If you’re wondering how to run your favorite Android apps, but you don’t have an Android tablet or smartphone handy, you could think about using an Android emulator instead. This lets you run a simulated version of Android on your PC without needing your own Android device.
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There are plenty of Android emulators for Windows out there, but not all of them are worth trying. Here are five of the best Android emulators for Windows 10 PCs to help you get your Android experience up and running on Windows.
NoxPlayer comes with built-in support for macros to automate your screen. This is a niche extra but could be useful to automate boring tasks in Android games that encourage you to grind away.
You can also record your Android screen in NoxPlayer, customize your keyboard and mouse controls, and run multiple Android windows, side-by-side. It’s easy to use, with a polished interface that looks similar to Genymotion.
A big downside, however, is that NoxPlayer only offers an Android 7 experience, matching BlueStacks. As a version of Android that is a little outdated, this could be off-putting for some users.
Android Studio Emulator
You might be worried about trusting a third-party emulator. If that’s the case, you should give the Android Studio Emulator a try. This is Google’s own emulation tool, included within the larger Android Studio development suite for app developers.
Like Genymotion, Android Studio Emulator comes with all the tools you’d expect to allow you to test Android apps. You can simulate different hardware, including cellular features like calls and texts. It also comes with various different versions of Android that you can try, including the most recent versions.
This is primarily a testing Android emulator, but that doesn’t mean you can’t run Android apps in it. You’ll need to side-load them by downloading an Android APK file and dragging it manually onto the emulated Android screen.
While it’s powerful in its own right, Google never developed the Android Studio Emulator to be anything other than a testing environment. You might find, for instance, that performance is poor compared to other emulators so it isn’t exactly one of the best Android emulators. That’s true for general usage, but especially so for gaming, where you’ll need to look at alternatives like GameLoop or NoxPlayer.
You’ll need to balance that against the regular updates and Google support that comes with Android Studio Emulator compared to other providers. If that’s something you’re looking for, give Android Studio Emulator a try.