Review - R4

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Wii_DS., Oct 3, 2007.

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  1. Wii_DS.

    Wii_DS. ウォリアー

    Sep 5, 2007
    R4 Review

    Thanks to and the R4 Team for providing me a copy of the R4 for Review.


    Welcome to the my first review of a Flash Card. Today i will be reviewing the daddy of all Flash cards: The R4.

    Part I: Boxing/Contents

    When i received my R4 it came in a box which had a sleeve over the main box, slip it off and you get presented with a white slim box with 'R4' printed in silver. To open it all you had to do was lift the flap and you get access to one Nintendo DS Cart holder, in which the black R4 laid in and a Micro SD Card reader/writer. Open the white box from the side by a pull on another flap (which was secured) you have a Wrist Strap and a Mini CD. The whole box was made out of Cardboard and can be easily damaged, the contents when you opened the first flap were only held down by cardboard cut into a special way and size so the product wouldn't move about. The Boxing was simple, far to simple.

    Early reports say the Micro SD Card reader/writer was not trust worthy, cheap and you were adversed to get a better Micro SD Card reader/writer, but i got a later batch and the R4 Team changed it. It is now small, rectangle silver and looks promising. The wrist strap looked sturdy, for me it is confusing why the R4 included this but it seems nice, although its a bit small for my liking. The Nintendo DS Cart holder had the black R4 inside it. It can hold Two Nintendo DS Carts and it is well secured, I'm happy the R4 team left the R4 in this case as it is protect heavily by rubber insides and plastic on the outside, removing and shocks and bumps the R4 takes during Shipping. The R4 came with a Mini CD, the size of a Gamecube disk, which includes software to help you with the R4, I thought this was very useless and you can easily get the Software from the Internet and the software isn't any good.

    Part II: The R4, Looks and Build.


    Pictures on the Internet show the R4 look black, how very wrong. The cart is actually horribly Grayish which stands out on a black Nintendo DS, and even more on a white Nintendo DS


    Shiny label include which makes it look nice and it is great that the R4 team didn't include a bland boring label, looks are important! The R4 is the same size and looks of a Normal Nintendo DS Cart, but the R4 boasts a Micro SD Card slot on the top of the cart.


    One common problem of the R4 is it is Spring loaded. Sometimes the spring can break and your left with a spring less R4. I've heard your R4 can still work. Just be careful and don't always take your Micro SD Card in and out of the R4.

    The R4 casing is held with a single tiny screw. But be careful when you try to prise it open you may crack the plastic. The Build quality isn't great, you could break the plastic in a single strong snap.


    Part III: Kernel, ease of using it.

    The R4 is said to be easily to get working so the newcomers to Flash Carts wouldn't have any problem setting it up. The R4 needs a Kernel, which at time of writing is Version 1.11, which boosts the features of the R4 as the developers can upgrade the features. Firmware version 1.11 is obtainable from or the official R4 website (pick English at the top). When you download it Extract it from the compressed file format and copy every single file in folder to your Micro SD Card. The Kernel the stuff the R4 needs to work, moonshell which is available for other flash cards and some themes, since the R4 is skin-able.

    Pop your Micro SD Card in the R4 (Front of the Micro SD Card faces the back of the R4), place the R4 inside the Nintendo DS and fire up your DS. You'll notice the DS skips the DS's main menu and boots straight to the R4's Main Menu.

    It is clear that the R4 Team were thinking 'simple' with the setting up the R4.

    Part IV: Main Menu functions


    You thought the simple process would stop? Well you were wrong. When you start the R4, you are faced with Three Options – GAME, MEDIA or BOOT SLOT-2. Lets go delve deeper into each of them.

    GAME -
    This is menu where you can start up your Homebrew or your Nintendo DS Roms.

    Bottom screen tells you all the Info about the Rom you have selected. You'll notice a little icon at the top left and top right. The left icon is for Brightness setting, only available on the Nintendo DS Lite. The right icon is the 'Soft-reset', Green means it is on and Red means it is not on. Soft-reset is when you can exit a game using L+R+A+B+Y+X and it take you back to the R4 Menu. When you first start a Rom it will ask you if you want to create a save. Then it loads the Rom, the speed is loads depends on the Size of the Rom and the speed of your Micro SD Card.

    This is the menu which, when selected, it boots up a well known piece of Homebrew – Moonshell. Now i won't go into detail about Moonshell because it is not just for the R4. The R4 Team didn't make a Media player just for the R4.

    BOOT SLOT-2-
    If you have anything in the Slot-2 of your Nintendo DS, when you select this option it boots what ever is in that slot, may it be a GBA game or a Slot-2 device.

    Part V: Download Play, Rom compatibility

    As of Kernel Version 1.11, download play is working 100% so i thought it would be a waste of time to try some tests but i did just in case:

    New Super Mario Bros – Working
    Diddy Kong Racing DS – Working
    Mario Kart DS – Working

    When it comes to Rom Compatibility with the R4, you cant go wrong. The only fault is that some Nintendo DS Roms need a 'ARM7' patch which makes the game work on the R4. This fix only takes a couple of minutes but it takes away the good Rom Compatibility the R4 has.

    Part VI: Skins, Action Replay codes.

    The R4 kernel comes with some lame, ugly themes which you can cycle through using 'Select' but luckily enough the R4 Menu can be skin able. Many people have created themes for the R4 which you can easily place on your Micro SD Card and use to make things so much better. A theme is made up of four .bmp's and a, optional, theme.ini file. Even when it is skin able, the menu still screams out 'simple'.

    The R4 can also let you use Action Replay Codes with your Roms. The codes are kept in a USRCHEAT.dat and you need a dummy CHEAT.dat. You can get Action Replay codes from varies sitesand add them to the .dat file via a program. It is nice for the R4 Team to include this as this saves money and a normal Action Replay will not work when using a Rom booted from the R4.

    Part VII: Final Words.

    Well that's the R4. The R4 Team has put effort into making the R4 as simple with its features and gave us one card which you can be sure it will run your Homebrew, Media and Nintendo DS Roms.


    + Very easy to use
    + Action Replay codes and Skin able
    + Download play 100%
    + Update able – New features can be added.


    - The cart itself is not true black more Grayish color.
    - Spring can often brake leaving a spring less R4.
    - Even if its Update able, there hasn't been Version 1.12 for a while
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