and Linux, Genymotion allows anyone to switch virtual devices with ease. Download from Genymotion.
As a relatively new emulator for PC, KoPlayer has gone unnoticed by many. However, its lack of popularity does not undermine its value for gamers. Offering key-mapping as well as recording, this handy download allows users to emulate a controller with a simple keyboard and also record and upload gameplay of their choosing. Compared to other emulators on this list, KoPlayer’s install process is relatively easy. Like many other emulators, it runs in a virtual machine. As a gaming emulator, it is also usable for productivity. Download FREE from KoPlayer!
As a recently developed emulator targeted towards gamers, MEmu shows quite a lot of potential. It offers unique support for both Intel and AMD chipsets and also supports Android Jellybean, Kit Kat, as well as Lollipop. Allowing users to run multiple testing programs at once, MEmu can also easily be used for productivity. Download FREE from MEmu.
Nox, like many other Android emulators, largely targets gamers. Its unique features include controller support and allowing users to key-map gesture controls specifically. As an example, a user can easily assign the task to swipe left to the left arrow key and use it without the actual hardware. Support for this emulator can easily be reached, as it is still in active development. Download FREE from Nox!
PrimeOS, unlike others on this list, is not actually an emulator. While at first, it may seem strange that it is included on this list, it actually allows for many of the same functions that an emulator does. After installing, PrimeOS boots up running native Android. Again, it targets gamers but also allows for productivity use. It also allows users to switch between watching video content, playing games, or multitasking between different functions. As a brand-new startup, it holds great promise for gamers around the world. Download FREE from PrimeOS.
Although it is noted for being similar to Android Studio, Xamarin uniquely offers the ability to be plugged into Microsoft Visual Studio for a greater working environment for developers. However, with a seriously tedious setup process, we do not recommend this to anyone but skilled app developers. Although it isn’t as powerful as other emulators, by comparison, Xamarin is still a great, free option on the market. Download directly from Visual Studio.
Although YouWave is considered one of the older emulators offered, its recent updates make it highly relevant in today’s market. While it is compatible with Ice Cream Sandwich with the free version and Lollipop with the paid, both versions are reliable and easy to install. Great for light gaming and productivity, this is an emulator that we would definitely recommend to any consumers. Download from YouWave!
13. Make Your Own
As the name suggests, Make Your Own allows the user to create their own emulator. The first step is to download VirtualBox, which is relatively simple and definitely doable by the average consumer. Then, it requires the user to download an image from Android-x86.org. But from this point forward, it is recommended only for the tech-savvy once more. Creating your own emulator is one of the most difficult tasks on this list, and requires patience as well as skill to successfully accomplish. However, for those who still want to try, it offers the reward of being fully customizable to your desires. Start by downloading VirtualBox.
There you have it! That’s our list of top Android emulators for 2019. Didn’t see your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
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