GameBoy Vs Gameboy Pocket: 7 Differences That Matter!

It is rather funny how we are still attached to our gaming devices even when they are a few decades old. I think that everyone who played on things like the GameBoy will get nostalgic every now and then. Maybe you never had one and want to see what it was like. Now, you have to choose between the Gameboy or GameBoy Pocket, but what are the differences?

The GameBoy Pocket is a revised version of the original GameBoy. It is smaller and less bulky. The Pocket also uses different batteries, which make it more efficient. The display is also different, the original plays games with a green tint while the pocket is black and white. The Pocket also got rid of the screen blur.

If you are still trying to consider which of these two handheld consoles to get, we might be able to help you decide. We will do this by telling you some of the key differences between the two. They are both great for passing the time but for everything you need to know, keep reading.

What Is A GameBoy?

The GameBoy is a handheld gaming console that was released in April of 1989. It was a revolutionary gaming console as it was fully portable. The GameBoy is made by Nintendo, who has been a household name in gaming for decades now.

There have been a lot of different GameBoy consoles, and each one is designed to improve upon the previous one.

What Is A GameBoy Pocket?

In July of 1996, the GameBoy Pocket was launched, and it was a massive success. It took everything that people loved about the Original and just made it better. The Pocket offered a more portable and accessible experience for the user.

7 Differences Between GameBoy And GameBoy Pocket

Now that we know a little bit about both of these consoles, I think that it is time we take a look at some of the differences between the two. We want to look at the difference that really mattered for gamers because that is what is important.

The GameBoy pocket was a lot smaller than the original; it was lighter and had certain features that made it a better gaming experience. Sometimes I think that people underestimate how revolutionary the Pocket was when it is compared with its predecessor, The GameBoy Original.

Before we get into it, I decided to make a table that shows a few of the differences just in case you are in a rush, but if you want to know more, then I recommend that you keep reading.

SpecsGameBoy OriginalGameBoy Pocket
Backlit LED lightNoneYes
Price$89 at launch$69 at launch
Size148 x 90 x 32 mm127 x 77.6 x 25.3 mm
Display Size2.6 inch2.5 inch
Display QualityGreen displayA better black & white display
Weight220 grams125 grams
BatteriesFour AA batteries offering 10 to 15 hours of gameplayTwo AAA offering 10 to 15 hours of gameplay

Now that we have that out of the way. Let us get into detail about these differences. Remember to bookmark this page as a reference and check out some of our other GameBoy articles.

Backlit Light

One of the biggest and most notable differences between the Gameboy original and the Gameboy pocket is the introduction of the LED backlight that came with the Gameboy Pocket.

The LED backlight was a welcome addition to the Gameboy handheld console, as it allowed players to play their games in dark conditions. Doing this made the GameBoy experience truly handheld and portable.

Nintendo introduced the LED backlight to the Gameboy pocket because it listened to what its consumers wanted. The backlight was something that was being asked about for quite some time before they actually introduced it.

You always have to give credit where credit is due. This is also true when it comes to companies like Nintendo. Considering the fact that they listened to what their audience wanted and gave it to them, in my opinion, deserves credit.


If you are considering buying one of these handheld consoles, you are probably wondering what it will cost you. Well, we have the answer for you. Unfortunately, it is very hard to get a brand new Gameboy original or pocket, but you can still get them second hand.

The Gameboy Original Launched at $89 and now sells for around $20 to $60. The GameBoy Pocket launched at $69.99 and now sells for $10 to $60. The lower prices are for used game boys while the higher prices don’t necessarily mean that the GameBoys are brand-new; it just means that they have not been used.

Both consoles have been discontinued. They were discontinued quite some time ago, and that is why it is pretty hard to find one that is brand new. So, if you can find one that is at least still in the box, then you are lucky, and I would say buy it.

I do find that this price is interesting. If you look at the launch prices of those consoles, you will notice that gaming back then was a lot cheaper than what it is today. That said, gaming is a lot different today than what it was back then.

The Size

The GameBoy original is pretty bulky and quite large. This makes it not perfect for handheld or portable gaming because you can’t really carry it around in your pocket.

The GameBoy Original was 148 x 90 x 32 mm. The Pocket is a lot smaller than this at 127 x 77.6 x 25.3 mm. So as you can see, there is quite a big size difference between the two.

Because the GameBoy original could not fit in people’s pockets, it was a little bit of a complaint from consumers, and it is probably the reason why when they launched the Gameboy pocket, they called it, The Pocket.

I assume that they were trying to tell their customers that they listened to them, and they released a console that could fit in your pocket. This made it a lot more accessible and portable for people to carry around to school, camping trips, and road trips.

The Weight

When you think about gaming, you don’t often consider how much you are moving your fingers around, and those muscle tendons are always working and pulling. So our arms do get quite sore when gaming on portable devices.

The GameBoy Original is 220g and the Pocket is only 125g.

If a handheld portable console is too heavy, it will obviously make gaming quite uncomfortable. While the GameBoy originally was not heavy enough to put too much strain on our hands and arms, the addition of a lighter version in the Gameboy pocket was very welcome.

It was especially welcome for people who carry their GameBoys around during road trips where you sit in a generally uncomfortable position.

The Display Size

We need to understand when these consoles were launched because we are about to give credit to Nintendo once again for what they were able to do. I am, of course, talking about what they did with the display. Basically, they took a smaller handheld and put a similar-sized display on it.

The GameBoy Original has a 2.6 Inch display while the Pocket has a 2.5 Inch display. Considering the different sizes of the two consoles, that is quite an achievement, especially for the time.

People back then assumed that the Gameboy pocket was going to be smaller in all aspects, but the fact that they managed to get us a very similar size display on the smaller console was really great work by Nintendo. If you are wondering what the quality of the newer display was like, well, let’s get into it.

The Display Quality

Not only was the display size very similar between the two consoles, but Nintendo once again proved that they were serious about gaming. They did this by putting a better quality display on the Gameboy pocket.

The Pocket used a true black and white display while the Original had an outdated green display.

Now I know it is still black and white, and that might throw you a little bit off but just remember the time that we are talking about. Back then, this was really advanced, and the games looked incredible on the display.

The Batteries

So by today’s standards, the batteries of the Nintendo GameBoy were pretty abysmal. For anyone who could not get rechargeable batteries, they were stuck having to ration their playtime according to how much battery power they had. They also had to consider how many batteries they could afford in a given month. Back then, rechargeable batteries were expensive.

The GameBoy Original uses four AA batteries and offers around 15 hours of gameplay. The GameBoy Pocket uses two AAA batteries that offer around 10 hours of life with the LED backlight on.

While the battery situation wasn’t a massive improvement with the Gameboy pocket, it was slightly more efficient because the batteries that were used were a little bit cheaper, and it used less of them.

I guess Nintendo knew that the batteries that were used in the original were very off-putting. Even when you consider that there wasn’t much competition for Nintendo in those days, I am sure that they knew that if they made it more accessible, they would sell more handhelds.

Switching to those types of batteries made buying rechargeables a lot cheaper for the consumer, but it also did one other thing. It was very welcome that the two AAA batteries required less charging time, which meant less time charging batteries and more time playing games for the consumers.

GameBoy Vs GameBoy Pocket: Which Should You Get

Now those days have passed, and you can get both consoles for relatively cheap, and as we discussed above, they cost pretty much around the same price right now. So if you are still wondering which one you should get, here is my opinion.

If you have a choice between both, I would say go for the GameBoy pocket. Not only does it have better battery efficiency, but it also has a better display and a backlight that makes gaming almost anywhere possible.

You also have a wealth of options. We are not just stuck with the GameBoy pocket or the GameBoy Original, and you can choose between so much more like the GameBoy color, the GameBoy Light, the GameBoy Advance, and the GameBoy Advance SP. There is one more that might interest you the most.

The most recent Nintendo console is the one-of-a-kind Nintendo Switch console. The Switch offers all the features of the old GameBoy in terms of portability, but you can also plug it into a little docking station, which allows you to use it as a home console.

Not only that, but it has a rechargeable battery built-in. This makes the Switch really phenomenal and makes it a truly handheld portable gaming device.

I do not know if you can say that the Nintendo switch is part of the Gameboy family, but it is most definitely a descendant of that family even if it has a completely different name.

The Difference Between The Nintendo GameBoy Family And The Nintendo Switch

If you are looking to buy a GameBoy because you want to experience what it was like to be a gamer back in those days. Well, then trying to convince you to get a switch instead is pretty pointless. I think that you have already made up your mind if you have made it this far into the article.

If you are browsing around just to get a Nintendo console, then I think you should look at the Nintendo Switch. It is a remarkable piece of technology by Nintendo, and it can be considered the console that has got the company back into the mainstream of the gaming industry.

We have already discussed everything we need to know about the Gameboy Original and the Gameboy pocket, but the switch offers a gaming experience that is true to the time in terms of quality and experiences.

The full-color 1080p LED display, along with the powerful components all locked into a little handheld console with a rechargeable battery, makes the switch the best handheld gaming console of the time. In my experience, it is the best handheld console ever made.

The Switch can play most games that have been released in the last decade up until now. It offers a home console experience on a handheld that has never been done before. One other thing that it does, and it does very well, is it allows you to connect the Switch to a docking station and use it as a home gaming console.

While it is not as powerful as the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and the Xbox Series X, it is still worth looking into because it offers you a completely different experience to any of those consoles.


We have come to the end of the article, an article that I have really enjoyed writing. I love talking about all the old consoles, specifically the consoles that a lot of people between the ages of their mid-20s and mid-thirties grew up playing.

In conclusion, there are many differences between the GameBoy Original and the GameBoy pocket, but they both offer one very specific thing. That is a gaming experience that is true to the times in which it was released. A time before graphical fidelity and frames-per-second was even a consideration in the minds of most people.

David Sacks

I have worked in the IT industry since 2011 and have been an avid gamer my whole life. My first consoles were the sega genesis and the Nintendo SNES. I play both console and PC games, I love both. I decided to become combine my passion for gaming with my passion for writing.

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