Hacking Review: EZ4Lite Deluxe/Compact (DSL)

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EZ4 Deluxe and Compact Review
By: Bernie Yee
September 12th, 2006



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Contents:
1. Introduction
2. Contents
3. Design
4. Features
5. Performance
6. Conclusion



Introduction
A few months ago, the EZ Team released their newest additions for the NDS, the EZ4MiniSD and EZ4Lite. They were huge successes due to amazing GBA support and DS support with a ton of potential.

Now they have done it again with the new release of the EZ4Lite Deluxe and Compact. They are completely redesigned from the inside out and with more features!


Contents
When you first get your package, the biggest thing you’d notice is the box. The design has been simplified and no longer sports a magnetized cover. The EZ4Lite logo has also been redesigned and looks very futuristic.

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A bit of info is written on the back (which most people don’t bother to read) and the front sports a nice and simple description of the product. Both the Deluxe and Compact have the same box design, but the only difference is that a sticker will be placed that says either Deluxe or Compact on the front, which is obviously which model you got. =P

Once you open the box, another difference from the older EZ4Lite is that the container no longer has a sort of suede / leather feel to it, but rather just thin plastic. Inside the container, there it is… the glorious remodeled EZ4Lite Deluxe / Compact with a complimentary SD card reader (saves you about 10 bucks.) However, it no longer has 3 faceplates (or at least my test version didn’t, even though on WinsunX it says it comes with a black casing.) and a USB extension cable, so you’re out of luck if you need one!

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Design
The redesigned EZ4Lite is now about the same size as the original dust cover. However, when compared to the Supercard Lite and the dust cover, the EZ4Lite still sticks out a bit. The little bit shouldn’t bother most people since it’s only about a MM or two. I have taken pictures from the top, bottom and side.

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The build is better in my opinion than the old EZ4Lite. However, I do have one beef with it, which is that the hinge next to the SD slot tends to pop out a lot on my Deluxe. (my Compact has no problems and works like a charm! =D) If you ever have any problems with one side being unbalanced, etc, one suggestion I’ve received is to loosen the screw a bit, but not too much so it falls out. Anyways, the plastic is pretty sturdy, much better than the older one.

The new redesigned EZ4Lite still retains the side-loading MicroSD slot (which most people prefer) and it seems to be much easier to take out the SD card in this new addition to the EZ family. Below are pictures of the back and front side PCBs of the new EZ4Lites.

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Most people complained that until now, all the DS Lite Slot 2 solutions had no gloss layer, but all your prayers have been answered with the new EZ4Lite. Supposedly, the makers of the spray are the same ones that sprayed the DS Lite dust covers. The glossy layer is thin compared to the dust cover, but it does its job and an excellent one at that!

Features
One thing you must note and remember if you’re in the neighborhood of buying an EZ4Lite, is that the Deluxe includes GBA support meanwhile the Compact version does not.

As both version has also been redesigned from the inside out, the Deluxe version features 256Mbits of PSRAM so you can now load 256Mbit GBA ROMs without the need of burning to the NOR flash. The Deluxe also features another impressive memory upgrade, 384Mbits of NOR flash. This allows you to burn 384Mbits worth of GBA games to the flash portion of your Deluxe ( think of it as a GBA flash cart ) so you never need to wait 5 to 10 seconds again for a GBA game to load.

Since the Compact has no GBA support, GBA ROMs do not show up in the DS loader. The GBA loader still retains the same theme as before, Minesweepers, etc. But when you pick a ROM in the EZ-Disk, it will say that GBA is not supported on this card.

Basically that’s it for the new features. These two completely different flash cards will each attract buyers of all kinds, due to the GBA support removed in the Compact version. The Deluxe has been upgraded a lot and it’s pretty sweet.


Performance
Performance-wise, the EZ4Lite Deluxe / Compact still retains the impressive (and possibly perfect?) GBA support, while sporting a pretty decent DS and homebrew selection and support. The main homebrews like Moonshell, BeUp all work, and I believe DSorganize works if you use an older version (be sure to rename your homebrews to either GBA or BIN extension)

I will be comparing the EZ4 to the other famous Slot 2 solution, the Supercard Lite in this section.

By the way, these are the details of my MicroSD card taken with HDTach:
• Burst speed 4.0MB/s
• Random access 2.7ms
• Average read 3.9MB/s

As you can see, my card’s not that fast, but it definitely gets the job done when used with my Supercard Lite. Now let’s see if it does the same on the new EZ4Lite Deluxe and Compact.

I tested Animal Crossing: Wild World by walking outside and walking back inside my house and recording the times with a stop-watch on both my Supercard Lite and new EZ4Lite. How I tested was that I started immediately the moment the whole screen turned black and stopped when the whole screen was filled with beautiful pixels. Here are my results:

For the EZ4Lite, it took 6.5 seconds for it to load the outside world and 2.65 seconds to load the inside of the house. Meanwhile, for the SC-Lite, it took 4 seconds for it to load the outside world and 2 seconds to load the inside.

As you can see, there’s quite a huge difference, especially since 6.5 seconds is a long time, but the September 6th release of EZ4 Client did speed things up a bit as I am pretty sure they use to be much longer.

The Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow intro was perfect except for the crackling sound effects on the SC-Lite. On the EZ4Lite however, along with the new update by the EZ Team, the intro has improved greatly and only skips a bit compared to more than half the intro skipping before.

Lost Magic also lagged a bit during load times on the EZ4, but most people shouldn’t notice it unless they have another flash cart to try or the original.

For the GBA side of things, I must say I am and has always been impressed. The EZ Team has always been excellent at GBA support and this time it’s no difference. With the newer memory upgrades, it makes its products really stand out GBA-wise.

I tested the following games without slowdowns, when they did on the SC-Lite and they are: Dragonball GT: Transformation, Metal Slug Advanced, Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival and NHL2002.

So it’s pretty safe to say that even though the SC-Lite has better DS performance at the moment, the EZ4Lite’s only a tiny bit behind, and retaliates with better GBA performance.


Conclusion
The newly redesigned EZ4Lite Deluxe and Compact are excellent products with average DS support and outstanding GBA support with many features. Many people should choose this if they want an amazing mix of DS/GBA as only a few games have slowdowns on the EZ4Lite. The potential of the EZ4Lite is also amazing as there are constant updates to the software and firmware providing better compatibility and performance.

The looks of the new EZ4Lite is also outstanding even though it seems to stick a bit more than the current SC-Lite and dustcover and is the first DS Lite flash cart to have the sexy gloss. =D

Pros:
1. 1st DS Lite flash cart to have a glossy layer
2. Excellent GBA support again
3. New and improved GBA flash memory
4. A great mix of DS support ( with lots of potential )
5. Are super cheap compared to the M3 Lite and G6s
6. Almost the same size as the dustcover
7. Easier and better MicroSD slot
8. Plastic is definitely durable, although flexible

Cons:
1. Isn’t fully flushed and sticks out more than the other competitors
2. MicroSD is still sort of hard to take out
3. The hinges on the cover tend to pop out
4. The build can always been improved on
5. Average Joes might have problem wondering what to do without any manuals
6. Homebrew support is average (no FAT write support)


FINAL SCORE = 8.5/10



Review kits supplied by the EZTeam, thanks.
 

TheStump

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im wodering if sanding down the shell slightly would make the cart fit perfectly, or is the problem with the card holder?
as i mention on sosuke, nice review
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