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Discussion in 'Official GBAtemp Reviews' started by TheSpade, Dec 31, 2006.
Please see the post below for the review
GBAtemp.net review of the...
Ninjapass X9 Review
Manufactured by: Ninjapass
Review samples supplied by: CheapMod.net
By TheSpade - 22th April 2007
Review Contents & Index:
- Official feature list
Packaging and Contents
- Box Contents
Setting Up & Using
- GUI (OS)
- ROM compatibility
- Download Play / Single-Cart Multiplayer / Wi-Fi Connection
- Battery life
The Slot-1 flash card invasion started sometime ago, and the Ninjapass X9 was one of the first out of the gates. In my initial review, it achieved a fair score, but definitely far from one worthy of bragging rights. After many months, Team Ninjapass has set out to improve many of the defeciencies it once had. Did they succeed, or shall medriocity be an environment suitable for this flash card? Let's begin the journey once again.
Official Feature List:
Same size as original DS cartridge, never stick out of any DS & DS Lite.
NO PC software required , Directly Drag‘N drop all files into the TF card.
Directly play in SLOT1 of the DS without any passcard . FlashMe or WifiMe.
Supports the ultra large capacity TF(MicroSD)memory card upto 4GB(32Gbit).
Supports all version of DS : Fat DS . DSL .IDS . IDSL.
Compatible with Clean Rom , Movie, Music and other media files.
Automatically detect gamesave type (support 4k, 64k , 512k EEPROM, 2M and 4M Flash).
Automatically create the gamesave file.
Compatible with DS Browser (with Memory Expansion Pack) & Rumble Pack.
Intuitively designed custom operating system which is fully upgradeable.
Supports OS skinnable (Touchscreen or button operation).
Supports PassCard function.
Compatible with the OS Multi Language.
Compatible with the 3rd party homebrew and games.
Packaging and Contents
USB 2.0 Secure Digital Reader
Replacement Casing with decals
Packaging has a reflective background surrounding the product logo. Inside, you'll find the flash card itself in transparent black, a replacement casing in clear transparent along with two decals. You will need the decals, if you intend on swapping casings. Read on why that might not be such a good idea. A nice bonus in the included USB reader, embroidered with the Ninjapass logo. It's helpful for those who may not yet own a card reader for their PCs or Macs.
The Ninjapass X9 is indeed the same size as a DS game card, although the plastic feels rather thin and flimsy versus real game cards and other slot-1 devices. The board is secured within the casing by 4 small screws, and they can strip quite easily. If you have any plans on swapping casings, then I recommend that you take great care while changing them. With a slight press of my pinky, I personally managed to crack one of them. You'll notice that the casings each have a hole for one of the board's chips that must pertrude. This makes the NinjaPass X9 a tight fit when removing it from your DS. After you eject it off the springs, you must carefully pull it towards the DS side to get it out. While this doesn't seem to cause any damage, it may be a bit concerning to others. With all that you get inside the box, you will just need a piece of micro-SD memory with its adapter and a PC or Mac with an internet connection. There is no software included, as there is none to install whatsoever.
One note of interest is the board in its relation of inserting the X9 into the DS. The Actel chip seen in the photo is quite raised off the main board. Even the casings have a cut in order to allow the chip to pertrude. This makes the X9 a very tight fit. It's indeed the roughest in terms of removing of any slot-1 card that I presently own. As I stated in the previous review, the team needs to address the design flaws in order to gain more favor among potential buyers.
Setting Up & Using
Setting up your Micro-SD memory to use with the Ninjapass X9 is an easy task. First, you must format your memory as FAT16 first. Next, copy the XS loader.nds and tfsystem folder to your memory. Then, you drag and drop your uncompressed ROMs onto the memory's root. Finally, you plug the X9 into your DS and play. It is a bit easier than it once was and on par with ease of use with its competitors in terms of setting up.
Far removed of the GUI's former status, the present one isn't too shabby. On the top screen, you'll see the X9 logo along with a box on the lower end giving the ROM's number (a first), brief name (not always accurate) and the save file type. On the lower screen, you'll see the .nds files in their native form. Continuing on the lower screen, there are 3 buttons below. The GUI is cut and dry. It lets you play games and homebrew apps and nothing more. No extras about, like skin apps, like DS-Xtreme, PDA like G6/M3, nada. The X9's primary focus is to play. For basic players, this is all they will need.
Depending on which brand of memory you possess, here is where you instruct the X9 how to relate performance towards. This is basically trial and error. You'll need to first identify how well your memory's read and write speed relate. If you own a top tier brand, such as Toshiba or Kingston (Japan), then you'll know that Turbo is a safe bet. Otherwise, you'll find yourself testing and testing to get the right speed depending on which games and apps you are running. There is no written guide available to tell owners which speed is for which brand minus what's at Scorpei's X9 Wiki (which doesn't even list my memory brand accurately), so in this regard, it is a bit on the side of neglect. Hopefully, a future OS update can clear this up. Mind you, it's not a major issue, but it does lie on a scale of annoyance.
Manual & Auto:
The other two buttons involved are save functions. Auto creates and saves to an identical file of your .nds game or app. Manual allows you to choose which save file to use. With Manual, you can indeed support multiple saves upon one X9 unit. It's a nice feature for fiscally-restricted households along with cheap bastards.
While it only states it can do so in the product's features, X9 does indeed work as a nopass, but there was nowhere on the site's manual or stated upon the GUI that tells you how. I had to dig into their forums and search for it. At the main screen of the GUI, press the L Button to boot to your favorite slot-2 card. Long ago, it could only boot EWin2 and EZ-Flash IV. Now, it will boot a wider range of flash cards, such as M3 Perfect and Supercard.
At one time, this was an area that I could find few words of praise to comment upon.
While I did go through and test a lot of games once again, and much more functional this time around, I'm not going to make a long, drawn-out list. The reason being is because people really want to know the answer to the following questions:
Q: Is there any game that won't work?
A: Cars (any region) and the usual suspect, Super Mario 64 DS (USA) (older dump), will freeze. All other games seem to run as intended. Slow write/speed memory cards may notice some slowdown. Be sure to experiment with the Card Speed option to find the optimum performance.
Q: Will Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin play properly without freezing?
A: If you own a top-speed Micro-SD, such as Toshiba or Kingston (Japan), then yes. If not, as I myself don't own either brand, then you'll have to play the real game card solely.
Q: Will it work with the Nintendo DS Browser?
A: If you have the patched ROM and cooresponding slot-2 flash card (G6, M3, Supercard), then yes. Otherwise, you'll need the official memory expansion.
Download Play / Single-cart Multiplayer / Wi-Fi Connection:
Once again, due to not having two DS units available to me, I am unable to personally test Download Play. There has been some dicussions that have caught my eye concerning some games having protections (usually Nintendo-published titles), while others need to be redumped. I don't know if these statements are exact or not, nor do I care. No slot-1 flash card had superiority on download play over any others as far as I know. If everyone you are playing against has a flash card, then this isn't an issue. Fortunately, all Wi-Fi Connection titles will play online.
Battery Life Results:
There has never been any notice during either testing processes of mine to spot any battery life that could be deemed less than average. Though the days of worrying about this attribute isn't that far in the past, this area of review has relatively become moot these days. Let's hope we continue to see an utter extinction of battery-guzzling flash cards.
While I usually find this to be a moot area, since we are revising the review, it is worth mentioning a few points. Users have reported upon the latest updates that both Moonshell and DSOrganize now run. Beforehand, you had to depend on a beta version of Moonshell, and DSOrganize wasn't running at all. In addition, the team has also debuted a brand new DLDI driver, bringing homebrew support to the equivalent of its competitors. As always, if the game or application is DLDI compatible, then you can likely play it on X9.
The Ninjapass X9 got a very bad rap in its beginnings, including by yours truly. It was a bit rushed out to the market upon initially suffering buyers. Taking into account all of the present condition, things have improved somewhat. I say somewhat, because there are still some issues. The hardware design, with a bulky circuit board causing a tight fit into the DS slot and cheaply made casings, needs to return to the drawing board. If Supercard can do it with their slot-1, then so can this team. The GUI may not have all of the bells and whistles that other cards provide, but it is basic enough for the average user to pick up, setup and play. Too bad you still have to tell it how fast your Micro-SD card is rather than it figuring it out itself. Retailing from 25-55 dollars USD, it is indeed on the cheaper end of the price spectrum, providing you can find it on the low side or even in-stock somewhere. Tragically, with the king of slot-1 removable memory, M3 DS Simply / R4 DS, still dominating and easily found, this card seems to have missed the boat. Perhaps, the formentioned redesign along with a marketing campaign can revitalize it. As of right now, you can find better.
+ Interchangable casings
+ Multi-operating system friendly
+ Drag and drop clean ROMs
+ Supports multiple saves per game
+ Skinable GUI
+ DLDI homebrew support
+ An official English web forum
- Bulky circuit board
- Flimsy casings can snap quite easily while changing
- Can be tasking to remove
- Lacks many options versus its competitors
Purchase this cart from our affiliated shops:
Purchase a NinjaPass X9 at CheapMod.net !
NinjaPass X9 Homepage
NinjaPass Evolution Forum
NinjaPass X9 Compatibility List @ Wiki.Scorpei.com
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, then please let me know via a private message here at GBAtemp.