GBA SP Designer Console Review

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Tux', Oct 14, 2010.

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  1. Tux'

    Tux' GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Feb 8, 2009
    The flat lands.
    Hey everyone, before I start this review I would like to thank <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> for this review item! Anyways, let's get started with this review.

    (Note: Picture takes you to the item)


    <img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    Well, the Game Boy Advance SP is pretty well built, had good software, and the packaging was well, except for one problem, but as the review gets more in depth, you'll see what the problem was. Aside from that, my first impression was “just another game system” but it was actually pretty fun to play around with and see what games there were.


    When I first got the SP, I took it out of the package and the box was mangled and destroyed, like the people in the sorting room played baseball and my package was sadly the ball. The packaging was all beat up, but the contents of the box was still very well in place and not damaged at all, it looked like it the Game Boy Advance SP was unharmed throughout the travel and possible game of baseball.

    Looks like the packaging was pretty damaged on its way to the arrival destination

    There isn't much to say about the packaging, it did what it was supposed to, but it would have been nice if it wasn't so damaged, it would have looked like a nice gift box.

    I give the packaging a 7/10. The package did what it was supposed to and protect the contents inside it, but a package like this was also meant to have a type of pizazz to the consumer, and when it's damaged, it doesn't look so nice, but as I said already, it did what it was supposed to and that's all that counts I suppose.


    The software on this machine was pretty sweet, it had preloaded games on it, different languages to choose from, and even some NES games. The bad part is that the box did not give any instructions on how to change the language on it, so my first use I had to ignore the Arabic and continue testing out the games.

    The software was pretty fun to play around with
    When you turned on the SP, the Game Boy Advance logo would shine and do its thing, but it was a bit slow in comparison to my normal SP. I scrolled through the list of games and realized the first four items on the SP was various video files which included .AVI .MP4 and .FLV. I was pretty surprised when I saw this and I tried the videos, they ran very well.


    The games on the SP had a bountiful amount, ten thousand in fact, <b>but</b> at game number 0476, the game list repeated. So there was only about 472 games on the SP, which is still amazing because most of them were really good Game Boy Advance games and some random NES games. The NES games used an emulator called “PocketNES” I figured this out when playing a NES game I tapped the L and R buttons and a menu popped up which had a scaling option, Save and Load State options, a game reset option, and an Exit option which just restarted the game.

    The Game Boy Advance games I played had no lag or very little lag, hardly anything noticeable, which was very amazing considering I've seen comments on how the games lagged lots on the system, but I noticed very little lag, only some lag on Harvest Moon: Friends Of Mineral Town.

    The SP even had a game slot in the bottom of it, which I was happy with, so I tried Harvest Moon in it, and it had just as much lad as the one on the one on the system itself, so nothing much to complain about.

    I give the games a solid 10/10. It had a wide selection of games on it, and some NES games to go along with it, a very good combination of 472 games.


    Although it had a good selection of games, it is near impossible to comment on the software. This is where the problem began with me. When I received it, I turned it on to realized the game names on the bottom of the screen were in Arabic, and I didn't know how to change it after ten minutes of fiddling around with it and figuring out it was the L button to change the language. I was not overall impressed that the makers of this system forgot an instruction booklet on the software, the instruction booklet that came with it was an extremely shortened version of the Game Boy Advance SP booklet. Being the person I am, I even noticed some spelling mistakes and noticed that one of the pages said “Turn to page 57” when there was only around twenty pages.

    Aside from the frustration of not being able to change the language, the software had a little battery meter, which made me happy because I never liked charging my SP when the red light went on, because that usually meant I had another hour or so. This had a meter that indicated when my battery was low, a nice plus for those people who like knowing when they need to charge it when it is almost dead, a nice little pro for the software.

    A nice little menu for all the games

    Now here comes the problem. As soon as I charged the thing, I left it on my bed to charge as I went out for an hour. I come back to see that the charging light is still on, so I decided to turn it on and maybe play some Harvest Moon or Super Mario Advance 2. So I flicked the switch on, the light turned on, but there was no sound, no screen turning on, the SP bricked itself. I actually took it apart to see if there was anything wrong with the ribbon cable or the speaker, so I disconnected the ribbon cable, connected it and used the battery to turn it on. No luck. The software quite literally corrupted itself and made it unable to play games or even start up a game with a cartridge in the slot. Once again to no avail, it refused to boot. I even left it on overnight to see what would happen to the thing. So as I woke up in the morning, the green light was still mocking me as the screen did not turn on. I am sure it may have been my fault for leaving the SP on my bed where it collected heat, but it should be advised while charging it to keep it on a flat surface.

    I give the software a 0/10. I give it such a low score because I did not expect it at all to brick itself. I leave my DS charging on my bed, even wrapped in the covers and it always has turned on and played games properly. I was very disappointed when it broke, I really enjoyed the system and all its games. I would even give it 1/10, but the system software did have some perks like the battery meter and the fact it had so many languages, a system clock, and adjustable brightness, too.

    Games: <b>10/10</b>
    Software: <b>0/10</b>

    <b>Total: <u>5/10</u></b>


    The hardware was pretty much the same on a Game Boy Advance SP, almost like and exact clone, which is very nice because it reminded me of my old SP and would be a nice collection to add to my Nintendo systems. There was one problem that I didn't really like was the buttons. They were really loud to press and the power slider would kind of refuse to turn on and stay halfway between on and off, making me press a bit harder to turn the SP on. The rest of the buttons which included the L and R, A and B, Start and Select, and even the directional pad was very loud to press making an awfully loud clicking noise, which my previous SP has never done. I did not like this very much, but aside from that the hardware was pretty durable.

    The SP was an almost exact clone of the original Game Boy Advance SP

    When I was holding the SP it felt very normal for an SP, and nice and sturdy. Whenever I pressed the A or B button, the back was nice and sturdy and didn't buckle inwards or anything, which was very nice,I never liked systems where you would press a button and you could feel the back of it kind of collapsing into the system itself. I even dropped it a few times off my desk and the thing didn't even get a scratch. Even when I took the system apart, the face of the SP only collected some minor scratches when I slid it along my desk, but it also could have been the colour, making it hard to see the scratches.

    I give the hardware a good 9/10. The system itself was nice and durable, even after the travel and possible baseball game played by the mail sorters and people who shipped it. Still a good system, even though the software killed it.


    Well, having the SP for such a short time, and by short I mean around a day or so, it was very fun to play around with it, even though the software was able to kill the whole thing. All the games where fun to play and I may even buy another one in the near future!

    <b>Software: <u>5/10</u></b>

    <b><u>Total: 7/10</b></u>

    Once again I would like to thank <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> for this amazing review sample!! And thank <b>you</b> for taking your time to read this!

    P.S. Sorry for the limited photos, I took pictures at the start and was planning to take more the next day, but since the SP killed itself I couldn't that many pictures...
  2. gibberish

    gibberish GBAtemp Regular

    Jan 12, 2009
    tell me you're not giving it a rating of 22/30 when it died after 3 days...
  3. Joe88

    Joe88 [λ]

    Jan 6, 2008
    United States

    thats more of a hardware problem not software...
  4. Rasas

    Rasas Banned

    Apr 7, 2010
    United States
    Seems like your rated it higher then you should. The hardware and software seems like a turn off also did it come with a back light like the original SP.
  5. jesterscourt

    jesterscourt Not Brad.

    Jan 3, 2007
    United States
    I wonder if this was just a faulty unit. Hm. Thanks for the review though.
  6. hunter291

    hunter291 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    May 14, 2007
    Gambia, The
    is this the sp clone who plays the game 15% or 30% slower then the original ? i read it in another thread [​IMG]

    and can you put new games on it or can you only play the ones on it ?
  7. Arm73

    Arm73 GBAtemp Addict

    Mar 4, 2006
    Hoe about the quality of the screen ? Color/contrast/backlit/frontlit, and how's the screen resolution ? Is it just like the GBA, or it runs at a higher resolution and then is upscaled ?
    I'm asking about the resolution because the NES emulator could use a few extra pixels, and upscaled GBA games don't look right to me.
    You didn't actually describe what the screen looks like, but I'd really like to know if you can remember [​IMG]
  8. _Chaz_

    _Chaz_ GBAtemp's Official Mook™

    Sep 12, 2009
    United States
    This, this, 1000 times this.
  9. AshuraZro

    AshuraZro Belongs in a museum.

    Feb 21, 2004
    Going to have to join in here. You gave a decent rating to a device that died in less than a week. Doesn't matter specifically what caused it. It is dead and deserves little praise.
  10. gibberish

    gibberish GBAtemp Regular

    Jan 12, 2009
    it's quite sad if you have to skew your reviews in order to keep getting review units.
    i think the better thing to do would have to been send it back to [censored] for a replacement before doing the review. and if the new unit worked fine then you could have briefly mentioned in your review that you had a faulty one previously.
  11. Tux'

    Tux' GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Feb 8, 2009
    The flat lands.
    Ugh, seriously? Well, it may have died in a few days, but everything that worked on it while I had it was excellent, I gave credit where it was due and said what needed to be said. I was an excellent system, but the software/hardware or whatever caused it to brick, I gave it a low rating. I base the final score off of all the marks, I don't average them out like hardware should be 40% while software should be 10%. I just average it out with all the scores, in this case each mark was 33% even. Sorry, but everything else was amazing with this product except for the mishap that happened.

    Yes it is one of those one where the games are slower, but most of them are not. Some games I tried actually ran at normal speed compared to the ones I had. And no, you sadly cannot put new games on it [​IMG]
  12. gibberish

    gibberish GBAtemp Regular

    Jan 12, 2009
    if you get a new one you could try the ones at golden bridge. they allow re-writing roms, and are apparently running a newer revision of the board than those at dx and ncs (which should mean better speed and compatiblity too).
  13. Tux'

    Tux' GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Feb 8, 2009
    The flat lands.

    Umm... You kind of messed up on the BBCode, it could be Like that, or just [ url][backslash URL] like that, but aside from that, that looks pretty good, but how would you exactly connect it to PC to put it on, or how would you put roms on it?

    EDIT: I also fixed up the review a bit...

    EDIT2: CopyPasta fail on my part, sorry, now fixed too, now back to the subject! Edited the review a bit and as I said, I average out between all the scores, unless you want me to rate on lowest score, like Windows Experience [​IMG]
  14. DarkWay

    DarkWay tsubasa hiroge

    Aug 21, 2008
    So did you....
    the correct web address helps ;)
  15. FlashX007

    FlashX007 GBAtemp Maniac

    May 3, 2009
    United States
    I am guessing this is the same as the GBA version they have. I have seen a GBA version but this is my first time seeing a SP version. It sucks I was considering getting this when I could but it looks like a waste. I can probably stay satisfied with a XL/DSTWO combo. Anyways good reviews Tux keep it up you have really changed since last few times I saw you reviewing. First times always the hardest but then you grow into it. I wish I could continue reviewing but no luck. [​IMG]
  16. Nintendo_Chick

    Nintendo_Chick GBAtemp Fan

    Feb 6, 2009
    United States
    I agree 7/10 is a fair review, I bought a new house a month ago, 2 stories, 5 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths. It collapsed on it self, but before that it was nice.
  17. trumpet-205

    trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Jan 14, 2009
    United States
    That's nice, assuming you are not being sarcastic.

    I'm more a 6/10 person, being that it bricked during charging.
  18. tigris

    tigris Sentient Existential Anthropomorphic Sweet Potato

    Jun 19, 2010
    The Tibetan Himalayas
    NOOO :weeeep:
  19. Warrior522

    Warrior522 "In all things, balance."

    Jul 21, 2010
    United States

    you gave an average score to a system that died in 3 days. what is this i don't even [​IMG]
  20. gibberish

    gibberish GBAtemp Regular

    Jan 12, 2009
    the problem is that you're covering 2 different things with the "hardware" rating.
    you're not only covering the aesthetics and feel of the device, but you're also covering the electronics and the quality control. really, you should add something like "build quality" to your criteria and you can rate it highly in that department, but the hardware category should be no higher than a 1 or 2 - to reflect the fact it died so soon.

    if it were me, after reading your review i'd rate it like this:

    packaging: 4/10 - you cant really give it much more considering it was completely fucked up when it arrived. postmans fault or not, the packaging was damaged and they could have done more to protect it during transit. if it was a present it'd be next to worthless now. the 4 points come from the fact it looks kinda like an original box.

    software: 6/10 - it's functional and easy to use, though not all that pretty

    build quality - 7/10 - it's a good replica and feels pretty solid but the buttons are a let down.

    hardware - 1/10 - instant 1 for dying within 3 days. if you're feeling generous you can add 1 for the fact it plays a good proportion of gba roms at almost full speed. minus 1 for not being able to swap roms like you can on other hardware clones (could be a software issue but i think not).

    total - 18/40 or a average of 4.5/10

    edit: but i stick by my previous statement that you should have gotten a working replacement before committing to the review.
    edit: i'm gona order one of the others from golden bridge, i'll review it when it arrives.
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