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8 Best Android App Emulators for Windows

Author:

From mobile phones and tablet PCs to OS, I like to write in-depth information, guides, reviews and tutorials.

Android app emulators for Windows lets you test-drive Android applications on your PC. You may have experimented with an application that comes bundled with a software development kit. But third-party apps offer the best simulation experience.

Third-party Android emulators run the latest games launched on Google Play, or allow budding developers to experiment with their brand new app. Here’s a rundown of some of the best Android emulators on Windows.

1. BlueStacks

One of the first Android emulators for Windows PC, Bluestacks has become a household name for gamers and emulator enthusiasts alike. You can run your favorite apps and games on this emulator and with so many gamer-focused features, it surely is the first choice among people who love playing their favorite Android games on PC.

BlueStacks Android Emulator

BlueStacks Android Emulator

Bluestacks’ most useful feature is its graphics engine mode. You can find the Engine tab under “Settings”. With a separate graphics mode, the emulator ensures smoother performance for both normal and graphically demanding Android games.

Most games will run without any problems in performance mode. However, the emulator may prompt you to switch to compatibility mode for certain games with advanced graphic architecture.

“GPU settings” is crucial for those who have a dual GPU laptop (a laptop with integrated graphics and discrete/dedicated graphics card). Under this setting, you can switch to a dedicated GPU for a lag-free gaming experience. Please note that switching to dedicated GPU may affect your laptop’s overall performance.

Graphics settings under "Engine"

Graphics settings under "Engine"

For NVIDIA-powered gaming laptops, all you have to do is check the box under Settings > Engine > GPU Settings to switch to dedicated GPU for an FPS boost or if you want to play a game at higher settings. However, for AMD-powered laptops, switching to discrete GPU is not as easy as it seems, especially when you have the latest Adrenaline 2020 edition.

You may have noticed that the switchable graphics option is missing in the AMD Radeon settings. Read this guide to solve the switchable graphics problem on your AMD laptop.

Bluestacks’ newest version is loaded with excellent gamer-friendly features, such as the “Eco Mode”, which can reduce system resource usage when performing several summons/rerolls at the same time through the emulator’s multiple instance feature. An emulator can be a resource-hogger when running multiple instances of the same game from different accounts. With Eco mode turned on, it will reduce your PC’s memory consumption, thereby ensuring smoother running of multiple instances for faster summons in Gacha games.

Bluestacks also lets you enable Shooting mode that offers higher precision and faster response time while playing competitive shooting games.

If you are looking for a complete Android app and gaming experience on your PC, then you must download this emulator from Bluestacks.com

Minimum System Requirements

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 and above.

Processor: Intel or AMD Processor.

RAM: At least 2GB of RAM.

Storage: 5GB Free Disk Space.

Graphics: Up to date graphics drivers.

You must be an Administrator on your PC.

2. LD Player

LD Player is quite user-friendly, lightweight and probably one of the fastest Android app emulators you may have ever come across. It starts up pretty fast, quite faster than BlueStacks on my AMD-powered laptop. The latest version of the emulator runs on Android 7.1 (Nougat).

LD Player UI

LD Player UI

Most of the apps run without hiccups. I played NetEase games’ competitive shooter “Badlanders” on LD Player and it ran smoothly without any problems.

Playing Badlanders game on  LD Player

Playing Badlanders game on LD Player

The emulator has its own app store named “LD Store”, but you may choose the Google Play Store to download and install your favorite apps.

LD Player has a minimalist setup, unlike a feature-heavy Bluestacks. All options are neatly tucked to the right side of the emulator screen. If you are not into live streaming and only want to record gameplay footage, then LD Player’s “video recorder” would be sufficient for your “Let’s Play” YouTube videos.

Key mapping is easy to set up. Just click on the keyboard icon on the right side of the screen, drag icons on the left and save your setup.

The emulator also offers multi-instance synchronizer that makes rerolling in Gacha games much faster and easier.

LD Player’s no-frills approach in providing a seamless Android gaming experience on PC will surely appeal to many gamers. You can get this emulator from www.ldplayer.net

Minimum System Requirements

Operating System: Windows XP XP3 / Win7 / Win8 / Win8.1 / Win10

Processor: Intel or AMD CPU Processor x86 / x86_64

Graphics Driver: Up to Date Windows DirectX 11 / Graphic driver with OpenGL 2.0

Storage: 36 GB of free hard disk space

RAM: 2GB of system memory

3. Gameloop

Tencent’s Gameloop is highly focused on gaming. You can call it a pure Android gaming emulator for Windows PC. It has its own AOW Engine that guarantees smoother performance in games, especially games like Call of Duty: Mobile.

When you run an app, a new AOW engine-powered window opens on the screen. The new window has keymapping, multi-window and allows you to capture gameplay footage through its built-in screen recorder. It also has a separate tab for live streaming where players can watch live gameplay videos on NimoTv and NoNo Live.

This emulator is heavily optimized for games like CoD Mobile. Of all emulators, Gameloop ran this game without any problems and the gameplay was much smoother than expected.

Playing CoD Mobile on Gameloop

Playing CoD Mobile on Gameloop

Most of the games featured on the Gameloop app store aka “Game Center” are heavily optimized for smoother gameplay, and the keyboard controls are already mapped on the screen. You won’t have to do anything, unless you want to customize the keymapping preset setup. Just tap on the keyboard icon on the right side of the screen to enable keymapping mode and view/customize your current game’s on-screen keyboard setup.

The PUBG-exclusive emulator has expanded its Game Center to other genres besides competitive shooting/battle royale. You can browse games from various genres, such as strategy, RPG, auto-battlers, MOBA, FPS etc. However, there are still a limited number of games featured on Game Center. You won’t find the Google Play Store anywhere on this emulator.

Games featured on the emulator’s Game Center run super smooth on this emulator. Select “Smart Mode” under Settings > Engine and Gameloop will choose the best possible settings for a smoother gameplay performance.

Select Smart Graphics mode for optimal performance.

Select Smart Graphics mode for optimal performance.

However, the minimum system requirements to run this emulator is on the higher side. You might run your favorite games on a low-spec rig, but you will have to tinker with the settings a lot to ensure smoother gameplay. You can download the emulator from the official site Gameloop.fun.

Minimum System Requirements

Operating System: Windows 7 (64 Bit), Windows 8.1 (64 bit), Windows 10 (64bit)

Processor: Intel 3.3 GHz or AMD 3.0 GHz

Graphics: NVIDIA or AMD Radeon (DirectX-11 compliant with 1GB of VRAM)

Storage: 1GB of free storage

Memory: 3 GB RAM

4. MeMuPlay

MeMuPlay is another lightweight and fast emulator like LD Player with an almost identical set of options on the right side of the screen.

MemuPlay’s interface is pretty slick and minimalist. Soon after installing it, you will notice only a few essential services such as Google Play and some tools. There are a few recommended games on the bottom, which you may or may not choose to install. The emulator just recommends those games, and they are not installed automatically. Ads may appear on the middle of the screen as soon as the emulator loads or after you close an app.

Playing Asphalt 8 on MeMuPlay

Playing Asphalt 8 on MeMuPlay

Only the most important options are displayed on the right side of the screen. These include a multi-instance manager for opening multiple instances of a game from different accounts for faster and easier summons in Gacha games and a GPS app to change regions when playing games like Pokémon Go.

There’s also a key mapping option that also lets you set proper movement, skill casting and other important keyboard controls on the screen for MOBA games like Arena of Valor and Vainglory. Besides the MOBA mode, there’s a standard keyboard mapping option that lets you set keyboard controls for shooting games.

I love how the settings menu is uncluttered. Under “Engine” > “Performance”, you will have only those options that ensures smoother performance, making it less confusing for newbies.

"Engine" settings can be very useful for those who have a low-spec laptop. You can set the RAM usage as per your system’s specs in presets, select the render mode and optimize GPU memory to reduce GPU memory usage.

The settings menu will suit most gamers who are in need for a gaming-focused Android emulator. MeMuPlay can smoothly run on a low-specs laptop, although there will be stutters and low performance for graphically demanding games.

MeMuPlay's Graphics Settings

MeMuPlay's Graphics Settings

The official site for downloading MeMuPlay is www.memuplay.com

Author’s Note: When running the MeMuPlay installer, your PC’s antivirus software may warn you about a potential malware. After downloading the installer from the official site, I could not run it as Windows Defender alerted me with this message:

Potentially unwanted app.

While the threat was labeled Low under “Virus and Threat Protection”, I was a bit apprehensive about installing this app. But I went ahead and chose “Allow on Device” under Virus and Threat protection as I wanted to test how good this emulator is.

MeMuPlay Malware Warning

MeMuPlay Malware Warning

MeMuPlay’s official blog states that their app is safe and is verified by major anti-virus software companies. While the threat alert could be a false alarm, I noticed ads pop up on the home screen when I close an app. Could the alerts get triggered because of these ads (adware)? Post your thoughts in the comments section and let me know what do you think about MeMuPlay.

Minimum System Requirements:

Operating System: Win XP SP3 / Win7 / Win8 / Win10 (Server/Enterprise Edition not recommended)

Processor: Dual core x86/x86_64 Processor (Intel or AMD CPU)

Graphics Driver: Latest Windows DirectX 11 / Graphics driver with OpenGL 2.0

Storage: 5GB of hard disk free space

RAM: 2GB of RAM (4GB for x64 systems)

5. MuMu App Player

Like Tencent, NetEase Games has launched its own Android app emulator for Windows PC. Named MuMu (Not to be confused with MeMu), this emulator has a simple, albeit unique interface. Instead of having options on the right side of the screen, Mumu App Player’s options are on the bottom of the screen.

Only the most essential options are listed on the bottom of the screen. These are: Keymapping, Gamepad Controls, Shared Folder etc. Clicking on the keymapping option will bring essential keyboard controls on the top of the screen. Again, the number of keyboard controls are very minimal compared to other emulators.

Developers have listed only the most important on-screen keys used by most gamers for shooters and MOBA games, ensuring a simple, no-nonsense keyboard layout. There’s also “Smart Cast” for casting skills in MOBA games and a camera that will let you set keys for 360-degree rotation in 3D games.

MuMu App Player

MuMu App Player

Mumu App Player lets you install games and apps from the Google Play Store, which can be found in the tools folder. You can switch from DirectX to OpenGL (Compatibility) or vice versa in the settings menu if a game does not run or choose a CPU and Memory preset out of 3 (Low, Medium, High) for better performance in games.

The emulator also has a unique “Accelerate” mode that will optimize shaders and textures to ensure smoother performance. You can disable accelerate if it affects display.

If you are installing MuMu App Player for the first time, then the game will prompt you to download and install its software package named “NemuBox”. This isn't a promotional application, but a basic application based on VirtualBox, an open-source software which lets the user run another OS (Android) on their Windows PC/MacOS. You won’t be able to run MuMu if you skip installing NemuBox.

Visit mumuglobal.com to get the MuMu App Player for your PC.

Gangstar Vegas on MuMu App Player

Gangstar Vegas on MuMu App Player

Minimum System Requirements

Operating System: Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Windows 10

Processor: x86/x86_64 Processor (Intel or AMD CPU)

Graphics: Up to date Graphic driver with OpenGL 2.0

Storage: Minimum 2GB free storage

RAM: 2GB

6. Andyroid

Andy Android emulator will run any app on your Windows PC provided you have a decent rig. Built on the Oracle VM VirtualBox, this emulator is fully customizable and will run smoothly on modern PCs. The makers of Andy have also launched an application that turns your Android tablet or Smartphone into a controller. Just download the app and play your favorite games on your PC wirelessly.

Downloading and installing Andy setup will take time. Before installation, check whether your PC meets Andy’s requirements. Andy is CPU-intensive software and requires a minimum of 3GB RAM and 20 GB of hard disk space. Your PC should have a dual-core CPU that supports virtualization technology. Make sure you have enabled Vt-x in the BIOS.

In case you want to uninstall this emulator, just manually delete Andy folders located in C:/Program Files. Simply using the emulator’s uninstaller won’t remove it completely. After deleting all folders, make sure you use CCleaner’s registry cleanup tool to remove any traces of this software.

Andy Android Emulator

Andy Android Emulator

7. YouWave

YouWave supports apps built for Android 2.3 devices and performs exactly like your phone or tablet. It can rotate the screen and play multiplayer games. It simulates memory card functionality, allowing users to save their game in the same way they would do in an actual device.

This Android app emulator for Windows has a built-in application store that lets you search for a game or software and download it to your PC. However, there are some apps you can't download because of limitations in the software. The app player can’t play Angry Birds, or any other applications that have ARM native code and run on devices powered by ARM processors. Nor does YouWave support applications that require hardware sensors.

You can try YouWave for a few days, but to get the full version you have to buy an activation key. While the program is good for trying out simple apps, I would recommend BlueStacks if you want a complete Android emulation experience.

YouWave

YouWave

8. GenyMotion

GenyMotion comes bundled with a virtual machine, Oracle VM VirtualBox, but you can download and install both separately. Installation is easy and so is the configuration, but before downloading, you will need to register with the site. You may also need to sign-in with your credentials to authenticate with GenyMotion Cloud before running apps via its virtual device.

After downloading and installing GenyMotion, you will have to sign up with the official website. Without signing up, you can’t use this emulator. While entering details, such as your email, user-name and password, make sure you choose gaming, since you won’t be using it for commercial purposes. For other purposes, you may have to purchase a license to use GenyMotion.

Once you have signed up and activated the emulator, sign in to GenyMotion and choose “Personal”. This way, you can use it for free without purchasing a license.

Choose Personal to use the emulator for free

Choose Personal to use the emulator for free

After installation is complete, setup a device from several Android-powered devices, ranging from Samsung to Google Pixel. Select a device and the emulator downloads it for you before you can start using it.

Choose from various devices to start using GenyMotion emulator

Choose from various devices to start using GenyMotion emulator

GenyMotion can’t run all 3D games. Graphically-intensive games like Temple Run may crash on PCs and laptops that don’t have CPU virtualization technology (Intel VT – X or AMD V). There are also complaints of games crashing because the app player does not support the X-86 architecture. However, basic apps run smoothly. It can be of immense use to app developers as there are more than 10 virtual devices, test configurations, and seamless integration with Eclipse and Android Studio. You can download the app player from Genymotion.com.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Comments

Sei Chele on September 12, 2017:

why does not support Intel G33/G31 Chipset Family

please help me

Bert Danas from PI on April 01, 2016:

You need at least 2gb ram to run Bluetacks.

Btw, there are new Chinese emulators like Nox and Droid4X.

sanee on December 09, 2015:

i have 1gb ram which emulator will run on my pc

Jose Juan Gutierrez from Mexico City on November 23, 2015:

I`ve been trying to use the emulator that comes within Android studio, but I can not get it to work. I`m going to try bluestacks. Thank for the information.

ajay kc on September 22, 2015:

clash me cannto be install on my laptop by blustack can you help me to install it

AllMightyMixer on June 26, 2015:

I'm using Bluestacks but I don't have the same cool interface as in the article. Why?

asmaulhusna561 on May 28, 2015:

can we use whatsapp ,instagram with amidous or jar of beans?

and it runs fast?

GasparIlom on May 06, 2015:

any of this provide ARM support apps

Asterix on March 07, 2015:

Any emulator which supports screen rotation and works on 512mb ram.....

?_?If you answer then thanks in advance....:-)

Rajesh Bhuin from India on October 19, 2014:

I used the blue stacks android emulator app on my PC. It was pretty good, but every app was not supported.

Anurag (author) on July 24, 2014:

No I don't think so.

tejas sondule on July 24, 2014:

dude will i be able to run jar of beans without graphic card will i be able to

Androidlover on June 27, 2014:

A used bluestack before and now i deleted it because it's too big and getting slower on my pc.. I want an Android Emulator on my PC that is simple yet very useful. I wil give a try for jar of Bean

nousinfosystems on March 17, 2014:

this is brilliant hub! hey anurag do you know that I have used bluestacks when I didn't have android mobile and played lot of games on my PC but some of my friends had no clue.. and the first time I'm hearing this 'Jar of Beans' in the above list!

asijit on March 02, 2014:

my bluestacks is not workin now.. its show loading and loading. and i uninstall it. but whan i install blule stak again isn't installing. can tell me what happened..

Anurag (author) on February 12, 2014:

Thank you.

John Fox from Richmond, VA on February 11, 2014:

Used Bluestacks a little bit in the past wasn't all that great but maybe I configured something wrong. Thanks for the hub! Voted up and following!

Danomite on February 09, 2014:

Bluestacks and Samsung T500 tablets and others with Atom processors are not performing well at all. Beta-2 shows promise from what I read but only time will tell.

Shivam on February 07, 2014:

How to use what's app on jar of beans

In play store it says that version is not capable of the software

Anurag (author) on January 17, 2014:

@Akash I don't think it will be able to play graphic-heavy games without a graphics card. Even in my laptop (which has an on-board graphics card), all visually-demanding games crashed, except for a few, such as Clash of Clans.

Anurag (author) on January 17, 2014:

@ashish It seems Jar of Beans has been discontinued. You can try others mentioned in this list. All are free to download.

ashish norbert on January 17, 2014:

will jar of beans work without graphic card???????????//////

Tim Anthony on January 14, 2014:

Many people want android apps on PC. Specially watsapp, hill climb racing, temple runner, etc. Bluestacks is also quite famous android emulator.

James Richton from USA on January 09, 2014:

These are some good emulators for PCs. Thanks.

Jhon Peter Jackson on January 04, 2014:

I have everything , but BlueStacks ain't working !! I tried a workaround that stopped it from checking the Graphics Card when it installs , but , still , when it's UPDATING , I'm gonna have to do the workaround AGAIN !!! Does anyone of you have a solution please !!! ???

rockey on December 25, 2013:

i am always having the problem of graphics

Anurag (author) on December 08, 2013:

@Sagar I don't think so.

Hezekiah from Japan on November 26, 2013:

Thanks, I didn't know about most of these, definitely start with Blue Stacks.

James Richton from USA on November 05, 2013:

Do these emulators really work?

Anurag (author) on October 16, 2013:

@Jatel02 Updated post with download link, second paragraph in "Jar of Beans".

Samson Ogola from Nairobi on October 15, 2013:

Nice and informative article.. I'm currently looking for the Jar of Beans download links.. you din't provide any

dika on September 23, 2013:

where is download link for Android emulator ?

Douchebag 123 on August 26, 2013:

Hey can any1 Just give me the right link to download Youwave or JarOfBeans , My bluestacks wont work cuz i have a more recent Version of Aeria Ignit and it wont work -_-

askScottJohnson from Tampa, Florida on August 22, 2013:

What is the difference between an emulator and an app viewer? I am trying to create videos about how to use the Samsung Galaxy phone that I have. I would like to use Camtasia - thus I need the phone screen to be on my computer screen is this possible with one of these programs?

mojahid on August 14, 2013:

in bluestack ,wechat is not supporting video calling.....anyone tried video calling through wechat in any other emulator?

Chad Davis on August 07, 2013:

I need to try one of these... what does it do when an app needs to determine location information?

Ty on June 25, 2013:

and Jar of Beans is full of browser/toolbar hi-jackers. even when you try custom install and select NOT to install, they try to install anyway

jorell on May 27, 2013:

Well bluestack has a error 25000

Anurag (author) on May 04, 2013:

@Smith You must have a a decent graphics card + updated graphics card driver. Your netbook graphics card must support OpenGL ES 2.0.

Smith on May 04, 2013:

my netbook have 2gb ram , but still not work, because atom

there is a way to install bluestack?

Anurag (author) on April 28, 2013:

After installation, BlueStacks downloads run-time data. Let the application download the data completely. Once the run-time data is downloaded, restart the PC and double-click on the BlueStacks icon on the desktop. Wait for the app to load. It takes some time to load on slower PCs. If it is not loading, then uninstall and reinstall Bluestacks.

murmur on April 27, 2013:

hey ı installed bluestacks but when I open this app it say loading but not opening why is that pls help

Anurag (author) on April 24, 2013:

@hmmmmm Switch to a new graphic card or update your graphic card drivers.

hmmmm on April 23, 2013:

i want to use whatsapp on my pc , i am trying to isntal bluestacks but always there is an eror abot graphic card... can any one help?

mark on April 14, 2013:

1st time to use this emulators ..1st, i'll try the blue stacks,,..

permesh on April 09, 2013:

blue stack is not run in my computer having 1 gb ram

Rika on April 07, 2013:

aww ,, so cool,, ty,,

Anurag (author) on April 07, 2013:

@Kiran Graphically-intensive games do lag a bit. Make sure the app meets the minimum system requirements (1GB RAM, decent graphics card).

Anurag (author) on April 07, 2013:

@Yuvraj The minimum/recommended system requirements to run apps like YouWave and BlueStacks are 1GB/2GB RAM and a decent graphics card. The app requires at least 1 GB of RAM. Check your system specs.

Yuvraj suthar on April 06, 2013:

My youwave is not running, why?

kiran on April 05, 2013:

bluestacks gets slow after a while and games like subway surfers lag a lot win 8 user

Joseph from Makati on March 28, 2013:

I have tested the bluestack. It was really perfect for me and i was even able to record a game while playing on bluestack. :D

bluestcks on March 23, 2013:

bluestacks needs 1gb ram if you don't have them, i't would not run.

Anurag (author) on February 18, 2013:

@Hideki-ryuga You're welcome

Hideki-ryuga on February 18, 2013:

Thanks for this hub. I was looking for a solution to view an application I created for android. Well done!

ZZZ on February 05, 2013:

Read your article unfortunately bluestacks does not install on netbooks computers with atom processors

muhriza on January 27, 2013:

Wow, i only know BlueStacks, Youwave and AndroVM all this time. To bad some messaging apps doesn't support AndroVM (whatsapp, viber, pinger and etc), that's why i stick only to BlueStacks.

Btw have you tried WhatsApp on Jar of Beans?

Anurag (author) on December 17, 2012:

@Jan2X19 I have provided the link to Jar of Beans (Check out Jar of Beans section). The rest can be downloaded by typing in their name on Google Search. For example, if you want to download and install BlueStacks, then type its name on the Google Search box and press Enter. The first result will display the BlueStacks website. Click on the website and you will find the download link.

jan2x19 on December 17, 2012:

i want to try this very interesting software or emulator..how am i giong to download this app?

Anurag (author) on November 29, 2012:

Thanks, Tony! Jar of Beans is pretty new and a promising looking app player.

J Antonio Marcelino from Illinois, USA on November 29, 2012:

While I've heard of Blue Stacks before, first time I've ever heard of "Jar of Beans" I'll definitely have to give that Android OS emulator a try. +1 Useful and Interesting.