There are millions of people worldwide who use Android phones, tablets, and other media devices. These folk obsess over their apps and love to use them wherever they are. If you are one of those people, you will love BlueStacks.
Plain and simple, BlueStacks allows you to run Android apps on your PC. So lets dive right in and take a look!
Getting started with BlueStack means checking a couple of things. First up, you will need to check up on your computer’s status, especially if you use Vista or XP. Windows Vista and XP users, you will need Service Pack 2. If you are on Windows 7, you are good to go!
Now head on over to www.bluestacks.com and download the BlueStacks App Player alpha version. Do not get scared by the phrase “alpha version” — this version is very stable. Once downloaded on your computer, you will need to head over to the Android Market to download BlueStacks Cloud Connect so you can load apps into BlueStacks.
Design & Interface
Without a good design, software can be pretty much worthless. Design and interface is just as important as functionality.
To that end, in the design department, I’m sorry to say BlueStacks is a tad weak. Yes, it does what is promised, but the design and interface is just not as polished as it should be.
In all fairness to the BlueStacks developers, BlueStacks is an alpha product and not final release. However, due to this review being based on the alpha version, that is what will be discussed and reviewed.
Once you open the app, you are greeted with a simple screen with the BlueStacks logo and six selection buttons at the bottom. One of the problems I have with BlueStacks is that it opens full screen. It should be windowed so that you can work on other things and multitask, which is the best part of desktop computing.
The buttons on the bottom are the back, close, menu, rotate, zoom app, and app switcher. Other than the very bland design of these buttons, they work as advertised.
While it is an alpha and the design leaves much to be desired, BlueStacks actually can make up for it in functionality. The ability to run Android apps on Windows is amazing. Windows is based off of MS Dos and a proprietary kernel, while Android is based off of Linux. I imagine it must have taken a whole bunch of work for the devs to get this software to work.
To cut all the intermediate jargon: BlueStacks is an emulator. It provides Android apps an Andriod environment to run on. There are a few ways to get Android apps onto the program.
First, you can download them directly through the app itself. Alternatively, you can download the BlueStacks Cloud Connect app and sign up for an account, and then you can load them from your phone. Loading from your phone is simple: simply select the apps you want and click sync. In a matter of minutes, they’ll sync with your PC.
Let’s talk further about Cloud Connect and how to set it up. Cloud Connect syncs apps from your phone to the software. How it does so is a little vague. Whether it transfers the apk or just emulates over the web, it’s hard to gaauge but it works and works well.
First, create an account at the BlueStacks homepage and download the app from Android Market. On the webpage you will see Cloud Connect. Click it and you will see pairs of digits.
Enter the digits on the screen into the app on your phone and viola, it will be synced.
BlueStacks and high performance cannot be uttered in the same sentence without making you feel dirty. BlueStacks can be completely sluggish at times. It lags, it lags, and then it lags some more!
From what I can tell, the apps are loading over the web and not native. I have tried to contact the developers to no success. It is almost as bad as the Android SDK Emulator: terribly slow.
There is a silver lining to this bad performance issue in that simple apps work just fine on BlueStacks. Apps that do not require much graphic work and are simple work just fine.
It is the games and other intensive apps that sends BlueStacks into a downward spiral. They advertise it can play games and they even include some; however, it just lags at even the simplest games.
To be fair, this is an alpha product so there’s no way but up for the performance to go.
I just want to make clear that I think BlueStacks has promise and potential. I’ve been critical of Bluestacks earlier but do not get me wrong: its core functionality is there and can be expanded upon in later releases.
The design and interface of BlueStacks is simple, functionality is on point, and performance is decent as long as you don’t hit a GPU intensive app.
Of course, this being a work-in-progress, everything should all get better in time. Check it out for yourself and see how it fits your needs. Thank you so much for reading!