Over the years, emulators have provided nostalgic pleasure to millions of people. Being able to replay old games from the Commodore 64 or Atari 2600 gives us a chance to relive our youth, while also underlining how far technology has progressed. Indeed, the quality and processing power of today’s smartphones is evidenced by the popularity of Android emulators for desktop PCs.
On paper, it might sound bizarre to impersonate a relatively modest smartphone on a comparatively powerful desktop or laptop. Yet in practice, tools like BlueStacks make a great deal of sense. The Linux underpinnings of this well-established emulator allow it to work seamlessly on Linux computers, and it’s also compatible with Windows and Mac-powered hardware.
These are some of the key advantages of BlueStacks:
#1. Maintaining connectivity during smartphone downtime.
Let’s say your Android handset needs repairing, or has an intermittent fault. BlueStacks enables you to log into WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger conversations from a single interface, maintaining conversations and regular gaming habits.
#2. Enjoying mobile gaming without limitations.
Games like Plants vs Zombies are fine on a modest five-inch screen, but they look more impressive on a desktop monitor. Desktop emulation is also beneficial for online games sporting relatively complex user interfaces, such as MMORPGs.
Despite their impressive CPUs, smartphones are limited in the number of programs they can run and display at any given time. Given the turn-based nature of many fantasy/strategy games, running multiple applications simultaneously enables progress to be made in several endeavors at once.
Installing the emulator is a relatively straightforward process, which begins by downloading a 415MB executable installer file. Once the software has been installed, a proprietary interface will load, albeit often rather slowly, even on a powerful machine. On the home screen, apps can be downloaded and installed just like the Android store, alongside customizable wallpapers and other personal touches.
Curated recommendations and download charts are displayed on the landing page, while an app inventory replicates the aesthetics of mobile devices on a larger scale. As an example, downloading WhatsApp and registering your cell number displays existing groups or comments missed since your last log-on. If you’re currently enduring smartphone withdrawal, this represents a lifeline.
Points and problems
To keep people off their mobiles, a loyalty scheme known as Pika Points enables users to earn premium subscriptions or Google Play gift cards. Points are earned by playing and installing apps, rewarding regular use – a loyalty bonus Android customers won’t receive.
There’s even an option to register as a Superfan, rewarding heavy usage with more Pika Points plus exclusive previews of new features and releases. Advertising saturates the free package, but this may be banished by upgrading to a premium subscription for a few dollars per month.
Advertising apart, there are certain issues prospective users should be aware of. Adverts quickly become intrusive on free versions, location sharing is almost compulsory for many services, and the emulator has an annoying habit of draining system resources even when not in use. Recent reviews of the platform have been overwhelmingly critical, citing regular crashes and incompatibility with Windows 10 Professional. Poor customer support is another recurring cause for complaint.
Still, many people will argue reliability issues or relentless advertising represent a small price to pay for staying in touch with friends while separated from their Android devices, or continuing to favorite games. Although alternatives like the USB-powered Bliss and AMD-supporting MEmu deserve consideration, BlueStacks remains one of the most popular and widely-trusted Android emulators.