Review: R4s Dongle for Nintendo Switch (Hardware)
What's in the Box?!
The R4s comes in your standard variety thin printed box and plastic tray, typical of almost every modchip or hacking device out there. The included Micro-USB cable is used to charge the battery contained inside the dongle, which forgoes the problematic capacitor style charging method of it's competitor in exchange for a larger package size. While extremely short, it's a decent gauge so data transfer and kinks in the cable shouldn't be an issue. The RCM Jig is also slightly larger than a typical jig, giving you a larger thumb tab for inserting and removal from the Joycon rail. Conveniently, a small loop in the thumb tab makes it easy for a nylon loop or small key ring to go through, which could then be attached to a carrying case so it's easier to keep track of.
The dongle itself is a bit on the chunky side, nearly half-again the size of the SX Pro. While the circuitry of the dongle could have been shrunken down, the size of the battery appears to have been the determining factor for the shell design. Since manufacturing a custom size battery would have driven costs up, it appears they've opted to just increase the overall size instead, which helps the end-user by keeping the cost around $20 USD. Since the device uses a traditional battery, you shouldn't need to pre-charge with the Switch before rebooting or swapping payloads (provided you charged it fully at some point in the past). This also means that if you travel with your Switch turned off before you leave, you won't need to find another device to pre-charge it, as is the case with the SX, when it comes time to power it up.
The product doesn't come with any payloads, and leaves the choice up to the end-user. Double pressing on the button while it is plugged into your PC will auto-mount a small storage partition where you can drop the proper configuration file for the payload you wish to boot. After copying the file, it will automatically disconnect the storage partition and configure the device so it is ready to use right away. While very simple to use, the manual and instructions are pretty abysmal, but luckily not to hard to figure out. Choosing a payload that allows you to boot other payloads off of your Switch's SD card will be key in ensuring you only have to set it up once.
The R4s can be squeezed into a game case, but since it's much larger than its counterpart, it leaves a bulge in the casing, which may be undesirable if you are trying to keep your cases pristine. Fitting it into a game card pouch slot is pretty much out of the question, leaving you only a few options with pre-existing carrying cases except to let it float around loose in the pouch. Anything with a netted pocket will come in handy for carrying the unit around.
The main circuit consists of a generic CPLD or MCU (probably MCU because of the onboard storage) and some simple voltage flow protection. The top of the CPLD/MCU has been "sanded" off, so without some research it's impossible to tell exactly what they are using. The button swaps the Micro-USB side from charge mode to MTP mode, the bottom of it houses the battery and its connection leads, and that's your lot.
At this point, I've personally ditched my SX Pro dongle in lieu of the R4s, pairing it with my SX OS license to make the perfect power couple. My advice to anyone interested in modifying their Switch who hasn't already would be to pick up the SX OS only and pair it with the R4s, which will give you the best of both worlds.
- Works on any firmware from any region.
- Fully updatable using simple drag-and-drop operation.
- Easy to use.
- Professional support team keeps software up-to-date for the best customer experience.
- Supports third-party payloads
- No license file
- 1-year warranty
+ Easy to Use
+ Good Build Quality
+ Battery Powered
- Poor Documentation
out of 10
At the time of writing, the R4s is going to be your best bet for on-the-go RCM boot methods. Pairing it with the SX OS will give you the premier Switch hacking and piracy experience (if you're into that kind of thing).