iTouchDS Review

Discussion in 'Official GBAtemp Reviews' started by Opium, Jun 15, 2008.

Jun 15, 2008

iTouchDS Review by Opium at 4:40 AM (105,526 Views / 0 Likes) 0 replies

  1. Opium
    OP

    Former Staff Opium PogoShell it to me ™

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    <!--coloro:red--><span style="color:red"><!--/coloro-->GBAtemp.net review of the...<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

    <b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'><!--coloro:#ff7e00--><span style="color:#ff7e00"><!--/coloro-->iTouchDS<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></span></b> <img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchdscard.png" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    aka: iTouch, i-T, i-TDS
    Official Site: <a href="http://www.itouchds.com/" target="_blank">iTouchDS Homepage</a>
    Latest Software Downloads: <a href="http://www.simplepluseasy.com/" target="_blank">Software Downloads</a>

    Review written by Opium - 15th June 2008

    The hardware sample for this review was provided by <a href="http://www.ozmodchips.com" target="_blank">OzModChips</a>. An Australian based authorised iTouchDS reseller. <a href="http://www.ozmodchips.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/ozmodchips.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <b>Review Contents & Index:</b><ul><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#a">Introduction</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#a1">Official feature list</a></li><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#b">Packaging and Contents</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#b1">Box Contents</a></li><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#c">Cart & Linker Design</a></li><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#d">Setting Up & Using</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#d1">Initial Connection & Firmware</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#d2">GUI (OS)</a></li><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#g">Additional Features</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#g1">Cheat Support</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#g2">Soft reset</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#g21">Slow Motion</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#g3">Multimedia Support</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#g4">Micro SDHC Support</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#g5">DLDI Auto-Patching</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#g6">Languages</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#g7">Skinning</a>
    </li><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#e">Performance</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#e1">ROM Compatibility</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#e2">Download Play</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#e3">Save Game Support</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#e4">GBA Support</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#e6">Homebrew Support</a>
    - <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#e7">M3Real/Sakura Firmware Support</a></li><li><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="#f">Conclusion</a></li></ul><div class="reviewbreak"><a name="a">Introduction</a></div>
    The DS flashcard market is already crowded with a lot of different choices for the average buyer. Do I go with an R4 or a CycloDS or perhaps a DSTT? Our forums have been plagued with questions from people who can’t make up their minds. Now, yet another card wants a slice of a rather enormous pie. This new card uses the audacious name ‘iTouchDS’, and seems to think we are going to confuse a DS flashcard with an iPod Touch (or perhaps it’s just for the Google searches?). It’s another card from the M3 Team (also responsible for the G6). It seems they couldn’t stop with two brands as they are now branching out to this third and labeling it as a budget card. By the end of this review we’ll find out whether it was worth it.

    <a name="a1"><b>Official Feature List:</b></a><ul><li>Plug and play feature for it is easy to use.</li><li>100% game compatibility.</li><li>Automatically detect and generate game save file.</li><li>Built in cheat engine.</li><li>Fully customizable skin interface.</li><li>Supports both the Micro SDHC and MicroSD.</li><li>Supports homebrew applications.</li><li>Supports software reset function.</li><li>Supports multi-language.</li><li>Supports Download Play.</li><li>Single-chip solution, highest level of stability & lowest power consumption.</li><li>Support multi-language: English, French, Dutch, German, Italian, Portuguase, Spanish, Korean and Thai language.</li></ul><div class="reviewbreak"><a name="b">Packaging and Contents</a></div>
    The iTouchDS comes in a very small box with a plastic insert. The features are written on the back and the front clearly displays the card is SDHC capable . The first thing I noticed was how small the box actually was.

    <a name="b1"><b>Box Contents</b></a><ul><li> 1x iTouchDS</li><li> 1x MicroSD reader</li></ul><a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/box.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/box-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/box2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/box2-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/box3.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/box3-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="c">Cart & Linker Design</a></div>
    The design of the card is one of the points that let the iTouchDS down. It looks nearly identical to design of the M3DS Real and G6DS Real, so if you own either of those cards you will know what the iTouchDS is like. It is made from a light gray plastic that feels rather thin and cheap and there are also clips on the side of the card that make it feel flimsy overall. If you unclip them to open up the card and then clip them together again you can see the plastic turn white at the joint of the clips, indicating they will break if you do this too many times. The card will hold together, it’s just that you shouldn’t try to fiddle around with it too much.

    The MicroSD slot is spring loaded so based on your preferences you will either like this feature or you won’t. The slot feels fine and the MicroSD card can slide in and out easy enough.

    Under the shiny silver label on the front of the card there is a chip poking through, which you see on many flashcards. Some flashcards manage to be perfectly flat and self contained but there are also quite a few that have this annoying bump out the top.

    <div align="center"><object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/-b4rspcM5V4&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/-b4rspcM5V4&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>
    (Showing off the iTouchDS card)</div>

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/comparefront.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/comparefront-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/compare.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/compare-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/comparesd.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/comparesd-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/clips.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/clips-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="d">Setting Up & Using</a></div>
    <a name="d1"><b>Initial Connection & Firmware</b></a>
    Like with all other current Slot-1 DS flashcarts, all you need to do is drag and drop the files for the firmware and any games you want onto your MicroSD card then boot it up in the card. The firmware includes ‘boot.eng’ and a folder called ‘iTouch’. Place these both in the root of your MicroSD and you’re right to go.

    DS games and homebrew .nds files can be placed anywhere on the card, you can place them inside folders if you wish. The firmware will let you browse the folder structure on the card to access your games.

    The iTouchDS is compatible with SDHC cards so you can use MicroSD cards with a size greater than 2GB.
    If you don’t already have a MicroSD card reader the included USB 2.0 MicroSD reader will do the job nicely.

    <a name="d2"><b>GUI (OS)</b></a>
    Now onto one of the big make or breaks of many cards, the GUI. If a card isn’t user friendly and functional it makes the whole experience frustrating, regardless of whether the card has great features and performance. I’m sad to say that while the iTouchDS has a very interesting game favourites feature the rest of the GUI is slow, clunky and unwieldy.

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/menufull.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/menufull-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/menu.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/menu-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    When you turn on the DS you’re greeted with three options: iCard, iFav and iGame.

    iCard is a file browser which lets you look at and run any of the files on the card. It’ll let you navigate through folders. The touchscreen is usable but there’s no effective way to scroll so it’s pretty worthless and will just drive you to using the buttons to navigate the GUI (which is ironic considering the name of the card). When you select a .nds file you can press ‘X’ to create a favourites link to it in the iFav menu. It’s important to note you cannot enable/disable any .nds game options such as soft reset, cheats, slow motion etc from the iCard menu.

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/icard.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/icard-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    iFav shows just the icon files of the .nds files you have created favourites for. They are layed out like tiles across the entire bottom screen. You can use the d-pad or just touch the icon of the game you want to run and it’ll boot up. It’s a very nifty feature considering how big MicroSD cards are becoming nowadays. If you have a lot of games on your card you will certainly use this feature. Homebrew files can also have favourite created.

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/newfavourites.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/newfavourites-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/newfavourites2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/newfavourites2-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    iGame is the exact same as the iCard file browser except you can’t create favourites by pressing ‘X’ but you can edit the options for each ROM (eg: soft reset, cheat, slow motion). This makes both iCard and iGame pointless and frustrating as they could both be combined into the same thing. Now you have to go into both and navigate to the file you want if you want to create a favourite and also edit the options of the file. Why the developers have done this I’ll never know, but my guess would be to make the iTouchDS seem like it has more options. Why not just rip off the R4DS and make the third option a link to moonshell?

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/igame.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/igame-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/gameoptions.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/gameoptions-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    If having to navigate through two file browsers wasn’t bad enough, the actual operation and movement of the cursor through files and folders is horribly slow. Pressing the button to call up the ROM options in iGame used to take 10 seconds in a past firmware version, but that has been fixed and now it boots up in 3 seconds (still a lot slower than the instantaneous operation of the DSTT’s menu). Navigating between the different choices like soft reset and selecting a cheat file is also unnecessarily slow. The whole experience feels clunky. There is also no global option to turn soft reset on and instead you have to navigate to each individual game then edit it in the options which takes time and becomes frustrating if you have a lot of games on the card. On the plus side you can select between two different button combinations for both the soft reset and the slow motion option, which gives a nice bit of freedom. However the slow and frustrating GUI really lets the card down as a whole. Cards should work quickly and efficiently, the less time you spend on the menu and the more time in game the better. If there wasn’t the favourites section this menu would be all the more painful.

    <div align="center"><object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/R0IoMmdgs2w&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/R0IoMmdgs2w&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>
    (Showing off the iTouchDS GUI)</div>

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="g">Additional Features</a></div>
    <a name="g1"><b>Cheat Support</b></a>
    Cheats are supported and selectable for each individual game through the game options menu. The iTouchDS uses a cheat.db file which holds all the cheats. This is the same cheat file used by the M3 Real and is supported by the GBAtemp Cheat Database. There are some problems with the cheat support though. You will need to place the cheat file in folder in the root of the card called ‘system’, even though this folder isn’t used for anything else. You ‘can’ select which cheat database file to use in the game options however this never gets saved and the next time you try and bring up the list of cheats for your game it’ll tell you there are no codes. Also I’ve experienced some codes not working correctly. Geometry Wars Galaxies was one of the games I had troubles with although cheats would work fine using the DSTT card, so the cheat database isn’t to blame. The cheat support does need some kinks ironed out.

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/cheat.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/cheat-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/cheat2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/cheat2-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <a name="g2"><b>Soft Reset</b></a>
    One of the nice features about the soft reset is that you can select between two different button combinations to use. This gives the user a bit of flexibility. One of the bad things about the iTouchDS’s soft reset is that it doesn’t work all the time. I’ve frequently had my DS hang and freeze on me when soft resetting, it seems to be very temperamental. Also when it does successful work the screens go black and display some garbled graphics for a moment which doesn’t look very nice and I have not experience on other cards, but at least it resets correctly this time right?

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/softreset.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/softreset-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <a name="g21"><b>Slow Motion</b></a>
    Slow Motion can be enabled with either L+Select or R+Select, depending on what you set it to in the game options. You also get five different slow motion levels to choose from. It’s certainly a nice feature for those games you find a bit tricky at normal speed. Contra 4 or Geometry Wars anyone?

    <a name="g3"><b>Multimedia Support</b></a>
    As with most cards Moonshell, the multimedia DS program, is supported. With moonshell you can do anything from listen to mp3’s to view video files. No card would be complete without it. The official iTouchDS download site includes a link to a copy of moonshell that will work. The readme says that in the moonshell setup you should set the patch to either M3 Simply or R4 DS for it to work. I set mine to R4 DS and it worked just fine.

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/moonshell.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/moonshell-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <a name="g4"><b>Micro SDHC Support</b></a>
    In this day and age of high capacity SD cards, all the DS flashcards are jumping aboard with SDHC support. The iTouchDS advertises support for the high capacity cards (4GB+ in size), which should be enough to hold a plethora of games. Unfortunately I don’t have a high capacity card to test this with (1GB and a 2GB Kingston, Japanese made instead), but I take it on good faith that they are supported considering the box shows off a nice big SDHC logo.

    <a name="g5"><b>DLDI Auto-Patching</b></a>
    DLDI is a special patching system that lets homebrew games and applications access the filesystem of the flashcard and be able to read and write to it. It’s essential for a lot of homebrew programs. You used to have to manually patch each homebrew file with your DS flashcard’s DLDI file, but with Auto-patching you now don’t have to worry about a thing, homebrew files are patched automatically to work with your card. All you have to do is drag and drop the homebrew file onto your MicroSD and you’re good to go. Most DS flashcards support DLDI auto-patching now and the iTouchDS is no exception. It works fine for all the homebrew games and apps I’ve thrown at it. The firmware also includes a separate .dldi file in case you should need it though.

    <a name="g6"><b>Languages</b></a>
    The card comes with support for nine languages built into the firmware which is excellent to see. To change the language you first go to the iFav menu and it will be the first favourite icon there. Once loaded you can swap the language between nine others: English, Italian, Dutch, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and what I believe to be Thai and Korean. After changing the language it will ask you to reboot.

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/language.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/language-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <a name="g7"><b>Skinning</b></a>
    The iTouchDS is easily skinnable by editing or replacing the .bmp images that make up the skin. These files can be found in the ‘iTouch’ firmware folder. There isn’t a great deal of customization though; you can’t edit where the buttons are or any other parameters, just the image files. I have yet to find any custom skins online for the iTouchDS, but the card is rather new to the market so it might take a while for the skinning community to kick off.

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/skinning.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/skinning-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/skinning2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/skinning2-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="e">Performance</a></div>
    Alright now it’s time for the make or break of the card. For all tests I’ve used a 1GB Japanese made Kingston MicroDS unless otherwise stated. It’s served me very well with other flashcards in the past.

    <a name="e1"><b>ROM Compatibility</b></a>
    I won’t go through a big long list of games I’ve tested as compatibility nowadays tends to be at 100% or very close. I did test an extensive list of titles however and there have been a few problems, mostly to do with soft reset.

    Soft rest doesn’t work on two of the titles I tried, Contra 4 and Lego Indiana Jones. Contra 4 will still boot and play fine but won’t reset, whereas Lego Indiana Jones will not even boot but instead just sit at two black screens. Soft reset seems to be the main culprit. In my experiences it has been unstable and resulted in my DS locking up and freezing multiple times. There is also garbled graphics on the bottom screen when soft resetting. This is obviously an area the iTouchDS team needs to work on.

    Apart from soft reset the ROM compatibility has been good; I haven’t run into any problem titles that don’t boot at all. The time it takes to boot games is slower than the DSTT flashcard but having said that it’s still reasonably fast so any time difference is negligible.

    <a name="e2"><b>Download Play</b></a>
    All firmware testing done with an American black DS Lite (flashed with FlashMe 7) sending to an American Crimson/Black DS Lite (unflashed).
    A 4gb Toshiba Japanese Micro SDHC card and firmware 1.8 (for the iTouchDS) were used. Results below.

    <!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro--><b>PASS</b><!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--> - Download Play works fine.
    <!--coloro:blue--><span style="color:blue"><!--/coloro--><b>PROBLEMS</b><!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--> - Download Play works, but has problems.
    <!--coloro:red--><span style="color:red"><!--/coloro--><b>FAIL</b><!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--> - Download Play does not work at all.<ul><li>Club House Games
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->- PASS<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b>
    </li><li>Mario Kart DS
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->- PASS<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b>
    </li><li>New Super Mario Bros.
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->- PASS<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b>
    </li><li>Space Invaders Extreme
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->- PASS<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b>
    </li><li>Super Mario 64
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->- PASS<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b>
    </li><li>Tetris DS
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->- PASS<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b>
    </li><li>Yoshi Touch N Go
    <b><!--coloro:red--><span style="color:red"><!--/coloro-->- FAIL<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b> (Loads the game up, but shortly after, the connection gets disconnected)
    </li></ul><i>Download play testing and results done by <a href='http://gbatemp.net/member.php?name=JPH' target=_blank>JPH</a></i>

    <a name="e3"><b>Save Game support</b></a>
    The iTouchDS uses the generic .sav file type so your save games from other cards will work fine. It also saves the game directly to the MicroSD when saving in-game which an essential feature for all new flashcards (older cards used to save to an onboard battery and would only write the save to your MicroSD the next time you turned the DS on).

    Another nifty feature is you are able to backup your .sav file to either of two backup slots. You can also copy one of these backups back over the main .sav as well. You can do this from the game options menu and is very easy to use.

    <a name="e4"><b>GBA Support</b></a>
    Both the EZ 3-in-1 Expansion pack and the Ewin 2-in-1 Pak work fine with the iTouchDS. There is no native GBA support in the firmware however, so you will have to use rudolph’s GBA ExpLoader for the EZ 3-in-1 and the GBAloader for the Ewin 2-in-1 pak. These are both DLDI homebrew files and require no patching in order to get them to operate. Once you’ve got them up and running all you need to do is select the GBA game on your MicroSD and away you go. It is very simple to use and most flashcards on the market work just the same as the iTouchDS. So if you’re thinking about buying a GBA expansion card to go with your DS flashcard purchase, either one will do nicely.

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/gba.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/gba-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/gba2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/gba2-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <a name="e6"><b>Homebrew Support</b></a>
    jEnesisDS – <!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->works /auto DLDI<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->
    SNEmulDS – <!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->works /auto DLDI<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->
    Pocket Physics – <!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->works /auto DLDI<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->
    Moonshell – <!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->works /auto DLDI<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->
    GBA ExpLoader – <!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->works /auto DLDI<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->
    Ewin GBAloader – <!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->works /auto DLDI<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

    As said previously in the review there is auto-DLDI patching so no homebrew should have difficulty loading. The team has also made the separate .dldi file available with the firmware as well in case you need it.

    From my testing all the hombrew I’ve tried has run fine without any problems. Some of the games and applications I’ve used are: Moonshell, SNEmulDS, jEnesisDS, Colors, pocketphysics, GBA ExpLoader and the Ewin GBAloader.

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/pocketphysics.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/pocketphysics-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/goldensunds.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/goldensunds-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/sonic.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/sonic-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <a name="e7"><b>M3Real/Sakura Firmware Support</b></a>
    Okay so this isn’t officially supported by the M3/iTouchDS team (they’re the same team), but the M3 Real’s firmware as well as the newly released M3 Sakura has been hacked to run on the iTouchDS. The hardware between the devices is virtually identical, the price tag however isn’t.

    This backdoor feature has no bearing what so ever on this review or the review score. If you decide to use the iTouchDS with either of these firmwares that’s up to you. From testing however both firmwares seem to run fine, but only the Japanese variation of the firmwares have been hacked so far. Running the M3 Real firmware will make the card perform like an M3 Real and running the M3 Sakura firmware will make it run like a Sakura card. There may or may not be issues with running future versions of these firmwares on the iTouchDS, but currently they operate as expected.

    Check out the GBAtemp forums for more information.

    <div align="center"><object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/XLowjVEzSJI&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/XLowjVEzSJI&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>
    (Demonstrating the M3Real and Sakura firmwares running on iTouchDS)</div>

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/m3real.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/m3real-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/m3real2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/m3real2-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/m3real3.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/m3real3-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/sakura.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/sakura-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/sakura2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/sakura2-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/sakura3.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/sakura3-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/sakura4.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/sakura4-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="f">Conclusion</a></div>
    The iTouchDS is marketed as a budget card and as such it doesn’t perform as well as other cards on the market. But at a price of AU$39 you’ll be hard pressed to find a cheaper card. It’s an entry level card with an interesting feature that lets you access your favourite games with ease. This feature works well and is a real strong point for the card’s ease of use. However, the rest of the firmware lets it down by being slow, clunky and unintuitive. Game options like Soft reset and cheats are finicky and take far too long to access. Soft reset particularly has troubles with some games and appears to be a little unstable. Having both iCard and iGame separated into two different file browsers with different features (ie: one lets you create favourites, while the other lets you edit game options) is unintuitive and frustrating to use. But having said that, game compatibility is up there with all the other cards and it has slow motion support, which is great to see in a budget card. Also as an added (unofficial) bonus is the iTouchDS can run hacked M3 Sakura and M3 Real firmwares. But then it wouldn’t be an iTouchDS anymore would it? You can explore that avenue at your own risk and it has no bearing on this review or the review score. If you are strapped for cash and absolutely must get the cheapest card out there the iTouchDS will perform, but it’s certainly not a card for the top end user.

    <div class="reviewbreak"><a name="f">Re-Evaluation (18.9.08) using firmware v2.1</a></div>

    The iTouchDS team has delivered some excellent firmware updates that really do make a difference to the card. The entire menu now loads much quicker and the navigation is made easier with the addition of a scroll bar. Not only that but the favourites icons can now be made from within the iGame menu, so you will no longer have to go back to the iCard menu just to make an icon. The ROM config screen is also easily accessible by pressing the SELECT button on the iGame menu or even the iFav menu. So now when you have an icon for a game created you won't have to go anywhere besides the iFav menu to launch and control your game. The bug with cheat support that made the menu point to the wrong place for the cheat database file has been fixed as well. One of the best and most needed features, having soft reset enabled by default for all games, has also been included which makes a world of difference. If you are on a limited budget then the iTouchDS is certainly a card to consider. It has a lot of great features now with the help of a few firmware updates. It's easy to navigate and the favourites icons is quite handy to use. The initial loading of the menu still seems a little slow, but the actual operation of the card has been greatly improved. It may not still be up there with some of the higher end cards, but the iTouchDS is not to be knocked when it comes down to your budget.

    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->Pros:<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b>
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->+<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b> Cheap
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->+<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b> Create game 'favourites'
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->+<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b> SDHC support
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->+<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b> Cheat system (and supported by the GBAtemp Cheat Database)
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->+<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b> Slow motion
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->+<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b> DLDI auto-patching
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->+<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b> Great multi-language support
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->+<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b> Sav backup support
    <b><!--coloro:green--><span style="color:green"><!--/coloro-->+<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b> Soft reset enabled for all games by default (no having to change settings for every single game!)
    <b><!--coloro:red--><span style="color:red"><!--/coloro-->Cons:<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b>
    <b><!--coloro:red--><span style="color:red"><!--/coloro-->-<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b> Flimsy build quality and hinges
    <b><!--coloro:red--><span style="color:red"><!--/coloro-->-<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b> Soft reset shows garbled graphics when resetting
    <b><!--coloro:red--><span style="color:red"><!--/coloro-->-<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b> The menu isn't the quickest thing out there, although it is greatly improved from earlier firmwares

    <div class="reviewbreak"><img src="http://gbatemp.net/up/award_silver.png" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>
    The GBAtemp Review System rates products based on an award (Gold/Silver/Bronze/No Award)

    <a href="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/conclusion.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://opium.gbatemp.net/itouchds/conclusion-small.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a>

    <b>Links:</b>
    - <a href="http://www.itouchds.com/" target="_blank">iTouchDS Website</a>
    - <a href="http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showforum=95" target="_blank">GBAtemp iTouchDS Discussion Area</a>

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    This review was written for GBAtemp.net ONLY. The article and all included photos are property of GBAtemp.net
    If you see this review on any other site please let me know via e-mail - opiumunbound [@at@] gmail [.dot.] com
     

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