GBA SP Review...

DeathStar1

Senior HTF Member
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Dec 28, 2001
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Real Name
Neil
When does this thing get released normally? When we went to get it from EB last night, they said that they where only selling them to people who pre-ordered.

Anyway, the fears of trading in the GBA for the GBSP where completly unfounded. The Loss ofa headphone jack was probably just a cheap way for Nintendo to make an extra $10's since they seem to be the only ones who are selling it on the official site currently. But that's not too bad a deal since I never use headphones for this thing anyway...

This unit is SO damned small, I'm almost afraid I'll loose or miss place it like you would a weapon accessory for an action figure. The only way to really describe it's width: Think of the GBA Screen size. THAT is how small this thing is. Should have renamed it the GameSquare, because that's what it looks like when it's folded.

The light is the best part of this little thing, and perhaps the only reason you should upgrade. No glare from a worm light in the center of the screen with this unit. About the only thing I wish was included was a contrast button, because it seems like the light is a bit TOO bright at times, dimming some of the colors.

Other than that, this is a pretty decent unit, and anyone who wasn't sure about upgrading, shouldn't be concerned at all
.
 

JayV

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 30, 2002
Messages
612
Is it easier to hold?

With the original GBA, I find that the angle I hold the unit is uncomfortable after a little while (to say nothing of lighting issues).

I wonder if the new SP will be better because I can grip the controller like a, well, controller and pivot the screen to where I want it.

-j
 

DeathStar1

Senior HTF Member
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Dec 28, 2001
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Neil
If your used to the GBA, it'll take a day or two to get used to, especially the L and R buttons, but yeah, it's easier to hold
. Think of it as the Gameboy Color, the screen flips up and down
.
 

Dalila

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Feb 25, 2003
Messages
74
It's been out for over a week. It's not too hard to find at places like Toys R Us, CC, BestBuy, Walmop. EB got a LOT less allotment of them.

Teh loss of the headphone jack was just another way for nintendo, who is famous for ripping off their consumers to make more money.

Yes, the light does wash out the colours a bit at times, but then that's to be expected from a front lit screen.
 

Tim Markley

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 12, 1999
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1,279
So let me get this straight. There's no headphone jack on the GBA SP??? IMO that's just ridiculous. The main reason for me buying the GBA was to be able to play games anywhere without bothering everyone else around me. I never play it without using headphones.

Hmmm, looks like the adapter is only $4.25 from Nintendo's website so that's not a big deal as long as you can get it easily.
 

EdR

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 29, 2002
Messages
432
I picked up an SP this morning, I also have a GBA W/ Afterburner.

Here's some initial thoughts on the SP. First off, it's not free of moire like I thought it was, it does have some horizontal bands that move depending on your viewpoint. Still, this is better than the criss-cross bands on the Afterburner.

The light is ~50% brighter than the Afterburner, but the color wash-out is comparable, possibly indicating that they tweaked the saturation on the SP to accomodate the light. Overall a nice step up from Afterburner.

This may be just the unit I got (and I'm thnking about returning it for another one) but the light isn't exactly uniform. It gets progressively darker toward the top of the screen, it's possible to minimize this tilting the screen down a bit, but if I look at it face on it's noticeably darker at the top.

Ergonomically it's a bit of a mixed bag. The thinness of the lower half (where you hold it) is a bit uncomfortable. My hands are curled up a bit more than I'm used to. On the good side, the 'shoulder' buttons are a bit further away from the A/B buttons and D-pad, which feels better.

Also the D-pad itself is quite a bit different. It doesn't have nearly as much "throw" and has a soft a click-like feedback when depressed. So far this seems like a big improvement, allowing for much more precision movements.

The volume is adjusted with a slider now, not a dial. Pull it all the way toward you and it's off, push it back and it's all the way up. This is good and bad, it seems a tad more difficult to make minor adjustements to volume level. But on the plus side, you can judge the volume level by feel (the position of the slider = volume level) and adjustments are faster.

The sound is a big improvement. I think overall the SP is louder, but it also seems more detailed. The center placement of the speaker is much better than having it partially blocked by your hand as on the original design.

I swear that the SP is faster at saving, but I haven't timed it...it could be a placebo effect.

The size is sweet. this thing will fit into small pockets nicely, and I love the fact that the screen is protected while closed. no more worrying about stuff rubbing up against the screen while it's in your pocket.

EDIT: One minor quibble. Why the heck did they make the recharger plug so wide? Clearly from its design, it could have been made so that it's only slightly wider than the prongs, but instead they made it about as wide as your average wall-wart so that in a power strip it takes up more room than it needs to, blocking adjacent sockets! Anyone with an iPod will recognize how it's done right...it's a small gripe, but just a dumb oversight, IMO.
 

Dalila

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Feb 25, 2003
Messages
74
It gets darker towards the top, b/c the light is not wrapped around the unit. The light only comes from the bottom. Yes, the charger is a bit on the porky side.
 

EdR

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 29, 2002
Messages
432
t gets darker towards the top, b/c the light is not wrapped around the unit.
Yeah, I noticed this after taking a closer look at it. The reason I was concerned is that I don't remember seeing this in the demo unit in the store. I probably just didn't look at it closely enough.
 

Dave E H

Supporting Actor
Joined
Apr 23, 2002
Messages
829
I really like mine. I've got both an AB powered GBA and the SP - I prefer the SP due to the form factor - much more convenient. I'll be taking this thing everywhere!

I just picked up Breath of Fire 2 - this will be a blast playing it whenever I get a few free minutes!
 

Chris Bardon

Senior HTF Member
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Jul 4, 2000
Messages
2,059
Here's the first dissenting opinion, but I think that I like my ABGBA more than the SP I tried the other day. True, it was only a couple of minutes on a store display, but the color washout was about the same as it was on my Afterburner. Combine the lack of regular batteries with a missing headphone jack, and I really don't see the need to upgrade if you have an afterburner.

Now if you don't (and don't want to install one) it's a no brainer to get the SP. I have to wonder how much Triton labs had to do with the GBASP getting off the ground in the first place...
 

EdR

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 29, 2002
Messages
432
Chris, I'm curious if you looked at the AB and SP side-by-side. When I did this, I was impressed by the brightness of the SP.

True, it was only a couple of minutes on a store display, but the color washout was about the same as it was on my Afterburner.
The washout is very similar, but that's with a brighter light in the SP. I can only imagine that if the AB was as bright as the light in the SP, the color washout would be much worse, since it's the light that's 'diluting' the color.

I never use headphones, but I agree it's dumb to require an adapter.

The battery issue is no problem, IMO. They use Lithium Ion batteries, which are superb and better than Alkaline or NiMh. The fact the rechargables come built-in is nice. I can see a scenario where your batteries are low and you can't play until you recharge, and maybe if this happens to me I'll feel differently...but at 10-hours (with the light on) of play per charge, all I need to do is plug it in every few days and it should work out fine.
 

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