MaxConsole presents to you: Ezflash Omega - The final and ultimate Gameboy Advance flash cart
Review Updated 04/28: Due to updated 'firmware' released - 'Kernel 1.02 Firmware v4' by EZ-Flash
The list of features below will be demonstrated in our latest official MaxConsole review for your enjoyment and decision on purchasing this product. We will test and see how well the brand-new EZ Flash OMEGA GBA Flashcart performs and if it lives up to all its expectations.
List of features:
Kernel 1.02 Firmware v4 Changelog:
- GBA game copy and play, no client needed
- Fast patch engine, instant game load speed, additional manual patch engine to support modified rom
- Hardware based direct save to SD card.
- Save states
- Real time clock
- Hotkey customizable
- 256Mb PSRAM supports all games, instant load
- 512Mb Norflash, keep your favorite games
- GB/GBC/NES game copy and play
- System on chip level recovery mode, prevent upgrade dead
- Support FAT16/FAT32/EXFAT， 128MB-128GB SD card
- Firmware and kernel both are upgradable
Known issues stil with this latest firmware:
- Added auto-match cheat library
- Added recent played game list
- Fixed a lot of bugs
- Improved a lot of things
Pokemon fans rejoice. This is promising to be the best flash cart to suit your needs. With its built in real time clock (RTC), real time save (RTS), and cheat features, will this flash cart kit from Ezflash hold up to the competition? We will find out in this review!
- Norflash is not usable on original GBA yet
- Clock may be reset after firmware update, please change it back manually.
Before I begin this MaxConsole review, I would like to encourage the end user to read the manual on Ezflash’s web site: http://www.ezflash.cn/omega.html before using this product. You will be missing out on a few features if you do not follow their set up procedure. This flash cart will operate fine without their extra files but, to see everything work, some downloads are required.
Like my previous review, this review will showcase the flash cart product using AGS-101 modified original Gameboy Advance systems as well as the Nintendo DS Lite. We will see later in this review that there are caveats to using original GBA hardware with this flash cart currently but a simple update could be on its way to fix it.
This Omega; err, well we will see later on that the similarity between this fancy wrist watch and the Ezflash Omega flash cartridge is that they both keep time. The Ezflash, of course, costs a fraction of the price of its watch brand name counterpart.
This is the latest and possibly the last GBA flash cart we will ever see from China. In this MaxConsole review, I will set this product through all of its paces. I will showcase its compatibility, features, and emulation modes. The operation and configuration of this flash cartridge will be shown as well as any issues that occur during testing.
The major issues that the Ezflash Reform flash cart had are addressed here in the new Ezflash Omega flash cart. This flash cart offers higher compatibility with PSRAM loading and very minimal load times. The Ezflash Omega not only supports drag-and-drop for ROMs but it also supports MicroSD natively and comes with a spare plastic shell to allow its form factor to be slim enough to not stick out from a DS Lite console. Like the Ezflash Reform, the Ezflash Omega is fully compatible with all official Nintendo handhelds and accessories that support the Gameboy Advance video game cartridge slot. This includes the Nintendo GBA, GBA SP, Gameboy Micro, Gamecube Gameboy Player, Nintendo DS, and the Nintendo DS Lite.
The Ezflash Omega comes in a black box with a transparent plastic insert. This box is the same shape and size as the Ezflash Reform’s but has an Omega logo around the console picture.
Like their previous product, Ezflash includes a slim GBA cartridge shell that can be exchanged for the standard sized shell that the flash cart’s circuit board ships contained in. There is one phillips screw that holds the cartridge shell together. It is a pretty basic, although very robust, kit as we will soon see and has instructions available online at http://www.ezflash.cn/omega.html. The cartridge shells are not interchangeable with the previous model of the flash cart because the screw is located in a different position of the plastic shells.
The cartridge’s removable PCB itself is very compact. Just like the Ezflash Reform, the PCB has SMD components mounted on both sides. This amazing feat of engineering allows for a small form factor which is compact enough to not stick out from a DS Lite console. Other products which use only one side of the PCB to mount components are much taller and sometimes stick out of even the original GBA console.
This is a plug-and-play cartridge and is simple to set up and use. Game images (ROMs) are copied directly to a MicroSD card and that card is inserted into the Ezflash Reform flash cart. The flash cart does not have a spring loaded MicroSD card slot, but I had no trouble getting it to read memory cards. If it is necessary to update the firmware, ezkernel.bin can be downloaded from www.ezflash.cn and placed in the root of the MicroSD card. Powering up the console with the R button held will then launch the firmware update process. I did not have to copy any files from www.ezflash.cn to the MicroSD card in order to get ROMs to work, but I did have to copy the thumbnails from their site onto it for them to display for each game.
The Ezflash Omega cartridge shell looks nearly identical to the Ezflash Reform’s, does not have any stickers, and has a good quality EZFLASH title embossed in the matte finished plastic. The cartridge is a little bit thick and can get hung up when pulling it out of a console but it comes out a bit easier from an original GBA if it is not pushed in all the way and from the Nintendo DS Lite if the full sized shell is used. The back of the cartridge shell has some empty space which I feel should have been filled over with plastic because the lack of material makes it feel cheap. When the PCB is inserted into the smaller plastic shell for use in the DS Lite, it does not have this issue and is very compact. It is very difficult to remove from the DS Lite.
Let’s try out some games.
There are two modes for running GBA ROM files. Pressing the A button opens a menu and “CLEAN BOOT” launches the game in PSRAM mode which is the fastest way to load a game. This mode instantly launches all games due to it being 256Mbit in size. NORFLASH mode is a slower way to first load a game but after the game is flashed into the NOR memory, it will be displayed on the middle screen of the flash cart which is accessed by pressing the R button and will launch automatically upon selection from that screen. To write a game to the 512Mbit NORFLASH, press A on the game to open the launch menu then press d-pad down to “WRITE TO NOR CLEAN” or “WRITE TO NOR ADDON” depending on if you want ADDON options enabled or not. Then wait for the game to write to the NORFLASH. NORFLASH mode is not necessary for ROMs that are larger than 128Mbit in size this time, but it is mainly used to store “favorite” games. Unfortunately, games stored in NORFLASH mode will not run with the current firmware as of this review on original GBA hardware. They will display a white screen. Games written to NORFLASH tested successful when launched on the Nintendo DS Lite.
We should be seeing a firmware update in the future from team Ezflash to address the NORFLASH issue with the original GBA hardware.
Tested GBA games:
- Ace Combat Advance
- Advance Rally (Japan)
- Advance Wars (Version 1.1)
- Advance Wars 2 – Black Hole Rising
- Aero the Acro-Bat – Rascal Rival Revenge
- Alex Rider – Stormbreaker
- Alien Homonid (Europe)
- Atari Anniversary Advance
- Boktai – The Sun is in Your Hand (does not save and no sun sensor hack available)
- Boktai 2 – Solar Boy Django (solar sensor bypass)
- Bomberman Max 2 – Blue
- Bomberman Tournament
- Castlevania – Aria of Sorrow
- Castlevania – Circle of the Moon
- Castlevania – Harmony of Dissonance
- Chu Chu Rocket
- Colin McRae Rally 2.0
- Contra Advance – The Alien Wars EX
- Final Fight One
- F-Zero – Maximum Velocity
- F-Zero GP Legend
- Golden Sun
- Gradius Advance (Europe)
- Gradius Galaxies
- GT Advance 2 – Rally Racing
- GT Championship Racing
- Iridion 3D
- Iridion II
- King of Fighters EX, The – NeoBlood (Version 1.0)
- King of Fighters EX2, The – Howling Blood
- Kingdom Hearts – Chain of Memories (32Mbit ROM)
- Kirby – Nightmare in Dreamland
- Kirby & The Amazing mirror
- Klonoa – Empire of Dreams
- Klonoa 2 – Dream Champ Tournament
- Krazy Racers
- Legend of Spyro, The – A NJew Beginning
- Legend of Spyro, The – The Eternal Night (32Mbit ROM)
- Legend of Zelda, The – A Link To The Past Four Swords
- Legend of Zelda, The – The Minish Cap
- Mario Golf – Advance Tour
- Mario Kart Super Circuit
- Mario Tennis Advance – Power Tour
- Megaman & Bass
- Megaman Battle Chip Challenge
- Megaman Battle Network
- Megaman Battle Network 2
- Megaman Battle Network 3 – Blue Version
- Megaman Battle Network 3 – White Version
- Megaman Battle Network 4 – Blue Moon
- Megaman Battle Network 4 – Red Sun
- Megaman Battle Network 5 – Team Colonel
- Megaman Battle Network 5 – Team Protoman
- Megaman Battle Network 6 – Cybeast Falzar
- Megaman Battle Network 6 – Cybeast Gregar
- Megaman Zero
- Megaman Zero 2
- Megaman Zero 3
- Megaman Zero 4
- Metal Slug Advance (Japan)
- Metal Slug Advance
- Metroid – Zero Mission
- Metroid Fusion
- Pokemon – Emerald Version
- Pokemon – Fire Red Version (Version 1.0)
- Pokemon – Leaf Green Version (Version 1.0)
- Pokemon – Ruby Version (Version 1.0)
- Pokemon – Sapphire Version (Version 1.0)
- Pokemon Pinball – Ruby & Sapphire (Version 1.0)
- Robotech – The Macross Saga
- Sega Arcade Gallery
- Sega Rally Championship
- Sega Smash Pack
- Sonic Advance
- Sonic Advance 2
- Sonic Advance 3
- Sonic Battle
- Sonic Pinball Party
- Sonic The Hedgehog – Genesis
- Sonic X – Volume 1
- Spyro – Attack of the Rhynocs
- Spyro – Season of Ice
- Spyro 2 – Season of Flame
- Spyro Orange – The Cortex Conspiracy
- Street Fighter Alpha 3
- Super Mario Advance
- Super Mario Advance 2 – Super Mario World
- Super Mario Advance 3 – Yoshi’s Island
- Super Mario Advance 4 – Super Mario Bros. 3
- Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
- Super Street Fighter II Turbo – Revival
- Tales of Phantasia
- Tetris Worlds
- Top Gear Rally
- V-Rally 3 (Europe)
- Wario Land 4
- WarioWare – Twisted!
- WarioWare Inc.
All GBA titles were work with the standard PSRAM launch method. This is especially helpful if you are using the original GBA system or one modified with the AGS-101 screen like in this review. A 16Mbit game took 3 seconds to load and a 32Mbit game took 5 seconds. 4Mbit ROMs load within 2 seconds and, over all, most games feel like they load with no delay at all due to these low load times.
With the thumbnails pack installed on the MicroSD card, you are able to view a thumbnail for any game selected on the screen. This feature is accessed by simply hovering over a game and pressing the “select” button. Pressing the “select” button again disables this feature. While the feature is enabled, scrolling to other games displays their thumbnails. This is one of those features you will miss out on if you do not read the manual on www.ezflash.cn. The thumbnails package is conveniently located on their downloads page here: http://www.ezflash.cn/zip/IMGS.zip . Each thumbnail is a bitmap file (*.bmp).
The real time clock is configurable in the GUI by pressing the R button two times and selecting the first menu option to configure as well as in the two Boktai games. In Pokemon, you configure the RTC one time on the wall of your Pokemon trainer’s bedroom and it does not interfere with the RTC settings of the GUI or other games. To set the clock again in Pokemon, you have to start a new game.
One awesome feature of this flash cart that you will not find in other flash carts is the real time saving (RTS) feature. This is configured in the third menu by pressing R two times and configuring the “BOOT WITH ADDONS” features. When a game is loaded with “ADDONS” enabled, it automatically creates an RTS file on the MicroSD card for one save slot for saving anywhere in game. This feature is hit or miss for games and I found that it made a few games freeze such as Kingdom Hearts but it also can depend on where you save and restore your game at. It did not make the other 32Mb game The Legend of Spyro - The Eternal Night freeze though so it does not matter what size the game is. I managed to get it to work fine with Sonic Adventure 2 and Metal Slug, so it should work fine with most other games.
I was very amazed that all games I tested worked flawlessly on this flash cartridge without any special configuration. Of course larger games like Kingdom Hearts and The Legend of Spyro - The Eternal Night (256Mbit ROMs) did not have to be loaded in NORFLASH mode which is great because it took quite a while longer to program that way.
The above photos detail the operation of the NORFLASH mode. This mode basically is used to store "favorite" games. When removing games from the list, you must start deleting with the last game or you can alternatively format the entire NORFLASH clean.
To configure cheats, press the R button two times on the main menu screen, down to “SET” and then the A button. Select “CHEAT” then go back to “OK” and press A again. The cheat option is invisible to the user when launching a game unless the cheat folder is created at the root of the MicroSD card and has a *.cht file placed in it. The cheat function of this flash cart uses “cheats for emulators” format cheat codes. Those codes can be found on numerous GBA emulation web sites and also included in the latest firmware update package. Use d-pad up and d-pad down to select cheat items and press button A to enable or disable them. Press B to go back to the launch menu. The “CHEAT” feature will change to a green color if any cheat item is enabled and the number is the number of enabled items. Cheats will be enabled if the game is launched with “BOOT WITH ADDON”.
This flash cart comes with two built-in emulators. One is PocketNES for Nintendo Entertainment System games and the other is Goomba for Gameboy and Gameboy Color games.
Let’s test them out.
Working NES titles:
Not working NES titles:
- 1943 – The Battle of Midway
- Adventures of Lolo
- Back to the Future
- Balloon Fight
- Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout, The
- Casino Kid
- Castlevania (PRG0) (Game froze after loading one time)
- Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers
- City Connection
- Commando (Game freezes sometimes after throwing a grenade)
- Darkwing Duck
Working Gameboy Color titles:
Not working GBC titles:
- Army Men
- Blaster Master Enemy Below
- Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 3
- Burai Fighter
- Chase HQ Secret Police
- Columns GB
- Deadly Skies
- Dinky Kong and Dixiey Kong (Donkey Kong Country 2 Japan)
- Gameboy Color Promotional
- Grand Theft Auto
- Metal Gear Solid
Some menus and title screens in some of the GBC games had garbled graphics, but the gameplay was intact in every game. All NES games worked, but two games froze: Castlevania and Commando. The issues I had with emulated games are due to the programming of the emulators, not the flash cart itself.
The homebrew emulators Coleco Tech and PocketSNES also work on this flash cartridge. PocketSNES of course has many issues of its own which I will not go into detail here. Basically PocketSNES is a proof of concept emulator and does not run games very well.
The Ezflash Omega is definitely the ultimate and last GBA flash cart you will ever need to own. It runs every game I threw at it flawlessly and supports the largest ROMs that are out. It also comes pre-loaded with a simple, yet very robust, GUI. This flash cart is still currently supported by team Ezflash so we should be seeing compatibility fixes and other updates in the future.
I give this flash cart an A+. This score is due to it being a very feature packed flash cart and that it supports RTS (real time saving) and has a very robust RTC (real time clock) which keeps the time independently for each game. This flash cart supports every game that I tried, including Kingdom Hearts and The Legend of Spyro - The Eternal Night which are very large games for the system and I had no problem getting all of the flash cart’s features to work properly after reading the manual (rtfm!) and updating the contents of the MicroSD card.
- Supports all Nintendo Gameboy Advance capable official hardware.
- Supports the full library of games (from the selection I tested, there were zero issues).
- Fully plug and play.
- Nice looking GUI.
- Supports MicroSD cards up to 128GB in size.
- Supports FAT, FAT32, and exFAT file systems.
- Built in real time clock (RTC) which is configurable in the GUI and works independently per game.
- Supports RTS (real time saving / save states).
- Supports cheats.
- Latest update comes with cheats in Chinese and English.
- Automatically matches cheats per each game.
- Drag and drop ROM file support to MicroSD card.
- Automatically alphabetizes file listing.
- Built in Gameboy Color and NES emulators.
- Large 256Mbit (32MB) of PSRAM for fast ROM loading for all games.
- A big 512Mbit (64MB) of built in NORFLASH which allows favorite games to load instantly from the menu.
- Does not require games to be written to NORFLASH for compatibility or fast loading.
- Does not require any system files to be installed on the microSD card.
- Still supported by the company that made it.
- Easy to update firmware.
- Built in lithium ion battery for RTC and saves.
- Comes with a smaller plastic shell to convert it to not stick out from Nintendo DS Lite consoles.
Thanks to 3ds-flashcard.com for providing MaxConsole with the review sample. This flash card kit normally retails for under $65 USD plus shipping (free/USPS/DHL) and handling which is right in the middle of pricing compared to its competition and definitely is the best flash cart that exists for Gameboy Advance games. This flash cart is still supported by Team EZ-Flash and will continue to get updates, and as you can see we just updated this review on 04/28 with the latest firmware released by the team, which we have attached for you below.
- Can be difficult to remove from consoles.
- Non-removable lithium ion battery.
- Currently has an issue with NORFLASH mode not working with original GBA systems.
- exFAT file system is limited to one folder in depth.
- MicroSD card slot is not spring loaded.
- MicroSD card slot is located on the side of the flash cart.
OFFICIAL SITE: --> www.ezflash.cn
- http://r4ib9s.com/home/27-ez-flash-omega.html (UK reseller)
- http://www.gospiel.com/home/25-ez-flash-omega.html (German Reseller)
- http://sxswitch.com/es/inicio/27-ez-flash-omega.html (Spainish reseller)
- http://jeux-linker.com/accueil/34-ez-flash-omega.html (French reseller)