| paleface [sys=GBA; cat=Hardware; loc=NA] |
|Rather late in the system's life, Nintendo releases a micronized version of the GBA. Even smaller than the GBA:SP (see entry 899), the micro is about the size of a small cell phone--not so small that you'd forget you have it in your pocket, but pretty darn small.|
Going back to the horizontal layout of the original GBA, the micro is comfortable to hold. The D-pad and buttons also revert to the squishy, pre-SP type. Personally, I am now used to, and prefer, the more precise clicky SP controls; when trying to play Ms. Pac-Man on the micro, I wobbled on the raised D-pad and went the wrong way a few times.
The micro has weird shoulder buttons; they're very long, but only the inner half register clicks, so you have to curl your fingers way up over the shoulder and press them down on top of the buttons. I got reasonably used to it pretty quick, but it seems sloppy to have a button that only works over half of its surface.
It really comes down to the screen, though: significantly smaller than the SP's screen, it has a much brighter image, at least when the brightness gets cranked all the way up (hold the L button and use the volume control to change the brightness). The vastly increase brightness means that it isn't difficult to read small text (I tried out the small text in Minish Cap), even on the dinky screen.
Really, though, the screen should have been bigger. I don't have problems reading text on the SP's larger, dimmer screen, and I think in the long run the larger screen is probably easier on my old, aging eyes.
The micro's speaker is really weak, sounding, when set to max, like an SP set fairly low. The sound is a bit tinnier, too. On the plus side, it has a standard headphone jack, so you don't need a little adaptoid like you have with previous GBAs. And that's significant, because you may need to use headphones if you want to hear your games clearly on this system.
The micro comes with three removable face plates. Curiously, Nintendo doesn't seem anxious to let you match your face plate color to the rest of your system; my friend's silver SP came with black, pink, and some other color plates--no silver. A special tool that comes with the system pops the current plate off by pressing in on two tiny notches in the side of the system.
My friend's initial estimate of the micro battery's charge life, with the system at full brightness and volume, is about seven hours--slightly less than the SP's estimated ten hours.
The micro loses some standard GBA features. For one, it combines the link and power ports into one new port, so it isn't compatible with the old GBA link cables--you need new ones and/or an adapter. For another, it can't play GB or GBC games; they don't fit in the system, obstructed by little corner tabs. I wonder what would happen if you cut chunks off a GB cart to make it fit? Hopefully, the micro would explode.
The micro is plenty cute, but the size--and it isn't quite as dinky as some would like to make it sound--comes at a price. It'd be a good option for those who want to carry their GBA around in their pocket a lot, but if you're not doing that, I don't see much reason to get a micro over an SP.