Review of Srident’s SD2Vita adapter for the PSVita
Disclaimer from Aurora: I have received the adapter for free from Srident in order to do the review. I promise to point out any flaws and give a non-biased review. Read the text in bold carefully and please read the whole article before forming an opinion, buying it or commenting about a shortcoming.
After lots of hype, various posts on Reddit, tweets on Twitter and articles on here, the SD2Vita adapter is finally here. Without further ado, let’s start off the review of this spectacular piece of hardware that set the scene on fire!
1. Postage, appearance and build quality
Thoughts on postage: When the adapter arrived at my home, it came in a padded envelope without any extra things which made for a clean package. The French Postal Service (La Poste) seems to offer a great service to European countries as the adapter was shipped on Friday and arrived to my Southern European place of residence on Monday before noon!
Appearance and build quality: The front has a turquoise-esque colour and with the exposed traces on the front gives off a geeky look which in my opinion, goes really well with this type of hardware accessory. My adapter came with a piece of blue tape, that seems pretty solid to me, which covers the connection between the PCB and the microSD card socket. I can assure you that the tape doesn’t interfere with the ability to let you slide your adapter inside your Vita.
The backside of the adapter is a material that seems to be some type of metal and you can also see some PCB traces on it. I personally like the fact that it’s shiny therefore reflective as it gives it a premium feel. The microSD card socket has a spring so that when you put your microSD card in, it clicks to let you that your card in. In terms of thickness, I don’t see any issues and the adapter doesn’t flex one tiny bit. I doubt that the adapter will break easily and it shouldn’t break during normal use.
An important thing to note is that the adapter DOES NOT click in when you insert it so you have to insert it all the way yourself. To install it, you may need to rock the adapter back and forth. I recommend you check the video tutorial of Modsiah which was covered in a previous article.
My thoughts and advice on handling the adapter
As a precaution, I wouldn’t recommend that you take it out too much as it’s a bit annoying to take out. I used a small aluminum stick in order to get it and after rocking it gently, it got out. Avoid taking out the adapter when your PSVita is on as it may damage your Vita and/or adapter.
IMPORTANT BIT OF ADVICE WHEN YOU INSTALL THE ADAPTER: Make sure you install the adapter properly. To do so, you must insert the adapter with the connection pins (on the turquoise-end) facing the BACK of the Vita and NOT the front. If you insert it incorrectly, your Vita may not boot up as it did for me.
Once you put in the adapter, leave it there. You can easily change the microSD while the adapter is in the game cart slot as demonstrated in the picture at the right. I would suggest you dump any PSVita game carts you have via maiDump rather than constantly swapping game carts so that you don’t damage the adapter.
First of all, install the driver (in the form of a plugin) on your Vita and prepare your microSD card; to set it up, you can follow the link of the setting up article below.
In my case, the adapter worked flawlessly. I opted to use my adapter as uma0: (but tested using it as ux0 too, see below) as the largest microSD card I have is an 8GB one. If you want, you can use your adapter as ux0: but before you do that, copy the entire contents of your Vita memory stick to your microSD so that you can use your Vita as normal. To do so, copy your Vita’s memory card contents to your computer via USB (via VitaShell) and then copy them to your already formatted microSD card. Those who opt to use the adapter as ux0: will have their Vita memory card mounted as uma0:
For those opting to use their microSD as ux0:, I recommend you copy your tai folder to ur0: but in my case, using ux0:tai worked as I’m using my adapter as uma0:
Note on putting your microSD card into a computer: For me, copying files onto the microSD card after putting inside the Vita worked. For your safety, I recommend that if you need to put files on the microSD card (such as when you copy your Vita memory card’s contents), do it before you stick in the microSD in your SD2VITA adapter. To add something afterwards, do it via USB or FTP. Hot swapping microSD cards is not advisable.
For your own safety, don’t remove the microSD card while the red access light on the game cart slot is blinking as it may corrupt your microSD. With the adapter mounted as uma0, everything worked properly and I had no issues with any games or homebrew whatsoever that were on my Vita memory card. Copying speeds from my Vita memory stick to the microSD in the SD2Vita adapter are about 4-5MB/s but that will probably depend on the type of microSD card you use (although I did expect slightly higher speeds since my microSD is a Class 10 one – atleast 8-10MB/s like I get on my computer).
I also tried using the adapter as ux0 by copying some folders over from my Vita memory card and stuff seemed to work just fine too. Age of Zombies, an official game, worked just fine off the SD2Vita adapter and I couldn’t spot any longer loading times. Adrenaline also worked just fine (I copied the adrenaline folder to ur0 and the microSD so that there aren’t any path changes when adrenaline.skprx is initially loaded, I changed the adrenaline plugin path to ur0 too in config.txt). mGBA, an emulator, also worked well. Make sure check your file paths in taiHEN’s config.txt and have all your plugins in ur0: since path changes will not let taiHEN start up properly. It’s not recommended you only copy parts of the Vita memory card to the microSD adapter as you’ll just be asking for trouble especially if you forget VitaShell. Either copy the whole Vita memory card to your microSD or don’t do it at all. HENkaku R6 can get you out of any bad situations as it doesn’t use taiHEN’s plugin folder.
This section of the article should be applicable to all SD2Vita adapters, regardless of the manufacturer. I could not fully use it as ux0: but I copied some stuff to my adapter as my microSD card does not have enough storage for my whole memory card and everything worked just fine considering you use the proper paths in taiHEN’s config.txt for everything.
3. Final thoughts and conclusion
I personally believe that this adapter is pretty decent and I’m very proud of Srident for the great adapter he produced! I’m also pleased at the fact that the community was able to get this adapter produced in big numbers for all of the PSVita community to enjoy.
In terms of improvement, I would like to see a piece of paper in the envelope explaining how to put in the adapter in your Vita when you receive it. On the software side of things, I would also like to see some utility (a la Applications Storage Manager but for uma0) that lets you move applications from ux0: to uma0: or the other way round to cater for those that don’t have a microSD card larger than their Vita memory card or simply want to use their Vita memory card for some reason.
There has been talk on a case for the adapter and that’s something that I’d really like to see but the bare PCB is aesthetically pleasing nonetheless in my opinion. Cases may not be usable with different adapters as different adapters could have different thicknesses.
Overall, I can say this adapter is pretty solid, will probably last you a long time, works well and I recommend you get one for your PSVita even if you’re just going to use it as external storage. THIS ADAPTER ONLY WORKS ON PSVITA SYSTEMS THAT ARE ON FIRMWARE 3.60 WITH TAIHEN/HENKAKU, IT WON’T WORK WITH ANY HIGHER FIRMWARE SO STOP ASKING! I WOULD ALSO RECOMMEND YOU HAVE A COPY OF HENKAKU OFFLINE INSTALLER FOR ANDROID SO IF YOU MESS UP IN TAIHEN’S CONFIG.TXT, YOU WOULD BE ABLE TO INSTALL HENKAKU R6 AND FIX STUFF FROM THERE.
Srident’s 3rd batch which was a pre-order batch ran out but he’s planning to do more. To get one now, you can get a very similar adapter from Modisah from the link below.
Modisah pre-order link on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/SD2VITA-PSVSD-Micro-SD-Adapter-for-PS-Vita-Henkaku-3-60-PREORDER-SHIPS-7-31/263102502708
Article that will help you set up the adapter (+ video on how to install it): http://wololo.net/2017/07/20/setting-sd2vita-adapter-formatting-microsd-can-done-windows/
Srident’s Twitter page for more information on future batches: https://twitter.com/SridentPSV
Hardware configuration used (this section is here in order to demonstrate what worked for me, Vita Slims and other versions of Windows should also work):
iPad Air to take the pictures for this articles (that’s why they aren’t of spectacular quality)
Windows 7 64-bit computer in order to format the adapter
PSVita Fat with taiHEN r10.1 via the e-mail exploit
Srident’s SD2Vita adapter with Transcend 8GB Class 10 MicroSD (Cards up to 128GB are reported to work – higher capacity cards may or may not work.)
Special thanks goes to Srident for the review copy of the adapter (good job!), xyz for the adapter design, motoharu for the software patches, Modsiah for the tutorial video and his big production run and the whole community for helping to make this adapter a reality! The days of expensive PSVita memory cards are OVER!