Android emulators allow you to run apps on your PC without requiring a mobile device. Emulators can be very useful for testing apps during development or running apps that you want to use with a mouse and keyboard.
One disclaimer that we want to put out is that all Android emulators no longer support the latest versions of Android except ones that are designed for development purposes only. If you are looking for an Android Oreo, Pie, or Nougat emulator it is currently not possible to emulate apps that require any of these operating systems. All apps that require Android 7 or earlier work with existing Android emulators. Here are few top Android emulators for PC that you should check out.
LDPLayer is one of the most popular Android emulators that supports up to Nougat 7.1. It is designed specifically for gamers with features like keyboard mapping, macro usage, high-performance and more. There are plenty of customization options available and you can also change the simulated hardware settings to see how an app or game would perform on various devices.
One of the highlight features is native screen recording which allows you to record your gameplay or app usage to share on social media platforms or create guides for YouTube videos. Keyboard shortcuts are not currently supported when using screen recording which is the only downside we found in the app.
The developers behind the emulator actively update the app to ensure all of the latest Android apps are optimized and run without hiccups. Some of the most popular apps and games you can run on the emulator include Free Fire, Clash of Clans, Black Desert Online, and more.
Android Studio is a developer-centric emulator by Google. It comes with a host of tools that allow developers to test apps and games for Android. It is not meant for end-users and the setup process can be complicated.
One of the biggest reasons why you should use Android Studio is its official support by Google. Patches come to the app very frequently to ensure app developers have the most seamless experience possible. Based on IntelliJ IDEA and live code update support, Android Studio is robust and feature-rich.
If you want to test your own apps this is the best tool out there for you. The emulator also supports Kotlin which is a massive bonus for developers familiar with the platform. Android Studio is completely free and is available from Google’s official Android developer platform. You need to sign up for an Android developer account or use an existing Google account to download the app.
Bluestacks is the most popular name among Android emulators. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS and it is one of the first emulators that was capable of emulating Android apps when Google released its mobile OS.
The free version requires you to install random apps via Bluestacks as part of its sponsorship deals to keep the platform up and running. The system does not get in the way of your user experience but if you want to support the platform there is an optional paid upgrade for $2/month.
You can connect the App Store, Play Store or Amazon Appstore to get access to millions of apps to run on your PC. The setup process is very simple but the initialization takes up to 20 minutes to complete once Bluestacks is installed. Bluestacks is fairly intensive and requires up to 2GB of RAM usage when running resource heavy games.
While Bluestacks can feel bloated due to the overwhelming number of features, getting used to the emulator is not too difficult. You have access to manual key mapping and other consumer-oriented features that make emulation a breeze. It offers both a free version as well as a premium monthly subscription option with added functionality.
Bliss OS is one of the best free Android emulators out there. The project is supported via donations and it gets regular updates to ensure the latest apps and games work flawlessly on your system. You do not even need to have the emulator installed on your computer thanks to a boot-from-USB option allowing you to use the emulator from a USB drive.
Bliss OS works flawless on Windows and Mac OS systems but there have been conflicts when running the OS over a Linux distribution. When it comes to technical requirements, Bliss OS works seamlessly on any hardware. As long as you have 2 GB of RAM and a decent processor, you should be able to run Bliss OS both natively as well as a virtual OS. Configuring and setting up Bliss OS is easy and you use the official installer to setup the OS on a DVD drive, USB drive or as a virtual OS.
In addition to creating a virtual machine on your system, you can also natively boot Android as an OS on your computer. Currently, Bliss OS supports up to Android Oreo for native runtime. We recommend taking a backup of your current OS if you want to use Android as your native OS via Bliss.
GameLoop is a popular gamer-friendly Android emulator that was previously known as Tencent Gaming Buddy. It is the official emulator for Tencent’s games like PUBG, Call of Duty: Mobile, and more. But the optimization is not limited to Tencent’s games alone, you can run all of your favorite apps and games without any stutters or hiccups.
The emulator is very easy to set up even if you are not familiar with how emulation works. With completely remappable controls and a high-performance mode, you should have a great time playing your favorite mobile games. Tencent also supports the app with regular updates and patches to weed out any optimization issues in new games.
These were the top five Android emulators that you can check out whether you are a developer or a gamer. They are very easy to set up and it only takes a few minutes to sideload Android APKs and get them up and running.