EZ Flash Omega Review (GBA Flashcart)

The EZ Flash Omega is a GBA/NDS/NDS Lite compatible flashcart that enables you to play downloaded GBA, NES, GB, and GBC ROMs and homebrew. It is a newly released flashcart from the EZ Flash Team, the team that brought us the popular and affordable EZ Flash IV. This EZ Flash Omega Review will cover in-depth the pros and cons of this flashcart.

Introduction

The EZ Flash Omega was released in April 2018. This flashcart comes at interesting time, since several GBA flashcart solutions have been out for years prior to this one. So the question is, does this flashcart utilize the latest technology and improvements to warrant a 2018 release? Also, does it hold up to the competition? Let’s find out!

DISCLAIMER: I received a free review copy of this flashcart from the EZ Flash team. That being said, the following review consists of my own truthful opinions. I was not paid or asked to leave a positive review.

Product Information

Features

  • GBA game copy and play, no client needed
  • Fast patch engine, instant game load speed, additional manual patch engine to support modified rom
  • Hardware based direct save to Micro SD card
  • Cheats supported
  • Save states
  • Real time clock
  • Sleep
  • Hotkey customizable
  • 256Mb PSRAM suppot all games, instant load
  • 512Mb Norflash, keep your favorite games
  • GB/GBC/NES game copy and play
  • System on chip level recovery mode, prevent upgrade dead
  • Supports FAT16/FAT32/EXFAT
  • Supports 128MB to 128GB Micro SD card
  • Firmware and kernel both are upgradable

These features are substantial improvements over the EZ Flash IV. Fast load times, Real Time Clock (RTC) support, and the ability to use unpatched ROMs put this flashcart in line with top tier carts such as the EverDrive GBA X5.

Package Contents and Build Quality

The box the EZ Flash Omega comes in is a simple black box with minimal text. Inside of the box is is the flashcart encased in the bigger full-sized GBA case as well as an extra plastic shell for modifying it to fit a DS Lite form factor.

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

The Micro SD card slot is located on the upper right side of the flashcart. The flashcart does not feature a spring loaded mechanism. Some people, such as myself, may see this as a drawback since a spring loaded mechanism allows for easy removal of the flashcart. But because there are no moving parts there is little chance to break the Micro SD card insertion mechanism.

The battery seen above is only used for the Real Time Clock. This is unlike the EZ Flash IV, which uses the battery for SRAM. Unfortunately, it is non removable.

The flashcart supports Micro SD cards up to 128 GB in size. The entire GBA library is less than 32 GB so there are little to no reasons to use a Micro SD card that is 128 GB. Personally, I found a 16 GB Micro SD card to be a more than sufficient size for a substantial GBA, NES, GB and GBC library.

 

ez flash omega review

Setup and Usage

Please view my thorough EZ Flash Omega setup tutorial .

Setup is very straightforward with this cart. The most complicated this flashcart gets is with removing the chip to use the smaller DS Lite enclosure, which is also an easy process.

Drag and Drop (no patching necessary)

This flashcard utilizes drag-and-drop to its fullest extent. No patching is necessary. The flashcart uses a fast on-the-fly patching engine. Of course, some minor exceptions apply when it comes to patching ROMs for fan translations, games that support gyroscope, and some ROM hacks. Besides that, it is a near 100% drag-and-drop experience.

Add-ons

This flashcart supports booting ROMs with add-ons which allows you to use features such as Real Time Save (RTS), Cheats, Reset, and Sleep.

Cheats work decently well. The drawback is that you must select the cheats you want before loading the game and they can’t be changed mid-game. You can turn all of them off or on at once. You’ll need to save and quit the game in order to change the cheats you want enabled.

Real Time Saves (RTS) are very buggy in their current state. It has been troublesome loading a savestate only to have the screen and audio glitch out. Sometimes, it even freezes the system. The amount and severity of bugs experienced varies by game. Hopefully we see improvements on this feature in future versions of the firmware/kernel.

Sleep mode works fine in the games that I have tested. I’ve yet to see if keeping the GBA in sleep mode when not playing helps conserve battery life. Reset lets you go back to the kernel interface which is a nice touch.

NORFLASH

Although this flashcart has 512Mb of NORFLASH, I found it pointless to use because even games that are 32MB in size can be loaded using the PSRAM in seconds. Additionally writing to the NORFLASH and deleting it takes several minutes.

Saving your game

With this flashcart saves are a little tricky. After saving a game you must wait 5 seconds before returning to the main interface or powering down the console. If not done, you risk losing your save data. The EZ Flash team recommends carefully counting to 5 after:

  • Saving using in-game save functions
  • Saving using game states
  • Pressing L+R in the NES/GB/GBC emulator

This is a minor inconvenience but is something you get used to after a while.

NES, GB, and GBC built in emulators

The EZ Flash Omega has built in the PocketNES and Goomba GBA homebrew applications to support loading NES, GB, and GBC ROMs. These work well for the most part, except with some games displaying minor graphical glitches (such as Punch Out).

Using GBA link or GBA accessories

It is my understanding that booting the GBA ROM in “CLEAN BOOT” is required in order to be able to use GBA link or GBA accessories.  I was not able to test this feature initially but will update this review when I receive these accessories.

Game Compatibility

GBA game and homebrew compatibility with the EZ Flash Omega is excellent. There is no official compatibility list but most of your favorite GBA games will work with this flashcart. It worked with every GBA game I tested and supports the largest GBA ROMs that have been released (such as Kingdom Hearts).

NES, Gameboy, and Gameboy Color game compatibility is not as good but most games will work with some exceptions. Punch Out for NES does not work quite right due to the graphical glitches. It is important to note that although the emulators are not developed by the EZ Flash team, they have integrated the latest versions of each into the flashcart.

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.

  • Herg’s Solitaire — Works
  • Bullet GBA v5 — Works
  • Powder — Works
  • Vulkanon v2.1 — Works
  • Lockjaw The Overdose — Works
  • TradeWinds — Does not work

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 Omega loads games extremely fast, in under 5 seconds. It is loaded with extra features like RTC and Cheats that work well and do not affect initial loading times.

Real Time Clock (RTC) functions work perfectly.

You can save your games in any directories you choose and even have subdirectories (if you use FAT 33 filesystem). I put 512 NES ROMs in one folder and the EZ Flash Omega was able to view its contents just fine (though it took an extra second to load the folder). If using an exFAT filesystem, the flashcart is limited to one folder in depth.

Saving requires you to wait 5 seconds to ensure the save file does not get corrupted. Though a minor inconvenience, it is simple to remember and you get used to it.

Extras

Skinning

Similar to the EZ Flash IV, the skins must be compiled or “baked” into the kernel file. Because the EZ Flash Omega is a new flashcart, not many skinning tools or skins have been released.

Tools

Skins

No compiled kernels with skins are available yet

Cheats

This function only works and is visible if:

  • The CHEAT folder is in your Micro SD card’s root directory
  • You have cheats for your specific GBA game
  • Cheats are enabled in the System Settings menu

The cheat library provided by the EZ Flash Team is collected from the internet. There may be more or better cheats for your game. I suggest taking a look at this GBA cheat database (mirror) as well as other resources on the internet.

You will need to rename the .CHT file to your GBA games filename and place it in the CHEAT folder. For example, if your GBA game is “minishcap.gba”, you will need a “minishcap.cht” file in your CHEAT folder.

Once in the cheat menu for your game, use the UP and DOWN buttons to select a cheat then press the Abutton to toggle it. The LEFT and RIGHT buttons are used to navigate to the next page.

Once done selecting cheats, press the B button. Select “BOOT WITH ADDON” option and press A to launch the game with cheats.

During the game, press the L+R+START buttons to display the in-game menu. Select “CHEAT ON” or “CHEAT OFF” to toggle cheats on/off.

Comparison to Competitors

The EZ Flash Omega has one main competitor.

EverDrive GBA X5

Like the EverDrive GBA X5, the EZ Flash Omega has near perfect GBA game compatibility. They both load games super quickly and support RTC. They both allow for emulation of NES, GB, and GBC games.

The main difference between the two flashcarts is that the EverDrive GBA X5 ($100) costs a lot more than the EZ Flash Omega ($45-$60).

Another difference is that the EverDrive GBA X5 is slightly bigger than the EZ Flash Omega, which fits snugly and flush against the GBA/NDS/NDS Lite console. For aesthetic reasons the size of the EverDrive GBA X5 may be a drawback for some.

EZ Flash IV & EZ Flash Reform

Though not a direct competitor since EZ Flash team works on both flashcarts, the EZ Flash IV and EZ Flash Reform are good flashcarts to consider. The EZ Flash IV and Reform are, in my opinion, the best budget GBA flashcarts if you can get past some of their minor quirks.

Conclusion

Pros Cons
Super quick loading times RTS feature is buggy
Drag and Drop ROMs — no patching required Saving requires you to wait 5 seconds to ensure the save file does not get corrupted
Built in emulators for playing NES, GB, and GBC ROMs  Non-removable lithium ion battery
RTC support  exFAT file system is limited to one folder in depth

Overall, the EZ Flash Omega is the cheapest top performing flashcart on the market. It boasts the features of the EverDrive GBA X5 at almost half the price. The flashcart is built very sturdily and fits snugly into any console thanks to the swappable plastic enclosures that are included in the box.

Though the Real Time Save (RTS) feature is lacking and often buggy and you’re required to wait 5 seconds after saving a game, the EZ Flash team is actively releasing new versions of the kernel to improve the flashcart’s functionality.

Despite its minor quirks, I am very pleased with this product and I highly recommend you to purchase this flashcart over any other.

If you have this flashcart, how do you like it? Leave your comments below!

To do:

  • Battery Life
  • GBA link accessories compatibility (in mail)
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