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Game Boy Advance SP

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GBA-SP

A black GBA SP in closed and open mode.

The Game Boy Advance SP (GBA SP), released in March 2003, is an upgrade to Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. The "SP" stands for "Special".[1]

Improvements over the original Game Boy Advance include an internal frontlight (backlight on later models), a rechargeable lithium ion battery and a clamshell design. The GBA SP is approximately half the width of the GBA when closed and roughly the height of Nintendo's Game Boy Color when open. The clamshell design also protects the screen from scratches and dust. Due to form factor limitations, Nintendo removed the headphone jack, which had been included on all previous Game Boy models. Headphones can only be attached with an optional adapter that plugs into the same port as the charger/AC adapter. It can be found at Nintendo's North American Online Store, and is available for purchase in brick and mortar stores in Japan and Europe.

The battery is similar to that of most mobile phones and lasts approximately 18 hours with the light off and 10 hours with it on.

Nintendo claimed that technological advances made it possible for the SP to include an internal light and a rechargeable battery and launch at the same price as the original had launched at in 2001 ($99.99 USD). An additional motivation may have been a need to respond to Triton Labs' Afterburner aftermarket internal light kit, which proved that the original GBA could support an internal light with an acceptable drop in battery life.

In September 2004, Nintendo announced that the Game Boy Advance SP's price would drop to $79.99 USD.

The GBA SP has been accompanied in the marketplace by the Nintendo DS; Nintendo has described the latter system as a "third pillar" alongside its home console line and the Game Boy range (with the GBA's marketplace successor to follow at a later date).

Technical specifications

Physical

  • Size (closed): Approximately 8.4 × 8.2 × 2.44 cm (3.3 × 3.23 × 0.96 inches).
  • Weight: 142 grams (approximately 5 ounces).
  • Screen: Reflective TFT Color LCD.
  • Light source: Frontlight integrated LCD.
  • Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery.
  • Battery Life: 10 hours continuous play with light on, 18 hours with light off; needs at most 3 hours recharging.
  • Hardware colors: Onyx, Flame, Platinum, Cobalt blue, Pearl pink, Pearl blue, Graphite, Midnight blue (backlit), Charizard red, Venusaur green, Pikachu yellow. In September 2005 a Surf Blue edition was sold through Best Buy, and also they made a limited Spongebob Squarepants edition.There is also an All Blacks edition .

The GBA SP is slightly more than half the size of the GBA when closed and roughly the height of Nintendo's Game Boy Color when open. The clamshell or laptop design protects the screen from scratches and dust, reminiscent of two-screen Game & Watch units. However, the casing is made from a different material, making it more prone to scratches than previous Game Boy systems.

The GBA SP AC adapter comes with the package to recharge its lithium ion battery, something previous Game Boys did not have. The software library and general hardware specifications are identical to those of the Game Boy Advance.

In most regions it was released in Platinum Silver, and Charcoal Black. Later a Flame Red version was released. The Six special editions have also been released: a NES Classics model with the same color scheme as a classic NES controller, a SpongeBob SquarePants model, a Pikachu model, and a silver SP with a tattoo engraved on it, called the 'Tribal Edition'. In other regions, such as Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, additional colors have been released, such as Pearl Green and Starlight Gold.

Internal

  • CPU: 32-bit ARM7TDMI with embedded memory.
  • Memory: 32 kibibyte+96 kibibyte Video RAM (internal CPU), 256 kibibyte WRAM (external CPU).
  • Resolution: 240 × 160 pixels.
  • Color: Can display 511 simultaneous colors in character mode and 32,768 simultaneous colors in bitmap mode.
  • Software: Fully compatible with Game Boy and Game Boy Color games.

Headphone jack

Due to form-factor limitations, Nintendo removed the headphone jack, which had been included on all previous Game Boy models. Headphones designed specifically for the GBA SP can be purchased, or standard headphones can be attached with an optional adapter that plugs into the same port as the AC adapter. This accessory is available on Nintendo's online store for US$4.25 or from brick and mortar stores in Japan and Europe.

As both AC adapter and headphones use the same port, it is not possible to charge the SP and listen to headphones at the same time with the Nintendo brand adapter. There are however third-party solutions, such as an adapter that "splits" into two different cords; The power jack on one side, and a normal headphone jack on the other.

Majesco developed officially licensed neckband stereo headphones that plugs directly into the port without the need of an adapter.

References

See also

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