BlueStacks App Player from BlueStacks Inc. is designed to allow you to use your Android apps on a PC or Mac. Their slogan for the application is “Play Bigger,” and that’s exactly what BlueStacks App Player offers. Not necessarily better, but often times bigger–BlueStacks is essentially a software emulation program that can run windowed or full-screen on a Windows or Mac computer. This review covers the Mac version of BlueStacks App Player in its current release as of time of publishing. Please be advised that BlueStacks may look and operate differently on PC and as the software is updated over time.
Upon booting up BlueStacks for the first time, you’re asked to enter your Google account credentials. After a successful login, you will be presented with a homepage of sorts that lets you launch any compatible app. It’s different from what you find on a smartphone or tablet with Google’s mobile operating system, but still functional and easy to navigate.
From here you have full access to all compatible applications that you’ve purchased or previously accessed with your Google account. Applications will need to be downloaded for your new emulated device, and some compatibility issues may arise–just as if you were running a different version of Android on your smartphone or tablet.
It’s not just games either. You can download music or office-based apps, e-reader applications, or creativity programs. Microsoft Word (mobile version) installs and performs perfectly fine and even allows you to connect to your Microsoft One Drive for access to online documents. If you download Instagram or Twitter, you can even use the webcam built into your computer as the camera. Pretty neat!
The general interface is simple to use and differs very little from what you would see on a tablet in landscape mode. Some settings show different options being that they’re in an emulated mode but are self-explanatory in nature. I found that applications behaved similarly to their native devices; however, a handful of applications that I tried either did not load at all or had minor graphical glitches.
The biggest difference I found while using BlueStacks compared to an Android device was using the mouse to click and scroll instead of the traditional swiping that would be used on your smartphone or tablet. This took some getting used to and was especially cumbersome in games that required swiping. After some time it became less of a burden, but it’s definitely not ideal.
Searching from the program is very useful. If the application you are searching for is not found on the “device”, BlueStacks automatically lists a clickable option to search the Google Play Store instead. This is incredibly handy.
So, why does BlueStacks even exist? What’s the real purpose of having Android emulated on a Mac or PC? Well, in general, I can’t think of too many reasons why you’d want to use BlueStacks App Player over Android on a dedicated device. However, this could be very handy for someone developing an Android application on a PC or Mac for testing purposes. Or maybe you left your tablet at home, and you’re traveling with your MacBook and want to get in a couple games of Clash of Clans. The possibilities are there, and BlueStacks App Player is definitely filling the void.
I would definitely recommend BlueStacks for someone that needs to access Android in a pinch or for an instance where you want to try out an application in Android before purchasing a new device. It’s far from perfect, but when it works, it works like a charm.
Download BlueStacks App Player for PC or Mac at BlueStacks’ Website.