There are now multiple options in the market with regards to backlit LCDs for your Game Boy Advance (GBA), and while this is long overdue, and I’m glad we finally pulled up the data to share this with you all.
In a lot of mods you can do them without needing to pay too much attention to what the consumption is like at the various battery voltages, especially if you’re doing just a single modification. That said the screen is starting to be just one of the mods being put into the GBA.
With that in mind we decided to do a small study to see how the stock display in the GBA does, and compare it with the AGS-101 display mod, and then also the newer GBA IPS display mod… and the results are pretty surprising, with the IPS LCD being quite the hungry display.
Note: This is the IPS LCD on MAXimum brightness. Dimming the display would reduce current load.
Not only does the IPS display draw more current at each voltage at its maximum brightness, it’s on a factor of multiples… at full battery (3.0V) the IPS display is drawing 3x the stock current, and then is more than 3x as the batteries deplete… shutting down when the batteries hit 2.2V.
The AGS-101 mod fares better, but we must admit that the AGS-101 mod without any kind of step-up voltage regulator it isn’t nearly as bright. That said at full batteries (3.0V) it’s only drawing 1.5x the current as the stock display. Not too bad at all. Shutdown doesnt occur until 1.9V, which is quite surprising as it some lasts 0.1V longer than the stock display.
So the goal of this study wasn’t to sway the mind of any consumers, as there are many more differences between the displays than just power… with the IPS being much brighter by default, for example. Rather this study was done to help inform the more technical modders of how much current is being drawn, allowing fine tuning of modifications to live alongside the chosen display mod.
Regardless of which direction you go, you’re going to love a backlit display on your Game Boy Advance - it’s a beautiful solution!
JayBoyModz (@jayboymodz on Instagram) published a great, more general, comparison of the AGS-101 and IPS display mods. If you havent seen it yet, please go take a look! It will help shape your decision of which mod is right for you!