Best Android Emulators: Rated By Experts (2022)

When Android gaming became popular, players wanted improvements. It was pretty cool to be able to play video games just about anywhere you went. Unfortunately, this also caused a wide variety of problems. A lot of the problems came from the controls of mobile games.

The rest were typically caused by screen sizes and battery concerns. Thankfully emulators were created to allow Android gaming on your PC/laptop. Now with so many to choose from, you’ll need the best Android emulator currently available.

Why Use an Emulator?

This is the most common question concerning emulators to date. Simply put, they do make things a lot easier. Yes, they still have their share of problems. The biggest is concerns about OpenGL ES version compatibility.

Overall though, they correct more problems than they cause. One of the cooler problems solved is multi-client play. MMORPGs are one of the biggest genres in gaming in general. Now try it with multiple clients of the same game going at the same time! Even with PC gaming, this was quite the stunt to pull off.

With just the multi-client play, any given player could have a blast! Now take into consideration controls. With just an Android mobile device, your options are limited. With a PC, your options become a lot larger. It’s great to be able to play Android games pretty much anywhere you go.

Yeah, it’s called a laptop which runs the emulators! It’s true that Android phone screens are getting bigger. Unfortunately they can only become just so large before you’re holding a tablet. Overall, there’s no currently available Android phone that will match hardware specs with a PC. Even at just this, emulators provide a whole lot in the way of advantages.

  1. BlueStacks – The best emulator all around
  2. NOX – Easy rooting and good features
  3. LDPlayer – Can make money
  4. Memu – Often recommended alternate
  5. Mumu – Has an Android 11 emulator beta

1

Bluestacks

Bluestacks

Min System Requirements: CPU: AMD/Intel | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 5GB

  • Can earn money
  • Great speed and stability
  • Problems with OpenGL ES versions
  • Harder to root

When it comes to emulators, there’s no denying that BlueStacks is one of the oldest. It’s not only the oldest; it’s also still being constantly updated. It’s not that other emulators aren’t being updated. It’s just that BlueStacks really listens to its users. You’ll see this every time you check their release notes. Notice how they constantly add support and compatibility for more games almost every time? That’s because by their users letting them know and BlueStacks doing something about it.

Many players know that BlueStacks does a pretty decent job of being a great emulator. That’s what makes it the best Android emulator to date. The installation is easy, the setup is easy and it’s at a point where most apps/games work just fine on it. Now add in the speed and stability capabilities. Yes, this was tested and in comparisons, there wasn’t much to compare to! BlueStacks buried the competition. Lastly, add in the fact that you can make money with the BlueStacks Affiliate program. It can be a bit more work compared to other affiliate programs but it works!

You can configure BlueStacks in a similar way to your Android phone. However, when it comes to rooting, BlueStacks won’t make it easy. A lot of users would want to root it simply for backup purposes. Yes there’re other purposes for rooting but backup purposes is a lot more common than you think. The major problem with BlueStacks is the OpenGL ES version problems. This causes some apps/games to not work at all. Then again, pretty much every emulator has this problem.

2

NOX

NOXPlayer

Min System Requirements: CPU: AMD/Intel | RAM: 1.5GB | Storage: 2.5GB

  • Very easy to root
  • Good speeds
  • Nice features collection
  • Unstable D-pad control

NOX is one of the most well-known Android emulators currently available. That’s not a big surprise since it’s been around almost as long as BlueStacks has! Just like its main competition, NOX has quite a list of updates to include a wide range of features. One such nifty feature is having an Android 9 (Pie) instance. This will come in handy for games such as Genshin Impact and many others. The downside is that compatibility turns out to be lower compared to previous Android versions.

The first thing you have to notice is how easy it is to root NOX (a simple setting). When it comes to making backups, this is the best bet. In terms of features, this emulator is seriously tough to beat.

As it turns out, various features in NOX were later added to BlueStacks and other emulators by their devs. Lastly in comparison, NOX managed to hold its own against most others in terms of speeds. Several situations managed to get so close that a difference was barely made by the other emulators. When it comes to gaming, speeds make a huge difference and sometimes all the difference.

Despite its features and everything else NOX can offer, it has one very serious problem. This one has plagued it pretty much since the start. That’d be the unstable D-pad control. This means that every so often, without warning and/or reason, the D-pad control stops responding. When you’re in the middle of a game, match or whatever you want to call it, this is nothing short of unforgivable. We can hear the screams caused by this multiple countries away!

3

LDPlayer

LDplayer

Min System Requirements: CPU: AMD/Intel | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 36GB

Affiliate program
Smart RAM setup
Pretty easy on system resources
Various starting problems

LDPlayer shows up here as the lightweight emulator. That’s fine and dandy since it didn’t really skip out on features. When going for being a lightweight emulator, this also includes being great for low specs PCs/laptops. Do note that not everyone has money pouring out of their ears for high powered PCs/laptops. If they did, they’d either be busy playing on high powered stuff or buying it right now! Unfortunately, some folks are just plain stuck with a lower budget. That doesn’t mean they have to be also stuck without an Android emulator that works well anyway.

LDPlayer boasts about being a lightweight emulator. This starts with the minimum system requirements. The 36GB listed in those requirements is the storage space the emulator takes for itself and uses as installation space for apps/games. When compared to storage capacities in 2022, that’s basically nothing.

LDPlayer continues with the Smart RAM setup. This allows your apps/games to run with as little system RAM as possible. Lastly, you can also make money with this emulator! Sure enough, there’s a similar affiliate program here as with BlueStacks. With this one, if someone installs LDPlayer because of your link, you get paid. If someone installs a supported game because of your link, you get paid.

Despite its appealing list of features and capabilities, LDPlayer has problems getting started. Sometimes it’s the emulator with the problems and sometimes it’s the apps/games. Either side can get annoying in a hurry. The good news is that the LDPlayer website does provide fixes for many of the common problems. Ultimately, if it can’t get going, you’re going nowhere too!

4

Memu

Memu

Min System Requirements: CPU: AMD/Intel | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 5GB

Recommended when BlueStacks and/or NOX fails
Extensive info on website
LAN play
Considerably slower in comparisons

Next in line for trying to become your personal favorite Android emulator is Memu. Then again, Memu certainly tries with the various nifty features such screen recorder, macro capabilities and fake GPS capability. For those “Notepad enthusiasts”, you can configure Memu from the command line. As to why we’re not so sure since the majority is built into its settings! That’s ok. That command line stuff is included anyway so you won’t feel left out! For the most part, there’s a bit of something for everyone included!

Start out Memu with the fact that it’s the most recommended Android emulator when others fail. Even though this idea doesn’t always pan out, it’s just plain nice to be recommended so many times! Naturally, you’ll run into problems with emulators sooner or later. The good news is that Memu’s website is loaded with resources to help you out. This also includes game guides.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s a wide variety of social media platforms to get help from including Reddit. Lastly, as a really nifty bonus, LAN play is included for those types of games. When you want to play with others on PCs/laptops on your network, it won’t take much to setup and get to gaming.

Memu really does have a lot going for it. Its downside shows up in speeds. In comparisons, Memu has some of the slowest speeds. In terms of gaming, this can be a disaster. The gameplay itself can be just fine. It’s when you’re finally loaded into game and your teammates are long on their way. I’m sure you’d rather avoid that!

5

Mumu

Mumuplayer

Min System Requirements: CPU: AMD/Intel | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 3.5GB

  • Android 11 emulator in beta testing
  • Well known developer NetEase Games
  • Known to be smooth on low specs systems
  • It’s a hit and miss situation

Finishing off the choices for the best Android emulator in 2022 is Mumu. When it comes to popularity, Mumu is very much on par with the other emulators here. In terms of features, the Mumu devs are doing a lot to provide and get ahead of everyone else. Just look at that first pro in the list! Any other emulator worth having hasn’t made it that far. Not even the Android OS’es for PCs/laptops managed to make it that far.

Starting Mumu out is the smooth gaming even on low specs systems. This is done with resource management systems similar to LDPlayer. So no, you won’t need the latest and greatest hardware to still have a lot of fun. Then again, this shouldn’t be a surprise considering who the developers are.

NetEase Games is known for many great games including Knives Out and Super Mecha Champions. They weren’t exactly slouches for Cyber Hunter or Marvel Super War! Lastly, you simply can’t ignore something as cool as having an Android 11 emulator already in beta. That alone makes Mumu stand out heavily!

Despite a hefty list of games that are compatible with Mumu, it was never 100% for everything. The hit and miss situation refers to the fact that some games work great. There’re other games that work ok only at best. Naturally, there’re games you’d really want working on Mumu but plain don’t. Unfortunately, this amounts to a test of your luck far more than other emulators. This can easily result in lots of time and downloading wasted.

So what are the best Android Emulators in 2022?

You have to consider a hefty amount when going after an emulator. Speeds are one thing. However, when looking at things all around, you must see stability as king in the matter. With that, it’s BlueStacks which gains the title of the best Android emulator in 2022. Congratulations for making this one tough contest!

FAQ

Using emulators can cause a variety of questions. Here we’ll try to provide answers to some of those questions. Of course, you’re also free to ask in the Comments section below.

1. Are using emulators bad for your PC/laptop?

No. They’re as bad for your PC/laptop as pretty much anything else your PC/laptop has the specs to use. The worst cases are B.S.O.D.s but these are rare. The typical case is you’ll see serious lagging in your PC/laptop because either the instance is configured wrong or something else is. The good news is that all of the emulators worth having/trying out will have instructions for configuring your PC/laptop correctly.

2. Why do I see OpenGL ES version problems?

With more recent games you’ll have upgraded versions of OpenGL ES required. On many occasions, this is caused by the emulator not using your GPU properly or at all. Try to adjust settings for that first. The other common idea is to make sure your GPU drivers are updated. This will make it more compatible with higher OpenGL ES version. The downside is that sometimes, there is no fix for this. The upside is that sometimes you can get away with it using GLTools.

3. Are the emulators for gaming only?

No. They never really were. Basically, the original intention was for gaming. The main aim still is for gaming. However, since it is an Android environment, you can run Android apps with the emulator of choice just fine. Some great examples would be YouTube and Perfect Player. Video playback on a larger screen is the idea.

4. Why do I almost always see “This app may not be optimized for your device” in the Play Store when using an emulator?

That one is caused by apps/games not really being developed for an emulator at all. Even though 8/10 times you can run the app/game just fine, there’re rare cases where that “mild suggestion” proves true and it gives you a problem.

5. How do I know if my instance(s) is/are configured properly?

Simply don’t overshoot your PC’s/laptop’s specs to a certain point and you’ll be fine. Always remember to leave at least 1 CPU core and 2GB RAM for your system. From there, a simple bit of math will let you know how many instances you can run on your PC/laptop at the same time. Your minimum would be at least 2GB RAM and 1 CPU core per instance. More usually amounts to better but if it’s not there then don’t try it. Lastly, always use the Instance Manager to handle the initial setup of all your instances.

6. Do Android emulators have hidden crypto mining software?

This refers to a hidden installation of software that will (or at least try to) mine cryptocurrencies in the background as much as possible. There were some cases of the mining going on even without the emulator being in use. As it turns out, some do and some don’t. There have been a few cases where mining software was hidden in some updates of the emulators. In any case, your best bet is to always research things you want to install before installing them. Not just emulators.

Santiago Guyette
Santiago Guyette
Gamer, Programmer, PC Repair Technician, Writer, Super Geezer and a bunch of other stuff in no particular order. Hakuna Matata!!

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