The Android ecosystem is blessed with millions of cool applications and games. Most of the Android games and applications are not available for desktop computers and laptops. Keeping this in view, different companies and developers have developed a number of Android emulators. The purpose of these Android emulators is to run the Android games and applications on Windows and Mac-powered computers. As of 2019, we have a huge number of Android emulators serving the same purpose. When it comes to picking up one Android emulator that puts the minimum load on your computer fulfilling all your requirements, things get tough. This is why I am making this list of best Lightweight Android Emulators for Windows and MacOS in the year 2019.
The best lightweight Android Emulators list includes the emulators built for Android Developers, for expert users, and for the newbies. I have also explained what kind of applications these Android emulators can run and what are the system requirements. Before we take a look at the lightweight Android Emulators, let us take a look at the reasons why you would want to use an Android Emulator.
Why do you need an Android Emulator?
- Android Emulators let you enjoy Android games on a bigger screen.
- You can enjoy the sound effects of your games on speakers attached to your computer.
- It is much more fun to play FPS games on your computer with extended key-control.
- You can use your mouse and keyboard to play games.
- Applications that are not available for Windows and Mac, you can run them on your computer via Android Emulators.
- No application compatibility problems.
- No storage problems.
- You can run communication applications like WhatsApp, IMO, Viber on your computer.
- Instagram and Snapchat can be used on the computers via Emulators.
- Developers can test their applications using Emulators on the go.
Best Lightweight Android Emulators
Android Studio is Google’s official Android IDE. The Android Studio is not something that the average users would want to use. However, if you are a developer who has to test the under-development applications, again and again, the Android Studio is your go-to tool. It gives the developers an opportunity to test their applications with the latest version of Android. Android Studio comes with an in-built emulator that runs smoothly on your computer. Setting up the Android Studio takes a bit of time and it is complex too. Once set up, it is quite easy to use. If you can set it up easily, you may keep it for your everyday use too. Android Studio is available for both the Windows and Mac.
Bliss is a very famous custom ROM for a handful of Android devices. The developers of Bliss transformed their custom ROM into an Android emulator for the consumers. It is based on the Android Oreo, which makes it the only proper Android emulator to be running on this version of Android. Even the BlueStacks 4 runs on Android Nougat, so as far as the software is concerned, Bliss wins.
Bliss is available as a standalone operating system now. It runs with the help of a Virtual Machine. So, if you are looking forward to running it on your computer, you will have to install the Virtual Machine first. Bliss can be installed via a USB as well. Having it installed on a USB stick will simply require you to plug in the USB and boot into the Bliss OS.
The evolution of BlueStacks has only improved it over the course of the past few years. For more than 5 years, we had only one version of BlueStacks which was the original BlueStacks. Back in 2015, the company finally released BlueStacks 2 which was a major overhaul in all the ways. BlueStacks 2 was very quickly surpassed by the BlueStacks 3. BlueStacks 3 resembled BlueStacks 2, it did not have any major UI changes and new features. Both the BlueStacks 2 and BlueStacks 3 ran on Android Lollipop and Android Marshmallow respectively. After BlueStacks 3, the company released the BlueStacks N which was a beta build. This was the predecessor of the BlueStacks 4. BlueStacks N was based on Android Nougat.
The BlueStacks N was later transformed into the BlueStacks 4 running on the same Android Nougat. It brought a whole new UI. BlueStacks 4 carried numerous UI changes as well. It brought a dock having the basic applications like Settings, Google Play, and more. The BlueStacks 4 carried major performance upgrades as well. As compared to the previous versions, it is much lighter and easy to run. It offers multiple-instances. Multiple accounts can be added to the emulator at the same time. Keymapping in this version has improved enormously. BlueStacks 4 is available for free for Windows. There is no BlueStacks 4 for Mac users, they still have to use the old BlueStacks which can be found below.
- OS: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista SP2, XP SP3 (32-bit only)
- 2GB of RAM
- 4GB of disk space available for storing Android apps/games.
- Updated Graphics Drivers. The Drivers must be compatible with BlueStacks.
- Internet connection.
- Windows 10
- Processor: Intel Core i5-680 (PassMark 3500) or higher processor with virtualization extensions enabled in the BIOS
- Intel HD 5200 Graphics or higher
- 6GB RAM or higher
- Fusion or SSD Drive
- 40 GB Hard Disk Space
- Internet connection.
Since the BlueStacks 4 is not available for Mac, the only BlueStacks option for Mac users is the old BlueStacks. This is still one of the very best choices that the Mac owners have. The BlueStacks may be nearly a decade old, it still runs smoothly on the MacOS and previous versions too. Because of the software and hardware optimization on the Mac-powered devices, the BlueStacks does not lag or get stuck. Remember that this version of BlueStacks is based on the Android 4.4 KitKat. It does not even have the Google Play Store installed. So, right after getting it, the very first thing you should do is to install the Play Store on it. It does have a few downsides, but keeping in view the very limited options for Mac, it’s not a bad choice either.
After BlueStacks, Nox Player is the best choice for both the Windows and Mac users. It runs on the Android 7 Nougat. Nox Player runs inside your computer as if you are using a tablet. Nox Player has the basic Andapplicationsitons preinstalled. Users are less likely to face application compatibility and storage problems while using Nox Player. The multi-instance option on Nox allows the users to run the emulator either using Android 5 Lollipop or the Android 7 Nougat. It also has very decent requirements that most of the computers would easily meet. Nox Player comes for free.
Nox Player Requirements
KoPlayer is a very straightforward Android emulator. There is nothing complex about this emulator. All the users have to do is to install and start playing their desired Android games on the computer. KoPlayer focuses on gaming. It has got intuitive controls. The keymapping makes gaming quite easy. The requirements of KoPlayer are much less as compared to the BlueStacks and Nox Player. KoPlayer also works on both the Windows and MacOS.
- Graphic card supports OpenGL 2.0.
- CPU supports VT-x or AMD-V virtualization，which can be opened in BIOS.
- Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10 and MacOS
- 1 GB RAM
- 4 GB Disk Storage
MEmu, also known as MEmuplay is another decent choice for Windows users. It is not available for Macc. MEmu is also based on Android 4.4 KitKat, 5.0 Lollipop, 6.0 Marshmallow, and Android 7.0 Nougat. You can switch between the Android versions by running different instances of this emulator. The different instances with different software versions on these Android emulators are given so that the users do not face compatibility problems with applications. MEmu is lightweight, its requirements are much less as compared to all the Android emulators listed above. It is completely free to use.
MEmu System Requirements
- Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10
- Intel or AMD CPU (with Virtualization Technology support preferred)
- GPU with OpenGL 2.0+ support
- Minimum 1 GB RAM
- Minimum 2 GB Storage Space
If you want to run light Android games and applications on your computer, you may opt for YouWave. By light games, I mean that games like Subway Surfers, Temple Run 2, Angry Birds, and other similar games like these. You can run applications like Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, IMO, etc using YouWave. This emulator cannot handle games like PUBG Mobile. It is built to perform all the tasks quickly and that is why it is a very light emulator. YouWave’s free version is based on Android KitKat and its premium version runs on Android Lollipop. YouWave is available for Windows only. Here are its requirements.
- Intel Pentium 1.6GHz CPU
- 2 GB RAM
- 500 MB Disk Space
- Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10
- Premium Version requires 64-bit Windows and VT-x support.
Andy Android Emulator is similar to the Nox Player. It runs just like a virtual tablet on your computer. If you have an Android phone based on pure stock Android, you will find Andy Emulator resembling that. Any has an application drawer which contains all the applications like the Google Play Store, Gmail, and others. If you have a laptop with a touchscreen, the Andy emulator can give you the full experience of an Android device. It has multi-touch support. All the features that you would want to see in an Android emulator, they are there in Andy. The downside of Andy is that it hasn’t been updated in a long while. It still runs on the very old version of Android. Here are all the features of Andy.
Andy Requirements (Minimum)
- Dual-core AMD or Intel CPU with Virtualization support
- 3Gb of RAM; Andy uses less than 1Gb while running apps
- At least 10Gb of free disk space
- GPU with OpenGL 2.1 support
- Windows 7 SP1 / Windows 8.1 / Ubuntu 14.04+ / OSX 10.8+
ARChon is not exactly an Android emulator. It is basically a Google Chrome extension. To run the lightest Android applications, ARChon is the best choice. It does not support Google Play Store. Users have to download the APK files and install them manually. The ARChon does not support every other Android application as well. You will have to make some applications compatible if you want to run them in ARChon.
That’s all with the best Android Emulators for Windows and Mac. It totally depends on what kind of usage you want to obtain from an Android Emulator. Also, it also depends on what kind of load your computer can handle. I have listed the Emulators that consume the maximum resource to the Emulators that have close to 0 system requirements. For example, the ARChon runtime does not depend on your computer, it solely depends on your Google Chrome browser. To play heavier games, you can go with BlueStacks or Nox Player and so on.
If you have anything to add to this list or any query, please feel free to reach out to us through the comments section or through our contact us page.