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Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP - Cobalt

by Nintendo
Game Boy Advance
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 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
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Product Details

  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B0002TB4CW
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 5.5 x 1.8 inches ; 5 ounces
  • Media: Video Game
  • Release Date: March 25, 2003
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,213 in Video Games (See Top 100 in Video Games)
  • Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes

Product Description

Amazon.com

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.

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

Product Description

A completely redesigned version of the popular Game Boy Advance, this system has an illumination feature and a sleek, flip-screen design -- making it the most distinctively stylish, compact and portable Game Boy system.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for what it is September 16, 2005
Fun: 5.0 out of 5 stars   
The GBA SP is all about playing old-school style games we used to see on consoles like the Genesis and SNES. When the graphics were simpler the gameplay had to make up for it. And GBA has dozens and dozens of games out there, for cheap prices, that are brilliant.

The SP is also much better than the standard GBA because the clamshell design prevents scratching if you're carrying it around in your pocket and the screen is backlit for increased viewing clarity.

With the Nintendo DS out there now the GBA SP is a bit redundant as you can play GBA games on the SP. But don't worry, there are still loads of games getting made for it and the GBA can play all the old Gameboy and Gameboy Color games, which the DS cannot.

The battery life is also quite long so you won't have to recharge it too often. It's also probably the handheld console with the most amount of games out there. Definitely the one to get if you cannot afford a DS.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More compact than the Gameboy Advance..... December 6, 2004
A Kid's Review
Fun: 5.0 out of 5 stars   
I got one of these for my birthday a year ago. It's really cool! I always bring it along on car trips, and I rarely am bored! It's much more compact than my sister's Gameboy Advance, and the backlit screen is really handy if you're playing in the dark. The screen folds down so it doesn't get all scratched up, but the rest of the Gameboy is very easily scratched, so it would be a good idea to buy a carrying case to protect it. To me, the Nintendo DS is really clunky and confusing, with that plastic pen and the two screens taking up so much room that it makes it look pretty ridiculous. I like my Gameboy Advance SP better, but then that's just me, and you are probably reading this and thinking I am crazy. Oh, well.

Also I wanted to say something about the weird review that said something like, "I am 6 years old and I got one for christmas. My dog ate it. He said it was yummy!", but with much worse spelling. Actually, I thought it was kind of funny. But judging by the many people who "did not find it helpful", this probably makes you think I am even more crazy. Heck with it.

Sorry I kind of floated off the subject. Anyway, I really would reccommend this game system to you.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Regret My Decision to Buy May 2, 2005
Fun: 5.0 out of 5 stars   
I have had the Game Boy Advance SP for about a year now, we bought it for my 7 year old daughter. I was initially very concerned that this was going to be a waste of money having bought the previous Game Boy Advance and finding it very dissapointing.

BUT this one has worked out great. The screen is excellent and works in all lights and from all angles which was a major problem with the last one, the battery lasts a long time and charges very fast when needed. And if you can't wait for the battery to charge you can play while it is charging. There is also a car charger available though we haven't used it much because the battery really doesn't go dead that often.

I bought the SP instead of the Video Now because there were not only video titles available but also because you can play games. I have found that there are a lot of games that are very good and in a lot of ways better than the Game Cube because they still have that old Nintendo charm which is missing from a lot of the high tech new games. There aren't many video titles available yet but the numbers are increasing all the time and we have found ones the kids really like.

Lastly, the controlls are easy and intuitive and it seems quite sturdy. Ours has been dropped and thrown (by our 2 year old) and it barely has a scratch. If you are concerned about the flip portion getting damaged easily, we have had no problems with that either.

All in all I would say this is a very good product and is worth the money.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Problem Here February 19, 2008
I owned a Gameboy Advance SP for 5 years and have never experienced any problems with it. Very classic, but new at the same time. The only thing is that you have to have a game inserted, otherwise, it won't work. It even has a backlight, which I don't know why Nintendo didn't do this with the earlier Gameboys, but, is very handy. Loved it!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GET THE SP! January 4, 2005
A Kid's Review
Fun: 5.0 out of 5 stars   
The GBA SP is so awesome! I saved up my allowance for it and it was worth it. Unlike the regular GBA, it is compact and will fit in your pocket. The rechargable battery can last about 18 hours with the built in light off, and about 10 hours with the light on. The SP comes with an extraordinarily small charger that will easily plug into one of the Gameboy's ports and takes 3-4 hours to charge. The lighted screen is very handy in the dark. If you have had the regular GBA before, that feature will probably be the handiest to you. The regular GBA's screen can get scratches easily, but since the SP's screen closes, it is well protected. Oh, and be careful not to drop it, especially when it is open. Overall, I think this is the best Gameboy system Nintendo has ever made. One more thing, the Nintendo DS can wait on my opinion. It can play only its games and GBA ones. If you have a pokemon game, you won't be able to link up. The DS doesn't have a link port and only has a built in wireless system which is not compatible with today's pokemon games.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Job Nintendo! January 5, 2006
A Kid's Review
Fun: 5.0 out of 5 stars   
I am 14 years old, and while some people may think that is a little bit too old to still play Gameboy's, It's my guilty pleasure. Now, onto the product. Let me just say this is a fabulous improvement from our Game Boy Advance. Yes, the GBA was a great system. But come on, as we progress in this world; Electronics will get bigger and better. I think one thing I am most satisfied about the SP is it's great built in Light screen. Let's face it, most people that are or have been playing GBA are going to complain about the same thing. They can't see what they are playing on the screen. Fortunatley, Nintendo has released us from our annoyance. The SP has a great built in light that's is absolutley perfect for playing in the dark. I know I myself love to play into the early hours of the morning under my covers without having any lights on. What I also enjoy about this SP is the Charging ability. I admit, this will save me tons of money for AA batteries. All it takes is plugging in the charger and hooking it up to the Gameboy, and BOOM! in 45 minutes your gameboyis fully charged for a good couple of hours of intense action play! The last feature of this that I find unique and satisfying is the cover. You can open and close this Gameboy. Not much I can say about that, except it's a great way to prevent scratching the screen and damaging it. Overall, EXCELLENT invention. GREAT JOB NINTENDO!
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