M3i Zero review

Discussion in 'M3 Adapter' started by Satangel, Aug 7, 2009.

Aug 7, 2009

M3i Zero review by Satangel at 2:27 PM (15,063 Views / 0 Likes) 27 replies

  1. Satangel
    OP

    Member Satangel BEAST

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    <div align="center">Sponsored by:
    <a href="http://www.digimartz.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o311/Satangel_bucket/Review%20M3i%20Zero/logo.png" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a></div>
    <b>
    <!--sizeo:5--><span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->M3i Zero review<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>

    <img src="http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o311/Satangel_bucket/Review%20M3i%20Zero/M3ibox2.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <b><!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->First the features as stated on the box :<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>
    Upgradable "Boot Flash data"
    Upgradable "Kernel"
    Upgradable "Firmware
    Compatible with DS , DSl & DSi .
    100% game compatibility .
    supports Real Time Save function . (Save & Restore anytime, anywhere.)
    Supports Multi-Language System (English, French ,German, Italian , Spanish , Portuguese, Dutch, Korea & Thai Language .)
    Continue to update & frequency enhance software/ firmware.
    Support micro SDHC (capacity over 4GB, 8GB ,16GB & 32GB …)
    Extreme simple to use, just Plug & Play .
    Super Cheat Function
    Fully AR Cheat Code Compatible engine .
    Support reading individual cheat code file too. (xml, cht, dht, dat-R4 format)
    Supports software reset function .
    Support slow motion feature .
    Automatically detect and generate game save file .
    Excellent homebrew support , DLDI auto-patcher
    Robust & skinnable GUI
    Build in PassMe .
    Integrated Moonshell 2.0 version .
    Supports Download and Play .
    Supports rumble pack , GBA expansion pack & DS Browser .
    Supports 4-scale-lightness adjustment .[DSL only]

    Mind you, there were some slight grammatical errors on the box, so I corrected them.

    <b><!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Inside the box<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>

    <img src="http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o311/Satangel_bucket/Review%20M3i%20Zero/-kabeldoos.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /><img src="http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o311/Satangel_bucket/Review%20M3i%20Zero/-kabeltjeuiteinde.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    The M3i Zero comes in a blue retail box with the M3 Logo on it and with their site on it. The shape of the packaging and the overall finish, is a lot like the M3Real, so it’s very good and protects the inside very well.

    The contents of the package are contained in a clear plastic tray, as shown in the picture above.
    There are three things in the package:
    - The M3i Zero card, which is in a plastic case with space to store your MicroSD card.
    - A very small and nice looking MicroSD reader. It looks very cool and has a nice M3 logo on it, but I do not recommend to use it. It’s always better to buy a real brand MicroSD reader, because with the delivered MicroSD reader, you’ll probably corrupt your MicroSD, resulting in a loss of all your roms, homebrew and save files.
    - The final item in the box is the firmware power supply cable (as shown in the second picture above).
    On one side it was a USB plug on the other was a base and then a very thin contact.
    It works fine, but it looks so weak, and it’s like it’s ready to break off any moment.

    <b><!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Build quality<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>

    <img src="http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o311/Satangel_bucket/Review%20M3i%20Zero/-M3RealenZeronaast.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />
    <i>On the left the M3i Zero and on the right the M3 Real</i>

    The M3i Zero comes in a black shell and the plastic feels very strong and sturdy.It’s not as good as the M3 Real, but it’s definitely not bad.
    The two parts of the cart are held together by a clip design and not the usual mini screws. There is a slight bulge of the IC chip on the M3i Zero, but I find the bulge on the M3 Real way bigger and annoying.
    The spring-loaded MicroSD slot is situated on the side of the card. It works very well, and you hear a nice click when the MicroSD is in place.
    On the other side of the card, there is a very small hole. If you want to upgrade your firmware, you have to plug in the included power cable into that small hole. We’ll handle that part later on.

    <b><!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Setting the card up<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>

    The M3i Zero comes without any firmware. So to make it work, you should download these files:
    <a href="http://down.gbalpha.com/GBalpha/Softwares/F_CORE.zip" target="_blank">http://down.gbalpha.com/GBalpha/Softwares/F_CORE.zip</a>
    <a href="http://gbatemp.net/index.php?download=4808" target="_blank">http://gbatemp.net/index.php?download=4808</a>
    Extract both these files with WinRar.
    Now connect your MicroSD to your PC, via a MicroSD reader or a SD adapter.
    Now place the file “F_CORE.dat” , that’s the file that was in the first link, to the root (so not in a folder) of your MicroSD.
    In the second link, there was a folder called “SYSTEM” and a Readme.txt file. The .txt file can be deleted.
    Copy the “SYSTEM” folder to the root of your MicroSD.
    So if you done this correct, there should be 2 things on the root of your MicroSD now: F_CORE.dat and the SYSTEM folder.

    Now unplug the MicroSD from your PC, and put it in the correct way in your M3i Zero. You can see how to put your MicroSD in on the picture below.

    <img src="http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o311/Satangel_bucket/Review%20M3i%20Zero/-achterkantM3iZero.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /><img src="http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o311/Satangel_bucket/Review%20M3i%20Zero/-kabelinkaart.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    Now take the USB power cable and plug it in your M3i Zero. Plug the thin contact of the USB power cable in the small hole of your card, and the USB connector to your PC.
    I’ve made a picture, so you can see how you should connect the thin contact to your card. Do this very gentle, as a wrong move can break the fragile contact.

    So now you have your MicroSD in your M3i Zero and the USB power cable is connected to your M3i Zero. Now just plug the USB part of the USB power cable in your PC.
    If you have done all these things correctly, a red light should start flashing. After 10-15 seconds, the light will stop flashing, indicating that the process is done. You can now unplug the USB power cable from your PC.
    I’ve listed all the things the light may do and what it means:

    <!--sizeo:2--><span style="font-size:10pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Light blinks - in progress
    Light off - no power or complete
    Light on - error (no "f_core.dat" or wrong file etc.)<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    When you have disconnected the USB power cable from your PC and the M3i Zero from the thin connector, you can plug it in your DS, DSLite or DSi.
    When it boots you should get this screen:

    <img src="http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o311/Satangel_bucket/Review%20M3i%20Zero/sakuratouchpod.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    Here you can see the choice between the Touch Pod OS and the M3 Sakura. You can either use the touch screen or Dpad+ A button, to select your option.
    I chose M3 Sakura and I recommend everybody to check it out.

    <b><!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->GUI Settings<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>

    M3 Sakura executes a disk check of your memory card to make sure all is well on first boot.
    On my MicroSD card it took only a few seconds, and then you are greeted with the settings screen.
    The settings screen is pretty straightforward, you can choose between several languages, like English, Deutsch, Spanish, Dutch, ….
    Then the Line mode which enables either or 2 line support for long file names. Then the last three things are checkboxes where you can enable/disable the following things:

    - Always run DiskCheck when booting
    - Enable sound effects
    - Don't show this screen next time

    If you are done with the settings, click the "OK' box to confirm all your choices. You will now be sent to the main file browser . The top screen immediately displays all the various button combos, to aid your navigation of the GUI.

    File browsing uses both screens to display your folders and files. To run a file, either slide the stylus to the right over the file name or press the A button.
    If you want to enter the Settings menu, slide left or press the Y button.
    It all works very well and the controls are very logic.
    Pressing the Start button brings up the system menu. Here you can change the following options.
    There you adjust the 1 or 2 line support for file names and you can also edit the GUI Settings.
    In the GUI Settings menu you can edit several option to change the interface to your own taste:

    - Don't show Initial Setup on boot
    - Always run DiskCheck when booting
    - Enable sound effects
    - Enable fade transition effect
    - Start Sakura from Recent Files list
    - Lock folder navigation. If you have kids and want them only to use apps/games in a specific folder, this is your way to do it. Navigate to the folder you want to lock and then enable this option. When you reboot, Sakura will start in that folder. If you try to navigate out of the folder, a beep will be played, preventing you to do it.
    Obviously this feature can be disabled using the start button but for small children it might come in very handy.
    - Hide filename extensions
    - Hide unsupported files
    - Use dark background screen saver
    - Enable FastStart movie playback
    - Lock L/R during music playback
    - Restore default wallpaper
    - Language settings (change the language between English, Deutsch, Espanol, Dutch, Francais, Italian,Portuguese and Russian)
    - Save file restore menu [only when a game is highlighted]

    <b><!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->
    Recent Files List<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>

    Pressing Select gives you the recent files list. This list consist of the last 5 apps or games you ran on your card. There is a separate tab called Accessories, which has some preloaded applications like CheckDisk and Morning Timer. Another 3 apps can be added to this tab by manually installing .nds binaries to the SYSTEM\m3sakura\launch\ folder.
    This is just an amazing feature, very handy and it saves you loads of time.

    <b><!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Multimedia<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>

    All the multimedia functions of Moonshell are incorporated in Sakura. You don’t have to start another DS application to read E-books, to listen to Music or to watch a movie. Just start the file like you would do with a DS game, and it will work.
    The movies should be in .DPG format, just like with Moonshell.

    <b><!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Game features<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>

    The Game Settings menu can be accessed by sliding the stylus left over the highlighted game or by pressing the Y button. You have a lot of functions, like Soft Reset, Cheats, Real Time Save and Download Play. The hotkey combo is displayed next to each option.
    Not only do you get a hotkey but you get a choice of two key configs too. The cheat option can use the firmware database and individual cheat files.
    Those individual cheat files can be xml, cht, dht or dat-R4 formats.

    <img src="http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o311/Satangel_bucket/Review%20M3i%20Zero/rtsmenu.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    The Real Time Save option works exactly like the M3 Real. You can save up to three times with the RTS function per game.
    The menu is very easy and logic to navigate.
    Saving and loading with the RTS function takes about 4 seconds and the progress is shown by a percentage scale in the bottom left corner of the screen. The save states are around 4.9 megabyte in size.

    To manage your savegame files, you can acces the menu by selecting the game, pressing the Start button and selecting the Save file restore menu.
    This is actually a lot like Windows’ system restore. Each save file can have upto 8 slots which are ordered by time. To restore a previous save, highlight the appropriate date/time file and press the L+A button combo.

    <b><!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Homebrew + Skinning<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>

    All the Sakura skins use the .skn format. This is a single file package, so no more hassle with several image files!
    To change the GUI skin you just have to click on the filename.skn and the theme is instantly loaded. It works like a charm.

    The M3i Zero hast built in auto-DLDI patching, so playing homebrew is again a breeze.
    I’ve tested a lot of different homebrew applications and emulators, and they all worked, no exception.

    <b><!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Summary<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>

    The M3i Zero was hyped a lot, and I think the card really lived up to it’s hype.
    The dual-boot system is a great way to maintain the great compatibility and the Sakura OS is simply stunning. I truly hope other flashcard makers take a good look at their OS and copy some features of Sakura because everybody deserves to have those amazing features.
    The ability to update the kernel, boot flash and firmware only adds to the mix. If Nintendo releases a firmware update for the DSi that blocks the flashcards, the M3Team should be able to fix that, thanks to the fact that everything is updatable.

    <b><!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Pros<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>

    - Native 2 Operation Systems
    - M3 Sakura
    - Game features
    - Excellent multimedia playback, in the Sakura OS
    - Updatable kernel, boot flash and firmware
    - SDHC support
    - Good homebrew compatibility

    <b><!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Cons<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>

    - No software/documentation included in package
    - Hardware could have been better, especially the accessories

    <b><!--sizeo:5--><span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->9.5/10<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>

    <div align="center">Again, a big thanks to <a href="http://www.digimartz.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o311/Satangel_bucket/Review%20M3i%20Zero/logo.png" border="0" class="linked-image" /></a> for providing the review sample</div>
     


  2. Zalda

    Member Zalda GBAtemp Fan

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    Wow, great review Satangel (as usual)!
    i'll buy a m3i zero from that shop when i've got a dsi!
     
  3. rommy667

    Member rommy667 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Great review thanks a lot [​IMG] am I the only one who thinks that weird usb thing looks really really crappy and is bound to give problems?? I was gona get a m3 but went with super card simply because I prefer the usb updater with it.....
     
  4. Satangel
    OP

    Member Satangel BEAST

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    No, you're certainly not alone on that one. Almost all the people who've seen it think it's quite rubbish.
    I haven't had any problems with it, and I think that if you use it with care, you won't have any problems with it. It does what it needs to do and you don't need it a lot.
    It's just, if you do 1 wrong move, it may just snap off, and then you're some big trouble.
    I've said it in the review, if you use it correctly, you'll have a good time with it. But if you don't use it correctly and aren't careful with it, you'll end up searching a new one.
     
  5. dudereno

    Member dudereno GBAtemp Regular

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    ooh, you took your rts photo at the exact same time as mine...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Some of the other photos in your review look oddly familiar....

    No wonder other members watermark their review photos...
     
  6. hyun

    Member hyun GBAtemp Regular

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    They are the same thing!!!
    Trust me the camera angle
     
  7. fullpay

    Newcomer fullpay Member

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    thanks to the great review, and thanks for the suggestion, as it is really a good shop, i ordered from digimartz before. very cheap price with very fast delivery.
     
  8. Satangel
    OP

    Member Satangel BEAST

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    @dudereno,
    I don't know what you mean, our pictures aren't alike.
    Besides, my picture is way darker then the picture you made.
     
  9. gameguy95

    Banned gameguy95 Needs More Furries!

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    you shouldn't buy from digimartz
    from the Official List of Flashcard dealers you should not buy from:
     
  10. anaxs

    Member anaxs got milk, got candy

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    nice review
    it will help people new to m3
     
  11. Burnedmagix

    Member Burnedmagix GBAtemp Regular

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    Good review [​IMG]
    I'm really hyped up for it.
     
  12. uiplayer

    Newcomer uiplayer Advanced Member

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    i also made my puchase from digimartz.com too, i got it from them very soon. so i just want to say something fair to them
     
  13. hyun

    Member hyun GBAtemp Regular

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    Not a lot of people had good experience with them and they really deserve to be in the unofficial dealers of gbatemp.
    And even though they are your sponsor, please don't recommend them to other people if you care about other people.
     
  14. cherry

    Newcomer cherry Newbie

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    hyun, You are a lier!!!
    you don't have right to say anything. Because i got an email from andrew, the webmater of flashcartreviews.com, he warned me not send you free sample for review. Because he told me you have sent lots of emails to the popular retails for asking free sample, with saying that you are the mod of flashcartreviews.com. This is really false!!!
    so i want to warn this to all everyone not to send free sample to you!!!
     
  15. r4buyer2008

    Newcomer r4buyer2008 Member

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    oh, when i saw other's review, hyun will send offensive post!!! very rude [​IMG]
     
  16. pgamer

    Newcomer pgamer Member

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    Great review!!

    thanks very much. [​IMG]
     
  17. pgamer

    Newcomer pgamer Member

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  18. r4buyer2008

    Newcomer r4buyer2008 Member

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    Satangel, i have a question, please help me.

    as i do what you told, but my M3i Zero only can work on my DS, but can't on DSi?

    very strange.
     
  19. Satangel
    OP

    Member Satangel BEAST

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    Does your DSi have firmware 1.4?
     
  20. r4buyer2008

    Newcomer r4buyer2008 Member

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    No, i don't update mine to 1.4.
     

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