EZ Flash IV GBA Flashcart Review

The EZ Flash IV is a GBA flashcart that enables you to play downloaded GBA ROMs and homebrew. It is one of the cheaper options when it comes to GBA flashcarts. In this review of the EZ Flash IV (2015 Edition) I will cover in-depth the pros and cons of this flashcart.

Introduction

The EZ Flash IV (2015 Edition) supports Micro SD in FAT32 as opposed to the previous version, which only supported Mini-SD in FAT16. It is compatible with GBA, GBA SP, and NDS consoles.

Product Information

Features

  • Supports all GBA/NDS consoles
  • Multi-ROM support
  • Cheat codes support
  • Micro SDHC support, maximum capacity up to 32GB
  • Extend Memory support, Browser compatible
  • 128Mbit PSRAM
  • 256Mbit Nor-Flash RAM
  • Homebrew compatible

With 128 Mbits of PSRAM, games under 32Mb load within 5-10 seconds. If ROMs are over 32Mb in file size they can be written to the 256 Mbit Norflash RAM which takes a couple of minutes.

One notable feature that is not included in the EZ Flash IV is Real Time Clock (RTC). This means that games that have time driven events will need to be patched (eg. Pokemon).

Package Contents and Build Quality

The box is simple and clearly labeled there is nothing else in the box besides the flascart itself. This means you will need to purchase a Micro SD card separately (up to 32GB is supported).

The build quality of the flashcart is excellent. It fits snugly and securely into a GBA/GBA SP/NDS console.

The Micro SD card slot is located on the upper right side of the flashcart. It features a spring loaded mechanism for easy removal of the Micro SD card.

The battery seen above is for SRAM. SRAM holds the DS and/or GBA saves in between you turning the GBA/DS off and turning it back on to allow it to write the save to the SD card. The ROMs are patched (either on the fly or with an EZ4 Client) to use the EZ Flash IV SRAM rather than the EEPROM or Flash or another type of SRAM the game expects it to use.

The battery will eventually die but this won’t happen until after a very long time. Additionally, the battery is charged just by using the flashcart/GBA console.

Setup and Usage

Please view my thorough EZ Flash IV setup tutorial .

Overall setup was pretty easy. Using the flashcart takes some getting used to if you are using older versions of the kernel (kernel versions prior to v2.0). This is because GBA ROMs require patching before putting them on the Micro SD card.

After v2.0 of the EZ Flash IV kernel, patching is no longer required. The kernel will patch ROMs on the fly. This comes with a tradeoff of increased initial loading times. With the new kernel it takes about 15 seconds to load a ROM vs 5 seconds with previous kernels that utilized pre-patched ROMs.

For daily usage, writing to the NORFLASH for games that are 32Mb in file size can be a bit of an inconvenience.

One problem I discovered is that if you want to have more than 78 roms on your SD card you have to create multiple folders in your SD card and put at most 78 roms in each folder.

Game Compatibility

GBA game and homebrew compatibility with the EZ Flash IV is excellent. According to GBATemp wiki, it has about 96% compatibility with GBA games. With each new version of the kernel the EZ Flash team attempts to fix the remaining compatibility errors.

For ROMs that are over 32Mb in file size they will need to be written to the 256 Mbit Norflash RAM which takes a couple of minutes. Although a minor inconvenience, these games are also compatible with the flashcart with a little bit of patience.

If you get this flashcart, chances are your favorite game will be supported. If you have questions about a specific game, please leave a comment below and I can test it for you.

Homebrew Compatibility

The few GBA homebrew that I have tested worked pretty well. For emulation I tried PocketNES for NES ROMs and Goomba for GB/GBC ROMs.

If you have questions about a specific GBA homebrew, please leave a comment below and I can test it for you.

Performance

The EZ Flash IV loads most games in under 10 seconds, which is pretty fast for the price point. Unfortunately, writing games to NORFLASH takes a couple of minutes. Though the fact that it can play games over 32Mb is also great for the price point this flashcart is in.

The fact that there is no Real Time Clock (RTC) is a bummer and a deal breaker to some gamers that want to keep time-based events in their games.

If you want to have more than 78 roms on your SD card you have to create multiple folders in your SD card and put at most 78 roms in each folder. The software can sometimes be buggy if you do not do this.

Extras

Skinning

The EZ Flash IV kernel supports custom skins. The interesting thing about using skins with the EZ Flash IV is that they must be compiled or “baked” into the kernel file.

If you want a different skin you have to compile your own kernel or find a skin/kernel combination that you like on a website. See the following resources for accomplishing this.

Tools

Skins

Cheats

The EZ Flash IV does not support cheats. It only supports the use of trainers. See resources below.

Comparison to Competitors

The EZ Flash IV has several competitors. In this section we will compare them.

 

EverDrive-GBA X5

The EverDrive GBA X5 has near perfect compatibility with the GBA game library as well as faster loading and RTC support. The major drawback is that the EverDrive GBA X5 costs $100 not including shipping. At its low price point (approx. $45) the EZ Flash IV is an excellent value if you can see past some of its flaws.

EZ Flash Omega

Though the EZ Flash Omega was just recently released (April 2018) and made by the same team that makes EZ Flash IV, the EZ Flash Omega costs nearly twice as much as the EZ Flash IV. The EZ Flash Omega fixes most of the problems that the EZ Flash IV had and even adds new features (RTS, Cheats, NORFLASH is not really needed). However, if you are going for the cheapest possible flashcart that is modern and has most features, it is hard to pass up the EZ Flash IV.

 

Conclusion

Pros Cons
Great build quality No Real Time Clock functionality
Load times are good (usually under 15 seconds) Writing to NORFLASH takes a couple minutes
Great GBA game and homebrew compatibility Built-in battery used for SRAM, saving games to Micro SD card (battery will eventually die but is replaceable)
Excellent price point

Overall, it is hard to pass up the EZ Flash IV especially at its low price point. Additionally, the EZ Flash team is dedicated and has been updating and supporting this cart and others for years.

If you are looking for a budget GBA flashcart that has most features don’t hesitate to pick this one up.

A note about the EZ Flash Reform

The EZ Flash Reform is a direct successor to the EZ Flash IV. However these two flashcarts aren’t all that much different.

The main difference between the EZ Flash IV and the EZ Flash Reform is that the EZ Flash Reform has a replaceable battery. Another difference is that the EZ Flash IV has a smaller circuit board which allows you to switch out enclosures to fit a full size GBA cartridge or a smaller NDS lite cartridge.

The EZ Flash Reform and EZ Flash IV are using the same exact kernel. If you are in the market for one of these flashcarts, I suggest looking at the cheapest flashcart between the two.

(Visited 52 times, 4 visits today)
Related Content