The best Android PC and Mac emulators (2021)
Today, it is possible to run Android applications on your computer. Whether on PC or Mac, you can install and use ever better Android emulators. However, which one should we turn to? We offer you our selection of the best emulators.
Android emulators have multiplied in recent years. While some industry giants like BlueStacks are well establishing, there are no other alternatives. The majority of these emulators still require a relatively powerful computer to operate.
An emulator can also play games that can only be found on Android (on our tablets or smartphones) to launch applications. Note that some of these emulators integrate application stores, allowing you to download and install all the software of your choice easily.
What is the emulator?
Well, for starters, an emulator, by definition, is a tool that mimics the Android operating system on one’s desktop. The developers design an emulator to help users or developers who want to use Android without going through installation hassle.
It is a program that runs on a computer system by emulating the architecture of the guest’s device. For example, you can quickly get the most out of games like PUBG or Pokemon Go on your PC without having them installed. Cool, right?
Now that we know what this tool is for let’s look at how it helps test apps.
We have seen a sharp increase in the development of mobile applications. Gradually, these mobile applications have arguably become the backbone of our existence and will continue to grow as the use of mobile phones becomes more and more ubiquitous. Whether it’s something as household as buying groceries or recreational activities like playing games, everything is now just a click away.
Speaking of which, for something to work seamlessly, it has to be up to the task. Therefore, each application must undergo a rigorous testing phase to detect anomalies before sending them to users. Thus, for all developers, this is a boon considering how it identifies unexpected or unusual behavior patterns during the testing phase of a mobile app.
Before we jump into the discussion of various emulators, let’s explore how it works and what drives users to opt for such a tool.
An emulator emulates an Android or iOS application or browser on an operating system considered defined, such as Mac and Windows. What it does is that it establishes the virtual hardware conditions of those of an Android or iOS device. Then we use it for testing in addition to debugging. Like everything in this world, an emulator also comes with its fair share of limitations.
We can’t deny the cost of setting up and maintaining an actual lab of Android devices, as it’s not easy to tackle regular maintenance costs in addition to frequent device upgrades. Therefore, online Android and iOS emulators are a popular choice among users, and rightly so!
Let’s get started, folks!
1. BlueStacks: the benchmark Android emulator on PC and Mac
- BlueStacks Optimized for mobile gaming
Even in the face of stiff competition from Nox App Player or KOPlayer, BlueStacks is still a benchmark among Android emulators. It is complete, easy to learn, and translated into French. Completely free, BlueStacks can be downloaded without hesitation to enjoy Android apps and games on your PC.
Despite increasingly stiff competition, BlueStacks remains a benchmark of its kind. Optimized for mobile gaming on our computers, this emulator is today one of the most efficient. The emulator is offered for free and runs today on Android Nougat (7. X).
With just a few clicks, you will be able to quickly and easily install BlueStacks. You can then enjoy the Google Play Store by logging into your Google account. It then gives you access to millions of games and applications. For the most part, they are compatible with the emulator, which makes it a strong argument.
Although specializing in incompatibility with Android games, the emulator has many other advantages on paper. In particular, it offers many configuration options to optimize the virtual machine as much as possible for it to work on your computer. The emulator is free but is remunerated thanks to a system of loyalty points and an integrated house store.
We will also appreciate the interface and easily accessible features such as defining a location or even taking a screenshot. Everything designs for use with the mouse and keyboard.
2. Nox App Player: a competitor who gets better with each update
- Nox App PlayerGoogle services
- French translation
Nox App Player is a solid competitor for BlueStacks and offers a host of options and features to improve performance, record what’s happening on screen, or install new apps in the blink of an eye. It will undoubtedly appeal to its free and the absence of advertisements. A success!
Nox App Player is the biggest competitor to BlueStacks. Like its competitor, it now runs Android 7. It also has the advantage of being extremely comprehensive and offering exciting features. It also makes it possible to run the majority of applications without the slightest problem. Thanks to an optimization allowing it to work on many configurations, it offers an almost perfect experience.
Without any advertising and an intuitive interface, you won’t lose if you are already using Android. In addition, everything is translated into French, giving you easy use of the Nox App Player. Special mention to all the advanced options allowing to adjust the resolution and the allocated RAM, for example, to optimize the emulator as well as possible.
If you are looking for a stable, efficient emulator that gives you many options, Nox App is for you. It is now a must that also includes the Play Store, which allows it to rise to the height of its competitors.
3. Genymotion: the emulator for developers
- GenymotionTailored for Android developers
- A choice between native or cloud version
There is a powerful emulator to test the behavior and performance of Android applications. Among its strengths, we appreciate the many tools dedicated to developers, the intuitive interface, and the many terminals available for download.
Unlike other emulators that target the general public, Genymotion has another target. The French company behind the software is indeed targeting developers. The reason is simple: you can easily emulate many brands of phones. It then allows you to test your application on several devices quickly, without physically owning them.
Its most significant strength is to offer a cloud version in addition to a software version. It is the strong point of the service, compared to its other competitors.
However, this feature is chargeable. Although the service is robust and very functional, it is not free. In exchange for this annual subscription, however, you will be able to enjoy exemplary customer service.
Add to that many configuration possibilities that allow you to test all the features of an application up to simulating SMS, a mobile network, a GPS (and more), and you will get a powerful emulator dedicated to developers.
4. MEmu: the little one who goes up
- Sidebar for keyboard/mouse combo use
MEmu is a great emulator for running your favorite Android games on Windows. It displays good performance and stability during gaming sessions. Excellent free software to discover!
MEmu is an Android emulator somewhat similar to its competitors. It is straightforward to learn and going straight to the point in terms of its functionalities, it will allow you to run all your favorite games and applications on Windows. While in some cases, MEmu may experience some slowdowns, it is still very efficient as a whole if your configuration is powerful enough.
The strong point of this emulator is its stability. Unlike some competitors who may experience a few bugs or crashes when testing applications, MEmu is surprisingly efficient and runs multiple games simultaneously.
The Play Store integrates, and a sidebar gives you easy access to options that then facilitate the use of Android on a computer. Be careful though, MEmu is not compatible with all games.
On several occasions, the installation of specific titles was impossible. The experience is ultimately more like a stock Android than an emulator designed to run on our computers.
5. Phoenix OS, the almost perfect adaptation of Android to the computer
- Phoenix can be used as a keyboard/mouse combo or with a controller
Phoenix OS is an Android-based operating system suitable for PCs and Macs. It offers a simple interface as well as a simple and intuitive window and multitasking management.
Phoenix OS is not an emulator per se. It is an Android-based operating system, and you can install it on a Windows or Mac computer. It has the significant advantage of offering a user experience perfectly designed for our machines and used with keyboard and mouse.
Thanks to complete optimization, you can start on this system in several ways:
- Booting on an external hard drive on which will install the OS.
- Creating a dedicated partition.
- Installing a virtual machine.
At work, it’s important to clarify that Phoenix OS only works on Intel x86 processors, much to the chagrin of AMD setups and some portable setups.
The OS manages to do well with its interface intended for computers and very far from its more traditional competitors. Nevertheless, all the features that we know of Android are present, including the integration of the Play Store.
It makes it possible to have an optimal and remarkably fluid experience, even on high resolutions where performance often limits for conventional emulators. Here, all the power of your machine is put to use, giving you one of the best experiences of Android on a computer.
6. KOPLAYER, the little one who has grown up
- KOPlayerDesigned for computer use
- Native without sacrificing compatibility with Android applications
KOPlayer is one of the long lists of Android emulators for PC. However, it stands out for its excellent performance in games and its stability. To discover for free!
If we could cite KOPLAYER as yet another free Android emulator, it is quite another thing. Thanks to perfect optimization, it is merely one of the best-optimized emulators to run your Android games. By offering you absolute stability, it becomes enjoyable to use KOPLAYER.
The teams also worked on an interface that makes it easy to map all the keys on a keyboard or a controller, making the emulator particularly easy to use. Add to that the support for your webcam or the access to quick control buttons through a toolbar, and you have an emulator that promises to be one of the leaders very soon.
Even on the most demanding games, KOPLAYER has always been very fluid and efficient, offering a practical use of Android even on average configurations.
7. Android Studio: the development kit that can use as an emulator
- Android StudioThe preferred choice for developers
- Quickly switch from one version of Android to another
Available for free, Android Studio is the essential development environment for designing, testing, and improving your apps and tools for Android. It also exists on Linux and macOS.
Android Studio is an SDK (Software Development Kit) available on all operating systems and for free. It is a development kit then allowing developers to have the necessary tools to develop Android applications for Google’s mobile operating system.
Android Studio still incorporates many features if it is not strictly speaking an emulator dedicated to running applications on his computer. The advantage of Android Studio is that you can also switch between versions of Android easily.
After a somewhat complex installation, it then becomes possible to use the integrated emulator functionality to run the applications of your choice. If it works very well, not everything is thoughts for the mobile game, for example. You will then quickly see the limits of using Android Studio as an emulator.
You will understand that running Android applications on your Windows or macOS computer will have many possibilities at your disposal. Android emulators are now very functional and complete to offer you the best possible experience. To go further, you can even turn to an operating system based on Android like Phoenix OS, for example.
We hope that the announcement we have curated will be helpful to you when you decide to choose one for yourself. The best Android PC and Mac emulators in 2022.