Neo Team Mk4-Mini Review

Discussion in 'Official GBAtemp Reviews' started by shaunj66, Aug 6, 2006.

Aug 6, 2006

Neo Team Mk4-Mini Review by shaunj66 at 2:39 PM (16,208 Views / 0 Likes) 0 replies

  1. shaunj66
    OP

    Administrator shaunj66 Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Messages:
    9,830
    Location:
    South England
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    GBAtemp.net review of the...

    Neo Team MK4-Mini [​IMG]
    Supplied by Gamer Section
    Manufactured by: Neo Team

    By shaunj66 - 8th August 2006

    Introduction

    Welcome to GBAtemp.net's review of the Neo Team MK4-Mini.

    Thanks to our new partner Gamer Section for supplying us with the MK4 Mini. [​IMG] They're a Canada-based flash kit store run by some real friendly people, so go and check them out.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The MK4-Mini is a Nopass device created by the Neo Team, the guys behind the original Neoflash kit.

    What differentiates the MK4-Mini from other flash kits is a small switch located on the top of the device. This small switch allows the user to boot from either the GBA slot (like any regular passme/nopass) or the NDS slot (which may seem useless - but some past Neoflash products support it and so could future ones!). More on this later...

    How does this Nopass compare to the rest? Read on!

    The MK4-Mini

    The MK4-Mini - is another NoPass device. These NoPass's are very different than PassMe's, which relied on security flaws in the DS' hardware/software to run unsigned code from the GBA slot. Instead, a NoPass device contains code that is encrypted in the same way as a regular DS game card. Which allows the DS to recognise and load it without the need for hacks, or original game carts sticking out the back. This allows for a much smaller form size.

    The MK4-Mini shapes up exactly the same as a regular DS game cart, so you won't find it sticking out of your DS slot. It fits in flush at the top.
    The MK4-Mini is available in 4 colours at the time this review was made, matching the colours of all currently available DS consoles. These are white, baby blue, navy and black. Though strangely enough, shops seem to be supplied with random colours and it doesn't seem possible to choose the colour you want specifically. Either the shop sends a random colour or whatever they have recieved (though I'm sure if you e-mail the store you're buying from and ask them, they should be happy enough to help you with your colour choice providing they have it).

    My MK4-Mini is pure white.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The MK4-Mini has a shiny metallic sticker on the front (which is a pain in the ass when taking photographs!) with a small description of it. And on the back is another smaller sticker with the GBA NDS switch directions on it. (More on that later in the review).

    Packaging

    My MK4-Mini arrived in a nice professional - very retail - looking plastic casing, which clips together (no bastard blister packaging here - thank Jebus!). With a very reflective shiny cardboard inner.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    On the back of the package is a small set of instructions and a brief rundown of the MK4-Mini's features.

    [​IMG]

    In between the cardboard lining is a small CD-ROM.
    The CD-ROM contains a lot of pages and information you can find on the Neo Team's website, but also contains some of the latest software for some of their projects and helpful files like the latest version of FlashMe.
    The CD isn't necessary to use the MK4-Mini but contains some useful information that might help some users.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Hardware and Design


    As I already mentioned, the MK4-Mini is exactly the same size as a regular DS game cart.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The small switch located on the top of the MK4-Mini allows you to change the way the MK4-Mini acts.

    If you flick it across to 'GBA mode' the MK4-Mini will act like any regular passme/nopass and will boot straight to the adapter inserted into the GBA slot, avoiding the regular DS menu.

    If you set the switch to 'NDS mode' the MK4-Mini will show in the DS menu as "MK4 MINI", and upon booting you're presented with a small menu which allows you to boot some of the previous Neoflash Teams products such as the Magic Key 2, and it even allows you to dump games if you have the correct hardware at hand.
    Using this internal menu you can still boot to a GBA slot adapter, but the compatibility seems lower than when the MK4-Mini is set to GBA mode. It wouldn't boot to my M3 adapter in NDS Mode, but GBA mode works fine.

    The MK4-Mini is said to be compatible with every GBA slot style adapter available, and I can confirm that it works with the following:

    - Supercard (regular SD version) - PASS
    - M3 Adapter (regular SD version) - PASS
    - EZ IV Lite - PASS
    - Supercard Lite - PASS

    Here are some photos of the MK4-Mini in action in the old style and Lite DS...

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    On first glance, the build quality of the MK4-Mini seems great. It's strong and durable and doesn't bend or creak...
    But when you look closer, you'll more than likely notice a small problem - Look below...

    [​IMG]

    The small switch located at the top of the MK4-Mini is just a little too fat for the plastic casing to hold properly. And unfortunately on many MK4-Mini's the tiny piece of plastic that runs along the top of the switch will be broke. Mine was broken when it arrived.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Now don't get me wrong, this doesn't affect the performance or strength of the MK4-Mini in any way. It's just a shame to see that this little build quality issue could have been resolved if they had worked on it.
    The small piece of plastic that is snapped and bent upwards in the picture above, eventually broke completely off my MK4-Mini and it actually looks better now there's no broken plastic there. The sticker on the back of the cart covers up the gap anyway. And the switch is securely soldered to the PCB and won't be affected by the loss of plastic - it won't move anywhere.

    The switch is a bit fiddly, but can easily be flicked left and right by using your nail or any small tool/pointy object.

    The MK4-Mini slots into the DS slot of an old style DS (aka. DS phat) just fine. But feels a tiny bit tighter going into the DS slot on a DS Lite (which I didn't know was actually tighter - but apparently so). It feels a little tight getting in there which is because the MK4-Mini is a tiny bit chubbier than other DS carts. This is due to the large ROM on the PCB and the switch at the top. But doesn't take much effort to insert, and does eject just fine. It's nothing near as bad as the original SuperPass.

    The MK4-Mini is kitted with a whole 2Mbit on-board flash memory for storing save games on older style flash kit solutions and other software that can take advantage of it. So if you're using an old flash kit to boot DS games and programs, such as a regular GBA flash cart and patcher, then you will have a whole 2Mbit of memory to store save data directly onto the MK4-Mini.
    This is the largest save type currently used on any commercial NDS game cart, so it's a nice feature to have on-board the MK4-Mini.
    But most modern flash kits for example the M3 Adapter, Supercard or the EZ IV don't rely on storing save data on the pass card anymore. They have their own methods for holding save data, so unless you know you're knowingly going to use the EEPROM on the MK4-Mini you can ignore it anyway.

    Using the MK4-Mini


    Using the MK4-Mini works just fine. And acts just as a passme/nopass should. [​IMG]

    Just pop it into your DS slot with it set to whatever mode you prefer (GBA probably), turn on your NDS, and it boots into the adapter in your GBA slot!

    As covered above in the 'Hardware and Design' section of this review, if you set the MK4-Mini into NDS mode and boot it up; the MK4-Mini will show as a selection in the DS menu as below...

    [​IMG]

    The MK4-Mini has no splash screen in either GBA nor NDS mode. And it works just fine on both the original Nintendo DS and the DS Lite. It's also said to be compatible with the iQue DS but I can't test this personally!
    Also, the MK4-Mini works fine with putting your NDS into sleep mode. I've tested it personally.

    The MK4-Mini is said to be compatible with any GBA adapter, but keep on eye on Qrayzie's NoPass Comparison Chart for further compatibility tests.

    Conclusion


    The MK4-Mini is hard to fault. It's a very nice nopass, with a couple of features that no other pass card can offer, such as the GBA NDS mode switch or the 2Mbit of onboard EEPROM.
    The only thing that lets it down is its build quality - the broken plastic and it's slight chubbiness. Which is a shame because overall it's a very nice and well thought through passcard and is very similar in price to most other pass cards.

    Re-evaluation

    As of 25th September 2007

    With the emergence of slot-1 solutions, it appears that passcards such as this one have become completely obsolete.
    This device did its job (and did it well) when we needed it, but now for any slot-1 owner it isn't much more useful than a piece of plastic. However if you feel compelled to use a slot-2 flashcart for some reason, you might find this device a good solution.

    Pros
    + Same size as a normal DS game cart - doesn't stick out!
    + Extremely simple to use
    + No programming required
    + Compatible with all currently available versions of DS
    + Compatible with all GBA mode adapters
    + Supports sleep mode
    + 2Mbit of onboard memory
    + GBA/NDS mode switch
    + Available in a variety of colours

    Cons
    - Poor build quality - broken plastic at the top of the cart is a common defect
    - Fits into the DS Lite slot quite tightly
    - Consumes battery life the same as any other pass card

    Overall
    8/10


    Sample kit supplied by Gamer Section
    [​IMG]


    Affiliated sites
    Purchase this cart from our affiliated shops:

    ÂÂÂÂ





    You can find the MK4-Mini for sale at the following stores:
     

Share This Page