If you’ve got a PC, you’re probably familiar with the name American Megatrends. If nothing else, you’ve almost certainly seen that name flash across your screen when it boots up, since they’re a BIOS firmware developer for many major motherboard manufacturers (try saying that 3 times fast). It’s a pretty safe bet to say that if you’ve used a PC in the last 20-30 years, you’ve used an American Megatrends BIOS. Recently, American Megatrends has branched out a bit, and has developed an Android emulator called DuOS. Will DuOS turn your PC into a fully functional Android device? We checked it out and found out in our DuOS review.
Ease of Installation
If you’ve downloaded and installed a web browser, or really any other sort of Windows software the installation process for DuOS should be a breeze, with one small wrinkle. If your processor supports virtualization, but that support is turned off by default, you’re going to have a much better experience by turning that virtualization on. That means messing with BIOS settings. Thankfully, considering American Megatrends is a BIOS company first and foremost, they’ve got detailed instructions for most systems and computer manufacturers to get into the correct BIOS settings and flip the appropriate switches.
After that, installation is a walk in the park. Set your install location, let the necessary files download, and pretty soon you’ll have a functional Android emulator on your PC.
Difficulty/Ease of Use
After the extra few steps during installation, using DuOS is almost as easy as using your Android phone or tablet. Some features – such as pinch zoom – are a bit of a work in progress, but most other functionality is present; click and drag to switch homescreen pages or to scroll, long click is the same as long tap, etc. You can, however, use the input mapper function in DuOS Settings to set keyboard shortcuts in apps and games if you so choose.
As of right now, DuOS provides you with an Android “tablet” running Android 4.2.2, though an update to Lollipop should be coming at some point in the future. Even stuck on KitKat, operation of DuOS is smooth. In the app settings you’re able to adjust the RAM allocated to DuOS (with a maximum of 2GB), get root access, map controller input, and set up shared folders between DuOS and your PC.
DuOS comes preinstalled with Amazon’s App Store, but installing Google apps and services is easy. DuOS provides links to download the GApps zip file, and applying that zip to DuOS is as easy as right-clicking and using the “Apply to DuOS” menu option. From there, just sign in to your Google account and your Android apps, and games will all be available to use on your PC.
Once you’ve installed those apps, however, there may be a few mixed results. Most everything that I tested would at least run with a few exceptions – Leo’s Fortune crashed almost immediately after opening every time. A few apps did have some display issues, or other irregularities. For example, Kingdom Rush: Origins did not display your health, gold, or wave number, but was otherwise completely playable. Clash of Clans worked flawlessly, as did Rebuild, and many other games.
The obvious draw for an Android emulator on PC is for Android games, so thankfully most games work without issue. Most people with a PC will already have more robust productivity apps than are available on Android, or even Google products such as Drive which are widely available online. For games though, there’s really just something cool about booting up your favorite Kairosoft game on a 23” monitor versus a 5” phone screen.
With that being said, one of the heaviest hitters when it comes to Android games – Ingress – probably shouldn’t even be a thought on DuOS. While you technically probably could install DuOS on a Windows tablet, and install Ingress and play, it’s probably best not to run the risk of getting your account banned. Better to be safe than sorry.
DuOS says that PC cameras will work, though I didn’t find that to be the case with my Logitech webcam. The webcam control software would pop up, but I was left with a blank green display when using the camera operation on PicSay Pro. The default Google Camera app isn’t compatible with DuOS, so I wasn’t able to try to use the front vs back camera settings. Shared folders, DropBox, or other means may be necessary to get photos, videos, or other files onto your “tablet.” Your mileage may vary, and it’s possible that integrated webcams may have better success. I trust that cameras do actually work with the emulator as they say, I just didn’t have any luck getting mine working.
If you play a lot of games on your phone, and have a processor that supports virtualization there’s very little not to enjoy about DuOS. Most Android emulators that I’ve seen have definite drawbacks or require other workarounds to function properly. DuOS does highly recommend turning on virtualization (and it’s honestly more of a requirement than a suggestion), but otherwise it’s really a one-stop shop for Android emulation. DuOS easily integrates with your Google account, giving you access to all of your apps and games.
DuOS offers a free 30 day trial, so if you’re still unsure after reading this review you can try it yourself for a full month. You honestly may not even make it to through the full 30 days without buying the lifetime license though, since it is very reasonably priced at $9.99. If you like to play mobile games and want an easy way to get those games up on a bigger screen, DuOS is really a no-brainer.
If you own an Android device, play a lot of mobile games, and want to have more options as to where you play those games DuOS provides you with those options. If you’re an Apple user that maybe wants to see what all of the fuss is about with Android, that’s another great use-case for DuOS. If you really just want to be able to get an extra close look at your Clash of Clans base layout… you get the idea. As long as you’re running a PC with Windows 7 or 8 and a processor that supports virtualization, there’s no good reason not to at least try DuOS.