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The Acekard 2i is the DSi version of the Acekard 2.1. The Acekard 2i was one of the first flashcarts ever to work on the DSi, coming out only a few days after the DSi in Japan. This semi-famous flashcart is capable of doing all the base features of other flashcarts (rom playability, homebrew, soft-reset, etc.). In fact, the Acekard is even lacking some very popular features from other flashcarts, and it's been said that the Acekard 2i has quite shoddy build quality. So how did the Acekard get so popular? Well there's many reasons, and in this review I'll help you determine whether these loved features are enough to out weigh the Acekard's already established main problems.
The build quality of the Acekard is surprisingly good. It's much better than what most people make it out to be. However, my view of the Acekard's build might be influenced by the fact that I've been using the same flashcarts for the last year (M3i Zero and M3 DS Real, which aren't really known for good build quality). The Acekard has quite a few upsides when it comes to build. First of all it has two teeth (ridges on official game cartridges, but normally absent on flashcarts) on it's contacts. Teeth on a flashcart are actually a pretty rare find, even if it's just a couple. The teeth are at the very ends of both sides of the contacts, most likely to help align them with the DSi's contacts. The sides of the flashcart aren't held together by pins or clips, like some flashcarts with lesser build quality are, it's glued like official games. The flashcart, as you can see in the pictures below, is black and not white like some other known carts (iEDGE, etc.). I personally like the flashcart black, because then it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. Finally there is no noticeable bump on the front of the cart, so this allows it to fit into your DSi very smoothly (no conflict like with other flashcarts).
Onto the microsd slot! It's placed at the top of the flashcart, which I'm not a huge fan of. I play my DS in public places very often, so everyone can see that I'm using a flashcart (and I know I won't go to jail or anything, it's just a little embarrassing). Anyways, the microsd slot is also spring loaded, which can be a perk or con depending on how you look at it. Some find it as an easier way to ensure that the microsd is in correctly, others see it as a way to make your flashcart unusable (if the spring breaks then the microsd won't be able to go in the slot correctly, so chances are that you'll have to buy a completely new flashcart). I, myself, am a fan of spring loaded microsd slots, but many people have said that the spring in the Acekard 2i is cheap and breaks easily. This is where there discussion of whether or not the Acekard's build quality is bad comes into play. I've seen quite a few reports of people having their springs fail on them within weeks of having their Acekard, then there's people who have had one for over a year with no problem. So it really has different factors that play into it all. My suggestion, if you do end up getting this flashcart, is to gently insert the microsd into the slot and put as much care into using/storing your Acekard as possible. Another known problem with the Acekard is it's supposed bad contacts (the yellowish blocks on the bottom of the back of the flashcart). So far the contacts haven't given me any problems, my DSi always detects my Acekard immediately, and it never gives me errors when booting it.
The Acekard's installation is fairly straight forward and fast. Installing AKAIO takes seconds to do (drag and drop the files). However, AKAIO isn't the only thing you will need to install if you wish to run your Acekard on a DSi with 1.4 firmware. You will need to install the latest boot loader on your Acekard to make it compatible with the new 1.4 flashcart blocking measures. While the compatibility update isn't the hardest thing in the world, it can be a little challenging if you don't know what you're doing. What you'll need to have is a DS Lite or DSi with 1.3 firmware or lower. If you only have a DSi with 1.4 firmware then you're out of luck. If you do find yourself in this situation then it'd probably be best to borrow a DS Lite from a friend for 10 seconds just to do the update. Once the update is complete, you'll now it will have worked because your Acekard's DSi menu icon/description will change to Danny Phantom.
Now the update isn't 100% safe. There is a chance of something going wrong. Obviously the update won't hurt your DSi, but, if interrupted, your Acekard could potentially be bricked. The good side is this can also be fixed. If you find yourself in this other more alarming situation you can borrow a friend's flashcart + DS Lite and run the multi DS Lite updater. When it asks to eject and reinsert the new flashcart, just insert your bricked Acekard and continue the process. It's quite handy to have a way to unbrick your Acekard if need be.
Now for the good part. The default firmware for the Acekard 2i is somewhat of a...hrm how would I put it..."epic fail". Well, that's atleast in comparison to AKAIO. AKAIO stands for Acekard All in One, and is a very popular alternate firmware for the Acekard. It's because of this firmware that the flashcart is so popular. In this section I'll be going over some of the core features of the firmware and evaluating it over all.
AKAIO has a plethora of features to enjoy. Some of which very handy, others just to say "Oh hey, that's cool!" Some of the features include copy/cutting/pasting/deleting files from within the menu, global settings (so you don't have to set soft reset settings for every single game you have), making shortcuts for files, viewing text files, wii connectivity, EZ-Flash 3-in-1 native support, having multiple .sav files per game, homebrew soft reset, and more! With the file management (copying/cutting/pasting/deleting) you have the option to delete/copy/cut the corresponding save files with the game that you are trying to manage. It makes things simpler so you don't have to go into your options and choose the option for save files to appear then also copy/cut/paste/delete the .sav file as well.
One feature that is pretty cool is the ability to update your loaders (these will be explained about later on) via wifi. So no having to go through the hassle of turning off your DS, ejecting your Acekard, taking out your microsd, putting the microsd in your computer, putting the new loaders onto your microsd and then reversing the whole process. The wifi updater even gives the option to see what's new in the latest update so you can decide whether or not to update or not. It even let's you update your cheat database, and pause a update in progress and go do something else. The download speed is quite slow thanks to the DS's older wifi adapter, but it's not so slow where you won't want to use the updater at all.
AKAIO also has many different themes to choose from. These themes actually have quite a bit of customability factor to them. You can choose to have a calender,a clock, show the user's console name (the name you set in your DS's settings), change the positioning of the start button, etc. The themes range from video games to anime, so if you like customizing your menu then AKAIO is a good firmware for you.
Finally we have the actual file list. The way AKAIO handles showing files is it shows 4 at a time, but it goes file by file. What that means is when you get to the end of the 4 files currently shown AKAIO doesn't load a whole new page of the next 4 files, it replaces the first file (or the last file if you're scrolling up) with the next icon. It makes scrolling much faster than something like the M3i Zero's Touchpod firmware (which loads page by page). AKAIO also allows you to either view the exact file name of the roms (i.e. "ThisIsARom-Patched.nds") or by internal file name (i.e. "Rom Name - Publisher - Developer"). It also allows you to view the files in a line mode, where there's no icons and it's just the names of the files. Finally, you can tell AKAIO to hide certain file types and folders so things are more organized and you can find the game you want easier.
AKAIO is known for it's very high compatibility with backed up NDS games. Most people would even go as far to say it's has 100% compatibility. One cool part about AKAIO's compatibility is that you don't have to wait for completely new versions of AKAIO to get game fixes. AKAIO is able to do this because it uses loaders for game compatibility, and these loaders can be updated and swapped out with other loaders. So when a new problematic game comes out all the coders of AKAIO have to do is release a new loader update, which can then be acquired through the wifi updater on AKAIO.
AKAIO's NDS game compatibility is wonderful. It'll work with almost every single game you try. The only games that might not work are really lesser known games that no one has even heard of before.
The Acekard2i is actually a very nice flashcart, granted that you have the AKAIO firmware. All of the majorly known problems for the flashcarts either weren't present for me or were outweighed by the very nice features that are exclusive to AKAIO. The Acekard obviously isn't perfect, but it sure is close. If you add up that it has quite a bit of exclusive features, a cheap price, and very good compatibility you just can't resist buying it.
Build Quality: 13/15 - Very awesome build quality. I've not had a problem yet. My Acekard feels, looks, and is very sturdy.
Compatibility: 15/15 - Amazing compatibility. Even if you have a problem with one game you can play around with the DMA settings and you're bound to get it working. Homebrew soft reset, even though it's a somewhat new feature to flashcarts in general, works for almost every single homebrew I tested.
Firmware: 9/10 - The firmware, AKAIO, has everything you'd dream and more. The only thing it is missing is Real Time Save, Real Time Guide, and Slow Motion features. Another small set back is that fact that loader update speed slows when newer versions are being coded.
Installation: 3/5 - Getting your Acekard to work on your 1.4 DSi can be somewhat of a hassle, I even had to borrow my brother's DS Lite to update my Acekard. The installation of the firmware is really easy, however not everyone will know that AKAIO is better than the official firmware so this may cause people to only use the official one.
Overall: 40/45 or 9/10 - The Acekard2i is a great flashcart with very few downsides. While it isn't perfect it is very cool and feature packed. I highly reccomend this flashcart for anyone looking for a flashcart that will get the job done and throw some extra features at you as well.
This review was written by a user of the AceKard 2i, not by us here at R4andMORE Australia.
We by no way or form guarantee or take any responsibility for what the user has written in the following review.
The review is for you to read what users are saying about the product and learn some of the features and abilities of the AceKard 2i Flash card that we supply, from a third parties point of view.
BUY ACEKARD 2i - $23.16
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