Thanks to the shoddy state of Windows 10 I got into a foul mode the other day and decided to take a spin around and test a few Android emulators for Windows just for fun. I have tried a few of them before, especially Bluestacks, and never really found them to be of much use. There are a few apps (Amazon, Comixology in particular) though that I cannot find or, due to no fault of Windows but rather thanks to the laziness of the developers of the apps in question, does not work very well on Windows 8 or 10 though so I felt like giving another try.
When you start to search around for Android emulators on Windows the one that is the most mentioned appears to be Bluestacks. Quite honestly I do not understand why. I have installed and de-installed it at least three times, probably more, over several years to see if it had improved and I have always come to the same conclusion. To me Bluestacks is rather disappointing. Actually I have found it to be more or less crap most of the time. Not only has it failed to run a lot of apps, like Wifi Analyzer, that I tried but it also forces a rather awkward user interface onto the users. One that has little to do with a modern Android tablet. I simply do not understand why this one ends up on the top of most lists. As I wrote, I think it is a crap product.
I played around with a few more, like Genymotion, but I found that most of them do not work very well and/or tries to install tons of software, like Oracle virtualisation stuff, that I definitely do not want on my devices.
Then I stumbled over AMIDuOS. Yes, the AMI in the name is really AMI as in American Megatrends Inc, the well known maker of motherboards and other stuff, so it is not exactly a simple hobby or enthusiast product. So far this one works! Well, at least almost 100%. I did have an issue with the myCanal app which seemed to crash but everything else I threw at it worked nicely.
AMUDuOS is not free. They give you a 30 day trial period then you have to pay. The price is quite moderate though. 10 EUR for a Jellybean and 15 Euro for Lollipop emulator. That of course brings us to one of the good things with AMIDuOS. It gives you a modern version of Android and not some old stuff with some crummy user interface. Once you have installed AMIDuOS you get something that really looks like a Android tablet.
Speaking of installing. The install procedure is as it should be. That is, it is very simple and works flawlessly. You click on the download link, run the installer and it is done. You now have a working Android OS installation on your tablet. There is one small oops though. Due to licensing requirements AMI can apparently not distribute the Google apps, like Google Play store, with their package so you have to install this separately. This is a simple matter of downloading them from the links that AMI provides, right-clicking and selecting Apply to AMIDuOS so it is not really a big deal.
Once this was done I had something that truly looked like a standard Android tablet on my Surface 3 Pro. It runs quite fast as well. Most apps, actually all apps I have tried so far with the exception of Canalsat’s myCanal are running fine. One advantage with AMIDuOS is that you can actually pin your Android apps as tiles on your Windows 8 or 10 start page or start menu. I do have a bit of a gripe with the fact that there seems to be no standard way of getting rid of the apps from the All applications menu once you have added them there. The start menu/start page tiles are no problem to delete but the apps still show up in the all apps menu even if you try to uninstall them. Another big drawback is that the first time you click on one of these apps it has to start AMIDuOS itself which is a somewhat lengthy process. Once AMUDuOS is started the Android apps starts quite quickly however this brings us to the main gripe I have with AMIDuOS, or any other of these emulators for that matter.
These emulators are resource hogs and they constantly cause my tablet to run rather hot, not to mention eat battery. Thus you really do not want to have them running in the background. If you have some Android app that you really want to run then this is a nice solution but it is not really something you want to run for everything. Also we have the personal preferences of course. Personally, despite the fact that Microsof royally screwed up Windows 10 on a tablet compared to Windows 8, the Windows user interface still wins over Android by a huge margin as far as I am concerned.
However, if you are keen on running Android once in a while on your Windows device then AMIDuOS is the best solution that I have found so far.