Supercard review, special thanks go to SuperCardStore.com and me
- This is my review of the SuperCard series. Thanks to SuperCardStore.com for making this review possible. These are the different versions of the Supercard. These versions are (from left to right): SuperCard CF (SC-CF), SuperCard miniSD (SC-mSD), SuperCard SD (SC-SD) and SuperCard Lite:
Currently all versions are equally good for both homebrew and backup purposes (though the SuperCard lite is still slightly behind). The SuperCard is now also the hardware of choice for DSlinux. The SuperCard series has both GBA and NDS support (meaning it works in both GBA and NDS mode). I will look into both and tell you the pro's and con's. Remember though that the SuperCard lite only fits in the NDSL. I've made images of the SC-CF and SC-SD and added the dimensions, this way you can see how much they would stick out of your NDS/GBA:
Note: All pictures are either scaled down or up, to see them in their original size place their url in your url bar (right click on them and select image properties, you will see an url, this is the url of the picture).
- Looking at the packaging
- Mine only came with the Supercard itself, I'm unsure if this is the case with all shippings.
the box (unlike the box from the GBAMP) does not specify what should be inside.
- Movies, music, pictures and E-books:
Yes that does sound familiar.
It can do the same as the GBAMP V2, and in traditional Chinese style even the menu and all assets are exactly the same :).
You need to convert the files and etc..
For more information on these subjects and my opinion on those (I can do this because they are exactely the same) see my review of the GBAMP.
- GBA homebrew:
Hombrew that is written for use with a GBA flashcard it can be converted by the Supercards software to work with the CF/SD/miniSD card.
And this works fairly well.
- Playing backups:
This works quite well, I did not notice many (big) slowdowns (this could be because the Supercard uses it's onboard RAM for the GBA roms).
Something that did bother me, it took me some time to get the software worked out.
after trying a very large amount of games I did get some (at least the Real Time Save Function) functions to work, and when they do work they are great.
Supercard adds a real-time save function (which I didn't get working), and a (save)cheat option in GBA mode.
- NDS homebrew:
NDS homebrew works very well with the supercard. You do need to look very closely at the extention you give the files. As you can read in the link earlier, the Supercard has very strange ideas when it comes to file extentions.
- NDS backups:
NDS backups work very well with the Supercard (my tests on the CF version show few big slowdowns and only a few small ones). Once you get a clean dump and you run it through the converter you are ready to play your game.
The patch to add a save function works very well (I had the feeling the saving was faster then with a normal card) saving perfectly to the memory card. Saves are made in the .sav format, now I haven't tested this, but I think you could even write them back to a real card using REIN. There isn't much else to say about this, it just works very well especially if you look at how much the Supercard+memory card costs.
The SuperCard has quite a nice box, with a good and clear design. It is somewhat more robust than that of the GBAMP V2. It has a very different shape than that of a normal GBA/NDS box, it looks somewhat like that of a SNES game. Al tough I don't have pictures of the SuperCard-CF box, the boxes of the different SuperCards look very similar. The box is a typically Chinese product, the classic Chinese-English glitches are in there. "It must work with ..." "Play game, watch movie, read E-book, listen to the music..". I really think that the companies making these products should get someone from America or England to check it out, maybe in exchange for one of their products? Contents of the package:
The hardware is generally good. The hardware design is good, and the plastic is pretty hard and thick. There are also a lot of features on the cards which make it a nice developement base.
Left: the Supercard CF inside a GBA micro, you can see the memory card sticking out.
Right: the mini-SD version, the memory card does not stick out at all.
When using the SD version your Supercard sticks out about 1/3 as much as with the CF version.
Also remember that the SC-lite only fits inside the NDSL.
The GBA functionality has different aspects.
The Supercard can play GBA homebrew, can play backups of original GBA games, lets you watch movies on your GBA, view pictures and listen to music.
My verdict of the GBA functionality: 7.8/10, This is based on consideration of the backup capabilities and in comparison to the GBAMP functionality.
The SuperCard is clearly not designed first and foremost as a movie player.
Loading time can be quite annoying but it is not very long.
The Supercard lost most of it's points in the real-time save problem.
Left: the Supercard CF inside a Nintendo DS (normal), you can see the memory card sticking out.
Right: the mini-SD version, the memory card does not stick out at all.
When using the SD version your Supercard would stick out about half as much as with the CF version.
One thing I did not like about the Supercard when it comes to NDS options, is the fact that it has a totally different file extention system.
I will not go into detail, you can read more here, but this is confusing at first even though I read about it before I got the Supercard.
Overall verdict NDS: 8.5/10, it works well with homebrew, and it works very well with backups.
SC-CF: The CF card sticks out without anything holding it into place. Now this mostly not cause any harm, but you never know what will happen. When taking out the SC-CF however, you need to keep your CF card inserted. If you do not and you apply pressure to it. It may break.
SC-mSD: There is a lot of room around the miniSD slot, which makes it hard to insert it. Also it is not unthinkable that you may accidentaly take it out in use.
SC-SD: The only real flaw is that it sticks out slightly. Though this is open for discussion as otherwise the SD card would have sticked out.
SC-Lite: It has a very tight fit in the NDSL. It can be quite a pain to get it out of your DS. And although this would not be all that needed because the SCL is front loaded. The front loading is quite nice, but it is not to hard to imagine that with a badly placed finger you will be able to accidentaly nudge it out of the socket even if it is not spring loaded.
Conclusion: This is a very nice bit of hardware and software. All versions work well with backups (GBA and NDS). Homebrew is also widely supported by the SuperCard, as there is a very good FATlib for the SC series. And if you want a device for use with DSlinux, this is currently the device for you. If you are thinking about buying a SC and are unsure which one you want I suggest you think about what hardware you will be using. All versions are generally good, so it is more up to what you want. If you are looking for a device that has a perfect fit you should buy either the SC-mSD (for DS) or SC-lite (NDSL).
I hope you all enjoyed my review and found it useful.
-Simon van de Berg