The 5 Best GBA Emulators for Android

Capture the joy of the Game Boy Advance on your Android device

Whether you're looking to relive your childhood with old favorites or discover a new addiction, capture the joy of the Game Boy Advance (GBA) on your Android device with a GBA emulator. Here are our picks for the five best Android GBA emulators that make playing GBA games easy and fun.

01
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Best Complete Emulation Solution: RetroArch

RetroArch
What We Like
  • It's open source.

  • Supports multiple consoles.

  • Continually supported and developed.

What We Don't Like
  • The learning curve is a little steep.

RetroArch is more of a complete emulation solution than just a GBA emulator. It's a larger open-source project with versions spanning multiple operating systems.

RetroArch operates with what it calls "cores." These cores are different emulation platforms that let you play games from a whole range of retro consoles, including the Game Boy Advance. With RetroArch's core system and the continual development on the project, you'll never run out of things to play.

While RetroArch offers a polished interface, it's still an open-source project and may have some rough edges. Some reviews say it's not entirely beginner-friendly, but if you can work through the learning curve, you'll be well rewarded.

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02
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Most Polished GBA Emulator on Android: GBA.emu

GBA.emu
What We Like
  • Great interface.

  • Supports multiple formats.

What We Don't Like
  • It's not free.

GBA.emu is a dedicated Game Boy Advance emulator for Android. It's $4.99, but the price is definitely worth it for a polished emulator. This emulator is also open source, but it takes all the work out of the equation. There's no need to configure it or download BIOS files.

GBA.emu supports a range of formats, including the .gba extension and most popular archive formats. For controls, it features an on-screen control system but leaves the option open for USB and Bluetooth controllers.

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03
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Best for Utilizing External Storage: John GBA Lite

John GBA
What We Like
  • Tons of features.

  • Great cheat support.

What We Don't Like
  • The free version is supported by ads.

John GBA Lite is a fantastic free option that allows you to play your Game Boy Advance games from either your phone's internal storage or an SD card. Play with an on-screen virtual keypad or an external controller of your choice.

John GBA Lite is a popular option because of how full-featured it is while being free. You get access to game saves and restoration, turbo keys, customization, and even fast forward. With this emulator app, you can also take advantage of popular cheat engines like GameShark and CodeBreaker.

If you want to eliminate ads, consider upgrading to the full version for $2.99.

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04
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Most Popular GBA Emulator: My Boy!

My Boy!
What We Like
  • OpenGL rendering.

  • Great cheat support.

  • Customization options.

What We Don't Like
  • The app isn't free.

My Boy! is probably the most popular Game Boy Advance emulator around. It has more than a million downloads on the Play Store, and it doesn't seem like it'll slow down any time soon. My Boy! features fast and efficient emulation that makes use of your phone's capabilities to their fullest.

My Boy! features nearly all of the advanced features of the other entries on this list, allowing you to take absolute control of your games in ways that would've never been possible on the actual Game Boy Advance.

My Boy! includes cheat support such as ActionReplay, adds more customization options with key mapping, and even has screen layout options. Create your own shortcut icons to launch your favorite games straight from your phone's home screen.

The app is $4.99, but for all its features and options, it's well worth the price.

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05
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Best All-in-One Emulator: ClassicBoy

ClassicBoy
What We Like
  • Supports multiple consoles.

  • Great interface.

What We Don't Like
  • Fewer GBA features.

  • You'll need to pay for certain features.

ClassicBoy is another unique option. It's an all-in-one emulator that supports eight consoles, including the Game Boy Advance. ClassicBoy is a full-featured emulator with a fair amount of polish and graphical control, as well as support for both virtual on-screen controls and external controls for all systems.

ClassicBoy doesn't offer as many options as some of the others on this list when it comes to GBA support, but access to other Game Boy platforms and other popular consoles, like the PlayStation and N64, might be a bigger selling point to some.

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