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Game Boy Advance SP - Flame

by Nintendo
Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)

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  • This incredible redesign features a fantastic flip-screen; unopened, the unit fits easily in your pocket
  • When it's opened, gamers are in for a treat -- the screen can display up to 32,000 colors, and has a backlit screen for comfortable game viewing
  • Redesigned button and D-pad placement make for hours of more comfortable playing
  • Powered by a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery that provides 18 hours of play with the light off(up to 10 hours with the light on)
  • Games are backwards-compatible -- your Game Boy Advance games will play just fine on the GBA SP

Product Details

  • ASIN: B0000A9Y11
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 6.5 x 1.7 inches ; 5 ounces
  • Media: Electronics
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,667 in Video Games (See Top 100 in Video Games)
  • Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes

Product Description

Product Description

The GBA SP is as small as a celphone and more portable than the original GBA. Take your portable gaming to the next dimension with this futuristic new game system! Color - Flame


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.

Game Boy Advance angle diagram 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

Unit Specifications

  • 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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nintendo Finally Got It Right! September 15, 2003
After the original GBA was released, I found myself barely playing it thanks to the dismally dark screen and uncomfortable grip. Even with a light (either snake light or magnified screen light) it was almost impossible to see. And my hands would cramp quickly since the controls were just too close together for adult hands.
The GBA SP is, in a word, incredible! It fits my full-size hands perfectly. The back light option makes it possible to play in the dark. And the battery life is unbelievable. While the one downside of a built-in rechargeable battery is the need to allow a full recharge before playing again, the game really does last for the 10 hours they say with the light on! I turn off the light if I can when it's bright enough in the room, and this extends it even more. I find myself charging it every three days or so overnight. And if I want to continue playing it, I just turn it on with the charging cord attached!
The flip design is wonderful. It protects the screen when not in use, and the slight angle it provides when open makes this the most ergonomical of all the GBs ever made. We did an inventory last night and realized we've had at least one of every Gameboy model ever released (color not withstanding of course) We still have my wife's original grey/tan monster from the very first year. I can honestly say without a doubt, Nintendo finally got the Gameboy just right! I'm playing it more than any of the other versions, and not feeling any cramping in the hands or eye fatigue.
I still feel the cost of the console itself is too high, but honestly, with the enjoyment it brings and the number of reasonably priced titles available, it pays for itself in entertainment value very quickly!
Thank you, Nintendo!!
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME but... the Platinum... December 10, 2003
This is truly phenomanal. It has a big improvement over the original GBA. I'll list the pros and cons now, but first, personal experience.
I have seen varios amounts of SPs but only Platinum and Cobalt, Platinum more often.
The feel is spectacular, if you are worrying about being cramped, DON'T it is just like holding a GBC/GBP and it has an AWESOME light up screen.
The rechargeable batterie is cool and if it goes comepletly dead, you can buy another one for $20.
The simple flaw is headphones, me, I only JUST got into the headphone craze and there being no port sucks, and they say they didn't put it in for portabality. but there is an adapter that lets you listen to headphones. Normally, you can't listen while charging, but I came apon a jack that lets you listen to headphones while chaging, or just listen to a CD....
There is said to be specks of dust on the screen. Screw them. I've played a GBC with a scratch and a shadow for 2 years. No biggie. Just IGNORE IT or get nintendo to remove it.
The lap-top design is a main effect. It was cool how they do the screen and all, and I'm alwazed amazed on HOW they get the wires connected to the screen.
THE MAJOR FLAW IS IN THE PLATINUM SP, THE PAINT IS SPRAYED ON SO IT SCRATCHES, THE OTHERS ARE COLORED PLASTIC AND DON'T SCRATCH!!! Unless you want the system of the next coupla years to look crappy, get flame, onyx, or cobalt. COBALT IS NOT PURPLE, IT'S BLUE. Now, the pros and cons.
-excellent design
-a light up screen from the SIDE, it's not back lighting.
-Need to buy a headphone jack (which review DOESN'T have this in there CONS)
-Chargeable batterie dies eventually and you need to get a new one instead of using regular batteries for the time.
-The Platinum one scratches.
That's it. The only thing that POs me is why the platinum scratches.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Console, Excellent Upgrade from GBA October 7, 2004
Fun: 5.0 out of 5 stars   
I have owned GameBoy portables since they came out in the 1980s. Never have I enjoyed Nintendo's handheld technology more than with this product.

Taking the best parts of the GameBoy Advance (large color screen, access to an excellent game library), Nintendo has improved upon its original model by adding several great features. The features I enjoy most include:

* Backlight --> you can play your GBA SP in dim rooms, on the move (when you don't have access to extra light), heck, you can play it IN THE DARK! This is an amazing improvement. I'm sure that the third party market that has made a mint off lights for the GameBoy and original GameBoy Advance systems are very mad, but this internal light is even better than any of the numerous add-ons I've bought over the years.

* Rechargeable-battery (with adapter) --> you can now charge the internal battery by plugging it into the wall (or by buying a separate car charger). The battery lasts anywhere from 6 - 10 hours (depending on whether you use the backlight or not).

* Flip-top screen --> this smaller, sleeker design also serves to protect the screen from getting scratched

All told, these additions are amazing, and saved me at least $25 (now that I don't have to buy all those add-ons from another company).

I really enjoy my GameBoy Advance SP, and play all of the great new GBA games as well as my old black and white GameBoy favorites on it.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great buy and Great for long trips September 3, 2004
Durability: 5.0 out of 5 stars    Educational: 1.0 out of 5 stars    Fun: 5.0 out of 5 stars   
I guess the big question is whether it is worth $30.00 more then the GBA. I think it is. My daughter has the GBA and the GBA sp. She received the GBA for a christmas present and complained all the time that she could not see the screen. She is six and so the screen was getting scratches on it. We purchased the light that attaches to the top of the GBA. It workes well when she can find it. (Or should I say when I can find it) The following year we got her the GBA sp for a birthday present and what a difference. It has a back light which means she can see the screen all the time. During the day, in the car, at night and in bed!! I love that you can plug it in and charge the battery. We went through so many batteries with the GBA. I love that the screen folds down and protects the screen from scratches.

I think that there were some complaints about the L and R buttons on the top of the screen. I do not find them to be a problem and my daughter has never complained.

The GBA sp has saved my mind on several long trips to visit relatives. I think that it was a great buy when it was $99.00 now it is $79.00!! Grab it up and enjoy peace and quiet while your kids play.
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