[SWITCH] SX Pro and SX OS Review

Released by Team Executor, the SX Pro is an entryway into custom firmware for the Nintendo Switch. It is compatible with all firmwares and all regions of the Nintendo Switch console.  This SX Pro and SX OS review will cover in-depth the pros and cons of this device and custom firmware.

Introduction

The SX Pro and SX OS were released in June 2018. This release comes at interesting time, since it is the first custom firmware (CFW) solution available to the public. So how does this solution hold up, and is it safe? Let’s find out.

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

SX Pro and SX OS Review

Product Information

Features

  • Compatible with all regions
  • Compatible with all firmwares
  • Play Nintendo Switch Homebrew
  • Play downloaded/backup copies of your Switch games
  • Real time game switching
  • Card2 games are supported
  • SX Pro dongle is highly portable and eliminates the need of injecting payload via cable. Dongle firmware can also be updated

SX OS, SX Pro … What’s the difference?

The SX Pro is a USB-C dongle that is a plug and play solution to injecting the necessary RCM payload to boot into custom firmware. It comes loaded with an SX OS license that is tied to your console and stored on your microSD card. So technically, an SX Pro dongle can be used with multiple Nintendo Switch consoles, but each console will need to have an SX OS license in order to play Switch backups. Without the SX Pro dongle you’ll need a PC+USB-C cable or Android+OTG to inject the payload to your Switch every time it is rebooted. With the SX Pro this process becomes very versatile and portable.

The SX OS is simply just the custom firmware itself. In order to be able to play Switch game backups, it needs to be activated with a license that is checked against Team Executor’s servers. The activation process can be done online via your Switch or offline with a PC. If SX OS is not activated, it can only be used to play Switch homebrew.

Package Contents and Build Quality

The box is a colorful red and black box with the SX logo displayed on the outside. Inside of the box is the SX Pro dongle, the jig tool, and a micro USB to USB-A cable.

SX Pro dongle is small, about the size of a water bottle cap. It is very sturdy and well made. The cable included in the package is used to charge and update the firmware on the dongle with newer or third-party payloads. The two capacitors inside of the SX Pro dongle are able to draw power from the switch to charge the dongle. It can also be charged by the included micro USB cable. An charge to 80% is achieved (automatically) within 1-2 seconds of entry into the Switch start menu. Essentially you never really need to think about charging the dongle, as it is done automatically in the background.

The jig tool is 3D printed and sturdy. The jig tool fits into the right joycon rail perfectly and is used to jump pins 1 and 4 in order to boot into RCM mode.

Setup and Usage

Please check out my thorough SX OS setup tutorial  to learn how to play Switch homebrew and backups.

Overview: Essentially, using the jig tool while pressing Volume Up is used to boot into RCM mode. The SX Pro dongle is used to inject the payload needed for SX OS. After booting into SX OS / after seeing the SX logo, the SX Pro dongle and jig tool are no longer needed. The system can be put in Sleep Mode and still be able to play game backups and homebrew after waking back up.

Because this exploit is a hardware exploit, all current Switch models are compatible. This allows for a future proof solution to playing backups/homebrew.

AutoRCM

AutoRCM enables you to boot into RCM mode without needing the jig tool or needing to hold Volume Up button will booting the Switch. The only thing needed is a method with which to inject the payload. To do this, you are essentially bricking your Switch. Yes you read that right. By installing AutoRCM you do this at your own risk because every time the Switch is fully powered down or rebooted, it will ALWAYS boot into RCM mode. This means you will need the SX Pro, an Android smartphone, or PC+USB-C cable in order to inject the payload to boot up your Switch. Once AutoRCM is installed it can be uninstalled by booting into SX OS and selecting “Uninstall AutoRCM” from the options menu.

I personally decided to leave this feature off for now. I figured I’d have the SX Pro dongle and Jig Tool in my Switch carrying case in order to boot into RCM mode and load SX OS whenever I needed to.

The Switch Album app

The Switch Album app acts as the entry point for accessing the Homebrew menu, your Switch backups, and your regular Album pictures/videos.

  • To play Switch homebrew: hold the R button and then enter the Album application
  • To view screenshots and videos: hold the L button and then enter the Album application
  • To play game backups: simply enter the Album application

SX OS game library

Playing Online

The Switch has a lot of logging capabilities and it is advised to not play online if you are loading Switch game backups through SX OS. For more details on this, check out SciresM detailed security write-up . It’s up to Nintendo to take action either right away or in an upcoming ban wave. Nobody knows exactly when or what actions Nintendo will take. I advise to not connect your Switch online if you are using SX OS.

Game Compatibility

SX OS plays game backups/ROMs that are in the form of .XCI files (trimmed .XCI files work too). All of the 20+ games I have loaded using SX OS have worked flawlessly. There was no lag while loading or playing the game, it ran like any other normal downloaded or cart game. SX OS also works with card2 games and eShop game support will come in later versions.

I did not test online play because I am not wanting to connect my Switch online while using SX OS.

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

Homebrew Compatibility

The few Switch homebrew that I have tested worked pretty well. Team Executor have improved homebrew compatibility with each new release of SX OS. Some emulators were a little laggy in the beginning and the sound was glitchy, but after I updated from v1.0 to v1.1, these issues stopped. I can only hope it will get better with each new update of SX OS.

If you have questions about a specific Switch homebrew and how it runs on SX OS, please leave a comment below and I can test it for you.

Performance

While using the SX OS for about a week, I have experienced no lag or crashes when running backup Switch games. Switch homebrew compatibility has gotten a lot better since v1.0 of SX OS. So much so that all of the homebrew applications I previously had issues with are working perfectly fine now.

Booting to RCM mode and starting SX OS is very simple and done within 30 seconds. This process is very plug and play when using the SX Pro dongle and jig tool.

I can’t attest to the performance of AutoRCM as I am opting out of installing it for now. From what I have read on forums, it seems to work fine for those who have tried it.

Updates and SX OS features coming soon

Team Executor is hard at work with providing frequent updates and support to their SX OS. Within the last two weeks they have released two updated to their firmware, one of which included Card2 game support. Here are a few features to look forward to:

  • Chainloading Linux
  • eShop games
  • Cheat support
  • Emunand support
  • Dump cartridges
  • Better menu for accessing game backups

Conclusions

Pros Cons
Team Executor provides support and constant updates Possibility of being banned from online
SX Pro dongle is plug and play and portable No emunand support yet
Support for third party payloads No way to make backups of your cartridges yet
Great game and homebrew compatibility
Affordable
Hardware exploit ensures a future proof exploit (for current switch model)

Overall, SX OS is a great custom firmware that is polished and works with little to no bugs. With frequent updates and support and the fact that the SX OS license will receive a lifetime of updates, it is a great value for the price. The SX Pro is a very portable and convenient device that makes injecting payloads simple. The fact that it will support third party payloads (for example: atmosphère and fusée gelée) makes it a great value as well.

If you want to get into the world of Switch custom firmware and don’t mind playing offline (or have a dedicated Switch for hacks), I highly recommend you to buy the SX Pro. It is worth it for its many features and convenience.

If you have SX OS, how do you like it? Leave your comments below.

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