Review By: Johnny K.
First of all, we would like to show gratitude to Lik-Sang.com for supplying us with this review sample of the GBA Movie Player. Lik-Sang.com was also considerate enough to provide us with a 128MB Compact Flash card, which customarily isn’t included in the box.
The GBA Movie Player comes in a plastic/cardboard box with some instructions on the back, a MiniCD with the conversion programs, and of course the Movie Player.
After unpacking the Movie Player I inserted the MiniCD in my CD-Rom drive to come across a small executable file. After installing I had two conversion programs on my Hard Disk; one for movies, as well as one for audio.
Having received a Movie Player I started the movie conversion program first.
In the center of the screen there are four tabs with settings for converting a movie. I have played around with these for three days prior writing this review and have come up with the “best” settings I could find. The settings are:
Basic Set: Film/Normal/Depends on the movie
Advance: Fast/Depends on the movie
Audio 11:1 Mono/Left Channel
These settings differ somewhat from the authors' “optimal” settings found in the Guide (bottom right), but I have found them to produce higher quality movies.
I have two examples of the conversion quality of movies. The first is from the popular TV Show; The Simpsons. On your left hand side you will see the original TV capture and on your right the converted video. Please keep in mind that the video will look different on your GBA and probably less “blocky”. Also keep in mind that the quality of the video may slightly differ from the actual converted video.
As you can see in the movie, the quality of the movie is reduced and the frame rate is dropped. I think you all know that TV capture isn’t the best quality to be testing this Movie Player with, so I took a trailer from one of my favorite games; Runaway: A Road Adventure, and converted it. You can find the converted movie here
You can see that the quality of this conversion, albeit reduced, is much better than the Simpsons conversion.
The GBA Movie Player is also capable of playing back audio on your GBA. However, the audio needs to be converted in a similar way as movies.
I have to say that audio conversion is the real letdown of this device. Although the GBA cannot output 7.1 surround sound, the audio quality is really poor.
After trying a variety of combinations in the settings, I gave up on it. If you want to get a product because you need an audio player, don’t get the Movie Player.
Cheap now, expensive later
If you buy the Movie Player from Lik-Sang.com, you will most likely pay approximately 40 dollars. The Movie Player does not come with a Compact Flash card, nor a Compact Flash Card Reader. The Reader isn’t that expensive (you can get one for 15 dollars), but the Compact Flash Cards can be pretty expensive if you want a decent sized one.
Unfortunately the Movie Player doesn’t come with a manual. The conversion programs have guides built-in, but a detailed manual would be appreciated. I had to guess shortcuts (mostly because I was too lazy to read the tiny screen) of the Movie Player’s music player. If you aren’t a modern day Columbus, I suggest you read the guides and the Help. Instructions can also be found on the official website.
eBooks and Multi-Tasking
The Movie Player is also capable of displaying eBooks. Don’t count on PDF files with images, because the eBook engine works with TXT files. The GBA has a small display (if you haven’t noticed yet), and that’s one of the reasons I didn’t bother much with this function. Having to review it I tested it out of course, and apart from the small screen, it was quite good.
Another feature that the Movie Player is praising about itself is Multi-Tasking. Simply put, this means you can listen to music while reading an eBook. Having said that the Movie Player isn’t worth playing music on, and knowing that some of you are stubborn enough to do it, I can now give you another reason not to. If you play a music file on the background, the first thing you will notice when you go back to the menu is that the music “hangs”. Now this only happens when changing menu’s (or pages in eBook mode), but it’s quite annoying. Reading on a small screen will require you to flip pages often in eBook mode, which will trigger a horrid hang each time.
My feelings about this product are rather mixed. If you aren’t a quality freak like myself and don’t mind the occasional bug or two, this is the product for you. But if you like a quality product and are wanted to use this for music, I’d advise you to pass.
Overall this product is good, but the software could use some adjustments.
If you want to know more, you can check out the official website wwww.movieadvance.com or the Lik-Sang Forum
Pros and Cons
Movies, Music and eBooks on GBA
Works with cheaper Compact Flash
Works pretty good with movies
Audio quality is horrid
Slowing down in Multi-Tasking