6 best SNES emulators for Android

by: Joe HindyApril 30, 2015

Emulators have been popular on Android for a long time. Back in the day when the best games on the platform were Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds, emulators allowed gamers to experience console games on their devices long before developers brought console-level games to the platform itself. Not only that, but it allows many of us to replay our childhood favorites. In this short list, we’ll take a look at the best SNES emulators for Android.

john snes best snes emulatorsJohn SNES

[Price: Free / $2.99]
John SNES is from a long line of emulators from this developer that have a reputation for being done well. It’s very basic in terms of features but it does include turbo mode, cheat support, fast forward and slow down modes, Dropbox support, and support for third party controllers (wired, wireless, Bluetooth). You can try it out for free but to get the full experience, you’ll need to fork out the very reasonable $2.99. It features high compatibility and it really is solid.
Get it on Google Play
john snes best snes emulators

retroarch best emulators for androidRetroarch

[Price: Free]
Retroarch is an all-in-one style emulator that plays games from various consoles including the SNES. The developers boast a fully open source app here so you can go see the source code on your own if you want to. There is also no advertising and is totally free to use. The only real problem is that it hasn’t been updated since March of 2014 so it’s hard to say whether the app is still being actively developed. Otherwise, it’s a great free option.
Get it on Google Play
retroarch best emulator for android

snes emulator androidSnes9x EX+

[Price: Free]
First up is probably the best on the list and that is SNES9x EX+. This is an open source emulator which means the source code is posted somewhere where you can actually see it. The only recommendation is having a phone with at least a 1GHz processor which is pretty much every phone available period right now. It features all the stuff you’d need like solid game support, support for .sfc and .smc files (along with the traditional .zip), and even support for save games created on PC emulators. The interface isn’t the best looking, but with emulators you want functionality. You’ll be too busy playing games to care what the menu looks like. Also, this is totally free with no ads.
Get it on Google Play
snes emulator android

snes emulator androidSNESDroid

[Price: Free]
SNESDroid is also free and has most of the features you want in an emulator and a few fun features to play with. One such example is your choice of shaders to help tweak the graphics in your games. It’s a relatively older emulator and the developer hasn’t updated it since 2012 so it’s safe to assume that the features it has are the features it will have forever. It plays games and that is what is most important but because it has been so long since an update, there have been some compatibility problems.
Get it on Google Play

snes emulator androidSuperGNES (SuperLegacy 16)

[Price: Free / $3.99]
This is by far the most popular SNES emulator on the list. It has a boat load of features and some of them are actually fairly awesome. Along with the standard stuff like strong game compatibility and performance, SuperGNES also offers Dropbox support so you can play the same game (and save) across multiple devices, Game Genie support, Turbo mode, a wide range of supported formats, and a fairly polished and enjoyable interface that includes game cover art. It’s the only one on the list that costs money but the feature list is much longer. There are some problems here and there as some users still report the occasional issue but generally speaking it is a very solid offering. Note, as of early 2015, this app has renamed SuperLegacy16.
Get it on Google Play


[Price: Free]
This last one is kind of a wild card. SNESoid used to be a very popular app in the Google Play Store but was pulled due to legal concerns. Fortunately, the app is now available for free using the button below. Unfortunately, you’ll have to download the APK yourself and sideload it manually. This app hasn’t been updated in a couple of years so you can expect some compatibility issues depending on your device. That said, it still runs very smoothly for most games on most devices. There is a fast forward mode (to speed up game play), C-Core support (allows the play of games like Super Mario RPG), and support for external controllers. It’s free and it’s a little off the beaten path but at one point it was one of the most solid emulators available.

To download SNESoid, click here!
snes emulator android

Wrap up

The list is pretty short but that is because emulator development is a little more complicated than one would expect. At this point, there are emulators that are good enough and many have decided to either stop trying or to begin contributing to other, more open source efforts. Even so, these four emulators have about all the features you’d ever need in an SNES emulator. If we missed a good emulator, let us know in the comments!

  • Corey Watford

    Can we Please Get a “best gameboy emulator” article too?

    • JosephHindy

      Later today or tomorrow. I’m doing a number of these :) keep an eye out on the app lists section. It’s coming!

      • Jorge Alvarez

        awesome for the gameboy advance ones dont forget about VGBA pricey but nice

        • JosephHindy

          MyBoy will always be my GBA emulator of choice ;)

          • Hodr

            Yep agree, MyBoy is my top choice.

    • joshua henry

      use gbadroid the bios file is on loveroms.com

  • Hodr

    Am still using Snes9x EX.
    Used Zhang’s Snesoid long ago but stopped after source code license fiasco.
    SuperGNES is premium with polished UI, but not enough to make me switch :)

    • JosephHindy

      Yeah I never got full details ont he source code fiasco, but the app is now totally free so it doesn’t matter anymore anyway :) I’m pretty sure it was a dispute over money and there is no longer money getting switched so I’m okay with promoting it to people.

  • Pedro Nieto

    RetroArch is my favorite and it includes Gameboy color and other emulators into one. Just be sure to set the input or you will get a black screen as the controller.

  • Tom Z

    Is that some sort of InstaGram ratio monitor. It looks square!

  • rogue3

    Do any of these include support for external controllers?

    • Rob Triggs

      I don’t recall about in-app, but I’m pretty sure SNESDroid works with Bluetooth PS3 controllers via the SixAxis controller app (or similar). It might depend on the controller though.

      I used to use that sort of setup all the time.

      • rogue3

        I have a MOGA controller. I’ll have to test it out & see if it’ll work with some of these emulators.

        • JosephHindy

          Sorry this has taken so long, but SuperGNES (now SuperLegacy16) does work with Moga. I use it all the time :)

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    • JosephHindy


  • Sephiro

    The best gameboy advance emulator hands down is gameboid. It plays any and all gameboy games at will with support for a wide variety of devices.

  • Luce Distante

    Hi all and thanks for this article :-) I’m having some troubles making my sister happy with her new HTC android, and I really hope some good old school gaming will make her smile. I wonder if that jewel can handle N64 too :-)

  • Max Rosenblum

    Can anyone confirm that these emulators will work with a USB Snes controller?

    • anon

      Your droid’s got a port for a usb? Or do you mean a bluetooth controller?

      • JosephHindy

        You can use USB OTG cables to connect USB peripherals to your Android devices. I used to do this with a PlayStation 3 controller.

  • David Oliveira Andrade

    So good. I use the SNESoid because it is the only that runs smoothly on my phone. i once used superGNES but it runs a bit slower.

  • سلطان الدبيان