Your friends have a latest generation Android smartphone or tablet and always manage to have fun playing the trendiest games in the PlayStore. On the other hand, from the moment you use a low-end device, you always encounter problems of various kinds. Sudden application crashes and overheating battery are common problems. Punctually, when you try to play the latest Android games, your faithful (and somewhat obsolete) adventure companion ends up crashing.
If this is indeed the case, you must know that unfortunately this is normal; some Android games are not well optimized for low cost smartphones and tablets: for an optimized execution, a high-end device with high technical characteristics is required. However, if you do not want to buy a new smartphone at the moment, know that all is not lost. To play the latest generation Android games and applications you can choose the alternative way of Android emulators.
How do you say? Don't know what an Android emulator is? Don't worry, we'll clarify the subject together in this guide of mine. In the following lines you can find detailed explanations on which are the best Android emulators. I will explain to you in detail what Android emulators are for and, above all, how they are used. Don't worry, the information I will give you will be written in a simple and clear way: all you have to do is sit comfortably at your PC and take a few minutes of free time to read this article. As usual, before we begin, I wish you a good read.
What is an Android Emulator and How Does It Work
An Android emulator is a replica of Google's mobile operating system that runs inside a virtual machine. The task of the virtual machine is not to be underestimated at all: it is a complete software that is able to fully emulate the operation of the operating system, assigning all kinds of technical issues to the PC.
The advantage of using an Android emulator lies in being able to use the Google operating system independently of the Windows or Mac operating system. In fact, no dual boot is required as Android will be reproduced exclusively within the emulation software. An Android emulator also has the advantage of its ease of use: usually emulators are software that are easy to install and have a completely guided configuration procedure.
The disadvantage of having to use an Android emulate, rather than a new generation tablet or smartphone, could however be given by the performance. This type of software has specific technical requirements; if your computer does not support them, the Android emulation experience may clearly be less fluid.
For the rest, the use of an Android emulator is practically identical to the use of a smartphone or tablet equipped with the Google operating system. The games and applications, therefore, are downloaded from the PlayStore, which in order to work, requires the connection of a Google account. In short, nothing different to using an Android mobile device.
In the course of this tutorial I will therefore talk to you about what I consider the best Android emulators and, for each of them, I will tell you about their most prominent features. You will see that if you read this guide carefully you will be able to find the Android emulator that best suits your needs.
One of the best Android emulators around (and probably the most used too) is BlueStacks, available free for Windows and macOS. The strength is given by its simplicity of use, as it allows you to virtualize the Android operating system on a computer, without having to perform complicated dual boot operations.
It is also a program especially appreciated by lovers of Android video games and supported the ability to create multiple instances, which allow you to simultaneously start multiple games or applications.
BlueStacks is free and it is supported thanks to the presence of advertising banners that occasionally invite the installation of sponsored applications (to remove them you need to purchase a subscription at the price of $ 4 / month or $ 40 / year). This software also has some technical customization possibilities, but it is still an Android emulator program that can also be used by those who do not have much experience and just want to take advantage of Android apps and games on PC. BlueStacks also allows the installation of apps via APK files.
To download BlueStacks on your computer, connect to its official website and press the button first Download BlueStacks then on Download. Once the download of the installation package is complete, start it, in order to begin the installation procedure of the emulation software on Windows or macOS, following the instructions I am about to give you in the following lines.
Su Windows, click your Yes in the User Account Control window, then press the button Install now and wait for all the files necessary for the correct installation of the emulator to be automatically downloaded. Then wait for the end of this automatic procedure and, finally, press the button Complete.
To install BlueStacks on MacOSinstead, it completes the download of the file.dmg and then start it by double clicking on it. Once this is done, double-click on the icon as well BlueStacks, to start the installer and, if requested, confirm its opening by pressing apri.
Afterward, click the buttons Continuation e Install, type the password you use to access the Mac and press on the item Install Assistant. Now wait for the automatic assistant installation procedure to be completed and then, in case you are asked, click on the button Apri the system preference.
At this point, through the Settings on the Mac, first press on Allow, then on the padlock lower left. Then type the password of your computer and then press on Unlock, to finish installing BlueStacks on macOS.
After installation, both on Windows and on macOS you have to run the same setup wizard. This involves logging in with a Google account and is essential for using the PlayStore, and therefore to be able to download Android applications and games.
In any case, you don't have to worry at all, it's nothing complicated. To do this, click on the button Start and then, in the following text fields that are shown to you, type theemail address and password of the Google Account you own and want to link to BlueStacks.
Then accept the terms and conditions of the service by clicking on forward e Accept and finally, finish the emulator configuration by clicking on the button Get started with BlueStacks.
Once this is done, you can download games and applications through the Play Store, in order to use them from your computer. To do this, first press the Google virtual store icon located on the screen Home of the emulator.
Then use the search engine above to search for the game or app of your interest, then download and install it by pressing the buttons Install e I accept, just as if the emulator were a traditional Android smartphone or tablet (if you don't remember how to download apps on Android, refer to this tutorial of mine).
At the end of the automatic download, then start the downloaded game or app, to use it, by pressing the button apri that is shown to you.
Memu is among the Android emulators that I consider valid to mention. I have chosen to tell you about this emulator from the moment it is free and only presents non-invasive tips for installing recommended applications. Memu offers high emulation performance and the possibility of advanced customization at a technical level.
Unlike BlueStacks, Memu is an Android emulator only available for PC Windows and, currently, there is no Mac version.
Memu's notable features include support for creating multiple instances for using applications and games simultaneously. Basically the Android emulator offers the operating system to the Kitkat version, but a version with Android 5.1 Lollipop.
Memu's user interface is also very streamlined, as well as being completely in language Italian company. Memu is also an emulator that can be equipped with root permissions, a setting that can be activated in a single click and without any type of configuration.
To download and use Memu you will need to download the emulator from its official website by pressing the button Download.
Once you have downloaded the Memu client, you will need to double-click on it to start installing the software. In case you are asked, click on the button Yes to authorize Windows to run the installation package.
In case the installation software starts in English, press the button Custom to customize the language from the drop-down menu present on the screen. You can choose the Italian language before starting the installation, so that the Memu user interface is set to the language of your choice.
To start the installation, click on the button Install. Once finished, pulsating award starts to run the Android Memu emulator.
The Memu setup wizard will start as soon as you open the Google PlayStore. Just like on a traditional Android device, you need a Google account to be able to download games and apps from the Google digital store. You will then have to follow the instructions on the screen to log into your existing Google account or create a new one on the spot.
There are several less known Android emulators than Memu and BlueStacks; among these I want to tell you about Nox, an emulator just as noteworthy due to its high optimization on a technical level.
Nox, currently in its version NoxPlayer 5 is without a doubt an Android emulator designed for gamers. Precisely for this reason there are in fact some particular features including the possibility of using a gamepad or more generally a controller, as an alternative to the classic keyboard and mouse.
Among the emulators mentioned so far I believe it is the most advanced: in addition to offering root permissions (an operation that can be performed in one click), Nox has several other technical settings designed to meet the needs of more experienced users.
What unites it instead to the other Android emulators listed is the ability to create multiple instances. However, the user interface of this emulator is only available in language English and there is a version for Poppy. As for the presence of advertising banners, Nox only presents indications of recommended applications which are not particularly invasive.
To start using Nox as an emulator you will first have to go to its official website. To download the software click on the button Download.
Once you have finished downloading the installation file you will need to click on it. To install Nox you will have to press the button install. To start the software press the button Start.
As with any other emulator or Android device, in order to be used to download games and apps from the PlayStore, the configuration of a Google account is required. To carry out this procedure within NoxPlayer5 you will have to click on the icon PlayStore and follow the guided procedure. All you have to do is log in with an existing Google account or create a new one on the spot.
Other Android Emulators
How about if we come together with other noteworthy emulators? I'll list other free ones in the following lines, in order to help you find the one that best suits your needs.
- ARC Welder (Google Chrome): A leaner Android emulator that can be installed as a Google Chrome browser extension. It is free but somewhat limited because it does not support the Google PlayStore and to use the applications you will have to manually load the APK files.
- Andy: an easy-to-use Android emulator that does not have high technical requirements to be used. You can download it from the official website.