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Best GBA emulators for Android in 2024 (Free and Paid)

Remember those days when returning from school meant taking control of the handheld console and playing until you dozed off? Are you missing the good old days of retro gaming? If yes, you have arrived at the right place. While I can’t provide you with those handled consoles, I have come up with the best GBA emulators for Android to cater to your whims!

You can download one of these apps to return to your golden gaming days. To keep things easy, I have highlighted the main features of each emulator, along with their pros and cons. You just have to read, pick your favorite GameBoy Advance emulator, and start playing!

Note: The legality of GBA emulators is quite controversial, but in most cases, they are not illegal. However, distributing or downloading copyrighted ROMs is an infringement and so attracts a penalty. Consider your region’s legal guidelines before using an emulator.   

1. GBA.emu – Editor’s Choice

GBA.emu Android Emulator

GBA.emu is a dream-come-true emulator for retro GBA enthusiasts. Designed as an open-source GBA emulator, it allows you to play your favorite games on a plethora of devices. Whether you are using an old device or the latest one, the performance will be top-notch. Plus, the on-screen controls add a comfort layer to your gaming session.   

You are also in for a treat with its no-clutter interface and crystal-clear audio/video delivery — the features I vowed to search for in all my picks. Another interesting thing that I found here was the support for compressed GBA files. This offers my device more storage space. Moreover, you get multiple cheat codes that are accessible via VB-M compatible files.   

The emulator works with your device’s light sensors, accelerometer, and gyroscope for a more immersive experience. You can operate this emulator using Bluetooth or USB-enabled gamepads and keyboards compatible with an HID device. Lastly, the developer has included the Motocross Challenge bike racing game as a bonus.   

  • Open-source GBA emulator 
  • Cheat codes 
  • On-screen controls 
  • Works with gamepad and keyboard 


  • Unsure about audio/video quality 

Price: $4.99

2. Nostalgia.GBA – Save your favorite gameplay

Nostalgia.GBA best GBA Emulator for Android

Rekindle your retro gaming days with Nostalgia. This is a GBA emulator based on mGBA, undoubtedly one of Android’s most sorted open-source GBA emulators. Moreover, if you expect a modern, sophisticated interface, you won’t find it here. Contrarily, you will be greeted with a very basic UI with easy navigation to features.  

I like showing my gaming sessions to my friends and family, so I was impressed when I learned that this emulator offers 8 save slots with screenshots and an autosave window. In addition, the rewind feature helps me continue my game after I get killed once. Plus, I can connect an external gamepad or keyboard for a more seamless gaming experience. Phew! 

It gets even more fun with the Wi-Fi controller mode, where I can transform my device into a multiplayer gadget and enjoy a gamer’s night with my gang. Other essential features included in this emulator are turbo buttons, stereo audio, and OpenGL graphics. Lastly, it is one of the best GBA emulators for Android with cheats. 

  • Minimalistic design and interface 
  • Replay feature 
  • Good graphics and audio 
  • Multiplayer mode with Wi-Fi  


  • Issues with landscape orientation switch

Price: Free  

3. My Boy! GBA Emulator – Best GBA emulator for Android

My Boy Android GBA Emulator

Meet My Boy! Without a lot of fuss, it is one of the best emulators for GBA on Android. This efficient emulator gave me hours of happiness by letting me play my old GBA games at a fast speed and restriction-free. While I used it on my latest smartphone, you can easily run it on older devices.   

The emulator renders access to link cable emulation for multiplayer mode. For this, you can use the same device or another device via Bluetooth/Wi-Fi. Moreover, handy cheat codes like GameShark bring random twists to your gameplay. Plus, there is a layout editor to adjust the position and size of on-screen controls per your taste.   

You can create customized layouts, try cool filters, fast-forward or slow-down elements, use the on-screen keyboard, and snap and save screenshots with My Boy’s loaded interface. In addition, all your saved games get synced to Google Drive, so you can switch between devices instantly. Try any GBA game, My Boy! It won’t disappoint you. 

  • Super-fast speed 
  • Link cable emulation for multiplayer access 
  • Clean interface 
  • Multiple customizations 


  • No recent bug updates 

Price: $4.99

4. VGBAnext – Rewind to continue gameplay

VGBAnext GBA Emulator

VGBAnext offers everything that I was looking for in the best GameBoy emulator for Android. With a straightforward interface, a bucket full of handy features, and a smooth experience – it quickly impressed the gamer in me. I liked how VGBAnext is not limited to GBA and emulates other popular consoles like GBC and GB. 

Optimized for Android devices, the emulator allows you to save favorite sections of your gameplay for easy sharing later. Plus, there is a 16-second rewind window that you can use to start afresh from the point you saved earlier. Make your moves using a keyboard, accelerometer, touch screen, or gamepad per your preference.  

Playing alone can be boring. So, use Network Play on VGBAnext and play with other gaming enthusiasts over Wi-Fi. Moreover, you can record the game audio to MIDI files and turn them into ringtones. Lastly, I ran the emulator on my Android TV. However, you can use it with gamepads such as Moga, Nyko PlayPad, iCade, etc.  

  • Multiple orientations, custom skin, etc. 
  • Compatible with Android TVs, Google TVs, gamepads 
  • Multiplayer mode allowed 
  • Users can rewind gameplay 


  • No free version 
  • Glitchy loading  

Price: $4.99  

5. Lemuroid – Best ad-free Android GBA emulator

Lemuroid ad free android GBA emulator

If I brag one thing about Lemuroid, it is the premium experience it brings users. How? Its perfect display offering allows you to get a balanced output between the control buttons and the screen. All the touch controls are easily visible without disrupting your gameplay. Even ads won’t bother you as this is an ad-free GBA emulator on Android.  

Like its counterparts, the Lemuroid GBA emulator has all the functionalities you would expect from a good emulator. For instance, I found an auto-save/load option, which I can use to restart my game after an impromptu break. Moreover, the fast-forward feature helps you speed up the boring portions of the game.   

One thing about Lemuroid that I didn’t find in any of the emulators on my list was the tilt-to-stick support. As expected, this will give you a console-like feel. Plus, you can use gamepads to operate the emulator. Lastly, you get cloud save sync, control customizations, and multiplayer mode on a single device. 

  • Excellent display 
  • Quick save and load  
  • Freedom from ads 
  • Multiplayer mode facilitated  


  • Controls can be messy sometimes 

Price: Free

6. EmuBox – Best free GBA emulator for Android

EmuBox - All in one GBA emulator

The next one to join my list of best Android GBA emulators is EmuBox. This all-in-one gaming console emulator is super fluid in its functionality. It encapsulates all the major old gaming consoles, making it an ideal pick to get everything under one roof. Scan your game ROM and start playing for free.   

Do you know that EmuBox is the first multi-emulator to boast Material Design aesthetics? The clean interface ensures smooth navigation. In addition, you can save up to 20 gameplays for each ROM or even take screenshots mid-game.  

Besides, you can fast-forward your game, tweak settings, and play with gamepads at your convenience. While the emulator is good for basic functionalities, you must consider the other options in this list for advanced settings.  

  • Supports most gaming consoles 
  • Easy navigation and use 
  • Up to 20 saves for each ROM 
  • Works with external controllers 


  • Frequent bugs 
  • Lengthy loading times 

Price: Free  

7. John GBAC – Tweak settings for intuitive gaming

John GBAC Emulator for Android

You cannot miss my next pick – John GBAC – because this best emulator for GBA on Android is too good to ignore. From offering high-quality gameplay to seamless navigation – I am getting everything of my choice here. Moreover, the emulator houses a virtual on-screen keypad to help you customize the layout and button alignment.

Furthermore, John GBAC allowed me to easily search for my existing ROMs in internal storage and SD card. Similarly, its fast-forward and slow-motion features rendered a personalized gaming session.   

In addition, there is a screenshot function to capture all your big wins and turbo buttons for instant action. Oh, and I also tested some of its cheat codes, like GameShark, Raw, and CodeBreaker. These offer easy access to new functions, hidden spaces, and more. 

  • Easy customizations 
  • Simple interface 
  • Cheat codes and turbo buttons 


  • Accessing save states can get tricky sometimes 

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $4.49) 

8. RetroArch – All-time favorite 

RetroArch GBA emulator for Android

Here comes the showstopper of my list featuring the best GBA emulators for Android: RetroArch. Designed as an open-source framework, RetroArch works seamlessly with emulators, video games, game engines, etc. This emulator stands out because of its power-packed development interface, Libretro.  

The app runs programs turned into dynamic libraries called libreto cores using various user interfaces, such as GUI. Sounds complicated? Well, understanding RetroArch in the initial stage can be tricky. However, once accustomed to it, you will love it. You can customize controls, load cheats, play multiplayer with NetPlay, take screenshots, and do more.   

To use GBA, you must download the GBA Core and then feed the ROMs. FYI, the portal has 80+ cores in its library. You can scan files, add them to collections, and view information about each game there. In addition, there is a Game & Watch section where you can download games and play with RetroArch’s Game & Watch exclusive emulator. Lastly, it has no ads, usage limits, or data spying. Great, right?  

  • Interactive interface  
  • Customization is easy  
  • Can do multiplayer gaming  
  • Shows game database 


  • Can be difficult to start  

Wrapping up 

In the modern tech era, who would like to find and clean old game consoles? Right? However, this shouldn’t stop you from satiating the child in you. The best GBA Android emulator listed here will ensure you enjoy your most cherished games on your smartphone.  

If you liked any of the mentions here, please do let me know in the comments section. Keep following us for more Android stuff. 

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  • Srishti Pandey

    For over five years, Srishti has been exploring the tech space with her writing glasses long forgotten on her head. As an Android user for years, she likes fiddling with the features and experimenting like a curious child. Thanks to her Master’s degree in English Literature, she is pretty good at weaving words that decode complex tech jargon and present it in a language that is easy to understand and put-to-good-use. With her keen interest in digging out the most sorted gadgets and apps, she saves her readers a few extra hours of not-so-fruitful Internet surfing.

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