Bluestacks is one of the most popular emulator software that allows any Windows or MacOS computer users to use Android mobile applications, mainly games and much more, on their desktop computer systems.
Bluestacks, as an Android emulation layer, extends what can be done with Android applications on other operating systems.
One of the biggest advantages of leveraging the power of desktop power is to be able to run Android games blazing fast and with smooth framerates.
Many users find that phones become overheated or that they are simply underpowered to run many of the top-flight modern games on Android.
So, rather than chewing up battery and phone life, it’s simply better to take advantage of a more powerful computing environment.
Whilst Bluestacks is very popular, there are quite a number of interesting alternatives.
In this article we’ll discuss the top 12 Android emulators that are similar to Bluestacks for playing mobile games on Windows PCs, so let’s start.
Note that the list below is in no particular order.
While LDPlayer might only run on Windows PC, it is also a very good Android emulation layer. With over one million supported Android games and over two million active users daily, LDPlayer boasts one of the most active emulated gaming communities. This makes it a fine alternative for Bluestacks for Windows PC users.
One of the best features of LDPlayer is how lightweight it is. It has been programmed not to hog system resources even though an instance of Android OS is running on top of Windows OS.
Once installed, the user can easily download applications either from the Google Play Store or from LDPlayer’s own store.
Nox Player is a stable, attractive-looking Android OS emulator for PC. If you’ve ever wanted to open up multiple game instances in one screen for different accounts, Nox Player allows you to do that easily.
If you want full keyboard or mouse control that can easily be remapped for different games, Nox Player can do that too.
With Windows support that goes right back to XP, Nox Player is one of the best alternatives to Bluestacks for Windows PC users.
It has also proven to be very popular and certainly features one of the best-looking websites in this roundup.
Intuitive controls, keyboard mapping, high performance, and great frame rates make MEmu Play really stand out in the world of Android emulators for Windows PCs.
Easily download games from the Google Play Store and install them in seconds in the virtualized environment where they are all accessible with a click from the emulated home screen.
Minimum system requirements support Windows XP all the way up to Windows 10 but best performance will always be achieved on newer systems with better hardware.
While free, it’s important to note that Remix OS has now been discontinued. This makes it a questionable alternative to other Android OS emulation software. Having said that, it can still be downloaded for use.
What makes Remix OS interesting is that it functions as a full-fledged OS right down to Gmail integration, multi-tasking, layered windows, and a Windows 10-style taskbar and notifications.
It can also be installed in a dual boot scenario or run as a live CD or from USB, making it much closer to Linux distributions.
As with Bluestacks, Andy runs on both MacOS and Windows. This makes it a flexible Android OS emulation solution.
Most Android apps in the App Store are known to run within the Andy environment. Unlike many other emulation applications, Andy will also run from the cloud and can sync between devices in real time.
Though Andy is more powerful than Bluestacks, the interface and environment are not quite as easy for beginners or first-time emulation users.
In this sense, it may take some setting up to get the most out of it. That said, Andy can be scaled to support more powerful desktop computers and will also support wireless controllers, including cell phones.
Andy does feature a freeware version but the Pro version unlocks more useful features, such as the better app compatibility, the latest updates, and customer support.
One of the biggest advantages of GenyMotion is that it runs Android in the cloud, as SaaS, or as a virtual machine image.
It runs on all major cloud platforms including MS Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google, Alibaba Cloud, and GenyMotion Cloud.
The major advantage of this is that Android OS can be run on any device that can access it and has the power to run it, and right in a web browser. Low latencies ensure a smoother experience and HD graphics support.
Even though GenyMotion is one of the most flexible Android OS emulation solutions for any device, it is not completely free.
There are different price points depending on how many devices it will need to run on. There is also a business price tier and it is free for personal use.
With over 120 million downloads and over 80 million active users and growing, Gameloop is one of the most popular Bluestacks alternatives around.
Supporting multiple languages out of the box and with an easy and free install, Gameloop presents itself as one of the best virtual machines for Android OS on the PC.
There are a huge number of customizable settings, including a smart keyboard for the ultimate in smooth and easy gaming.
And for those who are really into their games and like to play them fairly, there’s also an inbuilt anti-cheat and anti-fraud feature.
Android-x86 is an open source project for Windows under the GNU General Public License. Its mission is to port Android OS to x86 systems, including full compatibility with installed applications list, home screen and launcher, widgets, notifications, and Google Play Store.
In fact, it has most features that Android OS has. The difference is that it lives on your Windows PC as a virtualized layer.
Despite its sophistication and regular updates, Android-x86 may prove to be a little too technical for some.
This tends to be a hallmark of the open-source community as they are often focused on the technology rather than intuitive use by beginner end users.
Anbox is the Android in a Box that runs on GNU/Linux systems as a completely open-source application.
And because it has been designed to run the entirety of the Android OS, it is possible to run any Android application within the framework.
What makes Anbox different from many other such applications is that it does not work as an emulator. It functions as a secure sandbox but it runs on the same kernel as the host OS.
This makes it faster and more responsive too because it communicates directly with the hardware rather than working through an emulated layer.
This freeware Android desktop for MacOS and PC can run the majority of Android games. It can even be installed on computers featuring touchscreens with full touch support. And for those gamers who enjoy recording their gaming sessions, there is an inbuilt screen recorder.
The Windows versions support Windows XP right up to Windows 10 so there is certainly some versatility. Those who want a simple, lightweight solution that is also free may like to consider Droid4X.
YouWave is not free and for this reason may not be of interest to most people. As with most other such applications, it has been created to run the Android OS on PC. This virtual layer is not always smooth, however.
One of the most interesting features is that YouWave has support for payment options that run natively on Android, including Google Wallet.
It is also possible to open Windows files from within the environment, blurring the line between virtual environment and host operating system.
KoPlayer is excellent because it is not only attractive and easy to download and install but works without any configuration right out of the box.
This makes it ideal for first-time users and those who don’t case much for the fussiness of some other virtual Android environments. As a result, KoPlayer feels smooth and intuitive.
Additionally, downloading games could not be easier. There is Google Play Support right out of the box and if you have any APK files, you can even drag and drop them onto the KoPlayer window for an easy install option.
Some emulators are designed to run everything including the kitchen sink, but KoPlayer has been specifically programmed and configured to download and run Android games.
This means that key mappings are easy to access and change. Those who want a virtual environment just to run Android games on Windows PC in a more powerful desktop environment should certainly look at KoPlayer.
While Bluestacks remains a very popular Android OS emulator, there are many alternatives. By taking advantage of the processing power of a desktop or laptop, you can play Android games in high quality without all of the slowdowns associated with cell phones. In addition, you won’t even need to burn out your phone or drain the battery.