Review iSmart DS Review!

Ryukouki

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Hi readers! I know, I said I was going to retire, but as long as I have a review, I'm not going anywhere. Today, I'm going to be reviewing the iSmart DS Premium, a recently unveiled flashcart that is backed up by the EZ Flash Team. This cartridge was provided to me courtesy of my friends at Gamezway!
smile.gif
Let's get into the cartridge itself!



Introduction

The iSmart Premium is a cartridge that was released in mid-August 2010. This flashcart was first thought of as a clone, but later, the EZ Flash team confirmed it was a separate team. In terms of how good it is, for the first few minutes of tinkering, I actually liked it.

First Impressions

OK, I love the thing. It's not extremely amazing like the Supercard DSTwo, but for half the price of it, you can get a great product. The iSmart Premium is probably the exact same as the EZ Flash flashcart. Their OS is practically identical, just themed differently. The cart feels solid, it's held together nicely, it looks like the R4 DS v2 flashcarts with the rounded grooves. It has the compatibility to play the latest games, such as the highly sought after Pokemon Black and White versions, with the release of their latest firmware.

x1x3kl.jpg

The shape of the iSmart DS.

The SD card slot is not spring loaded. It's a slide in slide out system. It's very stable and sturdy, as any cartridge should be. It looks like a legitimate DS card, save for the niche for the Micro SD.

2a9yz69.jpg

The back of the iSmart.


What Do You Get In the Box?

What can be found within the box? Good question! Let's answer with a mini unboxing! Well, when I got the package from the USPS today, I opened it, and out pops a light blue box! It was a little squashed, but oh well. It held my goods in safely throughout the transition from China to the United States.

I sincerely apologize for the images. My usual photo zone got turned into a construction area. Now, I'm forced to take my photos elsewhere inside my house. It kinda sucks. But as you can see below, we have a box. The box is very professional looking. I can only expect that much from the iSmart team since they are working with veterans in the business.

smrd5j.jpg

Front of the box.

Uggh, the lighting is kinda meh. I'm sorry guys, it's the best I can do. Most of my house is sort of closed off so I can't go do anything good here.

10i9buw.jpg

Back of the box, describing features!

On top of that, inside of the box, there is a small tray. The iSmart is lodged in it with a nice SD reader. Uggh, I now have so many SD readers that I can almost paper my room with them. These SD readers are the nice ones though. They're quite durable in cases of stress!

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Generic Micro SD loader


The GUI of the iSmart DS

The GUI of the iSmart DS is an identical copy of the EZ Flash V system. Based off of Moonshell 2, it runs games and homebrew. For the most part, the GUI is very versatile. Buttons can be moved around in any order, making skinning much more fun. The system can also run EZ Flash skins, so it already holds a wide range of skins under its belt.

When the DS is first booted after seeing the TAK Jungle Challenge icon, (which proves that the DSi 1.4 firmware has been bypassed) you are greeted by a scrolly menu thing. The menu is similar to what the Supercard DSTwo has. It just lacks a little bit of finesse. Anyways you can choose options such as play NDS games, boot Slot 2 carts, run Moonshell Media player, and change options on the iSmart. I, having used an EZ Flash 3 in 1, can make good use of the menu, which is more restricted for Nintendo DSi users.

After you select an option, mainly the DS game option, you are greeted by a nice scroll menu. It lists all the folders and the .NDS files within each one. Those of you with the EZ Flash Vi, you should feel right at home here. It's a replica of that system.

Now, when you open up your game folder, you're greeted by a long list of games, hopefully. The scroll is very fast with little to no lag at all in the menu. Some cartridges lag when dealing with too many games. When you load a game, a loading bar appears and on first run of the NDS file, it will create a save file. NOTE: The iSmart and EZ Flash both create saves in another folder in the root of the SD card. If you had current occupied saves, just transfer it over! Simple, ja?

30rocg9.jpg

The scroll menu you shall see first upon boot.

2j5mo12.jpg

iSmart loading screen.

20j1euh.jpg

The main menu.

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Options?


Build Quality

The build quality on this thing is seriously solid. It feels like it can take a small beating. I myself threw it on the floor a few times, and it took zero damage. I was just testing, don't do it at home. Only do it under the supervision of a trained professional.

I don't have many carts with strong build quality, but this is one of them. It easily outstrips the Supercard DSTwo, and the Acekard 2i. I wouldn't expect anything less of a cousin to the EZ Flash, whose cartridges are like rocks.

2a9yz69.jpg


x1x3kl.jpg



NDS Game Compatibility

I ran a bunch of quick tests on many games. I ran them on the popular ones that people would buzz about. I have a list below, but if you want me to conduct more tests, drop a message here.

Pass List:
Pokemon Black and White
Pokemon Black and White TRANSLATED
Pokemon Heart Gold, Soul Silver
Mario Kart DS
New Super Mario Bros.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Polarium
Lunar Knights
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light
...etc, etc. I ran way too many to list here.


No games failed the testing, however if you discover anything let me know. In this day and age, game compatibility is not an issue at all. Most competent teams can come up with quick solutions in a matter of hours.


Special Features

So, many of you guys want to know what features set this cart above any other cartridge. When placed near beasts like the Supercard DSTwo, which is a legendary flashcart today, this cart seems frail and small feature-wise. However, I say that for the basic user, at the price given, you get a solid cartridge. It has, according to the box:

-Real Time Save/Guide
-Auto Piracy Detection
-AR Cheat
-All other features are a given in this time period.

The features listed are not new features, but they are handy for a beginner. I like it because it's simple and not complex like Acekard or the DSTwo. Anti-piracy engines are a handy feature that allows you to play roms clean without any patches! Everything else is pretty self-explanatory.


Conclusion

After spending time with this new toy, I can say that it's well worth what you should pay. The cartridge is solid, it plays the latest games, it's simple, it's affordable. That's all there is to say about it. It gets the job done.


The Scoring!

It's time to deliver a score on the iSmart DS. The judgments are as follows:

BUILD QUALITY 20/20
USER INTERFACE 19/20
GAME COMPATIBILITY 20/20
SPECIAL FEATURES 15/20
GIMMICKS AND EXTRAS 7/10


FINAL SCORE: 81/90


Well, that is it for the iSmart DS Premium, made by the iSmart team! I hope you enjoyed the review, and I hope you can now make a decision on what to buy! Until next time, and don't forget to go to Gamezway to pick up your copy!!!!!
smile.gif




or: Digitopz!

See ya guys!



DISCLAIMER
This review is for the eyes of DSDatabase and GBAtemp.net. If this review is found anywhere else, please email me or message me at [email protected], thank you! Also, if you wish to use this as an example, please leave a message with me first!
 

WaffleDee

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Good review, except you didn't really go into any detail about the special features. According to the GBAtemp review, they had serious flaws in them...
 

hsace

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WaffleDee said:
Good review, except you didn't really go into any detail about the special features. According to the GBAtemp review, they had serious flaws in them...

In my opinion, the review done by GBAtemp was biased. They were determined to make the ismart looked bad. Reasons?
1. ismart stated they wanted to compete with ak2i. We know there are lots of ak2i lovers in this forum including the reviewers. It took them a long time to collect all the information about ismart. They learned that the ismart is basically backed up by ez Vi. They collected all the information about ez Vi including the games that had problems on Vi. Targeted on those games to make ismart look bad.
ez vi is known for homebrew problems and they certainly knew what to test.
2. The review was helped by #acekard crew that should tell you something about it. They were determined to make it look bad.

Other points in the review:
The boot menu looks very similar to DS Two and it was a problem with ismart, but not problem with ds two?
The ismart is based on ez Vi and the review for Vi was not so bad as ismart?

What did it tell you?

AK2i is nothing without AKAIO in my opinion.
Here is my comparison between these two:
hardware: ismart is a lot better than ak2i. ak2i comes with cheap and weak plastic and the contact issue is horrible. Lately the defective rate has been so high. it was unbearable. Their hardware does not even come with 1.4 ready. You have to update it with the patch. How long has it been? They never bothered to do so?
software: the update and support from acekard has been terrible. It was AKAIO basically supporting it.
customer service: acekard--none, ismart has been great so far.

ismart is young team, but it looks like they are doing the right things. They provided update to firmware to fix new games bricking ismart. They offered the skin editor to edit their menu and skin. I have contacted them few times and got responses fairly quickly. I think they are on the right track.

I would give them the opportunity to improve themselves and to prove that they are serious about it.

With the price to compare it with ez vi and ak2i. I would certainly choose ismart instead of the other two.

Besides, a third party kernel will be released soon. In fact, the beta version is already out. I think ismart is doing the right thing by releasing the source code and sdk to the public.
 

Another World

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hsace said:
In my opinion, the review done by GBAtemp was biased. They were determined to make the ismart looked bad. Reasons?
1. ismart stated they wanted to compete with ak2i. We know there are lots of ak2i lovers in this forum including the reviewers. It took them a long time to collect all the information about ismart. They learned that the ismart is basically backed up by ez Vi. They collected all the information about ez Vi including the games that had problems on Vi. Targeted on those games to make ismart look bad.
ez vi is known for homebrew problems and they certainly knew what to test.
2. The review was helped by #acekard crew that should tell you something about it. They were determined to make it look bad.

Other points in the review:
The boot menu looks very similar to DS Two and it was a problem with ismart, but not problem with ds two?
The ismart is based on ez Vi and the review for Vi was not so bad as ismart?

What did it tell you?

AK2i is nothing without AKAIO in my opinion.
Here is my comparison between these two:
hardware: ismart is a lot better than ak2i. ak2i comes with cheap and weak plastic and the contact issue is horrible. Lately the defective rate has been so high. it was unbearable. Their hardware does not even come with 1.4 ready. You have to update it with the patch. How long has it been? They never bothered to do so?
software: the update and support from acekard has been terrible. It was AKAIO basically supporting it.
customer service: acekard--none, ismart has been great so far.

ismart is young team, but it looks like they are doing the right things. They provided update to firmware to fix new games bricking ismart. They offered the skin editor to edit their menu and skin. I have contacted them few times and got responses fairly quickly. I think they are on the right track.

I would give them the opportunity to improve themselves and to prove that they are serious about it.

With the price to compare it with ez vi and ak2i. I would certainly choose ismart instead of the other two.

Besides, a third party kernel will be released soon. In fact, the beta version is already out. I think ismart is doing the right thing by releasing the source code and sdk to the public.

Your entire reply is filled with speculation. You have no idea what you are talking about.

The review was written after many long nights of testing. I compared results with other reviewers and was in constant contact with the EZ Flash Team. The iSmart has a horrible build quality and suffers from contact issues. The card itself caused some slot-1 issues on my DSI XL because of the "paper" which had to be placed behind the PCB, something I did not mention in the review as I can't prove it. The iSmart is not glued or clipped and can be easily pulled apart, unlike the Acekard 2i. The EZ Vi had horrible compatibility for Homebrew and problems with ROMs. Fast failed to mention those problems in great detail as he wrote the review from a different perspective. Are you trying to say that I lied and fudged the results? The reason for finding ROMs that didn't work was to prove the cart did not have the claimed 100% compatibility, to show that the AP patching fails, and to prove that the firmware was coded by EZ Flash (exact same compatibility). Users need to know what they are going to buy. As I said in the review, once the user has all the facts, this really isn't a "bad" thing as long as iSmartDS continues to support the hardware. Be it with purchased updates, 3rd party software, or anything else that allows the hardware to be used to its full potential.

You obviously don't have the real facts and have no "real" contacts in this industry. I'm rather offended that you feel any of my reviews are biased because the review shows the facts and points out the problems. I openly and honestly stated what the good points were and what the bad points were. I did not set out to attack the flash kit for any reason, why would I do that? Your assuming things about me and you know nothing about me. Do you think giving a bad review benefits GBATemp in some way? Why would I try to make a Flash Kit look bad? The kit looks bad because the tested software was THAT bad, no false information was presented in the review.

I never said the main menu was a problem, I only pointed out that some features were wasted or confusing, and other features were missing. At the time of the review the iSmartDS contact said that no tool existed to skin the main menu, so your comment about such a tool is irrelevant in regards to the review you are bashing.

I was eventually forced to compare the kit to the AK2i because the iSmart Premium contact asked us to do so. At first GBATemp was asked to publish two reviews, 1 for the iSmart and 1 which compared it to the AK2i. I argued this and said that I would not compare it because it isn't the same card, has different features, lacks 85% of the options AKAIO offers, and has options AKAIO/Acekard does not (in-game menu & features). Instead I added a few lines in the review and a small blurb in the conclusion. I only did this because the iSmart Premium "team" publicly stated on GBATemp that they are attempting to target the Acekard niche and that they feel they have "built" and "Acekard killer." The only comparisons are the open source SDK, the low price point, and the opportunity for a 3rd party software solution.

As you mentioned the SDK has allowed for a 3rd party software to be developed, again something which was not available at the time of the review. Again, something I was not able to review as it was not yet released.

The next time you think you have some "insider information" from 1 or 2 emails to George of iSmartDS, please just use the backspace key to delete your post and save us all a lot of time. You obviously have no idea of the amount of work, time, and effort it takes to write a GBATemp review. You obviously can not think for yourself and read between the lines. You didn't get the right information from the review, instead you saw it as an attempt to rip apart a Flash Kit that you personally enjoy for your own biased reasons.

I refuse to publish anything which can not be backed up with actual testing and facts. I will never publish in one way or another because I was asked or told to do so. I do this for fun, because I love this hobby and I love Homebrew.

The next time you want to attack someone try getting to know them first. Having real insider knowledge of the reasons will help you to better understand the circumstances.

Just so you know, I thanked the #Acekard crew because they keep me sane, and not out of any factitious Acekard bias you fucking thing I have.

-Another World
 

jurassicplayer

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Lol AW I love reading your replies to those sorts of posts, though I have no reason for it. Oh, and your reviews rock.


Schizoanalysis said:
If someone sent me a free iSmartDS, I'd also say great things about the card.
xD Well...my EZVi was free of charge and I love it...but I would still bash it a bit if someone asked me about some of the problems it has (of course, it would be great if the EZVi didn't have those problems...)
 

Ryukouki

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QUOTE said:
Another World's text rampage.

I can't even BELIEVE that someone would say such a thing about your reviews, Another World. Your reviews are in another class of its own. There's the good ones, then there's the great ones. Yours goes into the category above the great ones. I find it mind blowing that you can write so much about something! Mine cannot even compare to yours in any way.

@hsace: I think you fail at seeing how much time goes into one review. It's not an essay. You can't write it in 40 minutes and say it's finished. These things take hours, if not days and weeks, to get done. Our opinions are based off of what we think, and Another World and I do this because we both enjoy doing it. Oh yeah, next time be sure to think a little bit more before you type. It'd be a lot nicer.
 

Ryukouki

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tehnoobshow said:
good review but you didn't really review the special features

First off, thank you for the feedback.
smile.gif
Second off, I'm PROBABLY going to go back and write more about it, but essentially it's pretty much the same as the EZ Flash Vi.
 

Jakob95

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Ryukouki said:
QUOTE said:
Another World's text rampage.

I can't even BELIEVE that someone would say such a thing about your reviews, Another World. Your reviews are in another class of its own. There's the good ones, then there's the great ones. Yours goes into the category above the great ones. I find it mind blowing that you can write so much about something! Mine cannot even compare to yours in any way.

@hsace: I think you fail at seeing how much time goes into one review. It's not an essay. You can't write it in 40 minutes and say it's finished. These things take hours, if not days and weeks, to get done. Our opinions are based off of what we think, and Another World and I do this because we both enjoy doing it. Oh yeah, next time be sure to think a little bit more before you type. It'd be a lot nicer.
I agree I still think he should work for some real review website and make some money from that. This guy is one of the best at writing reviews, even better then those professional reviewers from IGN.
 

Ryukouki

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Bottom line is that it's extremely difficult to review a flashcart. Why? Because the reviewer doesn't want to chew the team up that badly, and because they're trying to make a flashcart look good. It's a really big dilemma to choose which way to go, because either way, it's pretty difficult to please everyone.

And, Another World's reviews aren't professional. They're works of art. They're beyond the professional level. I can't imagine how much time he/she spends testing and on top of that, how much time he/she spends writing the actual review. I have never seen anyone go so in-detail about an item before. With me, I have a filthy habit of just brushing the surface of the item reviewed. Yeah, sure, I know about the features and all that at a glance, but I don't get every little nuance. My motives are based on trying to get people to see what the cart can do. Another World, on the other hand, does what I do but takes it many steps further with stuff like PCBs and tools needed. Personally, I have a terrible luck with opening things up because my hands are so unsteady. XD If I open something up and tinker, something's gonna break. I remember making my very first DS Lite incapacitated because I wanted to replace the casing with something better.
smile.gif
/endramble. Personally, I think that Another World's reviews are something special because it goes above and beyond what anyone could do. I have to give World credit for being great at the job. That is why Another World is Head of Magazine Staff.
tongue.gif


@Another World: How can I make my reviews pack more oomph? I found that in comparison to yours, mine seems awfully lacking in many categories.
frown.gif
 

FlashX007

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Nice review Ryukouki. This makes me want to go back to reviewing but I have no sponsors anymore and no funds and I am only left with the DSTWO. When it comes to Another World I can only say I admire you. He is the reason why I ever got into reviewing in the first place. Keep at it Another World do not let people like that let you think differently.
 

Ryukouki

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trumpet-205 said:
Thank you for the review Ryukouki.

Though I have to ask, how stable is the RTS? Can you try a 2D game and a 3D game with it?

Anytime! Although, if you're familiar with the EZ Flash Vi interface, you'd be quite familiar with the RTS, as they're practically the same. It's still pretty clunky and hasn't improved much. In my eyes, since they were practically teh same, I didn't want to repeat information from my EZ Flash review, although I see now it was kinda my mistake.
tongue.gif


@FlashX007: Hahaha sorry, didn't see your post there. Have to agree with you there, Another World brings a whole new meaning to the review business. It's amazing how much time gets thrown into one of those reviews.
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