The future of handheld gaming looks brighter than ever, thanks to Nintendo. Building on the success of the spectacular Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP features a revolutionary Front Light Screen making game play easy in any lighting condition. Powered by a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery, you're good for about 10 hours of game play with only three hours needed to recharge. All current and future Game Boy Advance games are compatible with the new system, and just like the original GBA, GBA SP is backward compatible, allowing access to a massive library of games and accessories.
Early Adopters Pick: March 2003. As the world's smallest video-game platform, the Game Boy Advance SP is also the first to use a built-in rechargeable battery.
Many decried the original Game Boy Advance's reflective LCD screen and its reliance on external light sources. The Game Boy Advance SP's main feature--optional backlighting--fixes this complaint nicely, but it's the wealth of other features that makes this system so surprisingly good.
At first look, you might think the SP is a sleek travel alarm clock. When closed, it's just as tall and deep as the original GBA, but only half as wide. Due to its clamshell design, the screen is always protected from everyday scratches. A small button in the center of the console turns on the backlighting element for use in low-light situations, like in a moving car.
The SP comes with a well-designed power adapter that recharges a built-in battery; its prongs fold in for easier storage. Our informal tests found that it takes about four hours to fully charge (you can even play it while it's plugged in and charging), and the battery lasts about 11 hours with the backlighting constantly on--your results may vary. Using the backlighting less often will conserve battery power.
|With separately sold cables, you can connect the Game Boy Advance SP to other GBAs for multiplayer gaming (above) or to the Nintendo GameCube (below) to access secret levels, exchange data, or use other special features that vary from game to game. |
The quality of the backlighting is very good. It's bright and clear when looking directly at it, but degraded from other angles. This is only a problem for friends who are watching the screen from over your shoulder.
But size, power, and affordability do not come without trade offs. There's no headphone jack here, though Nintendo promises an adapter. The system isn't very loud at its highest volume, and the sound can be turned down to socially acceptable levels. The L and R shoulder buttons are a fraction of the size they were on the GBA, and thus are harder to hit. Also, the reduced size of the SP is slightly less comfortable for adult hands than the GBA, but perhaps more comfortable for smaller hands. 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.
Open it up and the hinge will seek out a preferred, pre-set angle (about 150 degrees), though you can open it a bit wider or narrower for your own comfort. The hinge stands up well to lateral pressure, and over all, the SP seems just as rugged as its predecessor--which has proven to be very rugged, indeed. --Porter B. Hall
- CPU: 32-Bit ARM with embedded memory
- Memory: 32 KB with 96 KB VRAM (in CPU), 256 KB WRAM (external of CPU)
- Screen: 2.9-inch reflective TFT color LCD
- Display Size: 1.6 by 2.4 inches (40.8 by 61.2 mm)
- Resolution: 240 x 160 pixels in a wide-screen aspect ratio
- Colors: 511 simultaneous colors from a palette of 32,768
- Software: Fully compatible with Game Boy and Game Boy Color game paks
- Light Source: Front light integrated with LCD
- Size (closed): 3.3 by 3.23 by .96 inch
- Weight: Approximately 5 ounces
- Power Supply: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- Battery Life: 10 hours continuous play with light on; 18 hours with light off; 3 hours recharging
Stated there was a small scratch on the screen that will not affect gameplay, but it's actually a scuff on the inside screen which very much has an effect on gameplay, as well as a bunch of other *actually* small acratches. Also product was stated to be in "good" condition - this is obviously okay/fair condition, unless you're just ignorant, which I am not. If I buy a product in "good" condition, I don't expect it to have chips in it or have most of the paint missing. The third reason I returned it - it's broken - I put my own personal game in (not the "free" one I recieved) and almost broke my game due to a piece inside the port which is misplaced due to years of hard use. I repeat: this is NOT good condition. Everyone be wary of where and who you buy from.
It arrived completely damaged... this is not an acceptable condition. I am going to demand a replacement or a refund, and compensation for wasting my time...
Gba sp came today, was really nervous because I knew that there were two models (AGS-101 that has back lighting and I did get) and AGS-001 which some places sell because no body wants that model because it has poor front lighting and many don't no the difference and get ripped off. but I got the better model (AGS-101) and I'm 100% satisfied. Barely scratched came with charger and everything works. Just it didn't have the label that would show which model it was, so it may or may not be its original top screen but it's bright like ds lite bright.
The Game Boy Advance SP comes in two models. One of the models is numbered AGS-001, and then there was a model a few years later with the number AGS-101 (You can easily tell what model SP you received/already had is by looking at the top left of the factory sticker). The latter is more sought-after because it has a backlit screen, unlike the AGS-001 that had a frontlit screen. Most people know this but I bring it up because the unit I bought on this page didn't match the unit I was sent. This review will have two parts. A review of the backlit model I have handled in the past and a review of the model I was sent.
AGS-101 (The one I was told I bought): Most people would agree this is the best handheld of the Game Boy lineup, if not best handheld ever made. It plays all three generations of the Game Boy games and has the best screen of all the Game Boys. It is bright, it is clear, and the brightness is even adjustable so you can turn it up in the sunlight or turn it down so you don't blind yourself in a dark room. Also the clamshell design not only looks great but also protects the screen from fingerprints and scratches when not in use. It will stand the test of time if you treat it with respect. If you can find one of these and you like GB/GBC/GBA games, buy this system. Five stars, 10/10, amazing.
AGS-001 (The GBA I received in the mail): This system is basically the same as the one described above. Great system, great games, looks beautiful, comes in a variety of colors, quality build, etc. The drawback to this system is mainly the screen, which is frontlit instead of backlit. Meaning the colors aren't as bright, the graphics aren't as clear, and it is much dimmer. Also the light only has two settings, on or off. Still very playable but you will have trouble seeing some things in the game, especially if you've gotten spoiled by the quality of the screens on the DS Lite and Game Boy Micro (Both have screen very similar is brightness and clarity to the AGS-101). The screen needs to bee lookied at in a certain angle otherwise the light reflects off the screen giving it a weird "trapezoid-effect" that is very distracting. Also, Along with being sent the wrong model SP, I wasn't even sent the right color. The AGS-001 doesn't come in Graphite, so you might think I got on Onyx model instead, maybe just a mistake made in packaging as those colors are similar. Nope, I got sent the Flame color. Not similar in the slightest. The unit I received is functional at least. Plays games perfectly, only cosmetic scratches on the outside plastic, screen is as perfect as it can be, buttons are clicky, basically no issues aside from the wrong color and model. Which is a shame as this was going to be a Christmas present for somebody I thought would like an upgrade from the AGS-001 she already had. Most of this seemed nitpicky, I know, and I agree. But that's simply because better screens have been implemented these days and for the same price you can get those better screens without those nitpicky drawbacks.
To sum it up, if you buy this and get the unit shown, you will be nearly 100% satisfied (As much as you can be from a system around 10 years old). If you're like me and get the slightly inferior model, you will still be satisfied but you'll most likely play your Game Boy Advance games on a DS Lite or Game Boy Micro you can pick up around the same price nowadays if you don't already own one. Both system I would recommend more than an AGS-001 if you mainly have more GBA games. But if you can track down a AGS-101 that will be your best option as you can get other GB or GBC games like Link's Awakening DX or Pokemon Blue to play on it as well as your GBA library.
Maybe twice have I ever got a hand written note from an Amazon order. They even used my name. This really tells me the care about the buyer. Anyway. I was looking for a GBA SP for my wife so she had something To do during her 7 hour chemo seasons. Shipping was really fast and was packaged very well. The game boy it's self wasn't what you would call perfect. Few marks and scratched but I expected that. Living in the pocket of a person isn't the most forgiving thing. You have to remember they are not new. I put a game in and turned it on. Game worked. Game boy worked. Back light worked. Very happy with it. My wife was even more so. Now she has something to keep her busy with her treatment.
Little to no visible scratches unless looking, screen is in perfect condition, came fully charged so i could test it immediately ( no issues whatsoever ), came in a little plushbag with a cleaning cloth, mario game works great, charger funtions properly, and based on a shipping time of 5 days - 3 weeks it got here in 3 days. Extremely satisfied and I highly recommend this seller!!!
I purchased this item as used but in "very good" condition. This was not at all the condition of the item I received. I understand that I am dealing with hardware over a decade old, but this was a false description of its condition.
The unit I received has heavy scratches on the shell, corroded I/O ports that need to be cleaned out, and dirt crammed up under the buttons. It also contains the original lithium ion battery from the early 2000's, it surprised me that the unit even turns on. I am going to have to do a complete teardown and referbishing of this unit including a full shell replacement and corrosion removal.
The only part of this GBA that is in very good condition is the screen lens which is why I'm giving two stars rather than one. It also unexpectedly came with a charger, though, it is 3rd party.
This was maybe an "acceptable" condition item worth $30 for parts, not a "very good" condition unit for more than $70 USD. I could have gotten a better condition 101 backlit model for that price.
This arrived quickly & was well packaged, the GBA SP 101 works well but it does have age related wear & scratches on the outer top of the lid, the screen inside is perfect, it's not the perfect shiney pear pink as the photo shows on advitisement BUT the seller Konsolenkost did state it had age related wear, so I got what he stated in description, & what's more it is a AGS SP 101, the seller is very responsive if you email them they get back to you very quickly , I would buy from this trusted seller again & would reccomend them, I'm over the moon with my purchase & I do plan to change the outer housing so it looks brand new.........I will add photos later when task is done...
I just want to add for people looking for a GBA SP 101, check with the seller 1st before you buy to avoid disapointment later, & if you can look at the screen when it's turned of this will help you too, a 101 has a darker/screen almost black, the 001 model has a lighter/screen a grey colour, & of course most 101 models go for around £80 plus & the 001 go for around £20 upwards... You can get a really good deal if you keep your eyes peeled, & this is a guild line to help you chose the right GBA SP that your looking for......
I'm impressed with this product. I had a gameboy advance when I was younger, but I sold it in exchange of a DS Lite. Suddenly a few weeks ago I decided to buy a gameboy advance again, but this time to get the SP as it is actually better. The backlight on the screen is perfect for playing in both light and dark environments and it stops you sitting in unspeakable positions like the gameboy advance did. I have no complaints about this product as it is in top condition.
The box that it got posted in was not the original gameboy advance sp box, but the box is still useful to me as that's where I store the gameboy and the games when I am not playing on it, so no complaints there.
The screen folds over and it makes it so convenient to put in your pocket. Light weight, but sturdy. The screen is protected from scratches when it is folded. I like the compactness of the buttons as it makes playing games so much more comfortable.
One thing though, the battery drains slightly quicker when the backlight is turned on, but you can only expect that anyway. It's obvious. Saying that though, the battery can last me a good few days as I don't play on it every hour of every day.
All in all, I'm very impressed with the whole product and enjoy playing it.
i dont believe the dead pixels were originally mentioned in the item description for more fool me for falling for it, i suppose. doubly disappointing because the store selling it was close to where i lived, so its not like it could have been massively bounced about on a plane or anything because it was in the same city. but anyways tl;dr for the stuff ahead, vendor seems legit from this purchase but expect a snag or two
it runs like a charm, minus the dead/stuck pixels. i plan on eventually taking it apart to fit a ags-101 in eventually anyway (aka once i have a screen and know what im doing) so this isn't too much of a problem, but this suits its purpose for the time being. it runs games well and was super clean (not so much now ive been playing it lol, but it came pleasantly clean on the inside and out and with a charger to boot), the charge actually holds better than my old SP did, which is saying something because the old one ran for a pretty long time too. it came in good time (i'm just late in reviewing, but i bought it last month) and the seller was quick to reply to the questions i had, so no complaints there. thus the one subtracted star is just because of those pixels because theyre quite distracting... though to be honest im very easily distracted.
i'm fortunate they're just a scattering of singular pixels (about 7) as opposed to dead 'spaces' on the screen or lines like ive seen some unlucky people get. hopefully it won't come to that. so yeah, other than the mentioned issue it's been a very pleasant experience and i'll consider shopping from here again, though in future i might just come down to visit and test for myself as opposed to just taking it at face value. good to know there's a good shop selling "retro" (i feel old now lol) consoles in the same city! :)
I would have given 5stars but I was sent the 001 instead of the 101 that was listed, I have decided to keep it even tho abit disappointed, the gba sp itself is in very good condition, has scratches on body but works just fine, I'm rehousing it anyway so that's not a problem, it came well wrapped + arrived in a week, even tho the 001 screen isn't as bright as the 101 its still perfectly playable and can be see just fine, I got a pack with accessories from another seller,in it was a quality magnifier for the screen + I found this really helps, it brings in much needed light so I found a solution to the 001 dimly lit screen as that model has no backlight, but even without that or the magnifier its still a lovely retro handheld games console....
First of all, you may be put off by the prospect of buying a used GBA Sp in 2015 - and with good reason. Handheld consoles such as this tend to be accidentally dropped or scratched or otherwise damaged, to the point that many GBA Sp's now look as though they have been fed to a dog. Thus, you probably wouldn't really want to touch one, let alone carry one around in your pocket (unless you're into that sort of thing).
This is exactly what can be seen here on Amazon, with many units described or indeed pictured as being scratched. So if you plan on buying one (or two, or three... I'm not really bothered), I advise you to take the time to request pictures of the GBA from the seller - specifically the screen. If you request pictures of the screen and you receive back only an image of the case - as one seller did to me - it's quite likely they are hiding the screen from you deliberately. I managed to obtain a pretty much perfect unit, so of course there is no reason why you can't either.
Secondly, the unit itself. It seem a little unfair to review the hardware in this day and age, especially after we have been exposed to things like the 3DS and smartphones. Things that are worth pointing out though are that it requires a special adapter in order to plug headphones in, and that many old units at have rechargeable batteries that are past their best, so you may need to shell out extra.
Finally, some positive things to justify my 4 stars. It is extremely portable - you can walk around quite happily with it in your pocket without it feeling as though you are transporting a brick, and most of the games available for it are not only great fun, but also relatively cheap. Metroid Zero Mission, for example, is an absolutely brilliant action adventure game exclusive to this console.
Overall, I'm very pleased that I bought a GBA Sp, and I will undoubtably be playing it for a long time, (well, at least until I feed it to my dog).
The device takes most of the best parts of its predecessors and keeps them while addressing some of their issues - very little is upgraded because there's no need to do so!
As was its main selling point (at least in the name) it is indeed the smallest of the Gameboy collection. It's tiny when folded, but when opened out it still has a screen the size of a GB Advance (larger than a GB Color). One feature, which may have been minor for most of us - myself included) was that the speaker was located in the bottom-right of the console - under the thumb! The new positioning in the centre is where it really belonged the whole time.
As for the lighting, this is the only console in the Gameboy family which provides lighting. If you've ever had a handheld console on a long drive, you'll have known the pains of the changing light conditions or even if you've adopted the life of the video game vampire then you'll know that you can't play it in the dark and you'll probably end up with a long, hard look at your reflection (ironically)! There are two models of SP: the AGS-001 which is frontlit and the AGS-101 which is backlit. I saw a few video reviews as I wasn't sure about the difference beforehand. They're pretty much what they say on the tin.
The backlit option works sort of like a tv screen or a computer monitor - there's a picture on the screen and there is a light behind it which bightens it up by putting light through the image, shining it towards you. The frontlit option works by taking a light from just in front of the screen and illuminating it that way so that it's like bouncing the light off the screen but without the glare. Each has its upsides and downsides.
The backlit option has been shown in video reviews to be much, much brighter and has clearer colours. The issue I have with it, though, is that I've heard that this can induce headaches, especially in a dark environment, and as a gamer with epilepsy, I certainly don't facy the sound of that.
On the other hand, the frontlit version is said to have more faded colours. While I find this to be true, I don't find it to be that significant and it's a definite improvement over the Gameboy Color where you need to get the lighting perfect to apprectiate the colours anyway.
Rather than carry on praising it, I'll move onto my only two drawbacks that I can see. Both of these I'm sure you have heard numerous times, but only the first do I consider to be a valid complaint. Altough, as I've mentioned, the sound has improved, you need to purchase a separate adaptor to use headphones. I've never heard of any console like this since the inception of the Gameboy or the Gamegear! Nintendo has been known for this nonsense before: using adaptors specific to their product like Apple do in order to ensure that you have to buy the peripherals from them. Everyone who has spent time with a handheld console will know the difference that headphones make to the immersion, so this is a low blow, but I guess that it's not too expensive.
The other issue, like with the Gameboy Advance, is that cartridges from Gameboys and Gameboy Colors stick oddly out form the console - and even worse than the Gameboy Advance I might add, since they pop out at the bottom! However, thinking practically, you'd need to slots for it to work otherwise and that would compromise the selling point of the product: that it can fold up to be absolutely tiny. Just the cost of backwards compatability I suppose! Just be thankful that it plays these games at all!
In summary, I see no reason not to get it if you've got up to £50 to burn. It's easily the best member of the Gameboy family.
I had no problems with this the first time I used it. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but - more or less - as described when I purchased it. Later the same day, I turned the SP on and there was no picture displayed on the screen, although I could still hear the game running as usual.
The next day, the screen was working again, but the audio was not. The volume would range from perfectly normal to complete nothingness, as well as everything in between. Since then, I've had problems with both audio and fuzzy picture quality (Imagine a layer of static over seemingly random portions of the screen while the game picture is also there).
There have been a few moments when it's run as expected but, somewhere along the line, this console has become the complete opposite of how it was described when I purchased it.
This is probably the definitive iteration of the Gameboy but you should read this review.
It will play all Gameboy games up from the pea-soup generation to the Advance games and it will even colour the BW games (combination of d-pad and A and B buttons during the GB logo).
The clamshell design is very 00's as clamshell cellphones were all the rage. I like this as it protects the screen (a big plus in my book) and keeps the unit small. Folded up it's about as thick as my GB color. There are also plenty of vinyl skins for it and molds for you to make your own which is nice as the material these are made of isn't very scratch resistant unlike the older models. It's still ABS plastic but a different kind.
The frontlit units provide decent illumination that can be turned off even if the backlit ones are better and the volume is a lot better compared to the Color version. I really like the slider as you know how loud it is before you power it on.
The internal rechargeable battery actually holds up a long time even if I hate the idea as when proprietary batteries die you have a hard time getting a new one, not to mention the charger is something extra to carry with you. Not as contained as previous versions which were, partially, why they were so successful.
Sadly this unit doesn't feel as solid as the older ones. The buttons are responsive but feel cheap which isn't helped by the fact they are recessed into the body. Understandable but it still feels that way which is something to bear in mind.
The lack of a 3.5 audio jack is something I really don't like. There is an adapter so you can use your regular headphones but that's one more thing to lug around and lose.
Having bought the unit as a donor to mod my GBC (the frontlight can be used on both) I opened it and I can say it doesn't look like it was built to last. Too many small pieces just hanging there. The more complicated they make the plumbing the easier it is to plug up the drain. The price of progress, of course. This won't last as long as previous generations but I decided to play with it, making use of it's own library of great games, until it dies off and then I'll remove the light and use it on the GBC.
People looking into this are people looking for some nostalgia. If you already own a GB, GB Pocket or Color, but want newer games or some lighting solution get this and if you are looking for a cheap system, you could do worse as the games are actually more expensive than this (not too much, still acceptable).
Based on the feel of it and the amount of crapped out units I've seen expect the screen and/or hinge to be the first things to give you trouble. They are still Nintendo products and they are tough but the older ones were (and still are) better suited to last. Same thing as a Gamecube in relation to a Wii, the Wii won't usually crap out but it does so more frequently than a Gamecube.
Being an oldie gamer, I've been around to purchase all of the Game Boy systems. I was disappointed with the original Game Boy Advance because it didn't address the screen lighting problem and it was way too chunky. This is the system that Nintendo should have brought out back then. The internal back-light makes a huge difference to viewing the screen and the compact size means I can fit it into the smallest of pockets and manage to sneak it around with me at work! These improvements, though minor, do make a huge difference. So, if you don't mind splashing out a bit more dosh - get one, you won't regret it!
I bought this on a whim after acquiring a significant collection of old Pokemon games. Nostalgia hit me hard, and I couldn't stand not playing them. This Gameboy is exactly the same as I remember it: small, great battery life, nicely backlit, good speaker, and great games. I'd advise paying a bit for a refurbished one with a new battery in it. Mine was near mint - but using it regularly, that won't last, it scratches far too easily!
I always get nervous buying used things but this item came in exactly the condition as advertised. My son has been playing this it for weeks and all good!
Got this as a present for my son some years back and it still works perfectly.
It is a little battered and bruised from use but despite how it looks its still usable, so clearly well made by nintendo
This is a fab console. Excellent for gamers who like a blast from the past with retro games. My son loves it and would recommend this to any gamer who loves the old classics from Nintendo.
bought for playing classic games i love, quick delivery no other issue found
I ordered this product on a Friday and it arrived at my address the following Monday which I was very pleased with! The console condition was exactly how it was described and how I imagined it and when playing this with Pokémon the childhood memories came flooding back.
The only reason I am rating 4* and not 5* is because the item smelt of stale cigarette smoke which wasn't a massive issue, as I managed to clean it and remove the smell, but maybe I should have asked when contacting the seller.
Great product overall!