EZFlash Redux for the Nintendo 2DS/3DS/N3DS
Our very own Exclusive MaxConsole Hardware Reviewer is back with yet another one of her great reviews, this week she takes on the challenge of testing out the newly launched EZ-Flash ReDux FlashCart for the Nintendo 3DS handhelds, read on for all the Pro's and Con's of this new scene-related device!
Reviewer's Notes: During the review, please keep in mind that I did not take the time to freshly format the MicroSD card I used in testing, though it works perfectly fine in my Gateway cart. I am also using a very fresh N3DS with A9LH to launch the EZR payloads from boot. The firmware and payloads I was given may also not be the final versions, but rather a review/testing version and not the actual final product. I tried to emulate an "average user" when approaching the product, meaning I did not take steps a more advanced person would take. OK! Let's dive in!
Introduction: Let's take a look at the nitty-gritty and advertisements first:
What a mouthful. We will come back to this stuff later. First, let's look at the actual product.
Box Contents: As you can see from the promo image, it's just the cartridge inside an insert. Not much to see here!
Cart Design: The shell casing is -almost- identical to that of a Gateway cart. There are two major differences, namely the location of the MicroSD card slot and the fact that there are no "fins" on the contact points.
Internally, we can see that it does indeed use a Xilinx as the blurb claims it does. Aside from the 2 Winbond ICs on the other side, there isn't much else to see here.
The plastic is very good quality and feels much sturdier than the Gateway cart-- However, much like Gateway, the sticker is actually hiding the FPGA which sticks out of the case because it doesn't fit inside. This doesn't seem like something that can ever be remedied, it's just the nature of the beast when it comes to flash carts. Despite the good quality of the build, the cart does seem to stick a bit when removing it from the system.
Operations: The EZR Redux comes with a set of files to be used with A9LH and a .dat file that is the actual set of payloads that boots you into EZR mode. The product claims to support 3DS up to 10.7 but, since I am using it on 11.2, if you have A9LH it doesn't really seem to care what firmware you use. I'm assuming they mean to release an exploit that lets you boot EZR mode from an unmodified SysNAND version of 10.7 or lower, but I have yet to see this product or exploit.
Now the burning question everyone is asking: Why would you need a flash cart if you already have A9LH on your system?
Short Answer: You don't.
Long Answer: If the product offers a substantial advantage, such as Gateway's In-Game Cheat system, it may be worth the ticket price to acquire such a device, however, I fail to see -any- advantages at this point to owning an EZFlash Redux.
A major concern with A9LH users is that without FIRM protection built into the payloads, a system update could brick your system. Gateway already has this issue, and since I don't have a hardware flasher set up on this 3DS, I don't really want to test if EZR blocks FIRM writes to the OTP exploit.
EZR Mode DOES support NTR, so NTR cheats and screen streaming is possible, lending more head scratching and shoulder shrugging as to why you would need this device.
A lot of people speculate that the EZR Redux is just a Gateway clone, and so far I have to agree. The menus are almost identical, and could easily be the actual same code with just a graphical re-skin.
ROM Support: I tested 2 games (The 2 physical games that I own that I dumped myself). Ultimate NES Remix and Nintendogs. The first test I ran without NTR, I then ran the tests again so I could take screenshots with NTR enabled.
Ultimate NES Remix would not boot, it would either give me a "Cart Ejected" error or get stuck at the animated Nintendo loading logo. Not off to a good start...
Nintendogs booted up just fine and seemed to work wonderfully!
Until I tried to save the game...
"Well, now what do I do?". There is no documentation or support for this product yet. This is where the layman ends his experience with the product.
I happened to know in the Gateway launcher there is a firmware updater, and sure enough, there exists one in the EZR loader menu as well, which you can reach by trying to boot EZR mode without the cart inserted (Since there is no documentation, I don't know the key input to get to it normally).
Where was the firmware version check for the cart? That seems dangerous to not have one...
After running the firmware update 1.0 I was able to boot NES Remix and save my file just fine in Nintendogs. So it was a save issue all along causing my problems.
Unlike Gateway, which stores saves on the 3DS's internal SD card, the EZR creates saves on the MicroSD inside its own cartridge, which is great because it doesn't make confusingly named files on the root of your 3DS card. It creates saves with the name of the ROM and .sav as it's extension, which keeps everything nice and organized.
Since it -claims- that you do not need to patch the Pokemon Sun/Moon ROM for saves, I'm assuming they have put Nintendo's save keys into their firmware or just told the firmware to on the fly convert the save type for SuMo and Mario Maker. If they do indeed use the real save keys for writing and reading saves, this means that it will not be compatible with Gateway's save files.
Funnily enough, if you look at their website, you can see that they still recommend patching of the Pokemon SuMo ROMs to fix save issues, so I guess that's another claim we can scratch off the list.
Final Advice: EZR is convenient for new players to use and the price is lower. But it has zero advantages to an A9LH system since you can do everything this cart does already with less hassle (Dump your game carts, play backups, run homebrew, cheat, screen streaming, etc.).
For more info, check out their official site, and the sponsor that supplied this unit for review to us:
CHECK IT OUT: http://www.gateway-3ds.net/ez-flash-redux-flashcart-supports-3ds-up-to-v107-for-3ds-roms.html
OFFICIAL SITE: http://www.EZFlash.cn/product/ez-flash-redux/