Growing up, remember playing all the nostalgic games in our old-school gaming consoles? Like Super Mario or Mortal Combat? These games still have an immovable place in our hearts and we can't get enough of them even after all these years!
But all the games you used to love as a kid, their gaming consoles are either no longer available. Or the games that you do love of today are only compatible with high-end gaming consoles that will chip off a huge chunk of your wallet.
Hence, thanks to the tech-gods out there, emulators come into the spotlight; enabling you to play all your favorites in your affordable single device. And today, we are about to discuss some of the best tablets for emulators to aid you in puchasing the ultimate gaming gear!
|IMAGE||PRODUCT|| Display size |
| ||Apple iPad Air |
4/64 GB (4th gen)
|10.9||2360×1640||A14 Bionic chip|
| ||Apple iPad Mini |
4/64 GB (5th gen)
|7.9||2048 × 1536||A12 Bionic chip|
| ||Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab |
4/64 GB (2020)
|10.1||1920×1200||Qualcomm Snapdragon 439|
| ||Microsoft Surface Go 2 |
8/128 GB (2020)
|10.5||1920 x 1280||Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4425Y|
| ||Microsoft Surface Pro 7 |
8/128 GB (2019)
|12.3||2736 x 1824||10th Gen Intel Core i5|
| ||Amazon Fire HD 8 |
2/64 GB (2020)
|8||1280 x 800||MediaTek MT8168|
| ||Samsung Galaxy S6 Lite |
4/128 GB (2020)
|10.4||2000 x 1200||Exynos 9611|
| ||Samsung Galaxy A7 |
3/64 GB (2020)
|10.4||2000 x 1200||Qualcomm SM6115|
| ||Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus Gen 2 |
4/64 GB (2020)
|10.3||1920 x 1200||Mediatek MT6762 Helio P22T|
| ||Huawei MediaPad M5 |
|10.8||2560 x 1600||HiSilicon 8 core processor|
This compact handheld device comes with a compact 5-inch display with an incredible resolution of 1280 x 720P for an amazingly immersive gaming experience. It possesses an Android 7.1 Nougat OS and is powered by Dual-Core A72 2.1 GHz & Quad-core A53 1.7GHz processors.
Hence, it can provide you the most powerful gaming experience even when emulating. It also owns an amazing PowerVR GX6250 graphics for the most amazing image quality of your emulated games. This model's 4GB RAM will also contribute to providing a seamless and smooth operation.
It's a compact device and weighing only 1.01 pounds, it can easily be your travel companion with its ability to fit into your pockets effortlessly. The device is equipped with a Vulkan Engine as well for boosting the performance of your emulators & games.
It comes with an integrated key-mapping feature that will allow you to link entity & virtue keys. The entity support buttons are also capable of operating over 1800 games of Android. This intelligent gadget also ensures that all processor cores are simultaneously running when you're playing more advanced games.
This prevents a single core from overheating; so that neither the device performance and nor your gaming experience gets hampered. Besides being a gaming console, it serves as a tablet too and comes with an incredible 10 hours of battery life for full-on gaming.
This powerful device by Microsoft comes with an amazing 2736x1824P resolution display of 12.3 inches. Hence, you can immerse yourself in the most comfortable gaming experience thanks to its high-quality visuals on a widescreen. This versatile device can also be used in a tablet, laptop, or studio mode according to your convenience.
This model comes with advanced connectivity features including LTE Advanced connectivity. Hence, you will never be disconnected from the internet and run all your favorite games via direct download or by emulators.
It is powered by Intel Core M3 processor and possesses an Intel HD Graphics 615 for a stellar gaming performance and incredible visual quality. The device also possesses an impressive 4GB RAM. It will further provide you with a smooth and hassle-free emulation for all your favorite games.
The Surface Pro comes with a Windows 10 Home OS. It can be accessorized with a Surface Pro Signature Type Cover keyboard and Surface Arc Mouse for a more convenient gaming experience. And with a spectacular battery of up to 13.5 hours, you can binge on a non-stop gaming experience for day long!
Powered by a mighty Octa-Core 2.0 GHz processor, the Fire HD 10 comes with a PowerVR G6250 Graphics Processing Unit to ensure a stunningly seamless and gorgeous emulation for all your favorite games. Its 2GB RAM will further enhance its performance.
It comes with a decent screen size of 10.1 inches with an FHD resolution of 1920 x 1200P for impeccable visual quality. And an expandable storage of up to 512GB will offer you more room to accommodate all your desired games and emulation. The device also possesses a Type-C USB interface to facilitate rapid recharging.
With its an awesome battery-life of up to 12 hours, you can enjoy unlimited emulation and gaming all day long, even on the go. It also features dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity to facilitate reliable emulation and gaming of all your favorite games.
This version of the Nintendo Switch is definitely "Lite"-er than the other members of the Nintendo Switch gaming console club-not only in size but also in terms of its affordability. This model is optimally designed to more easily portable and more effortless for handheld usage.
This model comes with a compact 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 720P. This impressively high resolution, along with the NVIDIA Tegra CPU and graphics, can provide you an astounding gaming experience with a captivating and realistic image quality.
It comes with a fairly amazing battery-life of up to 6 hours to enjoy long hours of emulation of all your favorite games. This model features a sleek and compact design, built-in controls, and a light mass of just 10.6 ounces. Hence, it could easily be the dream gadget for the gamers out there constantly traveling or on the move.
This device is compliant and can emulate every Nintendo Switch games which are compatible with the handheld form of usage. It possesses a storage space of 32GB; and is available in a range of bright and fun colors to choose from!
The Singularity 192K is a portable gaming console plus a tablet that comes with a compact IPS screen of 7 inches. This makes it not only effortlessly portable, but the IPS display will also ensure reduced eyestrain for comfortable gaming for hours on end.
The device also possesses an attractive 1920 x 1200P FHD resolution. This, along with the built-in ARM Mali-T764 GPU, can provide you with marvelous visuals. Thus, you'll be able to enjoy the most immaculate and immersive gaming experience. With a 10000mAh battery, you can also play away for 8-10 hours non-stop!
It could easily be the ultimate gear for emulation as it can not only support 18 simulations, but also can emulate desktop games, Android games, and PSP, NDS, PSP, CPS1/2/3, Neo-Geo, etc. games. And to ensure you with superb game controls, it is equipped with dual 3D joystick and fully-functional buttons.
Powered by Quad-Core 1.8GHz processor, this model comes with an impressive RAM of 4GB and 64GB of storage expandable up to 128GB. You thus can not only emulate your favorite games smoothly, but also have room to store them all.
Since the key goal is purchasing a tablet for running emulators, ensure the compatibility of your device to run them. Depending on which games you intend to play, opt for a model accordingly.
You'll find models that can emulate PSP, desktop games, Android games, NDS, PSP, Neo-Geo, CPS1/2/3, etc. to choose from.
In order to ensure the optimum game emulation experience, the device should come with a powerful processor. It will provide you with an effortlessly smooth and speedy performance. This is because a laggy or unresponsive device is a big no-no when it comes to a flawless gaming experience.
So to secure yourself the ultimate gear, opt for the strongest processors within your budget with the maximum number of cores and highest clock-speeds
The graphics or GPU play a key role in determining the quality of game visuals which has an overall effect on your gaming experience. Most tablets that can emulate come with integrated graphics so opt for the models with the best GPU.
Most tablets will probably not mention the frame rate of the GPU, but if you do happen to get access to that info, opt for the highest frame rate. This is usually measured in Hertz (Hz), and it determines how fast the device can make images appear on your display.
So understandably, the higher the frame rate, the more advanced the graphics is and the better the visual quality is.
A large capacity RAM is also a key determinant of how efficiently the device performs without lagging while also enabling you to multitask. Hence, in order to secure the best tablet for emulation, opt for devices with at least 2-4GB of RAM to enjoy the optimum experience.
Since the storage space will room where you store all your emulations, games, and other files, opt for a capacity according to your requirements. Even if the initial built-in storage doesn't seem satisfying, models with expandable memory can definitely save your day!
The ultimate gaming gear should come with a battery that can outlast your needs; as gaming devices naturally consume more power and cause faster battery drainage.
So ensure that the device of your choice comes with a day-long battery for non-stop gaming; especially when you are someone who needs to travel frequently. Around 8-10 hours of battery runtime can be more than satisfying to meet all your relentless entertainment, even on the go.
RetroArch is the most versatile emulator for Android. It's compatible with hundreds of old console systems, from the most obscure to the most popular. However, RetroArch isn't designed for beginners. You'll need to figure out your own settings when configuring each system within RetroArch.
Dolphin Emulator is an excellent choice for Android tablet. It's compatible with dozens of legacy consoles, from the Atari 2600 to the Nintendo 64. The interface is easy to navigate and you can easily configure it to fit your needs.
iOmega is easier than Dolphin Emulator because it uses the software configuration built into the operating system rather than a graphical interface within RetroArch.
Mini Retro was designed for gamers who want to test out their favorite games, but don't necessarily want to spend a lot of time configuring an emulator or running older software on their device.
BlueStacks is designed to run any Windows software on your Android device without any configuration. It comes with a large catalog of supported apps, but you will find the most popular games with this option.
Genymotion is one of the best emulator options for people who want to test their apps on older devices that don't have the hardware required by newer Android versions. It's an excellent choice for app developers who need to ensure their apps will work on older phones and tablets.
If you just want to play Nintendo games, then you should try this emulator for Android tablet and smartphone.
If you're an avid Pokémon fan, you may want to give this emulator a try. It's the most compatible with Pokémon games available in the Play Store, so it's a good choice for fans of the franchise.
ePSXe is one of the best RetroArch emulators for Android tablet. It's easy to configure, and it offers a large variety of gaming options.
Be advised that older Android devices are not guaranteed to run every emulator app. Only some of these apps will run directly on an older device (though not all). To be safe, please check out the reviews for any emulator available in your market before purchasing.
Emulator software is software that emulates hardware. In other words, it makes your computer feel like a game console, so you can play the vast majority of games on your tablet.
In order to do this, it must be able to see the actual devices and recreate them (just like with a PC emulator).
Much like what happens with graphical power in emulators for PC, there are several stages involved. It begins by recognizing the controller (either through Bluetooth or USB). Then it sees the framebuffer which contains graphics and visual data, it then converts that into its own format using shaders and other software. This final stage is where you will see any graphical improvement.
Yes, the vast majority of tablets are powerful enough to emulate almost any game console.
The most common emulators available today use either PC, Mac or Linux. They will require a computer and a controller (USB or Bluetooth) to be used properly with them. Alternatively, you can connect your handheld device (iOS/Android) via WiFi or Bluetooth and play games using an app designed for it! There are also plug-and-play consoles which pair with your TV/Monitor in order to emulate video games.
All Android devices with at least 1GB of RAM should be able to run the Dolphin Emulator. However, the speed at which the game will run on lower-end tablets or older ones is not guaranteed.
Some emulators require certain chipsets or hardware to function (such as PSX or PCSX). For instance, you cannot play PlayStation games using a Game Boy Advance Emulator. Other emulators are restricted to PCs and not available for handhelds (such as Gens).
Since the PlayStation 2 is a multi-platform console, it can be played on a wide variety of tablets. However, most of these games need to be either downloaded or purchased in-store and installed on your device.
As for emulators: PCSX2 requires fairly powerful machines to run games (most often PCs). If you are using PlayStation 2 games specifically, it is best to contact an emulator manufacturer directly.
It is possible, but currently not very convenient (there are no official apps to emulate anything and even if there were, they would not be very accurate). Also, as iOS does not support Bluetooth controllers, it is impossible to use them with most emulators.
It depends on what you are really looking for. If you want to play Hearthstone casually (like online at home or while travelling), it is not a good idea to invest in an inexpensive mobile device because the gameplay will be extremely slow, and the graphics will not be as clear as on a gaming laptop.
On the other hand, if you need your devices to be compatible with various devices, then we would perhaps suggest going for a tablet like iPad Pro.
It depends on the developer, but at least 1GB RAM is a minimum necessity to install and play any emulator.
It depends on what you are emulating and where you live. Playing a game without owning an original ROM is illegal in most cases, but there are ways to get around even that.
Android-based emulators are often considered legal because it does not fall under the category of a console emulator like Gens/PSX Emulator because they don't actually have the game system's trademarked name in their package name.
All-new Fire HD 10 tablet, 10.1", 1080p Full HD, 64 GB, latest model (2021 release), - Walmart Link
Certified Refurbished Fire HD 8 Tablet (8" HD Display, 32 GB) - Black (Previous - Walmart Link
2020 Apple iPad Air (10.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Green (4th Generation) - Walmart Link
Tablet with Keyboard, 10.1" Octa-Core, Android 10 Tablet Google GMS Certified,4GB RAM, - Walmart Link
Android 10.0 Tablet, Vastking Kingpad SA10 Octa-Core Processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB Storage, - Walmart Link
Tablet 10 inch, Android 10 Tablets, Octa Core Processor, Up to 1.8Ghz, 2GB RAM 32GB ROM, - Walmart Link
MARVUE Pad M10 Tablet 10.1 Inch Android 10.0 Tablets 2GB RAM 32GB ROM Storage, 2MP+8MP - Walmart Link
Apple iPad Air 4/64 GB (4th gen) - Walmart Link
Apple iPad Mini 4/64 GB (5th gen) - Walmart Link
Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab 4/64 GB (2020) - Walmart Link
Microsoft Surface Go 2 8/128 GB (2020) - Walmart Link
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 8/128 GB (2019) - Walmart Link
Amazon Fire HD 8 2/64 GB (2020) - Walmart Link
Samsung Galaxy S6 Lite 4/128 GB (2020) - Walmart Link
Samsung Galaxy A7 3/64 GB (2020) - Walmart Link
Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus Gen 2 4/64 GB (2020) - Walmart Link
Huawei MediaPad M5 4/64 GB - Walmart Link
All-new Fire HD 10 tablet, 10.1", 1080p Full HD, 64 GB, latest model (2021 release), - eBay Link
Certified Refurbished Fire HD 8 Tablet (8" HD Display, 32 GB) - Black (Previous - eBay Link
2020 Apple iPad Air (10.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Green (4th Generation) - eBay Link
Tablet with Keyboard, 10.1" Octa-Core, Android 10 Tablet Google GMS Certified,4GB RAM, - eBay Link
Android 10.0 Tablet, Vastking Kingpad SA10 Octa-Core Processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB Storage, - eBay Link
Tablet 10 inch, Android 10 Tablets, Octa Core Processor, Up to 1.8Ghz, 2GB RAM 32GB ROM, - eBay Link
MARVUE Pad M10 Tablet 10.1 Inch Android 10.0 Tablets 2GB RAM 32GB ROM Storage, 2MP+8MP - eBay Link
Apple iPad Air 4/64 GB (4th gen) - eBay Link
Apple iPad Mini 4/64 GB (5th gen) - eBay Link
Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab 4/64 GB (2020) - eBay Link
Microsoft Surface Go 2 8/128 GB (2020) - eBay Link
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 8/128 GB (2019) - eBay Link
Amazon Fire HD 8 2/64 GB (2020) - eBay Link
Samsung Galaxy S6 Lite 4/128 GB (2020) - eBay Link
Samsung Galaxy A7 3/64 GB (2020) - eBay Link
Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus Gen 2 4/64 GB (2020) - eBay Link
Huawei MediaPad M5 4/64 GB - eBay Link
As we just saw, money can no longer get in the way from enjoying your most favorite games, thanks to the best tablets for emulators. So why wait any longer? Let the game begin!
About Dror Wettenstein
Dror Wettenstein is a software engineer and entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in the industry. He is the founder of TechTreeRepeat, a company that enables technical writers to publish their work faster and share it with readers across the globe. Dror has a master’s degree in computer science from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from UC Irvine.
When he’s not working on software projects, Dror enjoys writing articles and essays on various topics. He also likes playing guitar and spending time with his wife and two young children.