K1 GBA SP - First Hands-on Impressions

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by Another World, Jul 26, 2012.

Jul 26, 2012
  1. Another World
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    Former Staff Another World Emulate the Planet!

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    The K1 GBA SP

    Before we begin I need to thank K1GBA for providing the review sample. http://www.K1GBA.com is the first site on the Internet selling the new upgradable K1 GBA SP. Unlike previous sites selling a different upgradele unit, K1GBA offers free worldwide shipping without the need of a intermediate shipping proxy. I have received confirmation from the K-Team that the unit they are selling is indeed upgradable and from K1GBA that their unit will be supported by the same person behind the 00610601 unit upgrades. Now, let us begin a brief hands-on impressions of the K1 GBA SP!

    Ask a gamer what handheld they feel most nostalgic about and chances are the answer will be the Gameboy Advance. It is not surprising to hear this considering the GBA was on the market for 7 popular years, resulting in 3 different incarnations, which sold upwards of 82 millions units worldwide. GBA games continue to have a strong following today thanks to the DS Phat and Lite, emulation, and various “hardware” clones.

    Up to this point we have not seen a 3rd party GBA clone that offered a true hardware solution. Gamers have instead dealt with compatibility issues brought on by software emulation. While some software/hardware solutions have provided excellent experiences (SCDS2 and PSP) they are never perfect and often require time to set-up and maintain.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    The K-Team’s K1 GBA SP is a System on a Chip (SoC) solution that promises near perfect compatibility for all normal hardware GBA game cartridges. The K-Team has designed a solution that mimics the GBA on a hardware level, allowing for games to run at full speed without the need of hacks, patches, or emulation updates. If required, the SoC can be upgraded with firmware releases that not only add additional features to the system (such as MP3 playback) but may also address any compatibility issues. The system reads all data off the K-Card, a simple transfer device that allows information stored on a microSD/SDHC card to be read into the DRAM.

    The shape of the unit mimics a GBA SP in a variety of ways. The shell has a similar feel of a retail GBA SP, and the button placement, speaker holes, logos, etc, make the unit look and play very much like the original. Thanks to a modern high resolution LCD, smoother graphics are presented across multiple aspect ratios, as well as 5 levels of brightness. The K1 GBA SP battery holds about 5 hours of charge and is interchangeable with the official Nintendo GBA SP battery. The official link cable, battery charger, and headphone adapter can also be used. In addition the K1 offers TV out via AV cables utilizing 640x480 scaling.

    When not playing actual retail GBA game carts, the system can load ROMs into a menu system with options including such things as in-game text file guides, cheats, and an auto-fire mode. The system also supports direct ROM booting of embedded 8-bit emulation. The included emulators are enhanced copies of popular GBA Homebrew such as PocketNES and Goomba Paletted. Overall there are currently 8 supported types of classic games including NES, PC-Engine, Master System, Game Gear, Gameboy, and Gameboy Color. GBA Homebrew has not been forgotten as the hardware solution allows for hundreds of free games and applications to run without a problem.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Every game I have thrown at the system has performed as expected. Problems titles like the Classic NES Series, Golden Sun, and the Mother 3 English Fan-Translation, run at full speed and without any issue. Any problems that have arisen have been related to the in-game menu availability but never with actual ROMs running or performing as expected. Homebrew has also performed perfectly including various emulation and interpreters. The system supports 2-player games via a link cable (both official and unofficial), and while this has yet to be tested early reports are that it works perfectly.

    Additional features like MP3 playback and text reading have been included in the most recent firmware revision. So far I have tested both CBR and VBR encoded MP3 files and found that neither caused any issue. The system supports only mono-audio via the built-in center speaker and AV-out cable. I have yet to track down a GBA SP headphone adapter, but early reports state that only the K2 (a future form factor revision) will support full stereo sound.

    An official GBAtemp review is in the works which will include a round of ROM, Homebrew, and emulation testing. While the review will focus on the K1 GBA SP itself, some comparisons may be made to the original retail Nintendo GBA SP. If you have any questions about the K1 GBA SP please leave a comment in the on-going discussion, linked below. If you have a comment about this first impressions post or the upcoming review, please leave them in this thread. Finally, if you own the K1 GBA SP let us know your thoughts and comments.

    [​IMG] K1 GBA SP On-going Discussion
    [​IMG] Review of the Prototype Build
    [​IMG] K1GBA.com (Resale, Facts and Information)
     
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  2. pyromaniac123

    Member pyromaniac123 ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็(ಠ益ಠส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็

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    Can you play the classic nes series without patching and getting the "game pak error"?
     
  3. Another World
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    Former Staff Another World Emulate the Planet!

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    As I stated in the post, those games work just fine. This is a hardware solution, so it runs games natively. There is no need for hacks, patches, etc. however, i did have a dump of one of the games that gave a gamepack error, but when i checked the CRC against a goodset listing it wasn't there. I am assuming it was a bad dump. I found the same rom with a correct CRC and it performed perfectly.

    -Another World
     
  4. riyaz

    Member riyaz Black Ace/Red Joker

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    i really want this but i dont have money
     
  5. pyromaniac123

    Member pyromaniac123 ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็(ಠ益ಠส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็

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    Definitely buying one. Having this and gbasp + ez flash iv is going to make it alot easier to trade pokemon between myself.

    edit: Are the cheats built in or do they have to be downloaded manually?
     
  6. Crystal the Glaceon

    Member Crystal the Glaceon GBAtemp Inkling™ Squishies~

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    I didn't think I would be interested in this until now.
    I might actually buy one of these.
     
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  7. nl255

    Member nl255 GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Does it work for linking with a Gamecube or Wii for things like Wind Waker or Sonic DX and if so, can I use a ROM of sonic pinball for saving Sonic DX Chao data or does it need to be a real cart (as I have had poor luck with my M3 on a real GBA doing that kind of thing).
     
  8. Chaaru

    Newcomer Chaaru Advanced Member

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    Very sexy. If I had an extra $70, maaaybe I'd get it now.

    Now if I could do all that on my Micro... that's a different story.

    Wasn't a huge fan of the SP, but I guess it's okay.
     
  9. Another World
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    Former Staff Another World Emulate the Planet!

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    i don't have a cable for testing, so i have no idea and will not be able to find out. i'm sure it would work as all the official cables are supported and the system isn't running the rom in software so it should appear like its running a retail cart as far as the other system is concerned.

    there is already a rather large cheat database included. it seems you can add more cheats. i am not really familiar with gba cheating so i'm not sure what format they are in.

    here is an example (0001.cht):
    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    i'll host all of the files when i get further into the review.

    -another world
     
  10. Hadrian

    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    My daughter has been asking for a GBA lately, might get her this for her birthday. It's a great price and free shipping to UK.
     
  11. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    That looks to be the standard cheat format used for GBA things (and other various systems), so people should have no trouble editing it.

    Anyways I'm excited for this review.
     
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  12. Walker D

    Member Walker D I have a hat

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    Impressive how they are aiming to do the definitive clone, and not just a cheap chinese crap ..I'm kinda interested now
     
  13. GreatCrippler

    Member GreatCrippler Greatness Fallen

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    How sophisticated is the Cart compared to something like an M3? Real Time Clock? Etc?
     
  14. Aeter

    Member Aeter A walking contradiction

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    A lot people ask about are already answered on the k1gba FAQ page: http://www.k1gba.com/page-faq.html
     
  15. Another World
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    Former Staff Another World Emulate the Planet!

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    the k-card is not a flash kit at all. it is simply a transfer device between the msd card and the SP. they chose to do this so that they could keep the system looking as much like the sp as possible, instead of having a msd slot in the side of the unit, for example. i'm assuming that they also did this because sp shells kits and designs already exist. so they are saving money by not altering an existing design.

    when the software loads it queries the msd in the k-card for a list of what is on it. when you pick a game the software then loads that ROM into the DRAM on the chip, and the games launches. the entire process of loading a game takes about a second, maybe 2. even mother 3 with the fan translation loads in the same amount of time.

    -another world
     
  16. loco365

    Member loco365 GBAtemp Guru

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    It looks really impressive to be honest. I'd love to get my hands on one. I know a few sites that could get a review of this console.
     
  17. ruilong

    Member ruilong GBAtemp Regular

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    Yes, you guys can find most question on our FAQ page. Still, we are updating this page everyday.

    For this device, there is no RTC because there is no enough space for it in the chip. But the next version- unfolded one will include this function.
     
  18. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    That IS a well-done FAQ...
     
  19. maxzhou88

    Newcomer maxzhou88 Member

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    2800 cheats built in TF and downloaded cheats(EC format UTF-8 code) in TF
     
  20. DragorianSword

    Member DragorianSword GBAtemp's #1 Gunter

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    Nice I'm going to get me one of those!
    Was planning to just buy a flashcard, but since it costs just 20 dollars more I'll take this!
    Another plus is that I can trade between my GBA Pokemon games then.

    EDIT: Wow their site really has horrible grammar.
     

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