Many decried the original GBA's reflective LCD screen and its reliance on external light sources. The Game Boy Advance SP's main feature--optional built-in lighting--fixes this complaint nicely. The quality of the backlighting is very good; it's bright and clear when looking directly at the screen, though less so from other angles.
The SP comes with a power adapter that recharges a built-in lithium battery; our informal tests found that it takes about four hours to fully charge (you can play it while it's plugged in and charging), and the battery lasts about 11 hours with the backlighting constantly on. Using the backlighting less often will conserve battery power.
Size, power, and affordability don't come without trade offs, though. There's no headphone jack here--you'll need a separately sold adapter--and the system isn't very loud at its highest volume. The L and R shoulder buttons are a fraction of the size they were on the GBA, and thus are harder to hit, and the reduced size of the SP is slightly less comfortable for adult hands than the GBA. The cartridge port placement on the lower part of the console is fine for GBA games, since they are flush with the console body, but older Game Boy Color carts will stick out in a way that takes some getting used to.
Overall, the SP is a significant improvement on, and seems just as rugged as, its predecessor--which has proven to be very rugged indeed. --Porter B Hall
Speaking of power sources, the SP comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides between 10 and 18 hours of gameplay from a three-hour charge. Also, the new clam-shell design will offer protection for the screen from scratches when it's all closed up. As well as playing all your Game Boy Advance games, the system is backward-compatible with almost all Game Boy/Game Boy Color titles.
It's a very nice looking unit and the flip top lid is both stylish and functional - protecting the all important screen from dust and scratches while closed, and making the whole thing truly pocket sized. It feels great too; the button layout is fine, with the standard A/B/Start/Select buttons along with two shoulder buttons all feeling nice in the hand. The screen is the same as a standard GBA screen, but with one important addition...
A backlight, turned on or off via a switch beneath the screen. This feature is what makes the GBA SP far superior to its predecessor, as the backlight allows you to play games with no other sources of light around. The backlight brightens up the gaming screen considerably, making all games much much easier to play, without you having to strain your eyes or constantly shift around to get a decent bit of light on the screen. Although it drains more battery power this way, the Lithium Ion battery is rechargeable so midnight gaming sessions are at last possible!
The only minor gripe with this new Gameboy is the lack of a headphone socket. So, while the sound is perfect coming out of the GBA SP's speaker other people around you may not appreciate it, so you'll have to turn the volume down and stop enjoying those tunes or invest in a headphone adaptor.
The GBA SP's game library is huge. It's backwards compatible with all the older versions of the Gameboy (although the old games stick out a bit due to the bigger cartridges!), so it can replace any other Gameboy's you may have. Also, it has some fantastic new games (e.g.Read more ›
However, this gameboy fixes any previous problems with the console. The new flip screen design is absolutely beautiful, positioning the buttons in the best places, and relieving gamers who are sick of the clumsy L and R buttons on the old Advance. The console is remarkably compact, and will happily fit, along with its charger (because it doesn't take batteries, instead using a lithium battery similar to those in mobile phones), into the case of an original gameboy (yes, the yellow brick ones).
Those are but minor advantages compared to the greatest solution to the greatest problem Advance gamers had: the question of light. Gamers would lean their gameboy from side to side continuosly, searching for the right spot so they could see the screen, but to no avail. So Nintendo's answer was to put in a light. This iluminates everything perfectly, and I have no qualms with it. You can also turn the light off, enabling the battery to last much longer (it goes for 10 hours with the light on, and 18 with it off).
On the whole, this isn't just the greatest Gameboy ever made, but its the greatest handheld console ever. Not worth buying really, though, if you already own a Gameboy Advance.
So if you have a normal Gameboy Advance sell it and buy a Gameboy Advance SP or if you are looking to buy a worthy handheld console, get an SP, because you wont be disappointed!!
With the front lit screen now in use too ( with the option to turn screen lighting off via the switch in the middle when you open it up ) it truly makes the GBA a real peice of ingenuity. how they fit all the electronics componets inside you will wonder indeed, Built in battery too ( rechargeable ) so that you dont have to carry 2 x AA Batteries with you at all times. It has one major downside and this being that they have removed the headphone socket, they make you purchase an optional socket that goes into the port on the back ( the charging port, when you charge up whilst playing you cant listen to sound thru headphones ) so if your like me and like the headphone socket your in for a shock ... Still that aside as it aint a huge problem but the shoulder buttons can be a little bit awkward at times too as the old GBA was a index finger cramper then sorry to say that this one is slighty more of a culperate than the last ... Doh ! ! !
BUT you really do have to way up the pro's and the con's when looking to buy one of these as if your after a GBA you really cant leave the SP on the shelf for the extra money compared to the old model now can you ?
If you do buy this product then i recomend that you also get it with Metriod Fusion as this will really show off its potential.
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