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In the past five years, the number of PC users who installed an Android emulator has grown exponentially. As such, the market adapted and developers got busy.
As Android evolved from KitKat to Lollipop to Marshmallow, developers of emulators for Android not only kept up, but even improved their products.
Why Use An Android Emulator?
Presently, emulators have many uses. They could be used by developers testing out apps or website compatibility with different screen sizes on Android without having to use a handful of different devices.
They also see use from owners of iOS or Microsoft Windows smart devices who also want the utility offered by an Android device without having to buy one.
Another reason to use an emulator for Android is because PCs are more advanced than smart devices.
There are Android apps out there with unique utility which do not have a PC equivalent. If PC users want to utilize them on the PC, they can only do so through emulators.
There are currently over a dozen great and reliable names in the online Android emulator for PC world. With positive and negative reviews attached to each of them, users could get confused in regards to which one to choose.
The Tech Exploring team will not take sides and we will only be reviewing our top three picks. Each emulator will cater to a different type of user. Each Android emulator review will point exactly why that emulator fits a particular role better than the other two.
The Gamer – BlueStacks
As any of the emulators for Android that have been around for 5 or more years, BlueStacks has had enough time to become reliable in the service it provides. In regards to apps, the developers of BlueStacks focused more on gaming apps than anything else.
With such a niche specialty, users should expect nothing but flawless runtime and compatibility. BlueStacks delivers all of these expectations.
BlueStacks is available for Windows and Mac as a free online Android emulator. Installing it is simple, easy, and fast. For interested users, a pre-rooted version of BlueStacks also exists.
Apart from its broad app support, BlueStacks will also specialize on the most popular Android games being played, further increasing the reliability it brings as an emulator.
On Microsoft Windows, its integration is almost flawless. BlueStacks can make full use of multiple CPUs and can call upon the resources and features of any dedicated nVIDIA or Radeon video card.
While most Android games are capped at 30fps, BlueStacks along with a powerful video card can give 3D games a shine and level of detail that cannot yet be matched on any Android device.
BlueStacks even added keyboard integration and shortcuts to a plethora of its games. Along with its mouse and game pad support and Android-on-TV capability, this Android emulator for PC can make any Android game feel like a PC or console release.
The Verdict on BlueStacks
It is the verdict of the Tech Exploring team that Blue Stack remains the best Android emulator online for gamers. Be it new or old, 2D or 3D, BlueStacks just manages the entire Android game-verse flawlessly.
Anyone interested can download BlueStacks from their official website.
The Developer – GenyMotion
GenyMotion introduces itself as The emulator for Android to test apps quickly and easily. And after some poking and prodding and a little bit of stress testing, we had no option but to agree with the statement.
Compared to BlueStacks, GenyMotion is much more versatile. Users can still run Android gaming apps on GenyMotion. In fact, users can run almost any Android app on the Google Play Store.
We noticed something interesting about this developer-friendly online Android emulator. After a few hours of heavy use, we felt as if GenyMotion was the operating system we were on. The iOS or Windows we were running it on then felt like the virtual machines.
GenyMotion has the ability to turn into almost any Android device. Looking at the patch notes, the devs are continuing to add more device specs so the list will keep growing.
When becoming a new Android device, the emulator reserves CPU and RAM from the PC’s available resources. It then resizes itself and changes the resolution.
GenyMotion even has camera integration with laptops. We could not get all external webcams to work but right now that could be due to some issues with Microsoft Windows 10 drivers. All the laptop webcams worked perfectly with GenyMotion.
The Verdict on GenyMotion
It was uncanny to set the emulator to one of the oldest devices we could find while on a new i7 machine. We really felt the difference in loading times in and out of the app.
If you want to try out this emulator for Android, download GenyMotion from their official website.
The Socialite – Andy
We saved the best for last and we do mean that from an entirely objective point of view. While BlueStacks does gaming flawlessly and GenyMotion does developing without a hitch, Andy is the Android online emulator that does a little bit of everything.
Out of the three, Andy is also the newest Android emulator for Windows. And newer software on an older market always comes with a little bit of good and a little bit of bad.
Currently, the bad parts about Andy are that its developers did not have the time and experience to optimize it as much. There’s always that unexpected but understandable rough edge during the smooth sailing that it provides, like many other emulators for Android.
The good parts are based on Andy’s platform and that in order to stay ahead of the game, its developers brought something new and interesting to an older design.
Andy runs games. It does not have the extra features that BlueStacks have because those features were developed by BlueStacks. What Andy has, however, is the neat little addition of allowing users to utilize their mobile phone as a game controller for the game they are playing.
Honestly, the first ten minutes feel a little bit clunky but it feels and it looks very cool. If nothing else, Andy does get the points for fitting in this particular feature into so many popular gaming apps.
Andy also runs Clash of Clans better than BlueStacks and the team is curious to see how the new patch will affect Pokémon Go.
Andy has the newest core Android of the three. While GenyMotion strives to be as many devices as it possibly can, Andy chooses to be itself – an Android emulator for PC. The resolution and graphics feel just right. There are no compatibility issues between the OS and the software.
Andy’s web browser and Google search are just as quick as GenyMotion’s.
The Verdict on Andy
At the start of Andy’s review, we objectively called it the best Android emulator among the three. Although it is the youngest it has the potential to surpass the others. If it continues to add fun gaming features, it will definitely dethrone BlueStacks.
If you want to download and try out Andy, you can do so from Andyroid.net.
The Tech Exploring team was not able to settle on just one emulator. Out of the ones we tried out, these three won our hearts and respect. We are definitely interested to see in what direction Andy’s developers are willing to take it.
As previously mentioned, the best Android emulator for Windows is the one that gives its user what they want most. Be it gaming, development, just socializing, or any mix of the three, there is something out there for everyone.