Review - EZ Flash 4 Deluxe/Compact

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by yorke, Sep 15, 2006.

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Sep 15, 2006
  1. yorke
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    Newcomer yorke Member

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    EZ Flash IV Deluxe and Compact Review

    Specifications


    EZ Flash IV Deluxe
    256Mb PSRAM (32 Mbytes)
    384Mb NorFLASH (48Mbytes)
    32Mb Loader (4 Mbytes)
    8Mb saver SRAM (1Mbyte)

    EZ Flash IV Compact
    DS Only

    First impressions
    The EZ Flash IV Deluxe/Compact comes in a well-made box that definitely is one of the more polished flash-cart boxes that I have seen. Sturdy and
    asthetically pleasing, it does the job well without being too flashy.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The review units that I was sent contained simply the EZ Flash IV units, an sd card reader and a transparent plastic holder to keep them in place. It would have been nice if a cd containing the client software was included, but it is easily downloadable off the website so that's not a major problem. The review units also did not come with additional shells for changing colours, but this is understandable given the low price which both cartridges retail at.

    [​IMG]

    Build quality
    Build issues has traditionally been a major issue for ds lite flash carts besides the G6 Lite. The microsd card slot is either too loose or too tight, or the
    cartridge itself does not fit perfectly into the GBA slot of the DS lite. How does the EZ Flash IV Compact/Deluxe fare in this respect?

    Both units fit into the GBA slot well and are removed easily, unlike the Supercard Lite. The Deluxe version seems to align better and comes pretty close to the look of the dummy cartridge. Unfortunately it does not perfectly mimic the glossy finish of the dummy cart, and the thin plastic means that the black micro-sd card slot can be seen if you look closely at it. The Compact version has another minor alignment problem when inserted into the DS Lite. Although this does not affect the functionality and is only noticed if you look closely at it, it may be a problem for some who want their devices to look perfect.

    Both units sit almost perfectly flush with the DS when inserted, eliminating the problem of the 0.8mm stickout of the previous EZ Flash IV Lite. You can feel a bit of stick out if you run your fingers over the surface of the cartridge, but it isnt noticable unless under close inspection and definitely does not pose a problem.

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    The right side of the cartridge, where the micro-sd slot is located, is not glued shut together. This is to facilitate the removal of the micro sd card as
    the two sides of the cartridge can be lifted open slightly in order to be able to remove the sd card with a pair of pliers or fingernails. I was a little
    wary with this feature as I was afraid of causing the unit to snap, however it seems that the plastic is sturdy enough to withstand the stress. It does make the removal of the micro-sd card a little easier as the micro sd card sits a little too tight in the slot and I was unable to remove it with my fingernails alone.

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    All in all the build quality could have been better. The fit is fine in my opinion, but the fact that the right side of the cartridge isnt sealed shut does
    make the cartridge feel a bit flimsy and might cause some problems in the future if the two halves begin to come apart. The EZ4 units look alright in the DS lite, not as perfect as the dust cover, but then again who really bothers to stare at the gba slot all day long?

    Performance and compatibility

    DS
    I tested these carts with a normal Kingston micro sd card, so do note that you might experience different results with your brand of micro sd card. Another thing to note is that I tested both the Deluxe and Compact units, and performance was similar on both units. The DS hardware in both units are probably the same, so no worries about inferior performance if you do decide to get the EZ4 Compact.

    The Castlevania video works nearly perfect on the EZ4 with the newest client software. There is some initial static in the audio and one or two scenes where there is some skipping, but performance has definitely improved from before.

    I did not try Animal Crossing as I do not have another microsd flash cartridge to test it with. Other DS games though seem to work great, with virtually no slowdown in any other of the games I have tried. I did notice that it took a split second longer to load the tracks in Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan however.

    DS compatibility is great, with none of the games that I tried failing to work. Compatibility with DS games is generally virtually perfect across all flash carts, and the EZ4 Deluxe/Compact lives up to expectations in this regard. Some recent releases like Harvest Moon DS and Lego Star Wars have posed a problem, but this is again common across all carts. The EZ team has been quick to resolve these issues, being the second flash cart team to release a patch for Lego Star Wars.

    GBA(Only for EZ4 Deluxe)
    This is where the EZ4 really shines. Every single one of the GBA games I have tried has worked perfectly and saved perfectly. Compatibility is on par with the M3 units, and I have had no freezes/slowdown in the games I have tried so far. The 48MB of NOR Flash in the EZ4 Deluxe means that larger games can be copied directly there and run without bootup time in the future. This does take a while though, requiring about 1 second per megabit, and you might have to wait up to a few minutes time for roms larger than 16MB. I did run into some issues with this feature that required me to power the DS off, but it worked
    fine again after a reset.

    Booting up GBA roms without copying them into NORFlash requires the rom to be copied from the card to PSRAM. This process takes about 6 seconds for a 8 MB rom.

    The EZ4 is definitely one of the best flashcarts out there when it comes to compatibility with DS and GBA games, and its GBA performance really shines through.

    Interface
    The EZ4 is operated by a touch screen interface which can also be handled by the buttons. It is pretty simple and does not offer much in terms of functions like music/ebooks etc, instead relying on the user to install his own applications to handle these media. The only option lets you choose between obliged and autosaving, where in the latter you have the choice of cancelling a save by holding on to the L button.
    GBA/DS roms are easily selected booted, and the interface is fast and responsive. It can also be skinned to your liking with the easily available skinning
    software located on the EZ4 forums(http://www.sosuke.com/ezflash/).

    [​IMG]

    Saving
    DS and GBA work in the same way as the M3. The save game is stored in SRAM, and when the device is turned back on it saves the data in the SRAM onto the sd card. The direct way of saving the save data onto the SD card like the Supercard does would have been better, but the EZ4 method works fine. Saving does take a curiously long time though(up to 5 seconds for a 32KB Gba save file), and might get a little annoying when you want to switch games quickly.

    Client software
    The EZ4 client software is easy to use and virtually foolproof. Simply choose your output directory(your microsd card), select a bunch of roms(batch
    conversion is supported) and press send. There are minor annoyances like an alert notifying you that your rom is not clean if it has not been added into the database yet, but the program works well and does its job. You can also add cheats to the game although I have not tried that function out yet.

    Conclusion
    The EZ4 Deluxe/Compact might not be the most feature rich flash cart on the market at the moment, but it can definitely hold its own against the competition with very solid performance and compatibility. There are a few minor build issues that could be improved on with regards to alignment in the GBA slot and the casing, but that doesn't really matter once you slot the cartridge into the gba slot since you'll be looking at the screen anyway. A clean interface and very impressive hardware specs means that the EZ 4 Deluxe/Compact does what its supposed to do well. The GBA performance of the EZ 4 Deluxe is excellent, and should please any diehard GBA fans who want to have access to glitch-free versions of their games at all times, while DS compatibility and performance is not perfect but is close to it. The great price which the EZ team is selling these units for makes this a must-buy flash cart if you are looking for one that offers excellent GBA and DS performance for a low price.

    Final Score: 9/10
     
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