WonderSwan:WonderSwan Model Differences
Page content & researching collaboratively taken from io55.net's WonderSwan page with permission.
There are three WonderSwan models.
Models are arranged chronologically.
The first WonderSwan system, and the only one to have a monochrome screen. It was released on March 4, 1999, and did not last long in the marketplace due to the rapid rise of color-capable handhelds around this time. Easily identified by its mostly monochromatic color schemes for the system, and a side-mounted power switch. It is capable of supporting a variety of add-ons, including the MobileWonderGate communications adapter, which would allow WonderSwan owners to browse the web and access email.
WonderSwan Color (2000-2002)
Released on December 9, 2000, the WonderSwan Color finally brought color to the WonderSwan line. It is easily identified by its vibrantly colored case, the addition of a contrast wheel, and a forward-facing power button. The WSC retains full backwards compatibility with all original WonderSwan titles and add-ons. It is important to note that this does not go in reverse for most games, akin to the Game Boy Color - most WonderSwan Color titles will not play on an original WonderSwan. Alongside the obvious color screen addition, the Color also quadrupled the amount of RAM, going from 16 KB to 64 KB.
Released on July 12, 2002, the SwanCrystal is an improved version of the WonderSwan Color with a more vibrant active matrix TFT LCD, compared to the passive matrix LCD of the original Color. This is the only major change between the WonderSwan Color and the SwanCrystal, although the SwanCrystal does have four volume levels over the three offered by the Color. The SwanCrystal is easily identified by its opaque and vibrantly colored shell (except for Clear Blue SwanCrystals), the lack of a contrast wheel, a round yellow power button, and the “SwanCrystal” text on the bezel.
By this time however, the Game Boy Advance had largely dominated the handheld market in Japan and the SwanCrystal sold poorly as a result. It was discontinued in 2003 after Bandai announced in February that year that they were pulling out of the handheld video game market.