We’ve talked in the past about using your Android device to access your desktop, but your Android is basically a computer with a phone function, so why can’t you enjoy your Android’s apps on your PC? Actually you can, through the use of an emulator. Certain emulators even allow for the use of multiple apps on your desktop at once. Your keyboard can be mapped to reflect game and app controls, and most of the time you can simply click the mouse where you would normally tap the touchscreen.
It’s not all fun and games, though. Your Android emulator is how you can test apps you’re developing, or help your business to be more productive. Additionally, if you currently own an iOS device but you are considering replacing it with an Android, why not take Android for a test drive first? There are plenty of uses for an Android app player, but which app player is the best one for you?
Must Read: 5 Great Apps for Checking Texts on Your PC
Andy (Andyroid OS)
Ever wished you could use an app like WhatsApp on your desktop? You can, for free, by using Andy. While Andyroid may have had some kinks to iron out in the beginning, it functions quite well now for you to run launchers, apps (including those needing root access), and games. Andy is based on Oracle VM VirtualBox, making it very customizable. You can even use your Android smartphone or tablet as a remote control when you play games on your PC.
Download: Andy OS
Another emulator that can be used in conjunction with Oracle VM VirtualBox (but can also be used independently), GenyMotion is great for app development. It allows you to test your apps on a number of devices and versions of Android. GenyMotion makes it easy to switch between devices to see how your Android app will look and function on each one. The app player is also notable for its speed.
AMIDUoS offers you a free trial before you decide on one of the paid versions. The price for the paid versions varies according to Android operating system, Lollipop or Jellybean, but it is just a one-time charge. You might find it worthwhile to pay for AMIDUoS if you intend to use it for work or other productive endeavors because that’s where it shines, but not so much for gaming. Before you go to install AMIDUoS, enable Virtualization Technology in BIOS and ensure that you have Microsoft Net Framework 4.0 or greater.
ARChon is unique for several reasons, but the chief one being that you install it into Google Chrome, and that installation isn’t exactly easy. ARChon will work on Macs, PCs, and on Linux. If you are technically inclined, then the process of installing the extension, loading apps, and using tools to make the APKs compatible won’t seem too bad; and the app player is free. If you are not technically savvy, and/or get easily frustrated, you might want to stick with a more traditional emulator.
Bluestacks 3 is definitely one of the most popular emulators on our list, and one of the best Android app players for your PC. Price varies by region, which is kind of a bummer because it used to all be free. Bluestacks is your go-to for gaming (you can even run multiple instances of the same or different games), easy installation of apps, and a simple installation of the emulator itself. Bluestacks offers many settings for games, but the downside of all of this is that it can come off as feeling bloated.
Download: Bluestacks 3
If you are wanting to use Android apps interchangeably on your PC or mobile device for your business, MEmu offers many business collaboration options. Memu also contains some tools for developers, many features for gamers, and can be used to get an idea of what having an Android would be like if you currently use iOS.
These days Memu is completely compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10, Intel, and NVIDIA. MEmu is probably not going to totally replace your phone, but it does have a lot going for it. It multitasks quite well. MEmu supports Android Lollipop, Kitkat, and Jellybean.
Ko Player was made for gaming. It allows you to record and upload gameplay, provides HD resolution, and it’s free. It is a newer emulator, and does have some bugs on occasion. Ko Player has the Google Play Store installed out-of-the-box, and supports most of its apps and games. It has the ability to fake your GPS location if that’s your thing, use an external gamepad, and offers drag and drop installation of apps.
Ko Player is for Windows only; sorry Mac users. A new version of Ko Player just came out that is more lightweight and squashes some bugs. With the larger screen and higher resolution capability, Ko Player also makes a great option to watch your favorite movies or shows on Netflix. To take full advantage of virtualization and graphics, you might want to check your BIOS settings.
Download: Ko Player
Like ARChon, VirtualBox is not an emulator exactly; instead, it enables the installation of guest operating systems on your computer. As such, it is not an easy installation, but as we’ve mentioned VirtualBox is the basis for some of these other app players, so it works well. VirtualBox itself is brought to you by the Android x86 Project, which was specifically intended to allow you to experience the Android OS on a PC within a matter of minutes. Not everyone will have everything up and running that easily though. However, if you have the patience and some technical ability, you can use VirtualBox to make your own emulator.
The website for VirtualBox provides images for you to download. Even though VirtualBox works well, unless you really know what you are doing and/or are good at coding, your new emulator probably won’t work well. You will need to read and follow a tutorial. There are hundreds of guides available on the Internet.
Nox Player 6
Nox is certainly worth mentioning, although some have complained about experiencing problems with it on Windows 10. Nonetheless, for many, Nox has proven to be a useful emulator with root options and is still considered one of the best Android app players for your PC. That being said, it’s mostly useful for entertainment purposes, like gaming. You will need to login using your Google credentials.
No need to worry about going to the trouble of rooting Droid4X; it gives you root access from the start. Compared to several of the others, Droid4X is actually pretty easy to use. It’s fast, geared towards gaming, and comes with Google Play installed; but it does have its bugs at times. Nice graphics, real-time video recording, and GPS simulation in a lightweight package are a few of the reasons Droid4X joins this list.
What do you think of these app players? Have we missed any of the best? Share with us in the comments.