iSmart Premium Review

Discussion in 'Official GBAtemp Reviews' started by Another World, Sep 19, 2010.

Sep 19, 2010

iSmart Premium Review by Another World at 1:30 PM (28,063 Views / 0 Likes) 0 Comments

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    <font color="red">GBAtemp.net review of the...</font>

    <font size="5"><font color="#000080"><b>iSmart Premium</b></font></font> <img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/01_ismart_premium_header.png" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    Manufactured by: iSmartDS
    Also Known As: iSmartDS, iSmartDS Premium
    Review by Another World - completed 6/19/10

    <b>Review Contents & Index:</b><ul><li> <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#a">Review Introduction</a>
    <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#a1">- Official Features List</a>
    <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#a2">- An EZ Vi Clone?</a></li><li> <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#b">Contents and Packaging</a></li><li> <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#c">Kit Design and Impressions</a></li><li> <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#d">Set-up and Usage</a>
    <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#d1">- Main-menu</a>
    <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#d2">- Nintendo DS Games</a>
    <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#d3">- GBA Games for 3in1 Pack</a>
    <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#d4">- Moonshell Multimedia</a>
    <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#d5">- Boot from Slot-2 Device</a>
    <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#d6">- System Settings</a>
    <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#d7">- G.U.I. & Software Comments and Impressions</a></li><li> <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#f">Flash Kit Features</a></li><li> <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#g">Performance</a>
    <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#g1">- NDS Homebrew Compatibility</a>
    <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#g2">- NDS ROM Compatibility</a></li><li> <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#h">Conclusion</a></li></ul><div class="reviewbreak"><a name="a"></a>Review Introduction</div>
    The iSmart Premium, developed by iSmartDS, is a DSi compatible Flash Kit marketed around the $15 price range. The iSmartDS Team is made up of individuals who have publicly stated to have experience with the Flash Kit hobby. Their first kit, the iSmart Premium, is being heavily compared to both the Acekard (price point and opensource firmware options) and EZ Vi (for which the iSmart Premium is based on), and features a yet unreleased opensource SDK, an in-game menu (save-states, in-game guide, soft-reset), customizable skins, multilingual support, an AR cheat engine, hardware based Anti-Piracy circumvention, 3in1 expansion support, and more. The iSmartDS Team boasts that the Anti-Piracy patching routines are smart enough to circumvent all current and future ROM based anti-piracy measures. The kit also supports an intelligent save-type detection routine allowing the software to function without the need for save-type database file updates.

    This review is based on 4 pre-production release kits which shipped before the final box was printed and 1 final-production release which is the same package the end-user can purchase. The review samples were tested on 2 NDS Lite systems and 1 DSi XL. A combination of a Kingston 2 GB Japanese microSD card, a Kingston 4 GB Taiwan Class-4 microSDHC card, and an 8 GB Transcend Class-6 microSDHC card were used for all testing. All tested microSD/SDHC cards were properly formatted using the Panasonic Formatter v2.9.0.5. Not all review sample kits were tested by myself and some information contained in this review was shared by other individuals who received a pre-production release kit for review. The total number of tested units was derived after multiple matching tests were run by different individuals which resulted in the exact same or similar outcomes.

    This review will focus on Homebrew and NDS ROM compatibility and support, and in-game menu option functionality. As the iSmartDS Team is attempting to corner the Acekard 2i's niche, comparisons and contrasts between both kits will be mentioned during the review conclusion. In regards to NDS ROM compatibility, files will be tested at random for WIFI connectivity and support, download play, anti-piracy, cheats, and use of the in-game menu. The EZ Flash 3in1 v2 (NEW3in1 or 3in1NEW) will be used in combination with the NDS Lite for software based GBA flashing accuracy. The official iSmart Premium version 1.0 software released on August 20th, 2010 will be used for all testing purposes. A combination of different official skins will be used for testing purposes, while a manipulated version of the "ivideo" skin will be used for all digital review photographs. The reason for the "ivideo" skin manipulation was that the default font color was white, making digital photos difficult to take in regards to some menu options. For the sake of digital review photographs the "ivideo" font color has been changed to black using the Ez Skin Forger RN96 Windows application.

    <a name="a1"></a><b>Official Features List:</b><ul><li>100% compatibility, supports clean ROMS, works on NDS, NDSL, NDSi and NDSi XL.</li><li>Supports NDS download play.</li><li>Enhanced Real Time Save and Real Time Game Guide. Making it easier for you to play the games.</li><li>Super fast memory card reading speed. Supports any MicroSD/MicroSDHC including the slowest ones.</li><li>Automatic save type detection, no need for a save type database.</li><li>Anti-Piracy Auto Detection. No patches needed for games with built-in anti-piracy.</li><li>Skinnable interface for both theme and buttons.</li><li>Multi-lingual user interface. Customizable languages.</li><li>Supports Action Replay cheat.</li><li>Supports Wi-Fi</li><li>Supports EZ Flash 3in1 expansion pack. No additional software needed for the expansion pack</li></ul>The official feature list mentions 100% NDS ROM compatibility support, something many Flash Kits and Teams before this one have stated. Remember that a feature filled Flash Kit is only as good as its software. While the Flash Kit itself may support all clean NDS ROM dumps, if the NDS ROMs will function as expected may depend on the loader and other software based solutions.

    This Flash Kit does indeed feature an in-game menu, as stated in the official features list, which offers save-states and in-game guides for NDS ROMs. Also found in the in-game menu is an NDS ROM soft-reset option.

    The iSmartDS Team has stated that the iSmart Premium supports all classes of microSDHC cards thanks in-part to "super fast memory card reading speed." This Flash Kit feature is a hardware solution whereby a multiblock read method is accessible allowing for increased microSD/SDHC card reading speeds regardless of the microSD "<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital#Speed_Class_Rating" target="_blank">class speed</a>."

    The Anti-Piracy routine emulates the 0xB7 command and reads below 0x8000 on a hardware level. Most currently incorporated anti-piracy routines make use of these NDS Retail Cart features. According to a trusted source, the iSmart Premium can not circumvent the metaforic anti-piracy which is used by Prince of Persia and a few other games. This means that a few games, if not addressed by software, may require a patch in order to function correctly.

    The skinnable options incorporated with the iSmart Premium software allows the end-user to manipulate not only graphics but button placement as well.

    <a name="a2"></a><b>An EZ Vi Clone?:</b>
    The iSmart Premium has come under scrutiny from the Flash Kit community and slandered as a clone of the <a href="http://gbatemp.net/t239947-ez5i-long-term-review" target="_blank">EZ Vi</a>. Speculation followed the discovery that the iSmart Premium was using the same save type, skins, and a similar file structure as the EZ Vi. A source close to the company, who would like to remain anonymous, has confirmed that the iSmart Premium is based on the EZ Vi hardware and the version 1.0 software has been coded by the EZ Flash Team. The iSmartDS Team has stated that future software revisions will be coded and released independently of the EZ Flash Team. Another source, who has also asked to remain anonymous, has confirmed that the EZ Flash Team has currently released only an official OEM version of the NDS ROM patching code to the iSmartDS Team. Future iSmart Premium updates may require help from the EZ Flash Team or be coded by a yet-to-be announced official iSmartDS programming team. The software SDK will be released around October 1st, 2010 and contain the required shell and game related code, making it possible for the the software development community to participate in software updates (as with AKAIO, Wood R.P.G., etc). If enough developers get on-board the iSmart Premium could benefit from an existing team, a functional SDK, an experienced 3rd party development support, resulting in a firmware with quick and accurate updates.

    The very term "clone" has acquired a negative connotation in regards to Flash Kits. Clones (or exact hardware copies) were released in the past to bank on the success of a pre-existing teams' good name (IE: <a href="http://gbatemp.net/t41279-r4-ds-review" target="_blank">R4DS</a>). The Flash Kit community abhors clones and anything related to them, the end-user often associates clones with cheaply constructed unsupported knock-offs. The iSmart Premium could thus be argued to have been constructed as a form of flattery thanks to a well brokered deal between experienced employees in the Flash Kit industry. By using hardware which is based around a pre-tested design a new team can move forward by concentrating on software updates and support.

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="b"></a>Contents and Packaging</div>
    <b>Contents:</b><ul><li>1x iSmart Premium</li><li>1x microSD reader</li></ul><b>Packaging:</b>

    The iSmart Premium ships in a thin wax covered cardboard box. The cardboard box measures approximately 5 inches by 4 inches by 3/4 of an inch. The left and right sides of the box fold inwards and secure with a cardboard flap. The box is colored in a "sky-blue" theme which transitions from blue to white starting in the lower left hand area of the cardboard box. The top left area of the cardboard box contains the iSmartDS homepage URL in a black font underlined with multiple suspension points in a red font. The center area of the box has the iSmart Premium logo with a trailing "dotted" icon in a mixture of red and black. The bottom right area of the cardboard box front boldly displays the supported NDS systems (DS, DSL, DSi, DSi XL (LL)). The left, right, top, and bottom of the box contain the phrase "iSmartDS Premium" in a strong blue font. The back of the cardboard box orgainzes the Flash Kit features using a check-box bullet listing. This area of the box further repeats the supported NDS systems in the top right using a bold black colored font and the iSmartDS homepage URL near the bottom left in a blue colored font. The right area of the back of the cardboard box has a logo which contains the phrase "Play Games!"

    <div align='center'><a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/02_ismart_premium_box_front.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/02_ismart_premium_box_front-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/03_ismart_premium_box_back.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/03_ismart_premium_box_back-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a></div>
    The box protects an thin opaque plastic tray with cutouts designed to secure the microSD reader and Flash Kit during shipping. The plastic tray fits snugly into the box so that the secured contents rest against the interior of the cardboard box top. Both the microSD reader and Flash Kit have pre-cut finger holes making it fairly easy to remove said items. The area which surrounds the included items contains plastic tabs which aid in the packaging security by "snapping" each item safely into place. Both the microSD reader and iSmart Premium should arrive securely snapped into the plastic tray.

    <div align='center'><a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/04_ismart_premium_interior_tray.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/04_ismart_premium_interior_tray-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a></div>
    The included microSD reader measures approximately 2 and 1/4 inches by 3/4 of an inch by 1/4 of an inch. The microSD reader comes in a two-tone black and gray plastic shell with a a black plastic cap. The plastic cap slides onto the "insertion point" and is secured by plastic tabs which run the length of the cap. The included microSD reader arrived with a bent insertion point, and made a "clicking" sound when carefully adjusted back into place. The device has a small red LED which will blink when the storage medium is being accessed. Some users have already reported the microSD reader breaking after several uses, while other reviewers have reported the microSD reader as having no issues. The included microSD reader is enough to get the card set-up and should function during multiple updates and file exchanges. The microSD reader was used for a large portion of the review process and functioned as expected.

    <div align='center'><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/05_ismart_premium_microsd_reader_front.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /> <img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/06_ismart_premium_microsd_reader_back.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>
    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="c"></a>Kit Design and Impressions</div>
    The iSmart Premium has a full sized sticker on the front which displays the iSmartDS homepage URL, the iSmart Premium logo, and a listing of compatible NDS units. The shell is pressed together and secured through tabs on one half of the shell which fit into holes on the opposite half of the shell. The microSD slot is located on the top right back side of the case, where microSD cards are inserted from the top as with most Flash Kits. The included microSD slot utilizes a spring-less design and effectively grips the microSD card securely. The PCB has 17 visible contact "teeth" and two plastic guides, one is located on the left and the other on the right. The shell feels relatively sturdy when held and solid when pushed on.

    <div align='center'><a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/07_ismart_premium_shell_front.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/07_ismart_premium_shell_front-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/08_ismart_premium_shell_back.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/08_ismart_premium_shell_back-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/09_ismart_premium_pcb_front.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/09_ismart_premium_pcb_front-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://gbatemp.net/news/10_ismart_premium_pcb_back.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/10_ismart_premium_pcb_back-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <!--sizeo:1--><span style="font-size:8pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->PCB images provided by: <a href="http://gbatemp.net/u24102-lilsypha" target="_blank">lilsypha</a><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></div>
    The iSmart Premium's case is almost exactly the same as the second generation black shelled R4DS. The cut-outs, spring-less microSD slot, PCB teeth guides, and build quality are nearly identical. The iSmartDS, unlike other Flash Kits, is not screwed, glued, or clipped together. A small bit of upward pressure along either side edge is enough to separate the front from the back. Ironically, the relative ease of opening the case may be a good thing, as 1 of 2 review samples and 6 review samples discussed with other reviewers required paper or cardboard behind the PCB to allow for proper contact. The 2nd review sample (a production unit), used for the majority of this review, had infrequent contact issues. The iSmartDS Team has assured me that they have fixed the contact issues and that the purchasable production units should be free of this flaw. However, if a purchased unit fails to make contact 2 small bits of paper, each the thickness of a magazine page, is enough to raise the PCB for proper contact. Adding this amount of paper can cause the shell to get stuck in the NDS slot and may also put the contact PINs at risk while jamming the PCB against them. Please act with caution and only modify the PCB contact distance at your own risk.

    The second review sample, an early production unit, did arrive with a crack in the bottom of the back of the shell. This crack is below the contact "teeth" and just under a plastic tab which allows the bottom of the shell to fit properly with the top half. The crack does not appear to cause any problems and may have been caused when the unit was tested for connectivity before being shipped out for review. The reason for pointing this out is to inform the user of the build quality. While the Flash Kit itself appears well built, the review samples were not without flaws.

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="d"></a>Set-up and Usage</div>
    The iSmart Premium v1.0 software is contained inside a "system" directory, which must be placed in ROOT. The main "system" directory contains 4 additional directories, these directories are "boot," "font," "language," and "skin." Also contained in the main "system" directory are all of the important system related files in .DAT and .BIN format. Keen-eyed users will noticed the similarities between the iSmart Premium software files and those found in the <a href="http://filetrip.net/f12722-EZ5i-Kernel-3-0-Open-Beta-2.html" target="_blank">EZ Vi's</a> EZ5Shell directory.

    <p><b>Download:</b>

    <img src="http://gbatemp.net/images/download.gif" border="0" class="linked-image" /> <a href="http://filetrip.net/f12892-iSmart-Premium-1-0.html" target="_blank">iSmart Premium v1.0 Software</a>
    </p>
    The "boot" directory contains the .BMP images and .BIN files necessary for the initial software main menu theme (skin). The "font" directory by default contains French and Korean font types. The "language" directory contains .INI files containing literal text strings used for multilingual support. The "skin" directory stores necessary boot related .BIN files and user made themes (skins) stored as .DAT files.

    The file structure of the firmware specific "system" directory is as follows:

    <!--c1--><div class='codetop'>CODE</div><div class='codemain'><!--ec1-->| + system
    ÂÂÂÂ | + boot
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-1.BMP
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-2.BMP
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-3.BMP
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-4.BMP
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-5.BMP
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-big icon.bmp
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-bkg.bmp
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-booting_bottom.bin
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-booting_up.bin
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-load_setting.bmp
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-logo.bmp
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-splash.ani
    ÂÂÂÂ | + font
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ | + french
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-system.ank
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-system.fon
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-system.l2u
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ | + korean
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-system.ank
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-system.fon
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-system.l2u
    ÂÂÂÂ | + language
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-brazil.ini
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-dutch.ini
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-english.ini
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-french.ini
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-german.ini
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-hungaria.ini
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-italian.ini
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-japanese.ini
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-korean.ini
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-russian.ini
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-schinese.ini
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-spanish.ini
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-swedish.ini
    ÂÂÂÂ | + skin
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-booting_bottom.bin
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-booting_up.bin
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-ividoe.dat
    ÂÂÂÂ ÂÂÂÂ |-splash.ani
    ÂÂÂÂ |-bgbmp.dat
    ÂÂÂÂ |-extlink.dat
    ÂÂÂÂ |-fpath.bin
    ÂÂÂÂ |-g6dsload.1
    ÂÂÂÂ |-gbatmp.bin
    ÂÂÂÂ |-ismat.dat
    ÂÂÂÂ |-launch.dat
    ÂÂÂÂ |-Mat.dldi
    ÂÂÂÂ |-message.SST
    ÂÂÂÂ |-mingk.dat
    ÂÂÂÂ |-miscneed.bin
    ÂÂÂÂ |-mscdat.dat
    ÂÂÂÂ |-mys.dat
    ÂÂÂÂ |-resume.dat
    ÂÂÂÂ |-RTS.bin
    ÂÂÂÂ |-shell.dat
    ÂÂÂÂ |-system.ank
    ÂÂÂÂ |-system.fon
    ÂÂÂÂ |-system.l2u
    ÂÂÂÂ |-USRCHEAT.DAT<!--c2--></div><!--ec2-->
    The iSmart theme or skin files use the same structure as found on the EZ Vi, as a result the EZ Vi skin editor can be used with iSmart Premium .DAT files.

    <p><b>Download:</b>

    <img src="http://gbatemp.net/images/download.gif" border="0" class="linked-image" /> <a href="http://filetrip.net/file.php?id=12621" target="_blank">Ez Skin Forger RN96</a> by Cheryl Natsu
    <img src="http://gbatemp.net/style_images/1/folder_post_icons/icon11.gif" border="0" class="linked-image" /> <a href="http://ezflash.sosuke.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=16482" target="_blank">EZ Flash Skin Making Guide</a> by Mbmax
    </p>
    The in-game guide feature supports .SST formatted files. Identicial to the EZ Vi's .RVF file, the .SST file supports tables, images, and various formatting alternatives to that of a standard .TXT file. An official iSmartDS tool for manipulating .SST files has yet to be written. As of the writing of this review, the end-user should simply use the EZ RVF Editor and rename the output file to gamename.SST. The completed file must then be placed into the "SSTATE" folder found in ROOT. The iSmart Premium v1.0 software only supports 1 walkthrough file per-ROM.

    <p><b>Download:</b>

    <img src="http://gbatemp.net/images/download.gif" border="0" class="linked-image" /> <a href="http://filetrip.net/f10958-RVF-editor-(ingame-text-reader-for-EZ5)-v1-1.html" target="_blank">RVF Editor v1.1</a> by yuye
    </p>
    <!--QuoteBegin-Instructions+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Instructions)</div><div class='quotemain'><!--QuoteEBegin-->1. In the lower right-hand corner of the application, select which language to use.
    2. Copy walkthrough contents from Web sites, paste to MS Word (or a text editor) first, copy again and paste into the text area of the application.
    2b. Type a quick guide or walkthrough directly into the textbox area of the RVF Editor.
    3. Edit the content to fit the display, insert images, format text, etc.
    4. Select the color mode, where "single color" is used for text only (smaller file size), and "multicolor" is for images and text (larger file size).
    5. Check or uncheck "page break." Page break works well with full text content/fixed content only.
    6. Click the "generate WLK" button to render the walkthrough file.
    7. Rename the output file to gamename.SST and copy the file to the "SSTATE" directory in ROOT
    8. Make sure the soft-reset and game guide features are enabled for the .NDS ROM file.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
    Multilingual support can be easily updated or new language files can be added through the manipulation or addition of language .INI files. The .INI files contain literal strings of text which can be easily edited in any basic formatting stripping text editor.

    <!--QuoteBegin-English Language .INI Example+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(English Language .INI Example)</div><div class='quotemain'><!--QuoteEBegin-->TextFontFolderName=tfontchs

    ; DateTimeFormat is YYYYMMDD or DDMMYYYY or MMDDYYYY.
    DateTimeFormat=YYYYMMDD
    ; ----------------------------
    BOOT_processing_save=Creating Save File,Waiting...
    BOOT_processing_load=Loading Save File,Waiting...
    BOOT_LoadingNDS=Loading NDS File,Waiting...
    ; ----------------------------
    SET_Menu=System Setting
    SET_Language=Language setting
    SET_Rumble=Rumble Strength
    SET_Skin=Skin Style
    SET_RumbleV1=Strong
    SET_RumbleV2=Mid
    SET_RumbleV3=Weak<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
    The iSmart Premium cheat engine supports Action Replay codes as found in the USERCHEAT.DAT file. The file must be manually placed into the "system" directory with each new cheat database update.

    <a name="d1"></a><b>Main-menu:</b>
    The iSmart Premium will not skip the NDS Health and Safety screen, users must click to advance or wait for the screen to timeout. The current iSmart Premium v1.0 software will display as "Tak The Great Juju Challenge." As of the NDSi firmware v1.4.1 many Flash Kits have been blocked, the iSmartDS is not among them. If the used exploit is blocked by a future NDSi firmware revision the iSmart Premium can be updated by the end-user. The iSmartDS Team has assured me that the update will be similar to other Flash Kits, where the end-user simply runs a file that will reflash the firmware with an unblocked exploit.

    Following the initialization of the boot-up sequence, the iSmart Premium will display the "iSmart logo" splash screen on the bottom screen with the words "Loading" in the lower right hand corner. This screen remains visible while the Flash Kit boots for approximately 2 seconds, followed by approximately 1 second of remaining boot time before the initial menu loads. The splash screen reverts to the top screen and the bottom screen is populated with the initial main-menu. This first menu offers users the ability to access various options and fundamental gaming modes. Included options and modes from left to right are Nintendo DS Games, GBA games for 3 in 1 pack, Moonshell Multi Media, Boot from Slot 2 device, and System Settings. While browsing the secondary menu (NDS/GBA selection) the SELECT button acts as a soft-reset back to the main-menu.

    <div align='center'><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/11_ismart_premium_main_menu.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>
    The main-menu features icons which can be manipulated by the end-user, however, unlike the SCDS2, new "short-cut" icons can not be added to this screen. The icons and background images which make up the main-menu theme (skin) are stored in the "system/boot" directory.

    The following is an examination of the included GBA icon and top screen logo:

    <div align='center'><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/12_ismart_premium_gba_icon.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /> <img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/13_ismart_premium_top_logo.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>
    The main-menu has been reported to be fully skinnable by simple image manipulation. However, when the logo.bmp was altered the boot-up sequence halted due to a .BMP size error. The manipulated image was made up of the exact same properties as the original logo.bmp, the same resolution, same bit-depth, etc.

    The main-menu loads to the "Nintendo DS Games" choice by default. As a result of this behavior the main-menu and its features will be discussed in a left to right order starting with the "Nintendo DS Games" option.

    <a name="d2"></a><b>Nintendo DS Games:</b>
    <div align='center'><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/14_ismart_premium_nds_menu.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>

    When selected, the "Nintendo DS Games" option will initially load to the ROOT directory of your microSD card. The software will store the last browsed location and always load this location with each system reboot. The menu itself features a very nice "fade" transition instead of the abrupt directory changing of other Flash Kit software menus. Browsing a directory of .NDS files can be accomplished by pressing UP or DOWN to highlight 1 file at a time. Additionally pressing LEFT or RIGHT will jump up or down the list in 5 line increments. The "ivideo" skin (used for this review) features touch screen controls for up and down directory navigation, however these buttons are skin specific. The Ez Skin Forger RN96 allows the end-user to remove these buttons from the skin, making touchscreen relevance an inconsistent possibility. Other unique touchscreen buttons contain no directional pad equivalents, making their execution rely solely on a functioning touchscreen. Some file browsing buttons and options are skin dependent and not all skins incorporate all available buttons. The lack of some buttons (IE: Preferences) hamper the overall enjoyability of the Flash Kit and limit the end-user from accessing some important features (IE: in-game menu settings). A highlighted file name will scroll from let to right allowing the end-user the ability to read the entire file name, the scrolling speed can not be adjusted but remains a usable alternative to truncation. Once an .NDS file has been highlighted, pressing A will execute it. Pressing B will go back 1 directory structure for each button press, while pressing SELECT at any time will reload the main-menu.

    File listing is limited to a directory style listing, there is no support for internal name or icon based listings. The directory style listing is sorted alphanumerically from top to bottom. The supported file's miniature internal icon will display before the file name itself. As with the file name the icon can not be adjusted, zoomed, or manipulated in any way. The right edge of the file listing displays a scroll bar which aids the user in navigation by providing a visual representation of the currently scrolled percentage. The scroll bars can not be manipulated or accessed in any way and offer no additional navigational support.

    An executed .NDS ROM will go through a loading process which takes approximately 3-5 seconds. During the initial loading of an executed .NDS ROM the iSmart Premium v1.0 software creates a .SAV file and an .ITS file, subsequent loading of the same file will read/load the .SAV file during the same 3-5 second time interval. The .SAV file is stored in a software created "SAVE" directory, while the .ITS file, which is used for save-states, is stored in a software created "SSTATE" directory. Some end-users will no doubt embrace this divided organizational structure, where others would prefer to see all related files stored in the same directory. The directory listing parses based on mode, meaning while playing NDS Games only .NDS files will be displayed while .SAV/.ITS files are hidden by default. Thus, incorporating the ability to store all related files into the same single folder is a viable option already partially implemented. The NDS ROM .SAV and .ITS save-state files are written directly to the microSD card.

    <div align='center'><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/15_ismart_premium_preferences_menu.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>
    The in-game menu options are turned on or off on a per-ROM basis using the Preferences menu. Once an item as been turned "on" the iSmart Premium v1.0 software will automatically create a "ROMDAT" directory in ROOT. The software will further write a gamename.DAT file to this directory, which stores the per-ROM in-game menu options settings (on/off). As previously stated, the in-game menu options can only be accessed if the preferences button has been incorporated into the skin. Two of the default available skins are missing this button and no directional-pad button combination exists for bringing up this rather important menu. The preferences selection button, if available, loads the "Rom Settings Menu." The "Rom Settings Menu" contains options for SoftReset (on/off), RealtimeSave (on/off), GameGuide (on/off), Cheat (on/off), and DownloadPlay (on/off). The end-user can also press Y to open the cheat selection menu if cheats have been turned "on", A to save "Rom Settings Menu" settings, and B to cancel back to the file listing.

    <div align='center'><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/21_ismart_premium_cheat_window.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>
    Action Replay cheats can be accessed by pressing (Y) to "open cheat window" or by clicking on this area of the preferences menu. The cheat selection window will only open if the USERCHEAT.DAT database has a matching GameID and if the cheats option has been turned "on." Once inside the cheat selection window, cheats can be turned on or off using the touch screen or a combination of the D-pad and buttons. Further navigation options included (X)Enable, (Y)Disable, (A)Save, and (B)Cancel. Once cheats are turned on they remain on for the duration of game execution, cheats can only be turned off by rebooting the NDS system and selection the appropriate option (Disable/"off").

    <div align='center'><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/16_ismart_premium_in-game_menu.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>
    The in-game menu behaves dependent on user input. For example, if only the soft-reset option is turned "on" the default in-game key combination (L+R+SELECT) will simply soft-reset the .NDS ROM back to the main-menu. If 1 additional option has been turned on then all options will be displayed on the in-game menu and be fully accessable. The in-game menu will load on the bottom screen for some games and the top for others, with no explanation as to the reason for this behavior. The in-game menu can be loaded by pressing the default in-game key combination at any point during .NDS ROM execution. The menu is made up of a single colored background and lines of text. Navigating among the displayed options is smooth on the NDS Lite but "jumpy" on the NDSi XL. The NDSi XL in-game menu navigation appears to suffer from a sensitivity issue, pressing DOWN will skip over some items and pressing UP does not guarantee that the end-user will be able to navigate to a specifically required option.

    The Save and Load options are for the real-time-save, for those unfamiliar with this concept think <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saved_game#Save_states" target="_blank">emulator save-states</a>. These saves allow the user to stop playing and save his/her progress at any point, however, some ROM menus, cut-scenes, and sounds may cause save-state problems, corruption, or NDS system freezing (hanging).

    <div align='center'><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/20_ismart_premium_guide_test.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>
    The in-game guide, or walkthrough, allow the user to load a pre-rendered "help" file which can be accessed from within the in-game menu. As previously stated the in-game guide feature makes use of .SST files, identical to the EZ Vi's .RVF formatted file. File formatting options include adding images, tables, font sizing, font colors, and more. Once a guide has been opened, pressing B will close the guide and return to the .NDS ROM in progress.

    The soft-reset option simply resets the iSmart Premium back to the main-menu, allowing the user the option to chose another Flash Kit "mode" (NDS/GBA, options, etc). The in-game menu only functions with .NDS ROMs and not Homebrew, meaning that the included soft-reset option is for .NDS ROMs only.

    <a name="d3"></a><b>GBA Games for 3in1 Pack:</b>
    <div align='center'><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/17_ismart_premium_3in1_flash_options.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /> <img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/18_ismart_premium_3in1_psram_flashing.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>
    Selecting "GBA games for 3 in 1 pack" from the main-menu, boots the iSmart Premium v1.0 software into the last browsed directory. After navigating to a .GBA ROM or directory, highlighting a supported file, and pressing A on a single .GBA ROM for execution, the iSmart Premium v1.0 software prompts the end-user to (X)NorFlash, (B)Cancel, or (Y)PsRam. For those unfamiliar with the EZ 3in1 expansion pack, take a moment to read the official <a href="http://wiki.gbatemp.net/wiki/3_in_1_Expansion_Pack_for_EZ-Flash_V" target="_blank">GBATemp WIKI Article</a>. After selecting a method of flashing, the iSmart Premium v1.0 software will prompt the user to (A)OK or (B)Cancel the operation. When a pre-existing save file is present in SRAM or a matching save file exists on the microSD card, the iSmart Premium v1.0 software will automatically "Save file backup/load.." the appropriate file. If a pre-existing gamename.DAT file is not present the iSmart Premium v1.0 software will automatically search the .GBA ROM for a "Save Patch..." location. Save back-up and loading takes approximately 10 seconds. Flashing to NOR or PSRAM takes approximately the same amount of time as using <a href="http://filetrip.net/f9372-GBA-ExpLoader-0-58b0.html" target="_blank">GBA Exploader</a>, <a href="http://www.akaio.net/forum/" target="_blank">AKAIO</a>, or another 3in1 supported flashing alternative.

    During the initial execution of a .GBA ROM, the iSmart Premium v1.0 software will automatically create a "GBADATA" directory and a "GBASAVE" directory in ROOT. The "GBADATA" directory stores a gamename.DAT which speeds up subsequent patching routines by storing data related to GBA SRAM save patching. The "GBASAVE" directory stores the actual GBA gamename.SAV file which is loaded or written during the flashing process.

    <a name="d4"></a><b>Moonshell Multimedia:</b>
    The Moonshell multimedia option exists solely to allow the user a method for booting into Moonshell from outside the .NDS "mode" while still navigating the main-menu. Moonshell (both the moonshl2 directory and moonshl2.nds) must be installed in the ROOT directory if the microSD card for this main-menu option to function. If the required directory and file are not in ROOT the iSmart Premium v1.0 software will instead load the last browsed directory using the last used "mode" (IE: Nintendo DS Games, etc).

    <a name="d5"></a><b>Boot from Slot-2 Device:</b>
    Selecting to "Boot from Slot 2 device" will launch a supported Slot-2 Flash Kit into DS Mode, allowing <a href="http://filetrip.net/f4753-EZ4-Client-2009-04-03.html" target="_blank">EZ4 Client</a> patched .NDS ROMs to run from Slot-2. The only officially supported Slot-2 Flash Kit is the <a href="http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showtopic=32250" target="_blank">EZ Flash IV</a>, however some NeoFlash Slot-2 Flash Kits and the M3 Lite should also work. There is no support for the 3in1 expansion pack and GBA mode via this menu option, meaning that NOR flashed ROMS can not be loaded and that the older .DS.GBA Homebrew files can not be used (IE: <a href="http://heretic.drunkencoders.com/" target="_blank">dsHeretic</a>).

    <a name="d6"></a><b>System Settings:</b>
    <div align='center'><img src="http://gbatemp.net/news/19_ismart_premium_main_menu_options.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>
    Launching into these options loads the iSmart Premium logo splash screen to the top screen and system setting option choices to the bottom screen. The top of the options box displays the current software build as "VER: mat v1.0." The included options are Language setting (English, French, German, Hungaria, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Schinese, Spanish, Swedish, Brazil, and Dutch), Rumble Strength (Weak, Mid, Strong), 3in1 Mode (Rumble, GBALink), and Skin Style (Ivideo, Icats, etc). This menu can be navigated using a combination of the D-pad and buttons, or the the touch screen via the stylus. Pressing (A)OK will confirm changes while (B)Cancel will close the sub-menu and exit back to the main-menu.

    <a name="d7"></a><b>G.U.I. & Software Comments and Impressions:</b>
    The iSmart Premium G.U.I. is, for the most part, theme (skin) dependent. The look and feel of software navigation is an experience based on the theme creators artistic level. A poorly constructed theme may lack important buttons such as the preferences menu, software settings menu, etc. A fully featured theme will continue to lack many aspects found on various other Flash Kit software and firmware options. The iSmart Premium v1.0 software plays it safe by attempting to do the heavy lifting for the user, assuming perhaps that the user is not intelligent enough to handle a fully customizable and in-depth G.U.I. experience (IE: AKAIO, Wood R.P.G., Wood R4, SCDSTwo, etc). Offering more and not less has become the norm as software development teams strive to build on what came before. The iSmart Premium v1.0 software feels like a step backwards to a time when this hobby was new and things were much simpler (IE: The R4DS menu and options). The addition of many options and features would have helped the software to feel less dated. Such missing options would have been file manipulation options (cut, copy, paste, rename), save slots (on a per-ROM basis), AR cheat database options (USERCHAT.DAt, CHEATS.XML, CHEAT.DAT), an in-game slow motion option, Homebrew soft-reset, full D-pad navigation and menu selection button combination, and 3in1 global options (always flash to PSRAM, etc) just to name a select few.

    In some instances the simplified feel of the software aids the user by making it seem rather easy to locate and execute the desired Homebrew, ROM, or multimedia file. However, even this feeling is hampered by the erratic behavior of the G.U.I. regardless of the microSD card or NDS unit used. At times the G.U.I responds as though it is not in-focus, forcing the user to press or select a button or navigational option more than once. This behavior never occurs at the same place twice but happens more often than not. At first I had assume that perhaps the NDS unit was at fault, until other reviewers confirmed this erratic behavior.

    File name scrolling (back and forth) and directory changing transitions are among the nicer features of the iSmart Premium G.U.I. and provide a welcome change from the static clunky feeling of other Flash Kit software solutions. The various menu options of the iSmart Premium v1.0 software negate this feeling of change with their static 1 colored backgrounds which are not yet supported by the theme creator. The SuperCard Team has shown us what fully themed menus feel like, something I would expect to see incorporated in future Flash Kit software solutions. The in-game menu further lacks any sort of charm, and one could argue that the skin-ability of a menu is unimportant as long as said menu functions as expected. In this case the menu does not always work as expected, more often than not hangs game execution, and randomly freezes the NDS entirely. Further more the in-game menu is loaded following a very ugly scanline infected interrupt, something with further manages to fail at making an impression.

    File settings such as cheats, soft-reset, etc, are handled on a per-ROM basis. This archaic approach leads to much frustration when a directory filled with .NDS ROMs must be individually selected and manipulated. A simple global variable to control these settings, in addition to per-ROM settings, is what users desire and/or expect from a modern day Flash Kit software.

    The in-game menu, as of the iSmart Premium v1.0 software, has so many bugs that it is currently not fully usable. The save-states tend to work once in awhile, while freezing, corrupting, or forcing an NDS system reboot more often than not. Loading a successfully written save-state can result in sound bugs, graphic glitches, random hanging, and NDS system reboots. During testing it was discovered that after a certain point in the NDS ROM list (about 10 files in) that a combination of soft-reset and either the save-states or in-game guide being turned on would result in the NDS freezing when attempting to soft-reset. Turning off either of the latter options allowed the game to correctly soft-reset. The latter options themselves remained fully usable, only soft-reset failed to function. The odd thing about this behavior is that it happened after a certain point in the directory listing, causing the assumption that perhaps software or file corruption had occurred. Further testing on multiple microSD cards aided by the results shared form other reviewers demonstrated that this problem is wide spread and not unique to this review's setup or testing situations. Simply put, ROMs dumped after a certain release number (problems arise around #1600) can not be soft-reset if the save-states or in-game guide are turned "on." Since these settings can not be turned on or off on-the-fly the user is forced to decided which settings are more important and power-cycle the NDS instead of soft-resetting. The G.U.I. is further bugged by offering the user the option to turn on/off save-states and the in-game guide. However, if either one or the other is turned on (along with soft-reset) both are fully usable from the in-game menu.

    The entire G.U.I and included software features and options feel like a quick port of the EZ Vi's software accomplished in someone's free time. It is understandable that you get what you pay for, and in this case the iSmartDS Team is attempting to market a pre-existing software with a few minor adjustments. The users of yesterday have grown up and now expect more out of their Flash Kits, software solutions, and development teams. Attempting to pass off the currently bug riddled solution on the public feels like a massive BETA testing without asking for volunteers.

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="f"></a>Flash Kit Features</div>
    <b>In-Game Menu</b>
    The iSmart Premium features save-states and in-game guides optionally accessible through the .NDS ROM in-game menu, accessed by pressing L+R+SELECT.

    <b>AR Cheats</b>
    The USERCHEAT.DAT formatted AR cheat database can be used with the iSmart Premium cheat engine. Cheats can be turned on or off before .NDS ROM execution.

    <b>Slow Class micro-SDHC Card Support</b>
    Thanks to a multiblock hardware based reading system, all speeds of microSDHC cards are supported without any slowdowns. However, this claim was only tested on a few known problem NDS ROMs, with satisfactory results.

    <b>Fully Skin-able</b>
    Themes allow the user to manipulate not only images but button placement as well. However, system specific menus can not be themed.

    <b>3in1 Support</b>
    The iSmart Premium supports the 3in1 expansion pack with simplified controls. Users are presented with various choices after ROMs flashing as been initiated. Global options have not been incorporated (IE: always flash to PSRAM, etc). 3in1 support includes rumble, GBALink, and automatic RAM booting for the NDS Browser.

    <b>Multiple Browsing Options</b>
    Most of the iSmart Premium menu's allow for D-pad and stylus browsing options, allowing the user more than one option for navigation, scrolling, loading, etc.

    <b>High ROM Compatibility</b>
    While not 100% as stated on the box, the iSmart Premium v1.0 software features a very high .NDS ROM compatibility. Experienced problems were strictly associated with in-game menu options, ROM execution itself performed as expected with few problems.

    <b>Auto DLDI Patching</b>
    The iSmart Premium will automatically patch Homebrew files with a proper <a href="http://dldi.drunkencoders.com/index.php?title=Main_Page" target="_blank">Dynamically Linked Device Interface</a>, freeing users of this responsibility.

    <b>Multilingual Support</b>
    The iSmart Premium uses .INI files to store literal strings expressions in multiple languages, currently 13 languages are supported.

    <b>Automatic Save Type Detection</b>
    NDS ROM save types are automatically detected and written directly to the microSD card with out the need for a save-type database.

    <b>NDS Download Play</b>
    By turning on this option, supported .NDS ROMS can transfer data to another NDS for a 2-player gaming experience.

    <b>Incorporated Moonshell Booting</b>
    Moonshell can be booted directly from the main-menu making multimedia experiences that much more enjoyable.

    <b>Soft-reset</b>
    NDS ROMs can be soft-reset back to the main-menu by turning on this feature and then using the L+R+SELECT button combination. However, there is no support for a Homebrew soft-reset option.

    <b>Boot from Slot-2 Device</b>
    The iSmart Premium allows users with older NDS capable Slot-2 Flash Kits to boot directly into DS mode from the main-menu. The only officially supported Flash Kit is the EZ IV, however the NeoFlash Kits and the M3 Lite should also function. There is no support from this option for direct to NOR 3in1 expansion pack booting, nor is there support for older .DS.GBA Homebrew projects.

    <b>NDS/GBA Modes</b>
    By selecting to run an .NDS ROM or a .GBA ROM the iSmart Premium v1.0 software will automatically hide unsupported ROM types.

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="g"></a>Performance</div>
    NDS Homebrew and NDS retail ROM dumps were tested on a DS Lite and a DSi XL using a 2 GB Japanese Kingston microSD card, an 8 GB Class-6 Transcend microSD card and a 4 GB Class-4 Taiwan Kingston microSD card, formatted with the Panasonic Formatting Tool v2.9.0.5.

    Each result is listed below by Homebrew or NDS ROM name followed by a color coded phrase. Green colored phrases mean the file performed as expected with no problems. Blue colored phrases mean the file performed with some problems. Problems could include speed issues, compatibility problems, graphical issues, in-game menu issues, etc. A generalized listing of encountered problems was added next to each appropriate section. Red colored phrases mean that the file failed. Failed files were additionally tested on either an Acekard 2.1, Acekard 2i, SuperCard DS2, R4DS, or an M3 Lite.

    I attempted to test the latest revisions of Homebrew projects. For popular Homebrew projects I tested the most downloaded revision and not the latest BETAs. In regards to NDS retail ROM dumps I tested only N. American dumps verified by CRC against the NDS Good-set listing. When a N. American dump was not available the European (E) or Japanese (J) dump was tested instead.

    <a name="g1"></a><b>NDS Homebrew Compatibility:</b><ul><li>1943 - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>A Touch of War - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>AemioDA - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>AlienDS - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (Dual white screens)</li><li>Anguna - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (Graphics/sprites do not load, unplayable)</li><li>Animanatee - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (Dual black screens)</li><li>AtariDS (StellaDS) - <b><font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Loading glitch causes "text" to remain on the right of the screen, otherwise playable)</li><li>Blocks Mania DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Bombjack DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Chaos DS - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (Dual white screens)</li><li>Clirc - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Colors! - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>ComicBookDS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>CommanDSKeen - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>DSCube (Pocket Cube DS) - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Detective DS - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (Glitch onload, graphics do not display, unplayable)</li><li>DSDoom - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>DSPack - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>DSNotes - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Element DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Escape From Island - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (Freezes after intro, unplayable)</li><li>Grafoon - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Inside the Machine - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (Freezes after initial load, graphics/sprites do not load, unplayable)</li><li>jEnesisDS - <b><font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (EMU working correctly, save-state problems which might be EMU based)</li><li>JNKPlat: Platdudes Happy Endings - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>JNKPlat DS: Platdude Lights Up Xmas - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b> (Occasional unbeatable level glitch experienced)</li><li>Lameboy - <b><font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Rumble does not work)</li><li>LightOut! - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>LoneWolf DS - Caverns of Kalte - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (Dual black screens after picking Kai Disciplines, unplayable)</li><li>LoneWolf DS - Fire on the Water - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (Freezes after loading a save or picking Kai Disciplines, unplayable)</li><li>LoneWolf DS - Flight from the Dark - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (Dual black screens after picking Kai Disciplines, unplayable)</li><li>LoneWolf DS - The Chasm of Doom - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (Freezes after picking Kai Disciplines, unplayable)</li><li>Mad City - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (Dual black screens after game loads, unplayable)</li><li>Manic Miner: The Lost Levels - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b> (Occasional main-menu graphical glitches)</li><li>Mario Paint Composer - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (no ARGV support, <a href="http://wiki.devkitpro.org/index.php/Homebrew_Menu" target="_blank">Homebrew Menu</a> does not yet support the iSmart Premium. Older builds execute correctly)</li><li>Mastermind DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>MegaETK - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Missile Command DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Moonshell - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>MrDo DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>NeoDS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>nesDS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Nitrotracker - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Open Tyrian - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>OperationLibra - <b><font color="red">Fail</font></b></li><li>Passage to Demarr - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Pocket Physics - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Present Factory - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Puzzlemania - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Puzzle Maniak DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>QuakeDS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>QuakeIIDS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>REminiscenceDS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Rise of the Triad - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Ripholes in Rubbish - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (Game loads but level 1 fails to load, unplayable)</li><li>S8DS - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (EMU hangs after loading, can not access the menu)</li><li>ScummVMDS - <b><font color="RED">Fail</font></b> (Dual black screens)</li><li>Sexy Blackjack Trainer II featuring Maria Ozawa - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b> </li><li>SNEmulDS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Snowbros DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Solomon's Key DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Starquake - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>StillAliveDS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Take the Eggs! - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>TrucmucheDS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>UAPaint - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Video Games Hero - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Warcraft: Tower Defense - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Warhawk DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b> (Intro-credit graphical glitches)</li><li>World of Sand DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li></ul><a name="g2"></a><b>NDS ROM Compatibility:</b><ul><li>42 All-Time Classics - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Download play failed)</li><li>Again - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Battleship - Connect Four - Sorry - Trouble Game - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Blue Dragon - Awakened Shadow - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Bomberman Land Touch - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Broken Sword Shadow of The Templars The Directors Cut - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Call of Duty - Modern Warfare - Mobilized - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Castlevania - Order of Ecclesia - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Castlevania - Portrait of Ruin - <b><font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Random saving/portal freezing)</li><li>Combat of Giants - Dinosaurs - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Combat of Giants - Dragons - <b><font color="red">Fail</font></b> (Anti-Piracy, Game glitches after intro -- unplayable)</li><li>Contra 4 - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Cooking Mama - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Dementium II - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Gauntlet "Multi-boot" DEMO - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Grand Theft Auto - Chinatown Wars - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled) </li><li>Jacqueline Wilsons Tracy Beaker - The Game - <b><font color="red">Fail</font></b> (Anti-Piracy, Dual white screens)</li><li>Jam with the Band - <b><font color="red">Fail</font></b> (Dual black screens)</li><li>Harvest Moon DS Grand Bazaar - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Hotel Dusk - Room 215 - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Kirby Super Stars Ultra - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>KORG DS - 10 Synthesizer - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Legend of Kay - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>LEGO Batman - The Videogame - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Mario Kart DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Download play failed)</li><li>Mario Party DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled, Download play failed)</li><li>MegaMan Zero Collection - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Metal Slug 7 - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Metroid Prime Pinball - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Mystery Case Files - MillionHeir - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>N+ - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Namco Museum DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Neighbors from Hell - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>New Super Mario Bros. - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Nintendo DS Browser - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Prince of Persia - The Fallen King - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Prince of Persia - The Forgotten Sands - <b><font color="red">Fail</font></b> (Dual black screens)</li><li>Professor Layton and the Curious Village - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Puzzle Quest 2 - <b><font color="red">Fail</font></b> (Dual white screens)</li><li>Retro Atari Classics - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Scribblenauts - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Snood 2 - On Vacation - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing - <b><font color="red">Fail</font></b> (Dual white screens)</li><li>Space Invaders Extreme 2 - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 - Mutant Nightmare - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Tetris DS - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Tetris Party Deluxe - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled, Download play failed)</li><li>The Legend of Zelda - Phantom Hourglass - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>The Legend of Zelda - Spirit Tracks - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Tomb Raider - Legend - <b><font color="green">Pass</font></b></li><li>Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Autobots - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Ultimate Game Room - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li><li>Ultimate Mortal Kombat - <b><font color="green">Pass</font>/<font color="blue">Problems</font></b> (Soft-reset "hangs" if in-game guide/save-states are enabled)</li></ul>Some Homebrew files, which are known to be poorly coded, worked without a problem while other popular and well tested projects failed without reason. Those files which failed either did not load, had graphic glitches, or experienced hanging/freezing. Homebrew projects which did pass testing functioned correctly and experienced no serious problems. More Homebrew games, emulators, and applications passed testing than those which failed, showing that while compatibility is not perfect, it also is not a complete disappointment.

    NDS ROMs which "passed" functioned almost perfectly for single player modes without the aid of the iSmart Premium's in-game menu. Meaning, users who do not care for the iSmart Premium's advertised "extras" and who do not use DS Download Play, will find the iSmart Premium to have a high compatibility. However, users who are purchasing this card for its features will be extremely disappointed by the current state of the software. The in-game menu soft-reset and in-game guide features functioned correctly even when soft-reset was enabled. However, attempting to use soft-reset on a majority of the tested .NDS ROMs, with additional in-game menu features enabled, resulted in hanging/freezing of the software forcing a power-cycle of the NDS. When in-game menu options were turned off, soft-reset functioned correctly for all tested files. Disabling one feature while enabling another allowed for the disabled features to function as well, meaning the "on/off" options fail to register. DS Download Play performed as expected on 1 tested file when turned "off," while this feature completely failed to function at all on the majority of tested .NDS ROMs. The results of a complete testing of all .NDS ROMs which support DS Download Play may merit an argument against the found results, however this type of testing is beyond the scope of a review. Anti-Piracy testing failed for some .NDS ROMS and passed for others, simply proving that the Anti-piracy hardware based circumvention of this cart is not entirely perfect.

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="h"></a>Conclusion</div>
    The iSmart Premium is an OEM design purchased from EZ Flash and powered by EZ Flash Team coded software. Yet the reader needs to consider all of the facts before deciding if this is a negative statement. The iSmartDS Team is attempting to compete with Acekard 2i by marketing a product in a similar price range which features an opensource SDK allowing for eventual 3rd party software development. The iSmart Premium offers an in-game menu complete with save-states and in-game guide.

    When comparing product to product the iSmart Premium is nearly identical to the currently produced EZ Vi hardware. Similar hardware solutions include an emulated Anti-Piracy circumvention and multiblock reads for slower microSDHC Class 2/4 cards. The Acekard lacks these hardware solutions but makes up for them thanks to the talented software solutions provided by Normmatt and Smiths. A cost analysis between all three Flash Kits places the iSmart Premium in the middle at an approximate retail price of $15 USD.

    The iSmartDS Team expects future software development to take place independent of the EZ Flash Team, something which has yet to happen. The current state of the iSmart Premium v1.0 software is a bug riddled gimmick of features which simply do not perform as advertised. The in-game guide functions after being compiled by a tool coded from an EZ Team member. The save-states hang/freeze game execution and corrupt upon load quicker than the 20-30 seconds it takes to write the save file. The Anti-Piracy patching, described as able to circumvent all current and future Anti-Piracy attempts, does not function as advertised. Soft-reset fails to work on a vast majority of .NDS ROMs if either of the in-game menu options are turned "on." In regards to turning options "on" or "off" the software appears to ignore settings as long as one or the other is enabled. DS Download Play works on some of the tested .NDS ROMs when turned "off" and fails to function at all on the remainder of tested files.

    The iSmart Premium has been designed to compete with the Acekard 2i by offering a tested design backed by an experienced software team. However, these two cards could not be further distanced than by design, software, and development teams. The iSmart Premium offers in-game menu through a software solution, which the Acekard products do not. Both products have Anti-Piracy routines, however the Acekard benefits from the AKAIO software routines which work where the iSmart Premium's hardware solution presently fails. The AKAIO firmware has a multitude of options which allow the user to tweak out .NDS ROM performance and debug problems before frequent loader updates are released. The iSmart Premium v1.0 software takes a minimalistic approach by attempting to do the "heavy lifting" in regards to save files, compatibility, .NDS ROM tweaking options, and more. With the iSmart Premium v1.0 software, .NDS ROMs must have various options applied on a per-ROM basis forcing the user to micro-manage. Soft-reset always loads the main-menu forcing the user to select the "NDS mode" before launching a second file. AKAIO resets to the NDS directory where the last file was launched from and further offers Homebrew soft-reset and global option settings. Slot-2 options do not include PassME or .DS.GBA Homebrew support, unlike AKAIO. The Acekard offers opensource options for the previously manufactured Acekard R.P.G., the iSmart Premium's public SDK will only support "shell" related code. I find it very difficult to compare these Flash Kits, companies, and their firmware/software, when their current states of development exist to contrast each other.

    The iSmart Premium production unit, used for this review, continues to suffer from contact issues. At times during testing the NDS was powerd off to allow for a few notes to be written down. During this time the iSmart Premium and the NDS were not touched, bumped, pushed on, or moved in any way. Upon rebooting the NDS, the iSmart Premium did not display in the NDS firmware. The Flash Kit had to be ejected and reinserted a few times for proper contact to be made. The iSmartDS Team has stated that they have fixed the contact issues, and while the production unit does not require the "paper trick" it is not completely free of contact issues.

    Homebrew compatibility requires attention as many well tested projects failed to function correctly on the iSmart Premium v1.0 software. Developer comments have stated the iSmart Premium DLDI file as being incapable of writes to the microSD card. Homebrew authors who are looking for a solution to run compiled code will probably decide to stay away from the iSmart Premium until its software can be updated for better Homebrew support.

    NDS ROMs do not have the claimed 100% compatibility written on the box and the iSmartDS Homepage. Clearly this claim is a marketing ploy designed to push sales towards new users looking for a Flash Kit with extra features.

    With all of the currently known bugs I find it very difficult to recommend the iSmart Premium. The problems appear to be software related, meaning that the iSmart Premium could be worth picking up if and when compatibility is increased, AP patching is corrected, options are added, bugs are addressed, etc. There does remain the chance that a 3rd party development team as talented as Normmatt and Smiths will become interested in the iSmart Premium's hardware. With all of the software problems aside, I find it hard to fault the iSmartDS Team for their decision to market a pre-existing hardware design. This is a great business plan with little risk as long as the software supports the hardware. Hopefully the iSmartDS Team can learn from this review and begin to iron out the bugs.

    Based on the current state of the software, the hit-or-miss Homebrew compatibility, in-game menu issues, Anti-piracy patching problems, PCB contact issues, and other problems discussed in this review, I am giving the iSmart Premium a Bronze Award. Until the software performs as publicized this Flash Kit is simply not worth owning.

    <b><font color="green">Pros:</font></b>
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> Hardware based AP patching
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> AR cheat support (USERCHEAT.DAT only)
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> 3in1 expansion pack support
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> microSDHC Class 2/4 support through hardware based multiblock reads
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> Automatic DLDI patching
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> Smart save detection, no need for a save-type database
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> Opensource SDK for "shell" development
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> In-game menu (soft-reset, save-states, in-game guide)
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> EZ Flash OEM hardware design
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> Easy to contact native English speaking support
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> Easy to use system software
    <b><font color="green">+</font></b> Future DSi firmware updatability

    <b><font color="red">Cons:</font></b>
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> Anti-Piracy patching routines do not work as expected
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> In-game menu is buggy, has serious flaws, causes game execution to hang/freeze
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> AR cheat execution causes some games to hang/freeze
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> Incredibly buggy Flash Kit software
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> Extremely limited .NDS ROM settings
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> No global .NDS ROM options
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> Lack of Homebrew soft-reset support
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> Lack of PassME and .DS.GBA Homebrew support
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> Future soft-ware development is unknown as iSmartDS seeks out 3rd party opensource support
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> PCB contact issues
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> DSi in-game menu sensitivity issues
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> Homebrew compatibility issues
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> Reported DLDI "write" permission problems
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> DS Download Play compatibility issues
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> NDS ROM compatibility issues
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> Soft-reset in-game menu problems on a vast majority of .NDS ROMs
    <b><font color="red">-</font></b> Software feels very dated, does not advance the hobby "forward"

    <div class="reviewbreak"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/up/award_bronze.png" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>
    <b>Links:</b>
    <a href="http://www.ismartds.com" target="_blank">Official Website</a>
    <a href="http://ezflash.sosuke.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=16747" target="_blank">EZ Vi NDS ROM Compatibility Thread</a>

    <!--sizeo:1--><span style="font-size:8pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->This review was written for GBAtemp.net ONLY. The article and included photos are the property of Another World and published by permission for GBAtemp.net. The iSmart Premium PCB photos are the property of lilsypha, and used with permission. Research was conducted by contacting other iSmart Premium reviewers, Homebrew development programmers, the iSmartDS Team, and the EZ Flash Team.

    Special thanks to Shaunj66, Costello, and the #acekard crew. Without all of you this review would not have been possible.
    Special thanks to George from iSmartDS for providing review samples, and all of your help!
    Special thanks to the EZ Flash Team for answering all of my questions!
    Special thanks to AbraCadvr for providing stuff that made this review possible.
    Thanks to KiwiSheepFucker for additional testing.
    Thanks to PharaohsVizier for additional fact hunting, testing, debugging, etc.
    Thanks to Chaosruler for your help and good conversations.
    Thanks to lilsypha for the PCB images and additional information.
    Thanks to Volition for Saints Row 2, stress relief, etc. Blood-in-Blood-out!

    A VERY special thanks to Rain for giving me a place to rest my weary head.

    If you see this review on any other site please let <a href='http://gbatemp.net/member.php?name=Another World' target=_blank>Another World</a> know by <a href="http://gbatemp.net/index.php?act=Msg&CODE=4&MID=111084" target="_blank">PM</a>.<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

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