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We are checking out the ElCheapoSD-Lynx by BennVenn.com which as you probably guessed from the name is a flash cart for the Atari Lynx.
ElCheapoSD-Lynx Review Video
Where to buy the ElCheapoSD-Lynx?
ElCheapoSD-Lynx Review (Text)
The ElCheapo Lynx is a cheap and easy flash cartridge if you want to play games on your Atari Lynx. The case is a little different to the original Lynx cartridges, it has a straight edge at the top instead of a curved design. And on the back there is a raised design instead of plain. And of course on the top is the micro SD card slot where you can add your card with games. Despite its thin size, it feels quite solid and not cheap.
Let’s get it booted up and see how it works.
There’s a basic but perfectly useable file browser which you can navigate using the D-Pad, left and right will skip a page. The A button will load the highlighted game, and the Option 1 button will load the previously played game.
Holding the Pause button will display box art and screenshots which you can change with left and right on the D-Pad. These are included in the firmware download but you may need to rename your ROM files to match the image folders otherwise they will not display.
While we have a quick go on some games we can go over some of the features of this flash cart.
You can store all the Atari Lynx games on a very small sized micro SD card which is great. The full ROM set is less than 50MB, so any old card you have laying around will work. As a note only ROMs with the .LNX file extension works. If you are having issues with games not loading, they may be in .LYX format which do not contain header data in the file. There are online convertors, but you should have no trouble finding .LNX files.
The cartridge supports up to 512 kilobyte (KB) ROM files which is the largest for official games. This also covers all but one homebrew ROM.
While no original Atari Lynx games used EEPROM saving to the SD card, the ElCheapoSD does support it. There are a few homebrew software that do have saves.
The firmware is upgradeable via the SD card. The menu software is open source for custom skins and menu loaders, which is what we are taking a look at next.
Atari Gamer have made their own menu software which has a few improvements and is definitely worth considering using instead of the original menu software. It has a number of different colour themes which help the contrast on the original rubbish screen, and I would imagine it looks amazing on a LCD replacement.
Navigation is performed the same, though there is no option to quickly load the previous played game which is a shame. But, it is on the list to be possibly added in a future update, along with game screenshot support.
Over the past few days I have tried many games and had no issues at all with compatibility. They all worked exactly how they are supposed to, providing the ROM is in the correct format. EEPROM saves seem to work fine with the few homebrew games I tried like T-Tris which saves the high score.
The ElCheapoSD-Lynx is a great solution if you want to check out the Atari Lynx game library as well as some decent homebrew software. At around $45/£45, it is great value for money. I got mine in the UK from Zedlabz.com.