Say you are going into the homebrew scene for the first time with your DS. Where would you start? First you would have to buy a Slot-2 flashcard. But wait! Say you want to play DS roms? Then you would have to invest in a passcard to load NDS data from the slot-2 flashcard. Then you have to go through the process of downloading and patching every DS rom you have. Now imagine you could skip some of these steps. You don't want to pay extra money for a passcard or go through the whole patching ordeal. A product like that would be nice, wouldn't it? Well the guys at M3 think so and they have released a flashcard with expandable memory and drag and drop DS rom placement. Today, I will talk about this amazing product in....

 

The M3 Simply Review
by: Maximum Hashi

 

Before the review I just have one confession; I am lazy. So you wouldn't believe how happy I was that the guys at Kicktrading.ca sent me the M3 Simply (which will be known from now on as the Simply in the review). In a matter of days, the Simply came to my door and in a matter of minutes, I was enjoying all of my backed up roms with little to no effort required on my part. But before we delve a little too far, let me talk about what you will be getting in the package.

The Simply comes in a nice little box made of card and all of the components were secured in a plastic shell. In the box was:

  • M3 Simply DS card
  • TF/Micro SD card reader
  • Game case (holds 2 DS game cards)
  • Game case strap
  • M3 MiniCD

The MiniCD contains the system files for the Simply. It also contains a utility for converting save games from your other flashcards and a rom trimmer. As expected, not all games work with the rom trimmer. All it takes is some dragging and dropping from the CD to the TF. The game case is a nice surprise as it has a foamy interior so you know your cards are going to be secure. But what was an even nicer surprise is the included Micro SD card reader as I didn't already have one.

Now as you probably have guessed, the Simply uses TF for storage. This enables the Simply to have expandable memory and keep a small form factor. And when I say small, I mean small as this card is entirely Slot-1! This eliminates the need for a passcard or a cartridge in the GBA slot. It also doesn't decrease battery life as much as other flashcards (it only shaves off about an hour or so). The Simply has a built in TF card slot that is very durable. Once you click it in, then you'll know that it is secure. Also since the card slot is on the top of the Simply, you can take out the TF card while the DS card is inserted. The Simply has practically the same dimensions as a regular DS card so it sits flush inside the DS and lastly, it has a strong build as it is built on some solid plastic.

When you startup your DS with the Simply inserted, you'll be greeted with three options: Game, Multimedia and Boot Slot-2. Boot Slot-2 essentially does what it says and boots whatever is in Slot-2 of your DS, meaning that it can act as a passcard alone. Multimedia boots up Moonshell. Moonshell is a very useful utility that can play mp3s, videos and photos which greatly increases the usefulness of your DS. The best part about Moonshell is that the music still plays while it is in sleep mode. And lastly, Game brings up a list of .nds files on your TF and allows you to select any of them for play. The menu is also fully skinnable so you can download or make your own custom skins in order to better suit the menu to your liking. The only gripe I had about the menu was that the touch-screen support was very half baked. It would've been nice if you could go through the list of games/media with the stylus but alas it uses the d-pad.

Rom compatibility is very high with the Simply. Here are some of the games tested:

  • Mario Kart DS (Worked Fine)
  • Phoenix Wright: Justice For All (Worked Fine)
  • Diddy Kong Racing DS (Worked Fine)
  • Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! (Worked Fine)
  • Advance Wars Dual Strike (Screen sometimes jitters when CO's talk but otherwise worked fine)
  • Super Mario 64 DS (V1.1 has a game stopping glitch; V1.0 works fine)

As you can see, even newer games work great and the Simply doesn't need any firmware updates for newer games. None of the games needed patching either as they were inserted strictly by drag and drop. In terms of multiplayer, all games worked fine using local ad-hoc and Nintendo Wi-Fi connection multiplayer. The only thing that didn't work perfect was Download play as some games worked fine but others didn't. Download play was about 50/50 in terms of functioning with all Download play enabled games. Homebrew programs are also iffy on functioning. I have a large homebrew collection and was sad to see that all of them didn't work so make sure that the homebrew games/utilities are compatible with the Simply. Lastly, my one big gripe about the Simply (and all other Slot-1 flashcards) is that there is no GBA support. That means you'll have to buy a Slot-2 flashcart to play your GBA games.

In conclusion, the Simply is a great addition to anyone looking to play roms, media and (some) homebrew on their DS as it is easy and effective for newbs and veterans alike. The price is also right as it only costs $45 USD (sans TF card). It is definitely recommended for anyone with a DS and with a price that low, it won't break the wallet; which is just another reason that it is a must-buy. The M3 Simply is one product that certainly lives up to its name.

 

Ratings:
  • Build: 5.0 - Very strong; just like the official DS cards.
  • Ease of use: 5.0 - As simple as dragging and dropping your roms.
  • Value: 5.0 - At $45, practically anyone can buy it.
  • Compatibility: 4.0 - GBA roms not supported. Not all homebrew supported either.
  • Final Score: 4.5

If you want to buy an M3 Simply just click here!

If you have any questions or want to comment about the review, then e-mail me at maximumhashi [at] hotmail [dot ] com.

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