Inside the box, you'll find the following: M3 Lite Black casing
M3 Lite Ice Blue casing
M3 Lite White casing
M3 has been considered by many to be the most dominant and premium flash card on the market for Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. It has been released in many variations and sizes. Each has been met with acclaim and satisfaction abroad. Now, with the DS Lite's arrival and utter dominance of the handheld market, M3 Lite is upon us. Does it equal its counterparts or does it fall shy? Let's have a look at what many veteran flash card owners as well as potentially new buyers have been longing for.
See? It's the same size as the real cover.
Since we already know that all M3 units run the same interface, abilities, features and such, this review is going to focus primarily on the M3 Lite's build. I understand that the review may appear short because of this, but I was specifically asked to not indulge into M3's features, since they are well-known and present here at GBATemp. If you want to read up what the M3 offers, which is quite a lot, then please read Qrayzie's review here.
No M3 was harmed in this autopsy.
The M3 Lite Board is preinstalled within the DS Lite black casing (for me at least). Unlike its counterpart, G6 Lite, there is no GBA-sized casing included, so this version of M3 is only for DS Lite owners. Don't fret if you still own an original DS. The Mini-SD version is still highly regarded. Each of the DS Lite casings are shaped near perfect to the GBA Cover that DS Lites standardly include. They do not bear the transparent enamel that the official cover possesses. Each casing has a Phillips screw to keep things together. I did notice that the team improved upon the design of the casing versus G6 Lite by making the screws a bit longer and more enduring. Mind you, you'll only be taking your M3 Lite out of the casing once at most, but this is a pleasant surprise.
It is a bit transparent like this, but who cares?
The one thing that stood out immediately about M3 Lite was when I inserted my micro-SD card within: It snaps inside and remains in place. It is also as simple to remove as well as insert. I'm quite satisfied that the team went out of their way to ensure one of the areas that M3's competitors seemingly fail upon was worked out successfully. I do wish that they had made the memory slot on the side of the unit facing out when inserted. It would have been much simpler to never need to remove the M3 Lite every single time when adding or removing files, though the DS Lite can and will take the abuse.
Stealthy and flush.
Now we come to the part of inserting the M3 Lite into a DS Lite, and no, this isn't great news to announce, yet, it's not bad. The cart is a tight...very tight fit! It took a bit of strength to get the M3 Lite to fully insert. Removing it was even more tedious on the fingers. Fortunately, M3 Lite's casing matches the rugid build of G6 Lite, but it's still a bit of a disappointment to see that they didn't match the ease that G6 Lite has in painless installation and removal. I've spoken to several M3 Lite users who said they filed the casing to make it fit easier. Let me assure you that it is not necessary, unlike the original EZ-Flash IV Lite is by many critics. Still, I do wish that the team had worked on the casing a bit longer. One thing that I noticed after a few times is that the cart became easier to change out. The important attribute to mention, obviously as this is what you're probably buying it for, is that the casing sits flush as well as expected.
Being a former owner of M3 (Mini-SD), I explored the M3 Lite internally just for the sake of argument. I own a Sandisk 512MB Micro-SD. The Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow full-motion video skipped a bit. I'd give it a 3/5 performance-wise, which isn't too good compared to my former M3 Mini-SD with a Ridata Silver flash memory card. Communicating with other M3 Lite owners once again, it seems that Sandisk Ultra II and Kingston Micro-SD cards are currently a bit stronger performance-wise. Please remember that the team does indeed improve support for various makes and models of flash media, so it could change in the future. Everything else worked as expected, menus, features, etc.
Did I mention how flush M3 Lite is?
One new feature just added to M3 is NDS-GBA Linkage. This allows certain titles that work together to function all on the flash card. This isn't used too often in many titles currently available, but some upcoming releases, such as the Pokemon games, will indeed continue to harness this feature. While it isn't groundbreaking, it is something that many users have called for. Finally, the team listened and handed everyone, M3 Lite and all other model owners, a much appreciated gift.
Overall, I'm content with the M3 Lite. It is still regarded as one of the top flash cards. The recent addition of NDS-GBA Linkage, formerly a sole working attribute of Supercard, is a nice little bonus. Skins help make your M3 more personalized. Everything that people have come to expect from M3 is here and delivered. For DS Lite owners who have been waiting to upgrade to the Lite Model, you won't be disappointed. The build is a tight fit within Slot-2, but it is still managable.
+ Fits flush in DS Lite
+ Micro-SD locks in place
+ Skinable DS and GBA Menus
+ NDS-GBA Linkage function
+ Real-time save for GBA
+ Near perfect DS and GBA playback
+ Cheat options for DS and GBA
+ Decent homebrew support
- Tight fit
- Skinning tool needs dramatically updated
- No use of the touch screen within menus
- Various performance results with media brands
- Homebrew support is questionable in the future
- Price is higher than most competitors
I grade it: B+
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M3 Lite Links: M3Wiki - The best source on all ROM write settings and issues! 01Media - Recommended shop to buy M3 Lite. GamerSection.ca - Recommended shop to buy M3 Lite. GAMEYEEEAH - Recommended shop to buy M3 Lite. Kick Trading - Recommended shop to buy M3 Lite.