Game Boy Advance SP

I picked up the just released GameBoy SP. Initial impression: man, the box is ugly.

Slightly less initial, but still pretty damned initial impression: Christ, this thing’s small and light.

*Gratuitous link to a European ad for the SP. Obviously, a European ad*.

Opening the GBA SP for the first time was momentarily awkward. It’s the size of a compact, and it opens (clam-shell) like a compact; I felt like I was about to put on some mascara. After realizing how stupid that sounds, I turned the thing on and grabbed it good. To my surprise, it didn’t feel as sturdy as expected. It didn’t feel like a toy, but neither did it feel like a sophisticated tech-toy, like a cellphone or a digital camera. It’s relatively comfortable, the d-pad and the buttons are easy to deal with, and the small shoulder buttons were better than previously feared.

The screen is super sharp and clear, even in the darkest of conditions. If you are stuck in the dark ages of the GBA, then the GBA SP is a godly boon. Seriously. If you held off on getting a GameBoy Advance because of its screen’s visibility, then you have no reason to stall now.

How does the light compare to an Afterburner installed backlit GBA? They’re absolutely equal. To conserve battery life, the SP has a screen light on/off button, but no dimmer (something that you can have with the Afterburner — although it isn’t much of a factor.) Anyway, some photos…

GBA and GBA SP size comparisons.GBA and GBA SP size comparisons.
GBA and GBA SP (closed) size comparisons.GBA and GBA SP (closed) size comparisons.
GBA SP screen brightness in the dark.GBA SP screen brightness in the dark — as you can see, it’s very sharp.
Comparison of Afterburner installed GBA and GBA SP lights during dark conditions.Comparison of Afterburner installed GBA and GBA SP screens in the dark. Edit: here’s a more high res comparison image. Not the sharpest picture around, but it gives you a good indication.
Modal image