N2 USB Reader/Writer Review
The developers of the N2 Elite (formerly known as Amiiqo) have just released the USB reader/writer as they indicated they would several months ago. In this review I will go over how the USB reader/writer works as well as the overall build quality. If you want to learn more about the N2 Elite, you can read my previous review (back when it was called Amiiqo.)
The N2 USB reader/writer is a small (slightly larger than the N2 Elite), rectangular, plastic base with a circular groove for the N2 Elite to sit in while connected. The reader connects to your PC using a common micro USB like you’d find on most Android cell phones. The device is very light weight, but doesn’t feel flimsy at all.
The N2 Manager application and drivers are available for both Windows and OS X. Once you start up the application you’ll be presented with a few options:
- Scan for Tag
- Dump Amiibo
- Set Bankcount
Scan For Tag is used to connect the reader/writer to the N2 Elite or a standard Amiibo. This is the first button you should click after placing your N2 on the USB device.
Dump Amiibo can be used to dump all of the data from an Amiibo (or an N2 Elite when it is locked) to a standard bin file. This is useful for storing backups of your Amiibo and prevent losing data to corruption.
Unlock will take your N2 Elite out of lock-mode, where it essentially functions as a standard Amiibo.
Set Bankcount allows you to set the number of available spots (or banks) where you can store Amiibo data on the N2 Elite – essentially how many Amiibo figures you can store. This can be set anywhere from 1 to 200, but realistically you’ll be keeping this at the lower end (you’ll see why later in my review.) After updating this value, you’ll need to scan your N2 to save the data.
Lock puts the N2 Elite into lock-mode where it functions identically to an Amiibo. You don’t need to lock it in order to use N2 Elite on a Wii U or 3DS. Instead, this special mode is used to be able to dump the data from the N2 Elite to a bin file, just as you would a standard Amiibo.
Warning: At the time of writing this review there is a bug where if you lock the N2 Elite, you won’t be able to unlock it with PC application, but you’ll need access to the Android application to unlock it. However, N2 has confirmed that they are working to fix this issue. So, until then, avoid locking the N2 Elite unless you have an Android device available.
Update: The developers just released an update to the N2 Manager application in order to fix the locking bug. I have confirmed that this does indeed fix the issue. I’m glad to see such a quick response from their team.
On the right-hand side of the application is a grid displaying all of the currently filled banks on the N2 Elite. Clicking on one of these banks will let you import bin files (created from dumping data from an Amiibo or downloaded elsewhere) into that bank (replacing any data that is currently there. Once you’ve selected a file the software will write the data to the N2 Elite. The process only takes a second or two, but make sure you don’t knock the N2 Elite off the USB surface during this process as it may corrupt the data.
Comparison to Android Version
I’ve noticed that when I use the Android version it can be tricky (depending on the Android device) to line up the N2 Elite with the NFC reader. This usually only happens when you try to write data back to the tag, resulting in having to re-select the bin file and attempt to write to the tag again.
One issue I’ve noticed with the N2 Manager application (and with the Android application for that matter) is that the more recently released Amiibo (certain Animal Crossing, Chibi Robo, etc) do not display an image. It is likely that since these applications were developed before the release of these Amiibo that they don’t contain data for these yet. Hopefully they’ll release an update soon as it can be difficult remembering which slot had what Amiibo in it.
Also forth mentioning is that the N2 USB reader/writer came with a molded tray that would appear to be able to hold an N2 Elite disc (or two) next to it, but I don’t recommend using this. I happened to try putting it in there but the fit was so tight that when I tried removing it the N2 Elite started to lift apart.
I wouldn’t worry about these issues as they’re easily avoidable, and most people likely won’t even notice.
If you’ve wanted to buy an N2 Elite, but have been holding back because it required an Android device, now is the time to buy. The USB reader/writer offers a very convenient and in some cases more reliable way of managing data on your N2 Elite. Right now the N2 USB reader/writer is available from resellers for about $30. If you’re interested in picking one up (or have done so already) let me know what you think.