M3 Lite Review
Part 01: What Is It And What You Get
The M3 Lite is the newest incarnation of the M3 Nintendo DS slot 2 mod. This “Lite” version is built to set flush in the Nintendo DS Lite without any sticking out and uses microSD media cards for storage. It comes with a built in media player that allows you to play the following types of media:
Dobly AC3 audio frequency file (*. AC3)
target's file of DVD video (*. VOB)
wave form sound file of Microsoft (*. WAV)
MPEG-1 Audio Layer-2 file (*. MP2)
MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3 file (*. MP3)
Real media file (*. RA, *. RM, *. RAM, *. RMVB)
MPEG-1 media file (*. Mpeg, *. Mpg)
MPEG-2 media file (*. M2V)
Windows media file (*. AVI, *. ASF, *. WMA, *. WMV)
VCD video file (*. DAT)
QuickTime media file (*. MOV)
MPEG-4 media file (*. AVI)
DivX media file (*. AVI)
The unit also has built in emulators for the following “legacy” game systems:
Sega Master System
Sega Game Gear
When you order the M3 Lite you will receive the following:
1x M3 Lite
1x White glossy Lite shell
1x Blue glossy Lite shell
1x Black glossy Lite shell
1x MiniCD w/ M3 Lite software
Part 02: Build Quality
The M3 team are not new to the DS scene by now and when people see there name on a product they know there getting a quality product. The M3 Lite continues this tradition as the unit is built from a nice heavy plastic. The unit slides in and out of the DS Lite with ease and there is no hanging nor does it have the feel of being “crammed” into the DS Lite.
The replacement glossy Lite shells are for people who have one of the other colored DS Lite units. The replacement shells are easy to interchange as there is simply 1 screw to take out and screw back in. I was able to replace the shell in a matter of minutes and the shells all fit perfectly.
Once you choose which shell is best for you, you are ready to get down to the good stuff. You will notice that the M3 Lite has the microSD slot on the side of the unit and not at the bottom like other similar products and the microSD slot is spring loaded. Some people see this as a hassle as you have to remove the M3 Lite from the DS to add or remove the microSD card while others prefer the slot to be on the side so that there is no risk of the microSD card accidentally falling out and getting lost. The M3 Lite slides in and out of the DS Lite with ease so I did not see a problem with the microSD slot being on the side.
The M3 Lite is the same size as the stock Nintendo DS dust cover that comes with the DS and also the same size as the G6 Lite.
Once inserted into the DS Lite there is no noticeable hang out. The unit sits flush with the DS Lite shell and the white shell I used was glossy like the DS Lite.
PART 03: Software And Performance
The rom patching software for the M3 Lite is the same as previos versions. Before I started this review I made sure the rom patching software and the M3 Lite firmware were up to date. The rom patching software has options for the normal type stuff such as rom trimming, fast boot, reset, cheats,ect.
The OS software on the on the M3 Lite itself has the familiar gui. When you boot up the M3 Lite you will be greeted with a very nice gui that includes icons for Games, PDA, Music, Movies, Books, Pictures, Setup and Extend. The OS is fast and does not have a “bloated” feel to it. The OS is fully skin able and there are a lot of other skins on the net you can choose from.
The M3 Lite played the “usual suspect” roms at full speed audio and video intros (Castlevania, The Rub Rabbits, Tony Hawk American Sk8tland, Animal Crossing, and Metroid Prime Hunters). It also played the newest roms like Star Fox and Mario Hoops 3 vs 3. The unit did freeze up when starting the first level of Ultimate Spiderman. Other then Ultimate Spiderman the M3 Lite had the same perfect rom playback that people have come to expect from an M3 product. Needless to say that the GBA side of game playing was just as good as the DS side. I tried several GBA games likes Mario & Lugi: Superstar Saga and FF and they worked perfectly and saved perfectly. Homebrew compatibility was top notch too. The following homebrew apps were tested and worked:
A Touch Of War
I stoped after that but I suspect most of if not all homebrew will work as the M3 has become one of the standards in the mod scene.
The book viewer is a nice touch. I could not figure out how to get it to view the text on both screens as claimed. You are able to scroll through the text and even set bookmarks through out the text.
The videos and music I converted played perfectly in the media player. Playback was smooth and looked surprisingly good on the DS screens.
Another greatly over looked aspect of the M3 series is the built in “legacy” console emulators. The M3 Lite comes with built in emu’s for Gameboy Mono, Sega Master System, Sega Game Gear, Nintendo (NES), and Turbografx16. The emulators I tested worked at full speed and video and the real time saves worked also. It’s just an added bonus to be able to play some old school Sonic or Mario on the DS Lite!
The M3 Lite is another top of line product from the M3 Team. It is made from top notch quality products from the glossy shells to the advanced OS and rom patching software. The fact that out of the box the M3 Lite supports not only DS and GBA playback but is also a multimedia player, picture viewer, full functioning PDA, digital book viewer, and has multiple legacy emulators built in (NES,SMS,PCE,GG,GBA) really makes the M3 Lite stand above and beyond the other mods out today. It has the highest overall compatibility for DS, GBA, and homebrew apps and games then any other DS slot 2 mod.