June 14th, 2008, 20:19 Posted By: maikelsteneker
The M3 Simply is currently one of the most populair flashcarts for the DS. In this review, which I originally wrote in Dutch, I am going to tell you about the features of the M3 Simply and how good they actually work.
The M3 Team lists the following features on its official website, m3adapter.com:
* The same size as an original DS cart
* Build in PassMe (No need for boot card or anything else to boot )
* Using Micro SD card (Trans Flash) as external storage . Cheap & variety usage .
* Super simple to use , drag and files over to the micro SD card . No drivers required.
* Standard FAT system support .
* Support different speed of micro SD card even the low speed SD card .Run games/programs without any lag or slow down .
* upgradeable Firmware ( OS / Bios / Kernel )
* Touch screen control & robust skinning support .
* No need battery , back up the save file into the micro SD card directly .Never lose your save data.
* Auto detect the save type & automatic generate saver file .
* Homebrew support , IO lib will release on launch .
* Direct watch movie , listen MP3 & read TXT on the DS via the use of Moonshell .
* Support WiFi , DS rumble pack & DS browser .
Read the rest of the review to find out if the M3 Simply can do this and if it can do anything else.
Packaging and contents
The M3 Simply package contains:
* The M3 Simply cartridge itself
* A box to store two DS cartridges
* A cord to attach to the box
* A MiniCD containing the M3 Simply software
* A MicroSD USB reader to read MicroSD cards in a computer
The M3 Simply feels like a cartridge that won't break easily. It isn't perfect though: after using it a lot the contacts may get a bit dirty and the DS won't be able to recognize it anymore. Also, the springloader used in older units such as my own tends to break really easy: in both of the M3 Simply units I owned the springslot broke really fast.
The box is extremely ugly, but it does work and protects the cartridges in it quite well. The string is as ugly, but is quite strong.
The included CD is nice, but the software on it will be dated in most cases.
The USB reader works perfectly. I have used it for months, and it still works great. A downside is the lack of a LED. You will never be able to see if the computer is writing to the MicroSD card. This problem has also been corrected.
The package is a blue box which is essentially the same as the M3 Slot-2 cards' boxes. The plastic in it is sturdy, so the contents should be protected well enough.
Save Transformer and Rom Trimmer
If the M3 Simply is not your first flashcart you might want to transfer your old savefiles to the M3 Simply. This is possible using the Save Transformer. The Save Transformer can convert SuperCard, M3 (Pro/Perfect), DSLink, AceKard, EZ Flash IV and Ewin2 files to M3 Simply format.
The M3 Team also developed a simple rom trimmer. It does its job and supports Download Play, but there are already better trimmers.
Size and PassMe feature
The M3 Simply is as big as a normal DS cartridge. Older units include a little gap in which the MicroSD card should be inserted, but this is barely visible on newer units.
The M3 Simply includes a PassMe- or (to be more precise) a NoPass-function. This means it is usable on any DS, and that it can boot any Slot-2 cart.
Rom Compatibility, WiFi Connection and updates
The M3 Simply can play virtually any DS rom. The M3 Simply is one of the first carts which does not need any patching at all. You will just have to copy the rom over and let the M3 Simply software create a new save file and you're good to go.
A downside is that slower MicroSD carts have problems playing the Castlevania games and Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam. This is a problem of MicroSD carts though.
The M3 Simply updates are exactly the same as the R4 updates. The M3 Team used to be a bit late with M3 Simply updates, but nowadays they are really fast, meaning the updates are as good as the R4 updates.
In the past the M3 Team added functionalities like automatic DLDI patching and Download Play support. Newer updates do not include new functions but will contains bugfixes.
Nintendo WiFi Connection works exactly the same as in an original game.
Touch screen and skinning support
The Touch Screen support of the M3 Simply is not optimal. Selecting a file still requires the D-pad of the DS. The Touch Screen is not required at all, expect in the cheat menu.
Skinning the M3 Simply is very easy. Just replace some of the images in one of the 12 skin directories and you've got yourself a skin.
Every game saves perfectly on the M3 Simply. The M3 Simply uses a standard savefile that will always work. Be sure to leave 4 MB of free space on the MicroSD card, or it might cause problems.
All new homebrew is supported by the M3 Simply. The M3 Simply can automatically patch the files with DLDI, meaning the homebrew can acces the SD card. The DLDI is also downloadable as a DLDI-file.
The M3 Simply software package includes Moonshell. This program can play DPG files, a movie format for the DS, and normal MP3-files and TXT-files. This works really well, though the normal Moonshell might be more up-to-date.
While the M3 Simply is a M3 product it does not include the Moonshell version included in other M3 products.
Support for Nintendo DS Browser and Rumble Pak
The M3 Simply works without a Slot-2 cart, meaning usage of the Rumble Pak and similar addons is possible.
The Rumble Pak works exactly the same as it does with original games.
The M3 Simply can also link DS roms with original GBA games.
The Nintendo DS Browser is a different story. The browser works exactly like the original cartridge works, meaning it needs a RAM Pak. Fortunately there are many patches for Slot-2 carts like the M3 Perfect to work. These work great on the M3 Simply.
The M3 Simply supports Action Replay cheats. Nearly all of them work great on the M3 Simply. The M3 Simply reads a file called CHEAT.DAT. This file is encrypted though. It's also possible to use a decrypted USRCHEAT.DAT.
Using the newest software, it possible to choose which file to use.
DS Download Play
The M3 Team has added 100% support for DS Download Play. This is even better than some new carts, so it's very impressive. The M3 Simply can upload software to both flashed and unmodified DS units, meaning DS Download Play support is perfect.
The M3 Simply is extremely good, considering it is quite old for a flashcart. The updates are still quite fast, meaning every DS rom works great. The M3 Simply isn't manufactured anymore, but it should be available for a low price.
The M3 Simply can't play GBA games, and won't include some of the newest features, but it is still a cheap, reliable cart.
I think the M3 Simply deserves 9,0 out of 10 points. It may not be perfect, but it is still a very good cart.
About this review
This review is written by Maikel Steneker. It should not be copied on any other website without my permission. The review is also available in Dutch here.
The photo included with this review is made by WiZaRDuSS and used with permission.
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