Review-Ewin2 Lite

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Mewgia, Apr 1, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Mewgia

    Mewgia drifter

    Dec 16, 2006
    United States
    Boston, MA
    Review of the Ewin2 Lite

    You may not have heard about the Ewin2 or even the Ewin team, but they are a flashcart maker that seems to be getting a reputation for making high-quality flashcarts but introducing them relatively late. Anyway, here's my take on their most recent cart, the Ewin2.


    The packaging is simply a thin cardboard box with a foil label and a some well-placed text on it but it did what it was supposed to do, which was hold the product. There is nothing else inside the box besides the thin, easily bendable plastic tray that holds the cart and the cart itself.


    The build quality of the Ewin2 itself is quite high, and it is a very sturdy cart. Even though the packaging is flimsy, it would be very difficult for the cart to get damaged while shipping. Attempting to bend it is not very fruitful, and the pieces of the casing stick together very well with no visible gaps. The plastic is only slightly more bendable than the official DS Lite dust cover, and, besides the glossiness of the official cart and the sticker on the Ewin2, the casings look exactly the same.
    TheSpade’s mini-review of the Ewin2 Lite suggested that the cart stuck out of the DS Lite, but mine does not (The Ewin company probably came out with a new mold for the cart). The cart fit perfectly into my DS Lite, as well as the official dust cover does. It was a little difficult to get the cart out at first, but after some use it is quite easy. I see no design flaws here.
    The MicroSD slot it facing outward and is spring loaded, so it is very easy to access the card. Or, it would be, if the MicroSD card didn’t go so far in. There is a tiny, tiny little bit of space between the top of the MicroSD card and the top of the cart when the card is fully inserted, and this small discrepancy makes popping out the card difficult if you don’t have fairly long fingernails (Since I do have long fingernails it wasn’t really a problem for me, but my friend had to take the cart out first before removing the MicroSD card). But, the slot is conveniently spring loaded. Very much so, in fact. If I release the MicroSD card correctly when removing it, the card springs up about three feet/ one meter into the air. This, however, is irrelevant to the review and I just put it here for no real reason other than to inform you on a random topic. Moving on:

    Obtaining the Software:

    Since there is not software included in the packaging, you must use the internet to download everything. Because I read DarkForce’s Ewin2 review, I knew exactly where to look for the newest software (The exact web page url is right here). That’s right, it is all in Chinese. The official English page has next to nothing on it, with only a few software updates on the page, making it useless. The Chinese page is still fairly easy to move around in, since the newest update is at or near the top with the date that the topic was posted easily visible (thus making it easy to figure out when the update was released).
    I later discovered that you can go to DjoeN’s Ewin/Supercard website to get all of the latest software that he has helpfully mirrored.

    Using the Software [PC side]:

    After downloading the software, which took far too long because of Ewin’s sloooow servers, I opened up the software to start patching my roms. This, contrary to obtaining the software, was extremely easy. The software was all in English already, with an option to change it to Chinese. The process for patching goes like this:
    Find the roms in a folder or drag-and-drop them into the window for patching, check the boxes of the options you want to use, select the output folder, and start patching. The patching process did not take all that long, and I soon had a good amount of patched roms sitting on my hard drive. The options were “save patch”, “trim rom”, “autonaming” (So that the rom had the correct name, not whatever the filename was when you downloaded it), and “force access” (Which is used to help compatibly). As DarkForce pointed out, there are no “GBA Union” or “soft reset” functions, but there does seem to be a soft reset that works in most games anyway (more on this later in the review). So, now I have my roms, all patched and ready. Also, there is a “Software update” button so that you don’t have to check the website to update the manager software (you do, however, have to go to the website to get the newest firmware)

    Using the cart:

    As stated in other reviews, the Ewin2 work with the first-gen Passcard or Superkey, but my DSL is flashed anyways so it did not affect me at all. I inserted the cart, truned on my DS, and the GUI booted up almost instantly after the DS was turned on.

    Because GBAtemp user Grubbymitts reported that the newest firmware update messed up your saves, I went with the one released right before that (1.96.5R). Updating the firmware was simple, all you do is press L, R, and Up at the same time and it will ask you if you want to update. Updating does not take to long and there is a status bar to show the progress of the update. The GUI of the Ewin2 had a very nice, clean look, though I do not believe that it is skinnable (which I don’t care about anyway). Navigation is quick with no delays while browsing lots of files. The Ewin2 logo, the time, the date and the battery’s status all appear as graphics on the top screen, with navigation taking place on the touch screen. There is a bar on the bottom of the touch screen that shows certain functions you can do, but more on that later. Up to four files are shown on the screen at a time, with nice, big icons and text that is easy on the eyes. An icon for the file sits to the left of some nice text that shows the file name and size. Navigation is done with the D-pad; up and down are used for normal scrolling, while the left and right directional buttons are used to skip from one screen of four files to the next. A is used to select files, though you can also tap them with the stylus for selection.
    In the GUI, there are certain useful functions that can be used. Pressing X (or tapping the spot where it says [X] File Filter), it tells you that you can press A to Open, press the R button while highlighting a .nds file to go into a more detailed view of the file (in which you can see the game title, “game code”, and game size) and it says that you can press Y for help. Now, here we run into a problem. When you press the Y button, it does the exact same thing as pressing A, meaning that you launch whatever is highlighted at the moment. To go to help, you have to press the “select” button. The Help menu lists the various button functions I just detailed, along with another one, “Delete file.” Now, this could be useful, which button do I press? The help menu says to press the “select” button. But since select goes into the help menu, deleting files from inside the Ewin2 GUI is rendered impossible. Aside from this problem, the Ewin2’s GUI is very nice and has fast navigation.
    In contrast to the fast menus, launching roms and saving your game is relatively slow. It can take up to seven seconds to launch a large game such as Jet Impulse, and saving a game on Advanced Wars: Dual Strike takes about three seconds. Saving on Theme Park DS takes more like 15 to 20 seconds, which can be a problem to me when I’m rushing to go somewhere.

    NDS ROM Compatibility:

    For review purposes, I tested a small number of roms (I would have done more, but DjoeN’s rom compatibility list is quite good and there have already been tests done for a lot of games by Darkforce in his review, so more supplementary tests were not needed), and all of them worked-with one exception, Wario: Master of Disguise (yep, Portrait Of Ruin worked fine!). All files tested on a 1GB PNY Japan MicroSD card and a DS Lite with Flashme.

    Advanced Wars: Dual Strike
    Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
    Dragon Quest: Rocket Slime
    Jump! Ultimate Stars
    Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki
    Kirby: Canvas Curse
    Kirby: Squeak Squad
    Lunar Knights
    Mario Kart DS
    Metroid Prime: Hunters
    New Super Mario Bros.
    Osu! Takae! Ouendan!
    Phoenix Wright: Ace Attourney
    Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: And Justice For All
    Wario: Masrt of Duisguise
    Yoshi’s Island DS
    Yu-Gi-Oh! Spirit Caller
    Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2007

    DjoeN’s great Ewin2 rom compatibility list can be found here (Click on "Ewin2" in the sidebar)


    On to homebrew compatibility! This, sadly, turns out to be less-than-stellar. Almost anything that is non-DLDI compatible just won’t work, and even some of them fail. Another thing I noticed is that you have to create a .sav file for every homebrew game or application, and there is no way of doing so from inside the GUI, which can get very, very annoying. Anyway, here’s a small list of homebrew that I tested.

    Moonshell 1.6
    Moonshell 1.7
    Rein 17 and 17A
    Reinmoon .6 beta
    Okiwi Alpha (opens, but freezes immediately)
    SNEmulDS .5a (launches and shows .smc files that I have, but then freezes)
    DSOrganize 2.7alpha3
    Warcraft: Tower Defense .31 beta
    Everlasting Love (This may have failed because the DLDI patcher I used did not patch it correctly for some reason)

    So, yeah, don’t get this cart if you like using homebrew frequently.


    The Ewin2 is a great cart if you’re looking for something very cheap but good quality. At only $21 shipped (from it was a bargain. This cart has near-perfect NDS rom compatibility, Nice GUI, fits flush into my DS Lite, and is very sturdy, but the homebrew compatibility is horrid, you have to have a .sav file for all homebrew, and, of course, you still have to patch roms.

    Dirt cheap
    Very sturdy
    Excellent patching software
    Fast, clean GUI
    Fits Flush with the DS Lite
    Has a spring-loaded MicroSD slot that sits on the outer edge
    Near-perfect NDS rom compatibility

    Very low Homebrew support
    No GBA support (Unless you get the Ewin2 "Pro", the Ewin2 has no GBA support)
    Minimal English Support from the team

    So, what do I rate this cart, compared to other carts? Well, I can’t really say. Why? Because, sadly, the only other cart I’ve ever had was a GBAMP, and as such I cannot really give it a comparative score. I will still score it, however the accuracy of the score cannot really be tested.

    I give it a:

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.