M3DS Real Review (Perfect Bundle)

Written by Zombie_X
December 2007


INTRODUCTION:

Before I begin I must extend my thanks to M3 Team for supplying me with this review sample. Thanks M3 Team!! You can find where yo buy your own at the bottom of the review.

M3 team has mainly focused on Slot-2 carts for many years. Their slot-2 solution named M3 Lite was very impressive and was worth every penny. They had great success with the M3DS Simply , which was their first slot-1 cart, and now they plan to go even further with the M3DS Real. With a full roster of features and an included PDA app, this will be a blockbuster cart.


FEATURES:

- 100% Game compatibility, supports clean ROM's - works on any DS.
- Extreme simple to use: just drag and drop files to the M3 Cart .. ..Standard FAT system.
- Supports the Micro SDHC specification, allowing for high capacity memory cards 4GB, 8GB...
- Supports download play .
- Exclusive Super Cheat Function:
- Special Game features can be enabled during game playing: (such as: Slow Motion mode...)
- Software reset function
- Automatically detect game save type. (No need to provide save type database file.)
- Excellent homebrew support. DLDI auto-patcher.
- Upgradeable system. No size limitation of Flash rom.
- Robust & skinnable GUI.
- Built in PassMe
- Direct Boot: Support directly booting games or applications.
- Supports Slot-2 expansions card. (Rumble, Ram , Browser memory and GBA Game card etc.)
- Includes a fully touch screen & button control operating system /GUI Menu.
- NDS-GBA Linkage works fine.
- The strongest media features:
   Build-in ¡°Media-Ex¡± application + ¡°Moonshell ¡° media player.
       i) Support playing MP3 ,OGG music & DPG /DSM / GBM movies ¡­
       ii)Super E-book function , support Word/ Txt file directly .
       III)Super picture viewer function , support *.BMP, *.JPG, *.GIF, *.PNG directly.
- Built in PDA (Worldwide Time ,Memo , Note ,Phone book ,Calculator.)
- Supports Multi-Language France, Germany, Italian, Netherlands, Portuguese, Spanish...
- Supports DS sleep mode.
- Brightness adjustment within GUI.


CONTENTS:

  • M3 DS Real Cartridge
  • T-Flash Reader
  • M3 Ds Real Holder case
  • Rumble Device
  • GBA expansion Device
  • Informational CD

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

The M3DS Real has a nice looking case with a list of a whole bunch of features on the back. The box looked fairly good, not professional, but good. In side the box was the GBA expansion, Rumble pack, TF Reader and the M3DS Real. The M3DS Real had a good build quality but one of the drawbacks is the chip that is under the sticker. This makes the M3DS Real fairly difficult to remove. On a positive note, it has a spring ejection system for the MicroSD.

                 The box looks professional and clean.          You can also see the chip under the M3DSR sticker


INSTALLATION
:

On the provided CD, you are provided with English and Chinese firmware. Unzip the English firmware and put it in the root of your MicroSD card. Now that you have that done, you can chose to install pdaDS, which is M3's famous PDA function. But I must say that it is almost 90MB.


USAGE:

BASIC SETUP:
Before you can start using your M3DS Real, you first must put all of your Nintendo DS roms into the NDS directory. Same for GBA games as they go in the GBA directory. Homebrew should be placed in the root of the SD card. pdaDS will have to be placed in the root of the SD car as well in order for it to function. Once all of this has been done. you are ready to begin playing games, watching movies, listening to music, and more.

M3DS REAL MAIN MENU:
At the main menu, you are presented with 7 icons. In order, each icon is for : NDS games, GBA games, MyCard, Boot (into GBA or NDS mode), Media, PDA, and Settings. Below will be detailed info about each of the options.

  • NDS - Brows and Launch NDS games.
  • GBA - Launch GBA games and homebrew.
  • MyCard - just a basic file browser, can be used to launch homebrew of NDS/GBA games.
  • Boot - A useful way to boot slot-2 carts into GBA/NDS mode.
  • Media - It's just a modified version of moonshell, but more robust.
  • PDA - A built in PDA app that has many features.
  • Settings - Configure your M3DS Real.


The main menu is pretty self explanatory

  
GAME OPTIONS:
Once a game is selected, you are given a list of various options and toggles you can use within games Such as soft reset and Cheats. Detailed info on these options will be listed below.

  • Select File - Used to select a txt, xml, or dipstar cheat file.
  • Cheat Switch - Gives you an option of: Off, Always On, Switch On.
  • SoftRest Key - Selects which buttons will be used in order to use Soft Reset.
  • SlowMotion Switch - use either L+Select or R+Select to do slow motion. Or switch it to Off.
  • SlowMotion Level - Select from 5 different levels of slow motion. Level 1 being slow and Level 5 being the slowest.
  • START - Start the game.

Slow Motion is really neat and is quite useful if you are using a fast pased game like Point Blank DS. It is very stable and won't mess up your game at all. I think it's a nice added touch.

Soft Rest is one of those things that is essential for all flash carts. This option eliminates the need to turn off your NDS before loading a new game. All you do is push the required buttons in game and you will re returned to the M3DS Real main menu.

CHEAT CODES:
The cheat codes support is really awesome in the M3DS Real. You can just drop some codes in a text file and load it up and turn it. Or even load up an XML file with 1 game in it. It's just that universal. This is what a cheat engine should be like. To select cheat codes, you must select the cheat option from the Game Options screen and toggle them from there.

You can see all the different options in here.


MULTIMEDIA:
Multimedia support is one of the big draws to the M3DS Real as it supports both DPG and DMZ video formats, though DPG is far superior. You can Listen to MP3's and view BMP/JPG/PNG pictures in the Media extend app. This app is basically a modified version of moonshell and is a must have app if you use a flash cart. There are options to view ebooks and listen to music and view videos. There is no need to explain these options, as each has it's own Icon that resembles what it does in the Media main menu.

PDA:
The PDA application is probably the biggest and badest addon ever for a flash cart. You can have an address book, take notes and memos, use the built in calculator, and some other awesome stuff. Unfortunately my MicroSD is dying and some stuff won't work but assure you it is worth it.

GBA:
The GBA support in the M3DS Real is near perfect and the GBA expansion also doubles as RAM for anything that may use it. I found that the GBA's "quick load" option worked best for GBA games as the game only took a few second to load each time. There are only a few GBA games that don't work, one id "DragonBall Z Legacy of Goku". It freezes before the title screen comes up. I couldn't get the RTS function to work correctly though. I would put in the right key combination and nothing would happen.

RUMBLE:
The rumble pack was quite nice in my opinion. It gave you a nice little vibration and didn't seem all that loud. It doesn't work with the CycloDS EVO tough as it constantly rumbles and won't stop unless you pull it out of the NDS. That kinda sucks as I was hoping it would work like an official rumble pack. Oh well.. beggars can't be choosers I guess. I know that rumble is only supported by a handful of games so you won't find much use out of it.



Both carts, they use the same casing.


PERFORMANCE:

NDS GAMES:
    
NDS games performed flawlessly and no issues were seen or encountered at all. Metroid Prime Hunters was the select Game I used mainly to see if the game being in full 3D would add stress to the cart. There was no stress and it played just as good as a retail copy.

I got a hold of a friends 6GB SDHC card and I didn't even notice a slowdown. I guess that is to be expected as SDHC cards read and write a lot faster than a normal MicroSD card. I'm still blown away by how quick the reading speed is. I have to get my own SDHC card.

In Castlevania DoS, the intro video skipped from time to time. I'm currently using a Japan 1GB Kingston card and this video never skips on any of my other carts. We should really be past this now. What a shame that it skips randomly.

 

As you can see, it skips a bit.


DOWNLOAD PLAY:
Download play was perfect with the games I tried. I was happy to see that all the games I tried worked as download play issues are a thing of the past now. They all were recognized by an unflashed NDS and the games actually worked. There was no lag or slowdown present with download play. In order to use download play, you have to press Y when launching a game. Otherwise download play is disabled.

  • Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!
  • Mario Kart DS
  • New Super Mario Bros.
  • Mario Hoops 3 on 3
  • Nanostray
  • Metroid Prime Hunters
  • Big Brain Academy
  • Tetris DS

HOMEBREW: 
Homebrew performance was perfect due to the M3DS Real having DLDI auto-patching. All the homebrew I tried saved and loaded fine. WiFi enables homebrew also worked great. I tried 10 homebrew to see if they worked and here are the results:

  • A Touch of War - PASS
  • Colors - PASS
  • Phidias - PASS
  • Moonshell - PASS
  • DS DOOM - PASS
  • nesDS - PASS
  • DSMasterPlus - PASS
  • Diagnose - PASS
  • DSAIM - PASS
  • SNESEmulDS - PASS

As you can see, all the homebrew worked great. I would expect no less from M3. They have great carts and this is their best yet.


TESTS
:

I performed some tests on the card to see it it can do what it says. Now keep in mind that I tried to keep these tests balanced. I also would like to point out that I did the tests that I consider essential to the flash cart.

  1. TESTS:
  • Action Replay Codes = PASS
  • SDHC = PASS
  • Castlevania DoS/PoR Intro= FAIL
  • Download Play = PASS
  • WiFi = PASS
  • Multimedia  = PASS
  • Durability = PASS
  • TF Reader =PASS
  • Homebrew = PASS

      2. EXTRA INFO:

  • The Castlevania test just is playing the intro video fro Castlevania DoS/PoR and playing a little bit of the game. It played OK with a little skipping.
  • For Durability test I twisted the card a little bit and dropped it a few times. Needless to say it held up.
  • Download PLay test was carried out using some ROMS that I legally own and a few select that I downloaded.

CONCLUSION:

The card is does exactly what it says and then some. At a $60 price tag, it is worth it since it is so jam packed dull of features and M3 Team has regular firmware updates all the time. I would buy it alone for download play. This cards good points out way any downsides to it. This card is a major contender for the CycloDS Evolution in every aspect. I would say it is a buy. Buy it already!!!

PROS:

  • Can use SDHC Cards.
  • Fits flush into Slot-1 slot.
  • MicroSD is spring loaded.
  • Perfect Download Play Support.
  • Action Replay Cheats.
  • Fully Plug and play.
  • 100% Game Support.
  • Great GBA Compatibility.
  • GBA expansion doubles as RAM.
  • No in game slowdowns.
  • Very User Friendly.
  • Works as PassMe.
  • Comes w/ TF Adapter.
  • Slow-Motion.
  • Multiple save files for each game.

CONS:

  • Chip under label.
  • Hard to remove from DS


LINKS
:

M3 Adapter Homepage