Before this year's E3 there were plenty of rumours about a new handheld from Nintendo. Many people believed that they were about to reveal the true successor to the Game Boy Advance; no one expected what they saw when Reggie pulled a tiny machine from his pocket.

The Game Boy Micro seemed to come from nowhere; it was one of the truly surprising announcements at E3 this year. We recently got a chance to have a play with the miniature handheld to see how it compares to its already small older brother. This handheld is small, measuring four inches by two inches by 0.7 inches. It really is tiny and feels light too.

If you aren't already aware, it is worth pointing out that the Micro is simply a remodelled GBA. This isn't a new system that will be home to new games. It is the same technology as the GBA and the GBA SP, but it packs a few new features. While it is small and has a smaller screen than the SP, the screen itself is far superior to what SP owners are used to. It is crystal clear and incredibly bright, comparable to the DS' top screen, if not slightly better. Even small text is easily readable, as was demonstrated with our play with The Minish Cap.

Also as standard is a headphone port, something that SP owners had to pay extra for. The screen has adjustable brightness, so you should be able to set it just how you want it. While the SP's screen was a huge improvement over the original GBA, this seems like an even bigger jump; the screens on the SP units that were also on display seemed almost archaic in comparison.

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While we can't see the appeal of it ourselves, the faceplate on the unit can be unclipped and replaced with the faceplate of your choice. This also acts as a handy screen guard so the unit can be dropped into a bag or pocket without the risk of permanently damaging the screen. While the console's exact battery life is yet to be revealed, we were told that it will be comparable to the SP. The price point and release date are yet to be announced, but it will be released later this year.

The start and select buttons are placed on the bottom of the unit and seem to have some lighting behind them, giving them a soft glow. The d-pad and A and B buttons feel softer than they did on the SP, with less of a hard "clicky" feel to them and while it is small, the unit also felt more comfortable to hold than the square SP. The shoulder buttons seem far easier to use due to the less cramped holding position. Only prolonged play will see if this is the case.

I'll admit that I thought Nintendo had lost their mind when they announced the Micro. I just couldn't see who would buy another remodelled GBA. I think I was wrong. The Micro simply oozes quality and if priced right could be a massive seller for Nintendo. If they can reduce the price of GBA software to a more reasonable and child (or perhaps parent) friendly RRP, the GBA could have an awfully long life ahead of it.

Check out our exclusive Game Boy Micro Footage. To save the file, right click the link and select "Save Target As".

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