Developers have been preoccupied for some time with trying to create emulators that will allow you to play Android games and apps on your desktop computer. Some of the best known are BlueStack and Droid4X. “But why bother?” you say. “The desktop is dead.”
Well, while it’s true that desktop sales have been declining for some time the fact is that there are still tens of millions of desktop computers out there running Windows and to ignore such a huge market is just not good business, regardless of what you think about the future of the PC. With that in mind then let’s take a look at the latest and maybe the best android emulator for PC that we’ve found to date: the Nox App Player.
The Nox Android Emulator allows you to generate a virtual Android OS on your desktop that you can use to play those ever popular Android games like Angry Birds and Temple Run along with their other popular apps. The biggest obvious advantage to using your PC to run Android apps is that you can use that lovely large PC screen so there’s no need for squinting or holding the phone so close to your face that it makes you dizzy, just so you can see what’s going on.
Nox is the product of Duodian Networks that is hoping to put a dent in the primacy of other, more established emulators. Will they succeed? Well, let’s take a look at Nox and see if we can draw any conclusions.
The Nox Player is definitely one of the fastest we’ve experienced. It’s also completely free and devoid of those annoying advertisements and the constant nagging about signing up for premium services that make other free apps such a drag. The Nox emulator downloads fast (well, relatively fast depending on your Internet connection), installs fast and works fast.
That’s 3 things right there it has going for it. It will gobble up about 250 MB of your hard drive but if you want the luxury of playing Android games or running other Android apps on your PC it’s worth it. The usual goodies are also bundled in with it including the Play Store, screen capture and record and more (see below). Basically if you love the Android experience but would like to be able to see what you’re doing the Nox emulator will deliver.
Nox App Player Features
- No Functional Limits – The Nox Emulator is completely compatible with X86, Intel and AMD processors. It’s also completely customizable which allows you to configure it in a way that won’t be a drag on your system. Anything you can play on your high-end mobile phone you can play via the Nox Emulator.
- Ability to Run Multiple Instances – The Nox Emulator allows you to maximize your fun and productivity by running multiple instances at the same time.
- Full Support of Gamepads and Controllers – The Nox Emulator contains full support for gamepads and controllers allowing you to recreate the experience of playing with a full-on gaming console.
- Other Features – Besides all of the above the Nox Emulator features root access, customizable resolution settings, full graphics customization, record screen and more.
The Nox Emulator Experience
The Nox Player runs the Android 4.4.2 KitKat Kernel. Because there is no app drawer all apps are readily accessible. There are also mouse and keyboard shortcuts. Yes, KitKat is somewhat dated but performance in this case is uber-stable and you shouldn’t have any problems running any Android apps. The interface is basically clean and user friendly and, as we said earlier, it’s fully compatible with all major processors. The Nox Emulator is also fully compatible with Windows 10 and is supported by Windows 8, 7, Vista and even the much missed XP.
- Stay Current on Social Media – To integrate Facebook, WeChat and other popular social media apps into the Nox player download the appropriate SDK bundle and extract and install the APK file by simply dragging and dropping.
- Graphics Properties – Nox App Player allows you to change graphics properties such as Open GL and Direct X. You can also change RAM usage and CPU speed and change other performance settings, tablet resolution and much more.
- Run Multiple Instances – We’ve already mentioned that the Nox Emulator allows you to run multiple instances simultaneously. This can be an invaluable asset if you are a tester who needs to have multiple instances of the emulator open at any given time. Keep in mind though that running more than one instance at a time will likely hinder system performance.
Installing the Nox Emulator for PC
- Download the Nox android emulator from the Nox site or a number of other sites.
- Save the setup file to your computer when prompted.
- Run the nox_setup exe file.
- Select your options during the setup process.
- Once installed go to “settings” as you would on your Android phone to make adjustments.
Nox Android Emulator Verdict
There are by now a number of free Android emulators floating around the web and most do a serviceable job recreating the Android experience. The Nox App Player though is perhaps the best we’ve seen. It’s a no-nonsense bit of software that’s easy to setup and use and will make the business of enjoying your Android games, social media and other apps a relative walk in the park.
Fully customizable, user friendly and compatible with all Windows operating systems from XP onward (including 10) the Nox player leaves little to be desired. If we were stranded on a desert island with decent wifi and we had to choose 1 Android emulator it would be the Nox.