Friday, August 6, 2010

EX4DS /EX4i DS /EX4i Movie Review


The EX4i DS was created by the R4Li team. It was announced several months ago to be a competitor to the now famous Supercard DSTwo. It boasted features such as GBA emulation, an enhanced movie player, music support, and more. I will be going into each of these features so let's continue on.

Unboxing the EX4 DS

Bypassing 1.4 with Lethal Alliance

Well, when I got my EX4, it came in a slightly squashed silver and black box. My first impressions weren't too great because I saw a few points that could look better, but I heard from some of my colleagues that this cartridge had something to offer. Upon opening the box, you come across a plastic tray. A generic USB 2.0 reader sits on it, and a blue case that houses the EX4 and a flash cart of your choice. It's handy to carry some of my flash carts around in it.

Generic Micro SD loader

What's in the box.

Front of the cartridge

Back of the cart

Build Quality

In my opinion, this is one of the most sturdy carts out right now. It fits smoothly into my DS Lite, and a slight pressure on my DSi. After hearing from some people that the cartridges sometimes don't fit into a DSi, I conclude that either I got a newer batch sample, or I got really lucky. I did some crash tests on the cartridge, and it passed with flying colors. The only problem I have with it is that the Micro SD sticks out a little bit on the top of the cartridge. It's not that big of a deal but it just annoys me. I'm very picky about things like this.

User Interface

This is probably one of my lower points on the EX4i. The EX4i is pretty much a replica of the R4 menu system. R4 enthusiasts probably rejoiced upon seeing this familiar interface. In my opinion, after playing with the Supercard DSTwo, I found this interface a little bit dull and simple, but it was a signature of the R4 teams, so I can't argue there. One of the nice things about the EX4i interface is that the GBA games can be loaded off of the DS Menu. On the Supercard DSTwo, the GBA games needed to be loaded by a separate emulation system. So in a way, it's fairly convenient.

Top screen

DS Menu looks like Yasu's YSMenu

The famous R4 Menu but EX4 style.

DS Game Compatibility

There isn't a whole ton I can say here. Most cartridges nowadays run with near flawless compatibility nowadays. I did tests on a good 80 popular games, so if you want any testing done, don't hesitate to contact me. I would be more than happy to run a quick test for you.

GBA Emulation

Now, this is where the EX4i gets interesting. One of the reasons why EX4i was earning a name for itself was because it could play GBA games via a Slot-1. This was originally possible with the iPlayer when the now-famous Darkchen created the first Slot-1 GBA Emulator.

Onto the GBA emulator itself... When I boot the EX4i, I go to the DS menu, and find my GBA Games. Loading takes a good 10-12 seconds unfortunately, so I have to wait a bit more. When the game finally starts up, it runs like any normal GBA game. Now, I was used to the many features that the DSTwo emulator offered, so I was sitting here, frantically pushing buttons trying to find stuff out. And, to my disappointment, I didn't find much. After hearing that the EX4i boasted a near perfect GBA compatibility, I tried it out for myself, although I had a very limited amount of games to test. I only ran tests on the games that I owned, although most of them were popular games that some users had troubles with. Games like Pokemon ran fine, although they lacked the real time clock support. Others, such as Golden Sun, ran with lag issues and skippy frames. Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones ran with some lag, and other games had perfect gameplay. I tested a group of about 35 games for a minute each, and they ran pretty nicely. It's not the same as retail but it's close enough for me.

Crisp image of Fire Emblem 7 with no laggy frames or skips.

Patience is a virtue when loading GBA Games.

What the GBA menu looks like when attempting to load it.

Video Playback

Video playback is a step up from the DPG playback of Moonshell. Instead of the extremely limited DPG, we can now run FLV, AVI, DiVX, 3GP, and a lot more. It's more standard The only thing I had to complain about was the lack of features on the video player. It's extremely bare bones, only with features like Start, Stop, Rewind, and Skip. I was a bit saddened by what I saw. On the plus side for me, I can watch my Spice and Wolf on my long road trip!!!

Final Thoughts

I'll keep it short. The EX4i is a cart that can hold its own against the Supercard DSTwo, but it's got a long way to go. I like the cartridge because everything was out at once. I got to try a multitude of features to sort of preview and play around with, all at once. However, the cartridge does have its low points, such as lack of things to do with its special features. I think that it does have INCREDIBLE potential to be something great though. I want to see what the EX4 team can give us next. Also, it sells at a decent price too, given what it can already do. I'd easily recommend this cart to anyone that likes the simple interfaces and features.

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1 comment:

  1. I would like for you to remove this article at once. This article was written solely for the intent of DSDatabase and GBATemp viewers. At least cite my name into this article.