Nixvue Digital Album review, Phil Askey, June 2001
The Nixvue Digital Album is a 10 GB (or 20 GB) portable storage device designed to be used by the digital photographer in the field to offload images from a memory card. Its contents can then later be transfered to a computer via USB. The Digitial Album takes this concept a step further by also providing a TV interface with which you can browse thumbnails and full size images and also print directly to compatible printers.
We first picked up on the Digital Album back in December last year when it was a very basic prototype. During a visit to Singapore I got an exclusive look at this interesting product in its early design phase, it had come along some but was still definetly a prototype. During PMA 2001 Nixvue won the DIMA "Innovative Digital Product" award for the Digital Album. Shortly after that we received a review unit, however I wasn't totally happy with its performance it often crashed, battery life wasn't good and certain incompatibilities were clear.
For the last two months Nixvue's engineers have been working hard to iron out these bugs and we now have the final incarnation of the Nixvue Digital Album, a far more rounded and stable product than previously seen (note the revision used for this review is later than that seen on other sites).
Nixvue Digital Album Specifications
|System Contents||Digital Album, Cradle, Charger, Batteries, Infrared Remote, CF adapter|
|Capacity||10 GB / 20 GB|
|Input Interface||PCMCIA Type II|
|Input Support||(via PCMCIA adapter) - Compact Flash Type I/II (inc. Microdrive), SmartMedia, Memory Stick, SD/MMC|
|Printing support||Epson compatible photo printers (more to be made available later)|
|Video Output||RCA jack (PAL / NTSC switchable)|
|Control||Infrared Remote Control|
|Power||Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (800 mAh, 3.6V; 28 Wh) supplied|
|Charger||AC adapter / charger connects to cradle (5V DC). Input: 100 - 200 V AC|
|Dimensions||Digital Album: 146 x 83 x 29 mm (5.7 x 3.3 x 1.1 in)
Cradle: 157 x 113 x 72 mm (6.2 x 4.4 x 2.8 in)
|Weight||Digital Album: 280 g
Cradle: 260 g
|Price||10 GB unit: US$499
20 GB unit: US$599
In the box
This is the first time we've seen a full retail box for the Digital Album. Inside you'll find the Digital Album itself, the Lithium-Ion battery, Cradle, AC Power adapter (100-240V), Remote control (and battery), a PCMCIA CF Type I adapter, soft case (with shoulder strap), RCA video cable, USB cable, Software CD-ROM and printed user manual.
Design: Digital Album
The Digital Album itself is a fairly standard 'chunky PDA' size. On the front you'll find the small LCD display, directly below this are the five function buttons. On the back of the unit is the battery compartment (you shouldn't need to open this after you've inserted the batteries for the first time). The top of the Digital Album has the PCMCIA slot, the base fits into the cradle. Build quality is acceptable, though not up to the standards of some manufacturers out there (oh, and I hate that logo).
Here's a suggestion to Nixvue's design department for the Digital Album mk2: either make the whole unit from transparent blue, or the whole of the unit from silver or the front from silver and the back from transparent blue. The current 'design' looks odd, the battery compartment door almost looks as though it doesn't belong.
The Cradle sits on four rubber feet, the main slot in the top will hold the digital album angled back slightly. Around the back you'll find the connectors, from left to right: DC input (5 V), USB, Parallel and Video Out (RCA jack).
Supplied is this protective soft case which has a velcro closing flap and comes with a shoulder strap. This protects the Digital Album from occasional knocks while being carried.