If you want to run Android apps or games on your PC, Bluestacks has long been the go-to solution. It’s a great emulator with a lot of excellent features and certainly a longstanding reputation.
However, it’s not the only emulator that exists. In fact, there are many others that you might find yourself enjoying just as much, if not more.
Here are the ten best alternatives to Bluestacks, as well as how they match up to the reigning champion of emulators.
Primarily meant for games, Andy is an excellent, lightweight Android emulator for PC. It boasts plenty of useful features like cloud saves, app sync to mobile, camera and mic integration, Xbox and PlayStation controller support, and much more.
It also has a neat feature where you can connect your mobile device and use it as a touchscreen controller.
It’s free, but only available for Windows 7 and 8 according to the official site. This limitation is because the software was developed specifically for use with Windows 7.1. There’s no word on whether or not Windows 10 will be supported in the future.
So, if you’re running one of the older versions of Windows, then Andy is for you. If not, then keep on reading.
Like Bluestacks, GenyMotion supports hardware acceleration and OpenGL, which is a fancy way of saying it can make use of the added power of your computer’s graphics card or GPU. Theoretically, it means that games and apps should run much better on your PC.
One unique feature is that you can customize GenyMotion’s environment so it matches a specific version of Android or a particular mobile device.
This is great if you have an app or game that you want to run but require a specific configuration to do so — Fortnite mobile, for example, requires a Samsung device.
GenyMotion for desktop is free, unlike their cloud service which allows you to run apps and games in the cloud. It’s meant for developers, to help them test their apps, but it works just fine for recreational use too.
Nox or Big Nox is an excellent Android emulator that offers a wide selection of features, many of which are presented within the emulator menu. It supports keyboard mapping, multiple controllers (gamepads), multi-window support, and much more.
One thing you’ll notice right away when using Nox over the other emulators is that the user-interface is easy on the eyes. It’s also easy to use too.
A convenient taskbar on the right-hand side of the window offers quick-access to the most useful functions. Don’t worry though; you can hide it if you want to take your app fullscreen.
Nox also offers a macro function, which allows you to pre-record “touches” or screen presses so that you can run actions in the background. This feature allows you to, for example, perform specific actions in games while the emulator is minimized.
Nox is free and sees frequent and regular updates, making for one of the most stable Android emulators you can find.
4. Droid4X Official
Running Windows 10? Then Droid4X Official is the Android emulator you need. It’s adaptable for both mouse and touchscreen controls.
You can connect multiple gamepads, or stick with a keyboard. You can record everything happening on the emulator screen, which is great if you’re a streamer, even better if you want to create Android-based tutorials.
It’s also completely free with little to no ads or interruptions experienced. Some of the other emulators listed — Nox, for instance — come pre-loaded with promotional apps and content.
Partial to Android or mobile games? Koplayer is ideal for high-performance emulation. It’s built on the latest x86 architecture which means support for hardware acceleration, OpenGL, and streamlined performance.
You can also run the emulator with multiple accounts signed-in, allowing you to run not just several windows, but several environments at a time — you can play the same game with two separate accounts simultaneously.
Other features include video recording, gamepad support, and built-in access to Google Play.
MEmu, or MEmu Play as it’s now called, has an interface that is quite similar to Nox. Comparatively, however, it’s much more lightweight in regards to power demands and performance.
Features include multiple instance support, gamepad compatibility, and support for both AMD and Intel chipsets.
YouWave is the new kid on the block, but it offers support for Android 5.1.1 Lollipop which many other emulators have yet to support.
Unfortunately, to access Android 5.1, you must pay for the premium version. If you want to download and use the free emulator, you’ll be confined to Android 4.0 ICS.
Other than that, everything is pretty standard. You can run Android apps and games and tap into a variety of additional features including multi-instance support, dynamic screen rotation, and more.
AMIDuOS is another, rather new Android emulator for Windows that allows you to open mobile games and apps on your desktop.
It supports hardware acceleration, OpenGL, and key peripherals like any plugged in cameras, speakers or microphones.
There used to be a premium and free version, but now the emulator is available for free to everyone.
9. Remix OS
Remix OS, though incredibly capable, is much different than the other emulators listed. Instead, it’s an entirely separate operating system that you can boot into, running Android yet customized to provide a desktop-like experience.
Remix is developed by Jide Technology, a team comprised of former Google employees, so they know what they’re doing.
You can install Remix OS on a portable USB device or hard drive and then boot to it via most computers.
Though, it should be noted that Jive has officially ended support for the platform. It’s now stuck on Android Marshmallow (6.0), an outdated version of the Android platform.
Windroy stands for WindowsAndroid, an aptly named emulator that combines the functionality of YouWave and Bluestacks into one package. It works great, but there are quite a few quirks to deal with.
For starters, apps and games have no audio when running through Windroy, with is a big deal breaker for a lot of uses. On the other hand, no audio is good for a distraction-free experience if you’re going to have it running in the background.
In addition, apps must be installed manually by downloading the APK and moving it to the appropriate applications folder. There is no access to Google Play, and no way to automatically update apps either — you must do it yourself.
Furthermore, the developer Socketeq appears to be AWOL, and the emulator hasn’t been updated in some time.
The good news is, If you can’t look past those issues, there are plenty of other options available.