EZFlash Omega Definitive Edition (GBA flash cart) in house at GBAtemp

ezode.jpg

EZFlash sent GBAtemp a sample of their new EZFlash Omega Definitive edition to test. A full review is coming later but for now a first impressions.

For those unfamiliar then the EZFlash Omega Definitive edition is EZFlash's latest GBA flash cart. EZFlash were among the top makers of GBA flash carts during the GBA era and have been making them (as well as flash carts for the DS and more recently original gameboy) ever since.
They came back with a brand new design the other year in the EZFlash Omega (GBAtemp review), aiming to be the be and end all of GBA flash carts. However it seems there was more that could be done and thus we are here today with a sequel.
Most GBA flash carts can run just about anything that fits on the cart itself and it is likely only save related issues that will get in the way, the few hardware related issues tending to have patches.
The Omega, and now the definitive edition thereof, sports a pretty impressive list of features that not all other flash carts will have and also support some things that the lesser carts might need patches for. A GBA flash cart no longer needing a Windows program or custom piece of hardware is nothing special today, and naturally the Omega Definitive edition needs only something that can write to the microSD card. The price tag is similarly impressive for a GBA flash cart in the modern era (still less than many would have paid in the GBA era itself) and many places charge around $100 USD/70 Euros, if not more by the time shipping and handling are taken care of. Its main competition being the original Omega, other GBA flash carts (you can play just about everything with just about anything that is not a Supercard) and in the battle for the top slot then the Everdrive X5 (GBAtemp review).

Extra features include
https://www.ezflash.cn/product/ez-flash-omega-definitive-edition/ said:
Using Ferroelectric RAM to keep save, absolutely safe
Dual working mode
Rumble function for GBA game and NDS game
Support GBA-DS Link Transfer
Support DS Web Browser
Support DS RAM Expansion Pack
Power Save design
Button Battery replaceable
Support 512Mb GBA movie rom
Support hacked GBA game with rumble
Support GBC rumble game via embedded Goomba emulator

FeRAM became popular in later batches of original GBA carts and replaced the need for batteries in SRAM type saves. GBA flash carts often carried on with SRAM and batteries and the issues with such things. The Omega Definitive edition does have a battery but it is to handle the onboard clock for those games that need it (more on that shortly). This is a difference to the original Omega and in fact returns to the older style of flash cart where the save is written to the main storage when next powered on, though as there is no concern of a battery dying in the meantime (or battery being dead and thus having to remember to power off and back on to save) then that should eliminate a worry there.
Dual working mode. Unlike some older GBA slot flash carts this is not a DS loader as some had speculated but refers to a small switch on the side of the Omega DE. You have A mode which is your classic flash cart with menu, and B mode which boots the cart as a first ROM from the NOR. Aimed at being used with DS games that read usually earlier entries in their franchise in the GBA slot to unlock extras, to grab saves List 1 of such things, List 2 and the like. There are also DS homebrew programs, the official DS browser and the rumble function (more on that a bit later too). It should be noted that you should not switch between modes without powering back on to write the save to the proper location else you might lose the save by it being overwritten with the NOR game's new save. Functionally this would also serve as something of an autoboot a specific ROM type mode if that is the sort of thing you want. The DS link function was tested and saw the Advance Wars 2 extras appear in an original Advance Wars Dual Strike cart (picture down below).
Power save. The original Omega, though updates improved it a fair bit, was noted as consuming a notable amount of power over original GBA games and some other flash carts. Has not been tested yet in this, though it ran fine with an ageing DS lite battery for hours during this initial impressions.
512 GBA Movie ROM. Conventional wisdom has it that the maximum size for a GBA ROM is 32 megabytes/256 megabits. Every commercial actual game is this (the largest most encounter, and sometimes trouble ROM for flash carts, tending to be Mother 3. It works just fine by the way) but later in the GBA lifetime Nintendo started allowing video carts to be made. Some of these exceeded this maximum (technical explanation) and allowed you to watch various cartoons on the go. The most notable for many being the full length films of Shrek 1 and Shrek 2. If you feel the need to watch Shrek 1 on a 240x160 pixels GBA screen in about 14 frames per second (generous estimate there) and the kind of compression that allows it to run on a 16.78MHz ARM7TDMI processor with 288Kilobytes of RAM all stored in less than 64 megabytes then it is indeed a feature no previous flash cart, and in fact very few GBA emulators, will be able to match. It was also tested in this impressions and confirmed as working. Write times to the NOR section, which these large ROMs require, are several minutes (on par with what you might expect from anything else EZFlash have done with a NOR section) for the 512Mbit video ROM but once there it is there until you delete it. Whether it can be used to extend file sizes for something like pogoshell or indeed some other GBA homebrew that could benefit from it remains to be seen.

There are also some stylish RGB LEDs that can be made to flash when the SD card is being written or simply pulse (called breathe in the menus) during runtime if you are into that sort of thing. They are actually fairly bright as these things go, though using the screen as a light (assuming you are not on an original GBA) is a better plan if you were thinking of doing that.

Rumble is a feature in very few original GBA carts (a few more DS ones). Though the EZTeam have released a version of Goomba (a gameboy/gameboy color emulator for the GBA) with support for rumble to use with GB/GBC games that have it, and they have released a guide to allow you to hack in support for yourself. As far as ROM hacking goes it is on the more advanced side of things, though the sort of thing we usually suggest for people to do as a learning hack when starting out doing assembly hacks. Read the guide and replies on the thread for more but the short version is you have to hook whatever you want to cause a change and branch it to a (provided) code fragment that triggers the rumble, or in terms of said good projects for learning to hack it is a combination then of "hardcode a cheat", "find some extra space" (which is usually trivial), and "my first hacker added subroutine". The Final Fight patch from the thread linked was tested, works even in clean mode. There is a rumble you can feel on a DS lite, nothing like a console controller rumble but something. If you like that sort of thing then it is another feature.


Basic features said:
GBA game copy and play, no client needed
Fast patch engine, instant game load speed, additional manual patch engine to support modified rom
Cheat
Save states
Real time clock
Sleep
Hotkey customizable
256Mb PSRAM suppot all games, instant load
512Mb Norflash, keep your favorite games
GB/GBC/NES game copy and play, compatible based on emulator
System on chip level recovery mode, prevent upgrade dead
Support FAT32/EXFAT, 4GB-128GB SD card
Firmware and kernel both are upgradable

Cursory tests have been done thus far. Some already covered in the descriptions above.
The Omega DE menu is pretty nice as these things go with a few choice features like the ability to load pictures corresponding to the game highlighted, a rather less confusing system than some older carts. Fairly obvious selections.
The kernel downloads and the product page both feature PDF versions of a pretty comprehensive setup and usage guide that is not your usual Engrish guide.
Real time clock was tested. Appears to work well. Several versions of Pokemon games with a clock were started, set and swapped around between. All kept their respective settings in doing so.
NES and GB/GBC were tested briefly. Seem to work as well as can be expected (the NES is higher resolution than the GBA so you get cropped tiles in pocketnes). Exit to menu options from the NES emulator and GB/GBC also work nicely.
Savestates were briefly tested. They are always going to be tricky to do in hardware and will never be what you might be used to with emulators, and you will usually want to make sure you go to a fairly calm part of the game, or expect to have to force a graphics change (enter a new room, level, menu...). Still they functioned fine in the very limited sample tested, as did the savestates in the onboard GB/GBC and NES emulators.
Some homebrew was tested. Appeared to work fine. More extensive testing of trickier homebrew and header related fun (though this did include the ever tricky audio player advance by Neimod) will have to be done.

Fit and finish is generally quite nice, especially compared to some of the later EZ4 models. Slides together and is held with tabs in three places and a self tapping screw. The case on our sample has a small nick in the pin side but that appears to be a damaged in handling thing rather than a design failure and made no problems at all in operation, nor will it be seen in it. Soldering examined closely when taking numbers from chips and was absolutely fine. Being a sample we can't rule out being sent a hand selected example though.
Case is only available in grey so far, and owing to the new switch is not going to fit one of the older replacement cases without modification. Full size GBA cart as well so will not be flush with DS lite (see pictures).

Tested mostly in the DS lite pictured but also tried in a GBA SP, original DS and original GBA. No clone hardware or seriously hardware modified examples of GBA devices were available for this. Not even the hint of a contact issue in any tests. All tests done with current public kernel and a freshly formatted 32 gigabyte UHS class 1 microSD from Lexar.


Pictures

EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_01.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_02.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_03.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_04.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_05.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_06.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_07.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_08.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_09.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_10.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_11.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_12.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_13_shrek.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_14.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_16.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_17.JPG EZFlash_Omega_Definitive_Edition_18.JPG
short sample of Shrek playing

Hardware numbers for chips for those that want them
Battery is a CR1025. A commonly available cell.

fm28v100-tg
b 632071
1937 twn
https://uk.farnell.com/cypress-semiconductor/fm28v100-tg/ic-fram-1mb-128kx8-60ns-tsop32/dp/1688873
The FRAM chip.

8 pin chip on SD card side
Z (stylised so something of a logo) gb1929
25vq16atig
pp8159

Other side
Spansion
71gl064a08bfw0b
0651avm f

Xilinx
Spartan 6
xc6slx9
ftg256biv2021
d6163271a
2c
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/xilinx-inc/XC6SLX9-2FTG256C/2339917 is very similar.
FPGA = field programmable gate array. Quite powerful chips that can replicate whatever they are programmed to be (assuming you have enough on there). Undoubtedly the brains of the operation here.

Spansion
98ws512pe0fw003
838pp123 j
Presumably the NOR chip.

8 pin chip
ts9083s
+1320a


Links
EZFlash.cn product page
EZFlash.cn dealer list
EZFlash Download section
Guide to making your own rumble
Omega Definitive Edition Announcement thread (there are other threads covering things).

Thoughts and discussions? Any particular tests you would like to see conducted with this? Power consumption will be happening soon and added to this thread as well as the final review.
The final review will be after all the truly hard tests are done (many of the showstoppers though were already tried where it passed with flying colours) but initial impressions are the EZTeam have once again made something very very special, something that will probably end up being the thing by which all else is measured and something you can live out your GBA hardware dreams with.
 

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Jayro

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The FAQ has a bit more but generally

Mode A = your classic menu driven GBA flash cart mode. What most will spend 99.99% of the time using.
Mode B = the first ROM on the NOR is presented to the device* and it will think it is an original version of said game
I have a BennVenn GBC flashcart that behaves similar to this... There's a game flashed to the NOT chip (Shantae), and it's the only game that works. The A and B buttons don't navigate the menus properly. I'm wondering if my cart is defective, as even following youtube vids, people can launch games and firmware upgrades, and I can't do either. And I've tested it on multiple gameboys, so it's not a gameboy issue. But loading Shantae is the only game that's playable for me on it, and it sucks. :/
 
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ital

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At half the price they'd have sold 10 times more.

The Flashcart market is ridiculously overpriced across the board anyway because the sellers know its generally a one hit deal which is why they release nerfed versions and drip feed the "new and improved" remix batch once the hype dies down to rinse more cash out of suckers.

These will drop to a more a reasonable price in a year once they've separated the initial batch of nerds from their money.
 
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The final question is : Do their Gomba GBC emulator finally play Pokémon Crystal ? :ha:
 

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EZFlash sent GBAtemp a sample of their new EZFlash Omega Definitive edition to test. A full review is coming later but for now a first impressions.

For those unfamiliar then the EZFlash Omega Definitive edition is EZFlash's latest GBA flash cart. EZFlash were among the top makers of GBA flash carts during the GBA era and have been making them (as well as flash carts for the DS and more recently original gameboy) ever since.
They came back with a brand new design the other year in the EZFlash Omega (GBAtemp review), aiming to be the be and end all of GBA flash carts. However it seems there was more that could be done and thus we are here today with a sequel.
Most GBA flash carts can run just about anything that fits on the cart itself and it is likely only save related issues that will get in the way, the few hardware related issues tending to have patches.
The Omega, and now the definitive edition thereof, sports a pretty impressive list of features that not all other flash carts will have and also support some things that the lesser carts might need patches for. A GBA flash cart no longer needing a Windows program or custom piece of hardware is nothing special today, and naturally the Omega Definitive edition needs only something that can write to the microSD card. The price tag is similarly impressive for a GBA flash cart in the modern era (still less than many would have paid in the GBA era itself) and many places charge around $100 USD/70 Euros, if not more by the time shipping and handling are taken care of. Its main competition being the original Omega, other GBA flash carts (you can play just about everything with just about anything that is not a Supercard) and in the battle for the top slot then the Everdrive X5 (GBAtemp review).

Extra features include


FeRAM became popular in later batches of original GBA carts and replaced the need for batteries in SRAM type saves. GBA flash carts often carried on with SRAM and batteries and the issues with such things. The Omega Definitive edition does have a battery but it is to handle the onboard clock for those games that need it (more on that shortly). This is a difference to the original Omega and in fact returns to the older style of flash cart where the save is written to the main storage when next powered on, though as there is no concern of a battery dying in the meantime (or battery being dead and thus having to remember to power off and back on to save) then that should eliminate a worry there.
Dual working mode. Unlike some older GBA slot flash carts this is not a DS loader as some had speculated but refers to a small switch on the side of the Omega DE. You have A mode which is your classic flash cart with menu, and B mode which boots the cart as a first ROM from the NOR. Aimed at being used with DS games that read usually earlier entries in their franchise in the GBA slot to unlock extras, to grab saves List 1 of such things, List 2 and the like. There are also DS homebrew programs, the official DS browser and the rumble function (more on that a bit later too). It should be noted that you should not switch between modes without powering back on to write the save to the proper location else you might lose the save by it being overwritten with the NOR game's new save. Functionally this would also serve as something of an autoboot a specific ROM type mode if that is the sort of thing you want. The DS link function was tested and saw the Advance Wars 2 extras appear in an original Advance Wars Dual Strike cart (picture down below).
Power save. The original Omega, though updates improved it a fair bit, was noted as consuming a notable amount of power over original GBA games and some other flash carts. Has not been tested yet in this, though it ran fine with an ageing DS lite battery for hours during this initial impressions.
512 GBA Movie ROM. Conventional wisdom has it that the maximum size for a GBA ROM is 32 megabytes/256 megabits. Every commercial actual game is this (the largest most encounter, and sometimes trouble ROM for flash carts, tending to be Mother 3. It works just fine by the way) but later in the GBA lifetime Nintendo started allowing video carts to be made. Some of these exceeded this maximum (technical explanation) and allowed you to watch various cartoons on the go. The most notable for many being the full length films of Shrek 1 and Shrek 2. If you feel the need to watch Shrek 1 on a 240x160 pixels GBA screen in about 14 frames per second (generous estimate there) and the kind of compression that allows it to run on a 16.78MHz ARM7TDMI processor with 288Kilobytes of RAM all stored in less than 64 megabytes then it is indeed a feature no previous flash cart, and in fact very few GBA emulators, will be able to match. It was also tested in this impressions and confirmed as working. Write times to the NOR section, which these large ROMs require, are several minutes (on par with what you might expect from anything else EZFlash have done with a NOR section) for the 512Mbit video ROM but once there it is there until you delete it. Whether it can be used to extend file sizes for something like pogoshell or indeed some other GBA homebrew that could benefit from it remains to be seen.

There are also some stylish RGB LEDs that can be made to flash when the SD card is being written or simply pulse (called breathe in the menus) during runtime if you are into that sort of thing. They are actually fairly bright as these things go, though using the screen as a light (assuming you are not on an original GBA) is a better plan if you were thinking of doing that.

Rumble is a feature in very few original GBA carts (a few more DS ones). Though the EZTeam have released a version of Goomba (a gameboy/gameboy color emulator for the GBA) with support for rumble to use with GB/GBC games that have it, and they have released a guide to allow you to hack in support for yourself. As far as ROM hacking goes it is on the more advanced side of things, though the sort of thing we usually suggest for people to do as a learning hack when starting out doing assembly hacks. Read the guide and replies on the thread for more but the short version is you have to hook whatever you want to cause a change and branch it to a (provided) code fragment that triggers the rumble, or in terms of said good projects for learning to hack it is a combination then of "hardcode a cheat", "find some extra space" (which is usually trivial), and "my first hacker added subroutine". The Final Fight patch from the thread linked was tested, works even in clean mode. There is a rumble you can feel on a DS lite, nothing like a console controller rumble but something. If you like that sort of thing then it is another feature.




Cursory tests have been done thus far. Some already covered in the descriptions above.
The Omega DE menu is pretty nice as these things go with a few choice features like the ability to load pictures corresponding to the game highlighted, a rather less confusing system than some older carts. Fairly obvious selections.
The kernel downloads and the product page both feature PDF versions of a pretty comprehensive setup and usage guide that is not your usual Engrish guide.
Real time clock was tested. Appears to work well. Several versions of Pokemon games with a clock were started, set and swapped around between. All kept their respective settings in doing so.
NES and GB/GBC were tested briefly. Seem to work as well as can be expected (the NES is higher resolution than the GBA so you get cropped tiles in pocketnes). Exit to menu options from the NES emulator and GB/GBC also work nicely.
Savestates were briefly tested. They are always going to be tricky to do in hardware and will never be what you might be used to with emulators, and you will usually want to make sure you go to a fairly calm part of the game, or expect to have to force a graphics change (enter a new room, level, menu...). Still they functioned fine in the very limited sample tested, as did the savestates in the onboard GB/GBC and NES emulators.
Some homebrew was tested. Appeared to work fine. More extensive testing of trickier homebrew and header related fun (though this did include the ever tricky audio player advance by Neimod) will have to be done.

Fit and finish is generally quite nice, especially compared to some of the later EZ4 models. Slides together and is held with tabs in three places and a self tapping screw. The case on our sample has a small nick in the pin side but that appears to be a damaged in handling thing rather than a design failure and made no problems at all in operation, nor will it be seen in it. Soldering examined closely when taking numbers from chips and was absolutely fine. Being a sample we can't rule out being sent a hand selected example though.
Case is only available in grey so far, and owing to the new switch is not going to fit one of the older replacement cases without modification. Full size GBA cart as well so will not be flush with DS lite (see pictures).

Tested mostly in the DS lite pictured but also tried in a GBA SP, original DS and original GBA. No clone hardware or seriously hardware modified examples of GBA devices were available for this. Not even the hint of a contact issue in any tests. All tests done with current public kernel and a freshly formatted 32 gigabyte UHS class 1 microSD from Lexar.


Pictures

View attachment 244303 View attachment 244304 View attachment 244302 View attachment 244305 View attachment 244306 View attachment 244307 View attachment 244308 View attachment 244309 View attachment 244310 View attachment 244311 View attachment 244312 View attachment 244313 View attachment 244301 View attachment 244314 View attachment 244299 View attachment 244298 View attachment 244297
short sample of Shrek playing

Hardware numbers for chips for those that want them
Battery is a CR1025. A commonly available cell.

fm28v100-tg
b 632071
1937 twn
https://uk.farnell.com/cypress-semiconductor/fm28v100-tg/ic-fram-1mb-128kx8-60ns-tsop32/dp/1688873
The FRAM chip.

8 pin chip on SD card side
Z (stylised so something of a logo) gb1929
25vq16atig
pp8159

Other side
Spansion
71gl064a08bfw0b
0651avm f

Xilinx
Spartan 6
xc6slx9
ftg256biv2021
d6163271a
2c
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/xilinx-inc/XC6SLX9-2FTG256C/2339917 is very similar.
FPGA = field programmable gate array. Quite powerful chips that can replicate whatever they are programmed to be (assuming you have enough on there). Undoubtedly the brains of the operation here.

Spansion
98ws512pe0fw003
838pp123 j
Presumably the NOR chip.

8 pin chip
ts9083s
+1320a


Links
EZFlash.cn product page
EZFlash.cn dealer list
EZFlash Download section
Guide to making your own rumble
Omega Definitive Edition Announcement thread (there are other threads covering things).

Thoughts and discussions? Any particular tests you would like to see conducted with this? Power consumption will be happening soon and added to this thread as well as the final review.
The final review will be after all the truly hard tests are done (many of the showstoppers though were already tried where it passed with flying colours) but initial impressions are the EZTeam have once again made something very very special, something that will probably end up being the thing by which all else is measured and something you can live out your GBA hardware dreams with.
EZ-Flash Omega Definitive Edition. Legit rolls off the tongue
 
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CanIHazWarez

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I feel like this is a dumb question, but... How does this differ from the EZ Flash 3-in-1? I think I paid 20 some bucks for it years ago. What justifies the much larger price tag between this and that?
 

FAST6191

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I feel like this is a dumb question, but... How does this differ from the EZ Flash 3-in-1? I think I paid 20 some bucks for it years ago. What justifies the much larger price tag between this and that?
Depends how you want to view it.

As others have intimated and otherwise stated. Most extant flash carts that are not supercards or clones thereof will be able to be coaxed into playing just about everything out there* at full speed and bug for bug compatible with the original game, and ROM hacks and cheats (if you count the likes of GBAATM, gabsharky and the like) assuming it fits on the cart in the first place (there are some 16 megabyte/128Mbit offerings out there, including the "fire cards" which could still be found in relatively recent times). This differs/differed from older devices wherein there was a large clamouring for modern electronics to provide a modern solution rather than ancient and unwieldy things -- prior to everdrive dragging the flash cart scene kicking and screaming into the modern world it was not a great place to be if you wanted N64, 16 bit or 8 bit era console flash carts (or respective handhelds for any of those periods). GBA and beyond did not really suffer that though (GBA being a solved issue during the GBA lifetime, and certainly by the time of the DS where it was still popular) and thus harder sell.

*my usual list of troublesome games http://gbatemp.net/threads/buying-a-gba-flash-cart-in-2013.341203/page-18#post-4756995

Feature wise.

The 3 in 1 was mostly aimed at users of the EZ5 to have a means of playing GBA games (the DS slot is too slow to work for GBA games), however as they made it open source and pretty cheap then it also became the de facto choice for many wanting a quick and easy means of playing GBA games on the DS if they had a DS flash cart to help manage things.
It was also somewhat rare in having rumble support built in (there was the supercard rumble, which was even worse than other supercards for GBA stuff, the M3 peeps had a separate thing if memory serves, and after that was pretty much whatever officially existed).

The Omega Definitive Edition (and indeed every other GBA flash cart made by EZFlash, give or take the EZ4 lite compact) is a standalone flash cart, indeed not even tethered to Windows for patching or a linker/cradle like some of the older stuff still (though even the EZ4 these days is standalone and self patching thanks to an update). If you have some means of loading up a microSD formatted as per requirements with GBA ROMs and unzipping the files you are good to go there, and probably carry the entire GBA library (and probably GB/GBC and NES) around in your pocket too in one device if that is a thing you want.
It has a battery it uses to power a real time clock (the GBA, unlike the DS, has no clock so any games wanting to take advantage of it need to carry their own, and any flash cart wanting to support it also needs one or they are compelled to use patches which may or may not be suitable for some players...) but unlike the 3 in 1 it does not power the save memory. Instead save memory has moved to a SRAM a like called FeRAM that does not need power to store data. Said battery can be slid out as well rather than needing to fetch the soldering iron (though again it is not saves you risk losing but needing to set a clock).
While GBA games had largely all been dumped by 2008 (there are a few v1.1, unreleased and such in collector hands -- https://wiki.no-intro.org/index.php?title=Nintendo_-_Game_Boy_Advance_USA_undumped https://wiki.no-intro.org/index.php?title=Nintendo_-_Game_Boy_Advance_Europe_undumped https://wiki.no-intro.org/index.php?title=Undumped_Games_Lists#Game_Boy_Advance ) then it was noted that some of the GBA videos were not like other carts.
https://mgba.io/2015/10/20/dumping-the-undumped/ found them, dumped them and figured out how they work. Most flash carts and emulators will not support such things, however seemingly because they can then with this EZFlash added support of those videos. It is not actually the first time such limits were exceeded -- back in the GBA era there was a piece of homebrew called pogoshell. Some of its features included some nice music playback options that other homebrew took some time to replicate. It also means you are limited to media player options of 32 megabytes (and some older flash carts, mostly also from EZFlash, it made sense to go for 16) which is not that great for a music collection, and technically you do have video players in the form of Meteo video codec and a few others (though GBA video... yeah). I am hoping homebrew can be twisted to take advantage of that as it is a nice form factor.

You have onboard cheats rather than hoping your DS flash cart or management program has options for it, or using GBAATM to hardpatch cheats in.
Savestates are a thing (first seen back on the EZFlash 3, which is a different thing to the 3 in 1, but not seen much after that on EZFlash gear). In hardware savestates is always a tricky game (hard to stop everything, copy it all, assuming you can even read it and it is not write only, and then restore everything, from within itself) but can achieve results and be something you want to use.

Differing less to the 3 in 1 (which by virtue of its simplicity had an easier time with this than most more featured carts) but to some other GBA slot flash carts is the B mode covered elsewhere in more detail. It allows the Omega DE to behave as an original GBA game for the purposes of DS games (some of them have little unlocks, read saves made in the game to give perks to DS titles or in the case of pokemon then transport them from older titles**), as well as be a DS RAM pack to work with the unmodified web browser and DS homebrew, and rumble.

**technically the EZ4 allowed this but you had to boot the DS game from the EZ4 itself, which is annoying to do and does not work with games made past mid 2009. There are also patches you can use for the DS games (see cory1492's pokepatch) to allow them to read flash carts (including the 3 in 1, indeed the original patch came from one made by the EZTeam to support the 3 in 1 in doing it. Hard to patch an original game though (don't think we ever saw it ported to cheats -- https://www.chishm.com/NitroHax/ ) so that then means dumping a save, patching the ROM, doing the deed and flashing it back. Not sure what became of the 900 options megaman DS had here https://wiki.desmume.org/index.php?...ith_GBA_connectivity#MegaMan_Battle_Network_5 .


There are cheaper GBA flash carts. This is seemingly aimed at being something of a gilding the lilly affair. The pinnacle of what is reasonably achievable for a GBA flash cart (unless they start adding tilt sensors, solar sensors and the other weird and wonderful there is not a lot more that can reasonably be done until we start colouring way outside the lines and expanding the original hardware -- some SNES hackers and Gameboy types have gone there in recent times).


Short version.
Full size GBA cart (the original omega had a case you could swap) vs what is probably DS lite sized (there were full GBA size 3 in 1 carts, however they were never made in huge numbers and various repro makers, those fancying their ROM hack "on a real cart" and seemingly some electronics enthusiasts harvesting chips from it (the memory was particularly good and hard to come by or something) then they are silly rare today).
Dead battery means setting a clock (which the 3 in 1 did not have) rather than potentially losing a save. Said clock also works for those games wanting clock rather than having a patch advance time only when the game is on. Standalone (no need to have a DS flash cart and DS/DS lite waiting in the wings if you prefer some flavour of GBA or run off to specific versions of windows to use patching programs) and thus can have a library on just the cart itself.
Has a few extra features like savestates and easy to fiddle with cheats (no need for patching program). Can run GB/GBC and NES ROMs from the menu (as opposed to using either a DS emulator if you have a DS flash cart handy or making up a ROM selection using whatever build tools the GBA GB/GBC and NES emulators need). Said menu is also fairly fancy and provides options to turn on said cheats, savestates, gives little pictures of the game selected, has a list of previously played games and the like.
Has some LEDs on the bottom that will pulse if you like that sort of thing.
Has very fast RAM (almost instant load vs a few seconds) and 32 megs of it so no need to flash the larger stuff to the NOR as you might on the 3 in 1.
Can support the larger format GBA video series, should you somehow think that is a thing you want. Might also extend to homebrew in the future which is a slightly more appealing feature.
Can act as a fake GBA game for the purposes of DS games wanting that (the 3 in 1 can as well, and 99% of the options are just wanting the game to be there and not a save. The 1% though is pokemon and possibly megaman, both popular franchises with serious perks for having the GBA stuff and saves).




Whether that is worth an upgrade is then up to you.
It is a lovely flash cart, serious candidate for best out there (have not reviewed it properly yet but I very much doubt I am going to say it is junk -- it is a well built cart rather than built down to a price, stuffed with features, and made by a veteran flash cart team that originally cut their teeth on the GBA when it was current and competition fierce, and aiming at being the top flash cart to support GBA games) and if you have one it will likely be something you keep around for years in case you decide I really need to play GBA stuff on original hardware (clone consoles are rising up and tend to have inbuilt options) and be assured of playing just about everything out there with ease. If $100 is something you care to drop on a hobby and your hobby is GBA games and homebrew then yeah.

At the same time I will be the first to tell you difficulties for most lesser GBA flash carts (again anything that is not a GBA supercard or clone thereof, or some of the really earliest efforts) usually amounts to "find patch which are well documented and indexed on sites like this, load ROM and patch into patching program, press go, copy patched file across if you did not send it straight there" and not so many care for extra features beyond "play game, grab saves from it, play homebrew, can play ROM hacked games if I want, can hardpatch cheats if I really care, stores enough that I can go wandering for months and not run out of stuff" which is nothing drastic at all for just about anything. Said "lesser" carts sold in considerable numbers and will tend to have a lower price tag too. It is not like having a lesser SNES cart without access to/replication of some of the special chips wherein you will not be able to play certain games (which might be among the best games on the system https://web.archive.org/web/2012020...ven.com/ph/wiki/SNES_games_with_special_chips ), or other things where a lesser mod might mean slowdowns and crashes where there were none in the original.
 

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This is cool and and all, and i would’ve gotten a few, but with a $100 price tag, it becomes more of a niche product than it already is.
 

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I don't get the appeal. It includes a rumble feature, which is nice, but nothing more of great use. I mean, the extra features are nice, but hardly worth the extra price (this costs over 2x the Omega, which already runs pretty much every game). I'm guessing it doesn't have a gyroscope, so no WarioWare Twisted. No solar sensor. And, what is worse, no extra case to use it on the DS Lite without the cart protruding, which was the main reason I got an Omega. All in all, not convinced it is worth the huge price.
 

CanIHazWarez

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Depends how you want to view it.

As others have intimated and otherwise stated. Most extant flash carts...

Wow, thank you for the reply! I was never expecting such a lengthy and in-depth comparison. It's probably not something that is worth it for me right now, but I can understand how it might be worth it to some people. Thanks again for such a detailed analysis.
 

FAST6191

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Out of curiousity, why a few?
The quoted poster has already gone but for the sake of adding a bit more there are those that will kit out a fleet of the things as it were to either have in multiple places (other than sharing saves if you can go fire up your gb player or have a GBA to go walkabout with and still have all the games...), multiple kids (or kids at heart -- if you were a greasy teenager in 2001 playing Mario Kart GBA you might now be nearer 40 than not), serve as the basis for a link play setup (there are some wonderful 2-4 player link games on the GBA and if you just need to turn up rather than turn up with a GBA and functioning flash cart/game in question...) or as something to play with gamecubes for*.
If the difference between 40 and 100 is skip a new game that month then the difference between 160 (possibly even 40 here and there as funds allow) and 400 can be rather more tricky.

*granted I don't think we have any 4 player GBA-GC link games that also truly benefit from having an original cart (wikipedia I know but link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GameCube_–_Game_Boy_Advance_link_cable ) unless you count pokemon (which is 2 player anyway). Most such things tending to just need a GBA + link cable and use multiboot, and frankly I think I would rather play almost any other version of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles at this point (as a dungeon crawler it was mediocre at the time save for an interesting magic system and tethering mechanic, and only got really good when you had four competent players, today there are better versions of FFCC and there have long been better multiplayer dungeon crawlers even if they are a bit thin on the ground today) which pretty much leaves pac man (which a spectacular example of asymmetric play, a phrase that was all the rage and arguably amounted to nothing about 5 years later at E3) .
 
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