This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Nox. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
Running Android apps on a desktop or laptop is becoming the new norm these days; more and more options are becoming available. There’s even some speculation that desktop and mobile operating systems will eventually merge into a single OS. For now, we have Android emulators like Nox App Player to help us play our favorite games and use other apps on a PC.
Based on Android 4.4.2, Nox App Player is available for both Windows (XP SP3, 7, 8, 8.1, 10) and macOS Sierra. Considering the fact that Nox App Player is an emulator, I didn’t think that it would work under Wine on Linux, but I tried it anyway. As suspected, I couldn’t get it to run after installation, so I moved over to my Windows install.
Here’s a look at how Nox App Player performs on Windows 7.
Installation and Setup
After being forced to update my graphics card driver (I was going to get to it eventually – promise), I was able to get Nox App Player installed on Windows 7 pretty effortlessly. The entire process only took a couple minutes.
The “basic features of Nox App Player” diagram that displays after the installation process completes is extremely helpful. It shows you what you need to know in order to get started such as the ability to drag and drop APK files, where to find settings, and how to navigate.
After you close this out, you’re ready to get started. Personally, though, the first thing I always do is head over to Settings before I actually start to use a program, and Nox App Player has plenty of them.
Customizing the Settings
Under General, you can check for updates, enable the launch of Nox App Player on startup, change the language, clear the cache and more. Everything is self-explanatory.
Under Advanced, you can change the performance settings, startup settings, frame settings, and graphics rendering mode. If you want to use more than one CPU or more memory than the default setting, you can change that here.
Note: to use more than one CPU you will need to enable VT (Virtualization Technology) on your computer.
If you’re a fan of shortcuts, head over to the Shortcut section to set shortcuts for home, menu, back, recent tasks, zooming in/out, and more.
If you’re not happy with the way the Nox App Player interface is setting up, you can choose what does and does not appear in the toolbar in the Interface section. You can also enable/disable some window sizing options.
Android on Your Desktop
Nox App Player has a very clean interface. Upon first glance, you’ll notice that everything is on a single page and there aren’t very many apps installed. It looks like an oversized Android tablet or TV box on your computer screen.
There is a Google Search bar at the top, two rows of icons, and a bottom dock. The status bar is also there, but remember this is based on Android 4.4.2, so when you pull down the notifications, they take up the entire screen.
You also get notifications via the Windows taskbar, so you don’t have to worry about missing a thing.
Navigating Nox App Player
Moving around Nox App Player is just like any Android device. You can click and drag the window to scroll. There is also a very handy navigation bar on the right side of the window with lots of options like video recording, multi-player and game controller setup, and volume control.
However, if you prefer to get rid of that bar along with the black border around the actual Nox App Player window, you can enable Full-Screen Mode (via the navigation bar). This immersive view is especially great for games.
If you aren’t using the keyboard shortcuts and want to go back, home, or view recent apps, the three buttons for that are on the bottom of the navigation bar. Viewing recent apps is just like on a mobile device, and you can even swipe up while clicking and holding on an app to close it out.
Nox App Player comes with the Google Play Store so that you can search for and download apps. I’m sure there will be some compatibility issues with some since this is an earlier version of Android, so that’s one thing you’ll have to watch out for.
Just know that since this is just like an Android device, you will need to log in to your Google account before you can view the store or download apps.
My main reason for using an Android emulator is to play games that I would otherwise not be able to play on my desktop, so I decided to try out a couple to see how they performed. After a little trial and error and tweaking, I was really impressed. I can definitely see myself playing a lot of my mobile favorites on my desktop.
Before playing a game, though, it’s very important to enable VT on your computer. It’s a somewhat tedious task and may be a little complicated for those who aren’t tech-savvy, but it’s very much worth it to ensure top performance in Nox App Player. Allocating more CPU and Memory in settings also helps tremendously. Since I have 16GB of RAM on my computer, I decided to allocate 4GB to Nox App Player.
Before doing this, resource-heaving games like Township were pretty much much unplayable. The graphics looked amazing and it was almost surreal to see the game at such a large size compared to a small mobile screen, but the extreme lag and stuttering were unbearable.
However, the difference in gameplay was felt immediately once I did some tweaking in Settings; it made for a smooth and pleasant experience. So as you can see, it’s really important to enable VT and play around with the CPU and/or Memory settings if you’re experiencing poor performance and/or even constant crashes.
Being able to run Android apps on my desktop (especially games) is a dream come true considering I do most of my gaming on my Android device.
With a little performance tweaking and the ability to set up game controllers, Nox App Player is an almost perfect desktop Android emulator for gaming. Pair that with the multiple Android instances feature allowing you to play different games or different accounts of the same game concurrently (hello multiple players) and things get a lot more interesting.
What are your thoughts on Nox App Player? Is it something you can see yourself using on a regular basis? Let us know in the comments section.
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