SuperCard MiniSD Review

Discussion in 'Official GBAtemp Reviews' started by Vince989, May 14, 2006.

May 14, 2006

SuperCard MiniSD Review by Vince989 at 5:07 PM (77,702 Views / 0 Likes) 0 replies

  1. Vince989
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    Former Staff Vince989 Still lurking around, sometimes...

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    GBAtemp.net review of the...
    SuperCard miniSD

    Supplied by Kick Trading
    Manufactured by: www.supercard.cn

    You can buy a Supercard MiniSD on GameYeeeah!
    [​IMG]


    By Vince989 - 14th May 2006

    Introduction
    Less than one year after the SuperCard SD was launched, the SuperCard Team comes back with another offering, this time using miniSD media, with the goal of making the SuperCard the same size as regular GBA carts. In the mean time, they also add something else to the mix, a battery for the SRAM, making the GBA saves stay in memory even when the unit is turned off.

    This review will not be long, as the cart performs basically the same, but it will rather explain the advantages this cart has, while also outlining more clearly the differences of the overall game support now when compared to last year.



    Media

    [​IMG]
    Left to right, top to bottom :
    MiniSD card, SD adapter, SuperCard miniSD, SuperCard SD


    I am adding another section to this review to outline the miniSD media itself, as I find it quite surprising. It supports the same features as the already small SD cards, but they get even smaller than before : they are now tiny! The capabilities are also the same as SD media, provided you can find a card which supports said features.

    The miniSD cards also come with an SD adapter, as most media readers don't directly support miniSD. It also enables the miniSD cards to work for SD card uses, so it's a definite plus, as it yields a card which can have many uses with its two supported formats.


    Packaging

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I've said it last year, and I will have say it this year too : when will they ask a native english speaker to check their boxes? I would have thought it could be better now that they are much better known, but this is something that they still haven't changed. It's really not a big deal, as they either get shelved or trashed, but it's something that could be literally be changed within minutes, and would make the company seem better...


    Hardware

    [​IMG]

    While I wasn't complaining that much on the blue plastic used in the SD edition, this time it's purple, and it is in fact the same as the Extreme Flash Advance (EFA), both for the feel and the size (which are the same). It feels as sturdy, and the miniSD slot is easily accessible : you don't even need to remove the SuperCard anymore, yippee!

    It is located on the top of the card, but there's just ONE thing I found weird at the first : when I inserted the miniSD card in it, I figured I should line up the "stickers" together, it did click, and it gave me this :

    [​IMG]

    I couldn't believe they would have made the card smaller, so that it fits perfectly inside an NDS, but have the media stick out! A few moments after, I thought that even though the slot did click, maybe it wasn't on the right side, so I tried flipping it over, then ...

    [​IMG]

    Ahh, much better now, heh? [​IMG] And as you could have guessed, since it is the same size than a GBA cart, it now fits perfectly inside an NDS, and I'll tell you : after all this time, while the sticking-out wasn't a big problem, it now feels nice to have nothing sticking out... [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    See? Nothing sticking out!

    Compatibility/Performance


    My initial review was about GBA games on the SuperCard, and the second one, the SuperPass review, was about the NDS side of things. Now, I'll have the chance to combine both in one, and give it the note I feel like it really deserves, overall.

    The software has stayed basically the same, and has seen a number of updates, which have made it quite great. While the GBA games support isn't perfect, as is often mentionned, I have to stress the fact however that the NDS games almost all work perfectly. There's said to be only Ultimate Spider-Man which doesn't work perfectly, where you have to press start at the start of level if you don't want it to crash. There really isn't much to say against its NDS support, it's really great all around, with an obviously working Nintendo Wifi support too.

    However, in GBA land, things are not as they have always been. Since the saver wasn't battery-backed up, patches needed to be made to the games to allow them to write them back to the SD card. However, that's exactly where something comes in : the SuperCard miniSD has an internal battery for the saver. Thus, you don't need the patches as much as before, and you can try using the software without using the "Restart" function (which is what adds support for shortcut keys) for games which have slowdowns, as an incompatible game with the Restart function might be the exact reason why it doesn't work as it should. I can also confirm that this isn't just "marketing speak" : it can really solve problems, as it did with Road Trip - Shifting Gears and Gadget Racers, for instance.

    As far as emulation goes, it's been made even better than before, as they've recently updated the emulators, which also means adding Game Boy Color support. This is a great addition, which makes it only a matter of a drag-drop and copying an exisiting save file to the proper name ("game name.sav" for instance) to have them playable everywhere you go!

    Also something nice to note is that it uses the same suite as the SD did. If you are moving from SD to miniSD, you will not need to patch everything again, the only thing you should do is update the new cart's firmware with the current SD version.


    Conclusion

    The SuperCard was already a good solution, and now it's become great. The improved GBA support, alongside the smaller form-factor, both make it better, but they still do not make it perfect. The battery also gets drained a bit faster, but I have tested it, and have been able to let my dogs play together for a whole 5h30 at full volume, which I don't find all that bad honestly. To those that do not need a perfect GBA support, but will mostly use it for NDS gaming and music/movies, this just might have the best bang for their buck, while also staying incognito inside the handheld.

    Pros :

    + Great value for the price
    + GBA-sized
    + Nearly perfect NDS support
    + Improved GBA support
    + NDS games start instantly
    + Uses the same software as the SD version
    + Emulation support : NES, Game Boy AND Game Boy Color, PC Engine, Sega Master System and Game Gear

    Cons :

    - GBA support isn't perfect...
    - Battery goes down a bit faster than with real carts


    Overall

    8.5 / 10



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