GBAtemp Exclusive EZFlash Omega (GBA flash cart) in house at GBAtemp

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by FAST6191, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    ezflash_omega_header.jpg

    The EZFlash team sent GBAtemp an EZFlash Omega to play with and it turned up this morning.
    For those unaware the Omega is EZFlash's new GBA flash cart, one aiming to be the be all and end all of GBA flash carts. Initial impressions are that it could well be so, and even if not it will see you presumably able to play 99% of the GBA library with some fancy features in a fairly solid little cart. One that retailers are listing for around 40 Euros, 50 USD or 35 GBP.
    The full review will cover all the troublesome games and properly put it through its paces but for now.

    Out of the box
    Mother 3 fan translation. Boots just fine in RAM.
    Pokemon Emerald (game with real time clock). Clean ROM boots fine, saves clock as offset clock from onboard time and savestates/real time save works in it.
    Various other games were tested, including a handful of prepatched games. Fine too.
    Menu. Very very nippy, minimal boot times and all on a nasty little 8 gigabyte cart of the class 2 persuasion. Odd menu ordering system (possibly date related) but you can go up and down very quickly, and left and right skip pages. Otherwise simple enough.
    SD slot. Moved to a friction slot rather than spring loaded used by the microSDHC version. Easy enough to insert and remove, even with my not so dainty finger. It is not impossible that you could miss the slot but it should not fall into the case if you do.
    Build quality. The plastic moulding is a bit rough around the injection marks and insides but the outside finish is fine. A micrometer was fetched for the curious. Measurements taken about the thickest edge just before it dips for the sticker inlay (it is the furthest point from any support and where most would pinch it to flex).

    DeviceMeasurement (mm)
    Omega GBA size1.337
    Omega DS lite1.213
    Original EZ41.013
    EZ4 microSDHC0.926
    EZ4 lite deluxe1.168
    EZ20.882
    Motogp1.254


    All that said thickness is but part of the story when it comes to plastics and sheet goods. In function the Omega most resembles an original GBA cart case in that it slides together and is retained by clips once there. Do note this if you are swapping between the stock GBA size case and the DS lite size case.
    Said sliding clips and mid line screw make for a far sturdier case than the sometimes maligned EZ4 microSDHC offering (no EZFlash reform to compare here). Fit and finish is otherwise pretty good, not necessarily jewellery grade but more than suitable and accurate where it counts.
    The Omega lacks the "shoulders" of an original cart, as do all the others in its immediate line (the EZ2 has them) but otherwise fits fine in a GBA SP, original DS and was a bit stiff to get into an original GBA (possibly caused by differences in the alignment grooves/insets on the outside) but still worked.

    PCB wise possibly a bit light with the solder paste in some places but no cold joints or anything likely to fall off, BGA looked fine as well under a loupe.
    Chip numbers
    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    Pictures
    Click to enlarge
    box_shot.JPG cart_comparison.JPG omega_in_case.JPG omega_inside_case.JPG omega_pcb_1.JPG omega_pcb_2.JPG

    You can see some videos, including those of the menu, from EZFlash's own teaser thread. They mirror what we saw in this initial test.

    Official Usage guide
    http://www.ezflash.cn/omega.html
    EZFlash product homepage
    http://www.ezflash.cn/product/omega/
     
  2. porkiewpyne

    porkiewpyne Report-er

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    I see what they did there.

    In all seriousness, how easy was it to swap between cases?
     
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  3. gnmmarechal

    gnmmarechal Yes

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    Ooh, I might get one of these. Can't hurt to have another GBA flashcart.
     
  4. Madridi

    Madridi Card Collector

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    I was gonna say, there is no way that's a coincidence lol
     
  5. cearp

    cearp 瓜老外

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    This review is great! I didn't see the author at first but knew it must be Fast when the micrometer came into action! (a complement to your attention to detail)
    Also I had a lol at the 'class 2 persuasion'.

    I don't see how the everdrive gba series can compare. Sad for the guy making them, but they really are expensive.
    @FAST6191 it would be cool to see how much battery it draws, and compare that to the everdrives.
     
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  6. Apache Thunder

    Apache Thunder I have cameras in your head!

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    Why in 2018 do these things still have to use SRAM batteries? Can't they replace the SRAM with some kind of flash based/non volatile storage?
     
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  7. Arif

    Arif GBAtemp Regular

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    I'm looking forward to reading your full review, and potentially buying one.
     
  8. Flame

    Flame Me > You

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    I NEED IT!
     
  9. Localhorst86

    Localhorst86 GBAtemp Maniac

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    The battery in this is solely used for the RTC iirc. Saving works without the battery. Savegames are stored on the (hopefully) non-volatile micro SD card :D
     
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  10. cearp

    cearp 瓜老外

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    Yep that's exactly what they solved.
     
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  11. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    The review might be a little while coming but any quick and easy tests I can do and post here I will.

    Heh, did not catch that measurement.

    Anyway changing was pretty easy.
    Tried to film it but did not get a great shot.
    Having not eaten anything today (was too excited to play with the cart) and fumbling with arms around a tripod and without any practice it was about a minute to go from in lite shell to GBA size and booting up in my DS. It is all pretty slot in and slide home rather than snap tabs, thin sections or alignment pillars. I would probably not do it to swap between a lite and full size GBA slot on a whim/daily (DS lite for walkabout, GBA SP/backlight modded original for pleasure sort of thing) but I did not get any "this time might be the last time before I fetch the superglue" vibes.

    It is not really a review. Just a first impressions. I fully intend to cover all the tricky stuff in this one.

    Battery draw wise my test jig has long since been remade into a DS but I think I will remake one for this.

    As far as the everdrive goes I always felt it faced a big struggle for GBA -- basically everything that was not a supercard or team cyclops card would run damn near everything, take a simple patch to fix what was not working, be unlikely to face any future issues and cheat wise could be done with gabsharky or GBAATM. When they rolled into NES, GB/GBC, N64 or SNES flash cart territory there were huge gaps they could easily fill and thus be head and shoulders above the rest, not so for the GBA.
    That said as far as the cream of the crop flash carts go for the GBA they seemingly have some serious competition with this.

    Edit.
    Probably should have noted a kind of feature list beyond the basics.
    256Mbit of RAM is here. There are technically larger commercial titles but they are all videos and not games. No hacks I am aware of use such functionality and are unlikely to go there either. Homebrew could also have gone there with pogoshell but you would have to have made it do it and nothing will benefit from it today.
    Boot times are seriously quick nowadays.
    Menu wise I stuck one of my old DS focused microSDs in there with many items and it handled it all fine (fill up an older cart and watch it chug as it goes through it).
    Seems to be fine for making new files.
    NOR is also there. Writes about as fast as NOR ever does but you expect that really. Get to the NOR screen with the R and L buttons.
    The battery is indeed to power the clock (no real way to do it otherwise).
    The saves are written to a virtualised memory and then to the cart (the manual notes you should not turn it off immediately after saving but give it a few seconds, presumably so it can bounce it to the SD card).
    Real time save/savestates is a thing again (it was available for the EZ3, some of the M3s and a few others too). If it works on pokemon emerald it should do well on most things. Single save per game by the looks of things.
    Cheats (collection thereof https://filetrip.net/gba-downloads/...eats-databases-4-27-09-with-names-f31444.html ) should be back and working properly. Not properly tested these yet.
    It runs clean games, as does the rest of the EZ4 line these days. No windows patcher necessary.
     
    Last edited by FAST6191, Apr 3, 2018
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  12. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08

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    Some people replaced the SRAM chip with a FRAM chip in GBC games. The problem is it's not a one-size-fits all solution. It works for some games, doesn't work for others, and getting a compatible FRAM chip can be difficult.
    I don't think anyone's tried them for GBA games yet, it's possible they aren't available in the larger sizes GBA games need or they simply won't work because of differences in how saving is handled.
    There is nothing preventing flash based saves, or saving directly to the MicroSD card from being possible though. The EZFlash Omega might even do the latter for all I know.
     
  13. Metoroid0

    Metoroid0 GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    meh..it plays gba games as all flash cards do...its the same thing... my ezflash works just fine, and playing gba on GBA SP 101 is best
     
  14. Localhorst86

    Localhorst86 GBAtemp Maniac

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    Admitedly, if you have an ezflash and that works fine for you as is (no RTC, slower load times, lack of cheat engine etc.) there is no reason to upgrade. If you're in for new cart, this new omega model seems to be the current best choice. It's only a little bit more than the EZFlash Reform and considerably cheaper than the EDGBA with an improved feature set.

    I would also go as far as still calling the EZ-Flash IV or reform a valid choice for a flash card nowadays, my guess is we might see clearance sales for the older model soon.

    EDIT: I am still waiting for my EZ-Flash Omega that I ordered from china :)
     
    Last edited by Localhorst86, Apr 3, 2018
  15. romanaOne

    romanaOne GBAtemp Fan

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    where the potential goes to zero
    Damn! I just ordered an EZ Flash Reform yesterday and now there's something better! Oh, well. Gotta have 'em all.

    What's that I see in the picture: the battery is still soldered to the board in Omega? I thought some new, improved EZ Flash model had its coin cell socketed for easy replacement?
     
  16. Localhorst86

    Localhorst86 GBAtemp Maniac

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    The battery in the reform is used for saving games (SRAM) and is socketed for easy replacement because it is essential for working save games.
    On the Omega, they are using the battery exclusively for RTC so even when it runs dry you can still save all your games. I assume that's why they opted for a soldered battery. And while replacing a soldered battery is not exactly too hard, a battery holder would have been a better choice in my oppinion but a dry battery in the omega is not as big of a deal as a dry battery in the EZ-Flash IV or Reform.
     
  17. Metoroid0

    Metoroid0 GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    it still plays games...free.... i dont see a difference, but i get what youre saying. new, shiny, bettwr..but old aint broken just...more stuff....i guess..but basicly it still plays games.

    Have fun when it arives ^^

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    relax, that "better" still plays games as any card do.

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    thats neet
     
  18. kuwanger

    kuwanger GBAtemp Fan

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    Order is due to file/folder insertion order in the folder. You can use mp3dirsorter to fix that in Windows. There's also some tools for Linux, but they only work on the filesystem directly and only with fat16/fat32. I might end up writing a bash script (probably one exists already if I looked hard enough) to sort generally.

    @everyone
    EZ-Flash 2 was generous enough to give me a review copy, so I've spent the last day (sadly) badgering EZ-Flash with a variety of questions. Except for a while where I was having problems (99% my fault, of course), it's been a very good card. I'm going to write a review as well. The only really big catches so far have been that (1) RTS turned out about as good as I expected and (2) you really, really have to make sure you wait those 4-5 seconds until saves are written to or you will have memory card corruption. There's also some minor stuff, but mostly just quirks I've ran into or things to consider that may or may not change in the future.
     
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  19. Armadillo

    Armadillo GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Nice. Will probably get one. Drag and drop (I assume), rtc and normal sized cart. I did want an everdrive, but for the amount it costs, it shouldn't be sticking out.
     
  20. migles

    migles GBAtemp Guru

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    @FAST6191 is the review working in progress? or final?
     
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