Review: New AceNS (Hardware)

Reviewed by Scarlet Bell, posted Dec 19, 2018, last updated Dec 20, 2018
Dec 19, 2018
The Ace3DS team swiftly return to the Switch to right wrongs and revisit their dongle design. Is it a step forwards or a step too soon?
Scarlet Bell

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A second RCM dongle from the Ace3DS team, this review mainly focuses on what's new and different. If you want to have a better understanding of the device's features and the dongle this is being compared to, be sure to check out my AceNS review.

What's in the Box?

  • AceNS 3 in 1 Loader
  • RCM Jig
  • Micro USB to USB Cable

A remarkably familiar package at first glance, the second iteration of the AceNS dongle comes in the same transparent box, with the same essentials to get you started. Once again, my first impressions were really quite good. Instead of a plain box, it now has clear branding to make it stand out and easier to find on my desk. There's a lot more space inside the box with the dongle being drastically smaller this time around, and the jig being stored internally. The micro USB cable is again quite small, with the same issue of the dongle likely hanging from a desktop tower USB port should you decide to plug it in, but with this dongle feeling a reasonable degree lighter than before, it's less of an issue. Chances are you'll have a few dozen of these cables lying around from old phones and miscellaneous tech.

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The design is again something I'm incredibly fond of. The neon red and blue stand out and allow me to make an association on sight, the jig slotting into the back is great to help with keeping it handy without having to keep everything in a box, and the single hardware button feels sturdy with a satisfying click when pressed. You have the same simplicity in payload updating as the previous design, simply requiring you connect to a PC and drag and drop files just like you would onto a memory stick. Nothing has changed here: the dongle appears the same, and functions the same. If you bought the first iteration, everything is familiar. This of course beckons the question: why should I be buying this if it functions the same as the first? To boil it down to a single word—battery.

By far my largest criticism of the original AceNS was the requirement to plug it in for a few seconds before you could use it. Because of it storing so little power, if you wanted to change payloads, you'd have to update it manually by editing a text file on your PC, or loading into whichever payload was currently enabled, and cycling through them once your switch had started up. Whichever way you look at it, it was a pain, and it really held back what was otherwise a brilliant dongle. The battery fixes everything. Having charged it when I first received the unit last week, it hasn't needed charging despite my daily usage. Because of its ability to charge by either being plugged into a turned on Switch, or via micro USB,  it's really quite possible your dongle will remain powered beyond the advertised three months because of the extra power fed to it by the Switch each time it's powered on. Even without this, only having to charge it for an hour for it to last this long is a dream come true.

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Because it now has a proper source of power, switching payloads is even easier. You hold a button just as you did before, but you're no longer shackled to your console being turned on and the dongle being plugged in. You can switch payloads before usage, or with the dongle plugged into the Switch just as before. It's a great step up that comes with the jump from capacitors to battery, and it's an incredibly welcome one.

Having had the dongle for just over a week, I've honestly found very little to complain about. My biggest issue is that the Switch doesn't sit flat if you have the jig in the dongle, but with the connector being USB-C, you can just flip it to completely get around this. I can't say how long it'll last, but after my daily usage, it's still going strong. The connector at the head of the device does feel a lot more sturdy than the previous iteration, so it bodes well for its lifespan.

All in all, I find myself struggling not to recommend this as your daily RCM driver. Lighter than ever, sporting a great design and a greater battery, the only test left is the test of time.

You can pick up a New AceNS at the stores below:

 

Verdict
Pros
+ Small and lightweight
+ Easy to update payloads
+ Simple to switch between payloads
+ Quick to charge
+ Battery lasts up to three months on standby
+ Well designed to store jig internally
Cons
- The 'New' naming convention is a bad path to go down
10
out of 10
Overall
It is no understatement to say I cannot fault this dongle. Between its fantastic design and improvements over the previous iteration in its internal battery, I firmly believe there is no better option for Switch users at the moment.


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