BlueStacks 5 beta brings Android emulation to ARM devices

BlueStacks 4
BlueStacks 4 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • BlueStacks 5 beta is now available for download.
  • The Android emulator has been rewritten and now uses 40 percent less RAM.
  • BlueStacks 5 beta supports ARM devices, including the Surface Pro X.

BlueStacks is one of the most popular Android emulators available. The makers of the emulator recently announced BlueStacks 5 beta, which includes several improvements over BlueStacks 4 that came out in 2018. The app now uses 40 percent less RAM, has new features, and supports ARM devices like the Surface Pro X.

The latest version of BlueStacks is a complete rewrite of the app. The two main benefits of this rewrite are reduced RAM usage and support for ARM devices. It also has a 40 percent faster setup time and a library of over 2 million games.

"ARM devices have a big advantage over x86 devices for running Android Apps as they don't need binary translation. Our support for ARM reflects the work we have been doing for the last three years," says Sharad Agawarwal, chief architect for BlueStacks 5.

The emulator also has FPS lock and Long-flight features that make it better for longer play sessions. According to its developers, it should have more consistent FPS figures during gaming. It also has an Eco-mode that makes multitasking more efficient.

While there's plenty of good news when it comes to BlueStacks 5, Android Authority highlights a major weakness. According to Android Authority, BlueStacks 5 still uses Android 7.1.2 Nougat, which came out in 2016.

Using a version of Android from four years ago could cause compatibility issues going forward. Four years is a long time in terms of Android app support, and some app developers may move away from Nougat soon if they haven't already.

While the press release announcing BlueStacks 5 beta mentions ARM support, the emulator's page only lists Intel and AMD processors as supported at this time. It seems that ARM support will be available in the future.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

8 Comments
  • It's not bad software other than the adware than comes embedded. I used to use this to play some Android games on my PC so I didn't drain my phone battery, keyboard and mouse support was a nice improvement to for more accurate controls of certain games.
  • I was already pleased with its compatibility and speed but I really like the newest version as its definitely faster. Please understand that I don't use Bluestacks for gaming; I use it for viewing my cameras (Wyze). It works great to use as a "control panel" of sorts for Tuya, Alexa, Wyze and Eufy. Well done Bluestacks.
  • I'm going to install this on my budget tablet, also for security cameras (Night Owl). The old version was too sluggish, but this new version looks promising.
  • Surface Pro X support is nice, it could fill that app gap for now until Microsoft itself implements Android app support in Windows 10.
  • Just remember that Microsoft will have the same problem Amazon does if they decide to do this. No one will publish Android apps in the Microsoft Store, and that is especially true for games.
  • This doesn't work on ARM. I tried on both a HP Envy (Snapdragon 835) and a Surface Pro X. Anyone else get this working on ARM?
  • Looks like the current beta version, which is available for download, does not have ARM support yet.
  • I have the same problem on my surface pro X. It installed the software and for a brief moment it starts up and then it shuts down again....such a bummer. I was so excited that ARM support was there.....