R4DS - Revolution for DS Review

Written by Zombie_X
June 2007


INTRODUCTION

There have been many Slot-1 carts that have had mixed results. Some succeeded and some failed. The team behind the M3/G6 have put out a new Slot-1 flash card that looks to be the next big jump in Slot-1carts to date. This newcomer is entitled “R4DS” and since it is made by the same teams who made other leading Slot-2 carts there is a lot to be expected by this jump to Slot-1. This card has a ton of features that make it stand out above the rest, but the real question is will it succeed or fail?


FEATURES:

  • -2nd generation storage device (no booting tool required)
  • -Flush fitting slot 1 card
  • -Uses MicroSD card, FAT16 or 32
  • -Supports any MicroSD card speed with no lag in game
  • -Supports Clean ROM, drag and drop. Works on any OS
  • -Built in NoPass
  • -Automatically detect save type
  • -Save directly to MicroSD card, not to onboard chip
  • -Supports Moonshell and other homebrew. Open I/O interface
  • -User friendly skinnable interface. Touchscreen or button operation
  • -Supports rumble pak and memory pak
  • -Supports the WiFi game, DS Rumble Pak, DS Browser
  • -Supports changes of the background of Operation Interface
  • -Support Skin DIY by setting background and font colors on Main Menu and Game Menu manually and automatically
  • -Supports 4-scale-lightness adjustment ( DS Lite only )
  • -Supports the Soft Reset.
  • -Supports Action Replay cheat
  • -moonshell 1.6 support Software Reset function( Press START key back to the R4 menu)


CONTENTS:

  • R4DS Cart.
  • Cart. Holding Case
  • Wrist Strap
  • Installation CD
  • MicroSD card reader.


FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

I was quite surprised to see that the R4 team supplied a MicroSD card reader. It looks like it’s molded from sturdy plastic and performs very well. The R4 is also molded in sturdy plastic and after I dropped it from varying heights, it never broke. The case to the R4 was in looked pretty cool as well, which is a plus in my book. The R4 also sports a holographic sticker on it which is cool. The R4 team was even nice enough to include a card holding case and a wrist strap. There’s nothing like free goodies. The MicroSD slot has a built in lock mechanism which lets the MicroSD click into place nicely, and is a nice feature. If you wish to view pictures I took for this review, go to the bottom of the page and click on the image gallery link.


INSTALLATION:

The R4DS is MicroSD reliant, that means that’s it is totally drag and drop. I had my MicroSD loaded up when my R4DS came, but I have to tell you how set-up is done. So you pop in the installation CD into your pc. When the PC has recognized the CD and has laded it you will be provided a few items to select from a few items. Click on the system v1.06 (or whatever revision you have) and open the folder. Now once you are in that folder you can drag everything in it to the root of your MicroSD card. You can now add folders to your MicroSD card, which contain games, homebrew, or media. For me I have 4 folders called: Games, Homebrew, Media, GBA. For this review I’am using the latest firmware which is v1.09. The review may cover things that aren’t available in the firmware you are using.


USAGE:

Using your R4DS is pretty straight forward. The main screen gives you three icons: the 1st if the games browser, 2nd in the media player, 3rd allows you to boot a slot-2 cart of you choice. For now I will explain the game browser.

It’s easy to navigate, just select a folder then you can enter it and launch a game. Pressing select lets your sort through different files types. From the game browser you can view eBooks also, you just have to change the file type to eBook. You can enable “soft reset” and adjust the backlight brightness of the DS by either touching the SUN/R icons at the top corners of the lower screen or tapping the L/R shoulder buttons. When soft Rest is on you can return to the R4DS menu but holding L+R+X+Y+A+B simultaneously. If you have the latest firmware you can use custom cheat databases so you can cheat in games by selecting the “Cheat[Y]” icon on the lower screen. You can also “hide items” by setting the properties of the selected item in Windows/Mac to hidden. To view these hidden items in R4DS you simply push select in the browser.

Now the multimedia icon redirects you to the Moonshell media player. Moonshell can play DPG1 videos as well as MP3, WAV, WMA and other various audio formats. Video playback is smooth and is easy. Audio is the same way, you can increase/decrease volume by pushing the X/Y buttons. You can view: BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG picture formats as well. You can increase/decrease zoom by pushing the X/Y buttons. That’s about it for Multimedia. Pushing the start button within Moonshell lets you return to the R4 menu.

Now the Boot Slot-2 option is exactly what it says. With this option you can boot any Slot-2 flash cart into NDS mode. When I had a Supercard Lite it would boot to NDS mode with no problems at all. In firmware’s v1.08 and above it auto detects whether you have a GBA game or Slot-2 cart inserted. Sadly you can only boot slot-2 carts to NDS mode only.


PERFORMANCE:

As far as NDS game compatibility, this cart has the best out of all the slot-1 carts I’ve tried.
I tested a bunch of NDS images and found that all booted successfully with no lag/slowdown present. When booting a NDS game for the first time you will be presented with a screen asking you whether you wish to create a saver file, so push A for yes. Nintendo WFC works great with no problems. Download play however is broken. I have heard that some games work but I only have one NDS Lite and can‘t test them out. That is a bummer to me as I‘d like to play with my friends.

One sad thing about the R4DS is that it doesn't allow you to load GBA ROMs. Well this is to be expected due to the fact that the GBA chip-set isn't’t accessible from Slot-1. I knew it wouldn't’t support GBA anyway's. It would be nice if it were possible though.

Homebrew support is pretty poor though. Out of 30 homebrew I tried, only a quarter of them worked. This is due to the fact tat most homebrew don’t support DLDI patching yet. DLDI patching lets you make the homebrew image compatible with the R4DS. The homebrew that did work performed well. I tried: nesDS, snesDS, and picodrive emulators and all worked and games played rather well.



CONCLUSION

Well this card boasts some great results and looks to push itself as one of the best Slot-1 cards around. The price, compatibility, and features are just right. So I would recommend that you pick this one up.

PROS:

  • Price is very reasonable
  • Great NDS compatibility/performance.
  • Easy to use GUI
  • Nice sturdy plastic material.
  • Skinnable interface
  • Feature rich
  • Frees goodies in box
  • Included CD-ROM about how to use the R4DS
  • MicroSD clicks into place
  • TF reader works rather well

CONS:

  • Limited skinning features, such as not being able to skin all the menus
  • Mediocre Touchscreen support (limited to very few things)
  • Homebrew support is lacking, most will support DLDI in the future
  • Relies on Moonshell to play multimedia.
  • Interface isn't multi-lingual

 

LINKS:
Official R4DS English Web site
Official R4DS Chinese Web site
Official R4DS Forums