M3 Lite Review

Discussion in 'NDS - Flashcarts and Accessories' started by DeVS, Sep 7, 2006.

Sep 7, 2006

M3 Lite Review by DeVS at 6:42 PM (11,535 Views / 0 Likes) 33 replies

  1. DeVS
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    Newcomer DeVS Advanced Member

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    M3 Lite Review
    By: DeVS


    Part 01: What Is It And What You Get

    The M3 Lite is the newest incarnation of the M3 Nintendo DS slot 2 mod. This “Lite” version is built to set flush in the Nintendo DS Lite without any sticking out and uses microSD media cards for storage. It comes with a built in media player that allows you to play the following types of media if they are first converted to .dpg format:

    Dobly AC3 audio frequency file (*. AC3)
    target's file of DVD video (*. VOB)
    wave form sound file of Microsoft (*. WAV)
    MPEG-1 Audio Layer-2 file (*. MP2)
    MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3 file (*. MP3)
    Real media file (*. RA, *. RM, *. RAM, *. RMVB)
    MPEG-1 media file (*. Mpeg, *. Mpg)
    MPEG-2 media file (*. M2V)
    Windows media file (*. AVI, *. ASF, *. WMA, *. WMV)
    VCD video file (*. DAT)
    QuickTime media file (*. MOV)
    MPEG-4 media file (*. AVI)
    DivX media file (*. AVI)

    The unit also has built in emulators for the following “legacy” game systems:

    Gameboy Mono
    Sega Master System
    Sega Game Gear
    Nintendo
    Turbografx16

    When you order the M3 Lite you will receive the following:

    1x M3 Lite
    1x White glossy Lite shell
    1x Blue glossy Lite shell
    1x Black glossy Lite shell
    1x MiniCD w/ M3 Lite software

    [​IMG]


    Part 02: Build Quality

    The M3 team are not new to the DS scene by now and when people see there name on a product they know there getting a quality product. The M3 Lite continues this tradition as the unit is built from a nice heavy plastic. The unit slides in and out of the DS Lite with ease and there is no hanging nor does it have the feel of being “crammed” into the DS Lite.

    The replacement glossy Lite shells are for people who have one of the other colored DS Lite units. The replacement shells are easy to interchange as there is simply 1 screw to take out and screw back in. I was able to replace the shell in a matter of minutes and the shells all fit perfectly.

    [​IMG]

    Once you choose which shell is best for you, you are ready to get down to the good stuff. You will notice that the M3 Lite has the microSD slot on the side of the unit and not at the bottom like other similar products and the microSD slot is spring loaded. Some people see this as a hassle as you have to remove the M3 Lite from the DS to add or remove the microSD card while others prefer the slot to be on the side so that there is no risk of the microSD card accidentally falling out and getting lost. The M3 Lite slides in and out of the DS Lite with ease so I did not see a problem with the microSD slot being on the side.

    [​IMG]

    The M3 Lite is the same size as the stock Nintendo DS dust cover that comes with the DS and also the same size as the G6 Lite.

    [​IMG]

    Once inserted into the DS Lite there is no noticeable hang out. The unit sits flush with the DS Lite shell and the white shell I used was glossy like the DS Lite.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    PART 03: Software And Performance

    The rom patching software for the M3 Lite is the same as previos versions. Before I started this review I made sure the rom patching software and the M3 Lite firmware were up to date. The rom patching software has options for the normal type stuff such as rom trimming, fast boot, reset, cheats,ect.

    [​IMG]

    The OS software on the on the M3 Lite itself has the familiar gui. When you boot up the M3 Lite you will be greeted with a very nice gui that includes icons for Games, PDA, Music, Movies, Books, Pictures, Setup and Extend. The OS is fast and does not have a “bloated” feel to it. The OS is fully skin able and there are a lot of other skins on the net you can choose from.

    [​IMG]

    The M3 Lite played the “usual suspect” roms at full speed audio and video intros (Castlevania, The Rub Rabbits, Tony Hawk American Sk8tland, Animal Crossing, and Metroid Prime Hunters). It also played the newest roms like Star Fox and Mario Hoops 3 vs 3. The unit did freeze up when starting the first level of Ultimate Spiderman. Other then Ultimate Spiderman the M3 Lite had the same perfect rom playback that people have come to expect from an M3 product. Needless to say that the GBA side of game playing was just as good as the DS side. I tried several GBA games likes Mario & Lugi: Superstar Saga and FF and they worked perfectly and saved perfectly. Homebrew compatibility was top notch too. The following homebrew apps were tested and worked:

    DSOrganize (Green)
    PicoDriveDS
    BeUP
    DSAim
    DoomDS
    MegaETK
    A Touch Of War

    I stoped after that but I suspect most of if not all homebrew will work as the M3 has become one of the standards in the mod scene.

    The book viewer is a nice touch. I could not figure out how to get it to view the text on both screens as claimed. You are able to scroll through the text and even set bookmarks through out the text.

    The videos and music I converted played perfectly in the media player. Playback was smooth and looked surprisingly good on the DS screens.

    Another greatly over looked aspect of the M3 series is the built in “legacy” console emulators. The M3 Lite comes with built in emu’s for Gameboy Mono, Sega Master System, Sega Game Gear, Nintendo (NES), and Turbografx16. The emulators I tested worked at full speed and video and the real time saves worked also. It’s just an added bonus to be able to play some old school Sonic or Mario on the DS Lite!

    [​IMG]

    OVERVIEW

    The M3 Lite is another top of line product from the M3 Team. It is made from top notch quality products from the glossy shells to the advanced OS and rom patching software. The fact that out of the box the M3 Lite supports not only DS and GBA playback but is also a multimedia player, picture viewer, full functioning PDA, digital book viewer, and has multiple legacy emulators built in (NES,SMS,PCE,GG,GBA) really makes the M3 Lite stand above and beyond the other mods out today. It has the highest overall compatibility for DS, GBA, and homebrew apps and games then any other DS slot 2 mod.

    http://www.m3adapter.com/main.htm
     


  2. HugeCock

    Member HugeCock Oh My....

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    Thanks for the review, my M3 lite is sitting on the shelf waiting to be played cause my DS is at Nintendo gettting repaired. Did you have a problem swapping cases? My white shell didn't seem to stay closed so I used a black bottom and a white top. Seems to be nice and snug now. Just curious how long you have had yours and if it ever pops open? Thanks for the homebrew list! That will help me as 90% of the stuff I try doesn't work on my G6 lite!
     
  3. DeVS
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    Newcomer DeVS Advanced Member

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    I got my unit this morning. I didn't have any problems changning the shell to white. I was alittle worrried when I got it as it got held up in customs and it looks like the post office kicked the package to my house. The box was all smashed up but luckly the unit and shells were not damaged.
     
  4. DirtyH

    Newcomer DirtyH Advanced Member

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    nice review

    i got two questions:

    does the m3-os support the touchscreen?

    and can you maybe test some bit generation games
    and if saving works (especially Orbital)?
    (supercard got some problems with them
    you can play them, but you cant save)
     
  5. g.crow

    Member g.crow beide mittelfinger hoch

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    no touch support, bg games work fine

    mars
     
  6. nunofgs

    Member nunofgs GBAtemp Regular

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    I'm sorry, I don't mean to offend you but that review just seems biased to me.

    I had an M3 (I sold it and got a G6L) and it wasn't nearly as glamorous as you make it sound. While it definately was the best cart I ever had, it has its problems:

    - The menu interface is horrible. There is no touch support, it's slow (even the G6L is faster loading up the list), there are no game icons and the skinning support is flaky at best. Many skinners feel constrained by the limitations of their skinning "engine".

    - The so-called built-in media player is actually moonshell, and it is an old version (at least when I had mine). Many people were unable to even play dpg movies with it.

    - The built-in emulators are not built-in at all!!! You have to manually copy pocketnes.nds, goomba.nds, etc onto the root of your memory card so that the M3 can launch the games.

    - Homebrew compatibility isn't very good at all. In fact, the developer of DSOrganize has completely stopped supporting the M3 because they refuse to release the source code to their FAT driver. Actually, I was with a friend of mine who has an M3 Mini-SD yesterday and I actually witnessed that everytime he ran DSVNC, it would completely format his memory card! Also, he cannot connect to a wireless access point in dslinux while the same exact dslinux.nds can do it on my G6L

    Other than these problems, the M3 is definately the best cart out there... especially for GBA support. It's really very good.
     
  7. Jasafar

    Newcomer Jasafar Member

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    I got mine from Real Hot Stuff 2 days ago, but it is sitting in the drawer because I am waiting on the Black DS Lite release here in the US. Only 1 week away!
     
  8. PeterFile

    Newcomer PeterFile Member

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    Actually, yes there is a built in movie player. It plays .gbm and .gbs files.
     
  9. M3LV1N

    Member M3LV1N GBAtemp Regular

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    How is the saving system? Does it save the next time you boot up? Or is it like the Supercard Lite?
     
  10. iza

    Member iza gbatemp, the new crack

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    First, if it's the best cart you've ever owned, why down it?
    second, could it be that you and your friend have the old version of the M3 and not the M3 Lite?
    Third, dont you think the producers could change what they put on the cart from release to release? otherwise it would just be a new shell, right?
     
  11. DeVS
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    Newcomer DeVS Advanced Member

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    nunofgs I didnt transfer anything over to play the emus except for the roms by way of the rom patching software. Also homebrew compatability is as solid as ANY other mod device out. And how does it sound biased? Tell me another mod that can do all those things out of the box? You say the OS seems slow, maybe you were using an older firmware cause with 27a it's not slow at all. I own every mod besides the Ninja and have done actual hands on with them and no mod is as well rounded right now. M3lv1n it saves when you restart not like the Sueprcard does.
     
  12. nunofgs

    Member nunofgs GBAtemp Regular

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    Jeez no need to crucify me. As I said, I still think the M3 Lite is one of the best flashcarts ever... I was merely pointing out a few issues I thought were worth a mention.

    iza: Yes the hardware of the cart is different for every revision, but the firmware is the same for all M3's afaik.

    DeVS: like I said, I only had a M3 Mini-SD and at the time, you had to take care of the emulators yourself. About the homebrew compatibility, you cannot deny the fact that they are mostly uncooperable about the FAT driver issues... also, I would invite you to try out DSVNC (although it could just be a memory card/m3 mini-sd problem).

    The OS is slower than the G6 for example. In fact, it is even slower than it should be! Back when I used my M3, if you had a skin installed, the file list would move much quicker.

    Like I said, I'm not a nay-sayer... I just wanted to point out a few things that I thought were worth mentioning in your review.
     
  13. kobewan

    Member kobewan GBAtemp Regular

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    I have an M3 miniSD and DSVNC works perfectly fine (it even saves your settings) so whatever problems you had were probably specific to your own.

    Also, you are right that the M3 is slower than other flashcards, but I personally think that it isn't slow enough to be an issue (others might differ).

    You do bring up some excellent points though, they should be addressed properly....

    1. Yes, homebrew is worse on the M3 as compared to the Supercard (DSOrganize in particular doesn't work perfectly, and recently the developer cut support entirely. Also, DS Doom does not save I believe.)

    2. Also, you are right that the emulators are not built-in. However, if you use the M3 Game Manager patching software when loading the files, it essentially writes the emulator to the ROM so you don't need to include it yourself. This has its own drawbacks, like a bigger file size, but the system still wokrs pretty well.

    3. The built-in Moonshell IS outdated, but perfectly functional...I have found that it often works better than the newest version (not sure why, but less skipping).

    Also, I think that the review needs to be revised to show that most of those media typed need to be converted before being able to be played. I was confused about this when buying my flashcart at first.
     
  14. yuwing

    Member yuwing GBAtemp Fan

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    what microSD card were u using?
     
  15. DeVS
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    Newcomer DeVS Advanced Member

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    I stated that I converted media that I played but I can make it more obvious I guess. I used a regular san disk, no ultra or anything.
     
  16. kobewan

    Member kobewan GBAtemp Regular

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    I mean the part which gives the list of the types of files that it plays, it even confused me for a moment (I was thinking "Have I been converting all my files for no reason? [​IMG] ).

    Anyways, I didn't mention it before but its a great review. Thanks for another take on the subject and the excellent pictures.
     
  17. neojei

    Member neojei GBAtemp Regular

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    You almost sold me to M3 Lite because of the legacy emulators, then I realized it wasn't the Sega Genesis or Snes, lol. The built in mediaplayer nearly killed me, it can play all those files? That's amazing! Can moonshell do that too? Also, think with a bit of modding you would be able to use the G6 gba shell? i'd love to get one for my gf if I went with M3 line, but she still has a DS Phat.
     
  18. tama_mog

    Member tama_mog Kupo

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    Guys, the moonshell only plays .dpgs, everything else you need a conversion software. End of story. I agree the review is a bit misleading listing that moonshell (aka media extend of m3) is able to play all those files....indirectly yes, you need to convert your files to .dpg.
     
  19. DeVS
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    Newcomer DeVS Advanced Member

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    I edited the review to reflect this.
     
  20. tama_mog

    Member tama_mog Kupo

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    Devs, good job on the review, just that people totally new to this might not make the direct connection the people that have used m3's can.
     

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