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Thread: Max Media Dock (DS): A Mini-Review (Now with pics, 56K beware)

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    Default Max Media Dock for DS...

    I bought one of these at Wal-Mart on clearance for $15 the other day (Your Mileage May Vary). This is a Datel product (the same company that makes the Action Replay). Anyway, it is supposed to run videos, music and homebrew games off an SD card. The guys on cheapassgamer.com where the deal was originally posted said that you can run emulators off this device as well. Does anyone own this device and have they been successful at using it yet? I just found a card reader this morning for my old-school computer, so I haven't tried it out.
    Currently catching up on PSN, WiiWare, Wii U E-Shop and Xbox Live Arcade exclusives I missed.

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    I have the 1 Gig version. It's actually a swell little device. If you hook it up to your PC and download the 1.22 drivers from datel's web-site, you get much better functionality out of it. You can actually unscrew the cover and use any Compact Flash card inside of it.

    While I only once tried an emulator, I can safely say I have successfully used music, video clips, and notepad files with it.

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    Default Max Media Dock (DS): A Mini-Review (Now with pics, 56K beware)

    Ever since my local Wal-Mart has been remodeling the entire store for some time now, they've had a giant sale to get rid of some of their previous inventory. Today while I was looking at the stuffs for sale, I came across Datel's Max Media Dock: A utility for the DS that plays music, movies, and homebrew games (...and other things, I assumed.) Seeing that the price had been marked down to $10, I bit the bullet.

    But first, I needed a CompactFlash card.

    Upon opening the box for the Media Dock, you'll find three items: A USB 2.0 cable, a DS card which acts as the firmware/browser, and the Media Dock itself. Trying to setup the Dock for the first time brought two complications with the hardware: 1.) The "media caddy" included with the dock is supposed to hold the card in place when connected to the dock. However, in reality, it adds an unncessary annoyance to the process because screws must be held in place whenever you connect the caddy to the dock. Instead, I just connect the card directly to the Dock itself. So far, I've had no problems using this method, but YMMV. 2.) The card label faces outward, not inward like the manual implies.

    Which brings me to my first qualm about the product: The documentation is scarce and sparse. The manual that came with the product is pretty basic/threadbare, while the website designed for the Dock is only accessible through Datel's UK site. (Us US users who don't know any better will have to resort to other methods of finding the site, such as Google.)

    But soon, I was off and running. The Dock basically acts as a pass-through while connected to a computer, so you can add, edit and move around files in the card at will. After adding some music files from my library to the card to test out the music capabilities, my attentions turned to one thing: Emulators. And since the Max Media Dock can run .nds files, I was in luck.

    After loading up my card with various goodies, I inserted the Dock into my DS and turned it on. After being greeted by Datel's logo, I was in the card's browser. First thing I did was listen to some tunes. The music sounds really good through the DS's speakers, but quality starts to suffer a mite when you put on some headphones. Nevertheless, I think it was worth the $10 alone just to hear "Werewolves Of London" being played from my DS.

    Next, I tested the emulators. I grabbed 3 different systems (SMS, NES and SNES) with three different games. I tested the SMS one first. Everything loaded up great. In fact, the game ran a little too fast. I'll have to tweak some settings on that.

    The SNES emulator ran great as well, playing Earthbound at full speed with sound. Of course, not all games may work as well, depending on the game's compatiabilty with the emulator.

    In fact, the NES emulator gave me some trouble. Trying to play a simple game of Super Mario Bros., it gave an oddly garbled title screen, and then froze when I tried to start it up. More testing will follow (preferably with a different emulator).

    First thoughts? I have to say, I'm honestly impressed. I haven't had a need to test out playing movies yet, but everything else seems to work grand. Maybe not a product I'd shell out $40 for (original retail price), but for $10, it's a no-brainer. Grab it.

    Has anybody else used this Dock or tried it out? What were your thoughts on it? (What NES emulator should I use? )

    EDIT: Scroll down to the bottom of this thread to see some pictures in action!
    Last edited by Gapporin; 06-21-2007 at 11:42 PM.
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    Wow, anyone else seen this around for cheap? For $10, I'd pick one up for sure.

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    That sounds very cool indeed. I'd love to get one for $10 as well, but I refuse to shop at Wal Mart due to their deplorable business practices, so I'll keep a look out for one on the cheap elsewhere. Thanks for the review.
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    Sounds cool and looks nice from what pictures I saw of it. I'll be keeping my eyes out for the little thing though I've never seen it before.
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    I'd totally buy something like this if I saw it on the cheap.

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    I started a thread for this device on Saturday, but I don't think anyone replied to. I'm not mad, though.

    I spent $15 on it, but I didn't have a Compact Flash card or reader. Then, I lucked into a reader for $2 at a yard sale on Saturday morning, so I think I will try this out now.
    Currently catching up on PSN, WiiWare, Wii U E-Shop and Xbox Live Arcade exclusives I missed.

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    I've seen them locally for $30... thought about it then but, I was afraid that it wouldn't work very well. :/ Now that I have read your review I'm tempted to go back to Wally World and grab one. I'm sure they are less now... if they still have them. Perhaps you could grab an extra if it's not too much trouble or even possible. I'll fairly compensate you of course. I'll go and see if they still have any tomorrow.

    Just one quick question. What video/audio file types does it play?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Icarus Moonsight View Post
    Just one quick question. What video/audio file types does it play?
    It plays .mp3 audio files, and .d3v video files. The Dock comes with a disc that includes a program that converts a wide range of movie files into .d3v (or you can just grab it directly from Datel's site).
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    Nice... thank you.


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    Just because (and I wanted to show it to my brother), I took some pics of the Media Dock in action. Please note that any red splotches that might appear in the pictures are because of the camera light, and not usually present on the screen.

    After turning on the DS and seeing the Datel logo, we come to:


    The Main Menu/File Browser.


    Close-up of the Music Menu. Another neat feature of the Media Dock is that while playing music, the screen automatically turns off after 10 seconds.


    Running an Sega Master System emulator.


    Close-up -- Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap.


    The iconic Zillion intro.


    Running an NES emulator.


    Close-up -- Super Mario Bros.


    Gradius.


    Running an SNES emulator.


    Close-up -- Earthbound.

    So there you have it. The more I play around with this thing, the neater it becomes.
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    Nice review. Might have to look into getting this...

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    I took a trip to Wally World and to my surprise they hadn't sold a one since last time we were there (about 2 months ago). Bought 2 of 'em and I have to agree... these things are neat. Picked up a few 2GB CF cards from Office Depot for ~$25 each and presto... cheapest NDS flashcart I've ever seen. Now I just need to find the best emu's and such. Those I've used so far are a little less than desirable. Any suggestions? I can say for sure stay clear of NesterDS. You need to patch every ROM into a seperate *.nds file and it zaps card space real fast. If you store 20 games on the card you're also storing 20 copies of the emu with them. It does work so you could use it until you find something better. Only game I've come across that has issues (in NesterDS) is Kirby's Adventure... the image is to big to patch into the emu's nds file frame. If you find an optimal tool/emu please share.

    Thanks to Gapporin! Wouldn't have got it without your leap of faith.

    For those looking, I have seen these other places like Best Buy for one. Not for less than $40 though.
    Last edited by Icarus Moonsight; 06-22-2007 at 05:09 AM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Icarus Moonsight View Post
    Now I just need to find the best emu's and such. Those I've used so far are a little less than desirable. Any suggestions?
    Here's what I use:

    SMS - DSMasterPlus. Emulation is a bit problematic, though. Some games run too fast, while others run pretty normally. Sound is also in FM, which may not be your cup of tea. The only other SMS emulator I've seen, though, is DSMS, and the ROM has to be indiviually preloaded for that (like NesterDS).

    NES - NesDS. Using the normal version won't work, however, there's a specially patched program for the Max Media Dock. Everything runs great (with a few minor graphical glitches).

    SNES - SNEmulDS. Everything runs great.

    Beyond that, you'll have to experiment for yourself.
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    So for the DS, should I buy this or a standard flash cart -dealy?

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    Well, I'm sold. Off to Wallyworld I go this weekend.

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    I'm having the hardest time trying to get an emulator running. Is there a simple step by step tutorial I can read?
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    I am interested in this but it is still $30 around here and I've never used an emulator before so if someone could do a step by step instruction here I would probably run out and get one.

    On a related note how does the datel codebusters thing work? Have seen it right next to the max media dock and am curious if it is worthwhile/

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    I bought one of these at a local Walmart that had it marked down to ~$21.00. BTW I also bought a Nintendo DS lite hard carrying case for $6. But I checked prices at other Warmarts in the area and they were only marked down to ~$32. So all Walmart pricing is not the same. IMO this is not that good at running emulators. I have the snes emulator running but it runs most of the games I tried too fast. Also some games (ie Contra III) varies objects don't show up. However I hope the emulator will be updated to fix these problems but you never know. I would recommend an R4 or something similar if you want to run roms. You will have less problems. See a different thread on flashcarts for more info. Also check out the forums at http://forums.maxconsole.net/ under DS flashcarts, Datel for all the problems running emulators and roms before buying.

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