Sunday, 20 May 2018

Freeware Review: Bluestacks

Bluestacks is an android emulator, basically meaning you can use it to turn your laptop or desktop into a giant android device and as such run android apps on your PC that under normal circumstances wouldn't work in Windows.  Achieving this functionality isn't as simple as it sounds as not only is BlueStacks almost 300MB, but it also consumes more RAM than any other program I use.  So accordingly when using it I tend to close all other programs, including graphic designers and even office-related applications, that may slow the computer down, and I also don't like to leave BlueStacks running in the background but rather close it when I'm finished using it.


Of course the people who would benefit the most from having a large android display are gamers who can enjoy the benefit of playing android games on a bigger screen, and as you can see from the above logo and indeed their official website this is how the BlueStacks' company mainly markets it.  However I think most people who use it in Ghana actually do so primarily to run Whatsapp on a PC.  

Using Whatsapp on BlueStacks not only affords you a larger display but also lets you open an account using a different phone number than the one you may have registered on your android, although to my knowledge you can also use the same number you already registered, basically meaning you can operate the same account on both your android and PC.  It also lets you use Whatsapp if you don't have an android altogether, but you'll have to have your chip in some kind of device for when they send you the mandatory verification code.  However one disadvantage of using Whatsapp on BlueStacks is that all of your contacts (phone numbers) have to be reentered manually.  

There's also the obvious advantage that using Whatsapp or another android chat program on Windows would afford actual typists the opportunity to use a conventional keyboard as opposed to the tiny android touchscreen version (although some people can type really fast using an android), but this benefit is reduced by the fact that again due to consuming so many system resources the characters you type can come out slowly, which makes accurate speed typing almost impossible since the autocorrect feature that is in place by default on most androids also isn't present (although I would presume can be downloaded elsewhere).  As such if you are typing a longer message the best option would probably be to do so in a lightweight word-processing program like Notepad and then pasting it into BlueStacks.


The primary reason I personally use Whatsapp on BlueStacks is that doing so gives me direct access to the files on my PC.  In other words you can upload files to or download files from BlueStacks directly onto your computer, which I personally see as the greatest benefit of using this program.  However doing so is not easy, and you'll need a program like ES File Explorer (as well as proficiency in navigating through Windows), and I also suggest you follow this tutorial for the basic on how to do so.

Once you figure out how to transfer files from BlueStacks directly to your PC then you can then use it in conjunction with other programs such as TubeMate, the best application I currently know of for downloading copies of videos from streaming sites like YouTube, since due to recent browser updates applications that used to do the trick such as Internet Download Manager or certain Firefox extensions no longer seem to work.  In other words TubeMate, though an android app, may be better for downloading duplicates of streaming video than even any currently-popular desktop applications for doing such and comes in especially handy if for whatever reason (such as file size) you're not particularly fond of downloading such directly onto an android device.


BlueStacks is such a complicated program that it's relatively difficult to install, occasionally crashes and can slow your entire operating system down, so if your PC isn't powerful enough then it's best to leave this program alone until you get one that is.  However once you get pass these limitations it's a very-useful program especially for gamers but also for those who prefer transferring files directly from their PC to and from android apps.

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