Nixvue Vista review, Phil Askey, April 2002

Nixvue Vista

The Nixvue Vista is a direct progression from Nixvue's Digital Album product of last year. The Vista is a portable image storage and playback device available in 5, 10, 20 or 30 GB capacities. It is designed to be used by a digital photographer in the field to offload images from a memory card.

The Vista enables you to not only reduce the number of storage cards you'd need on an average shoot but also gives you the ability to go on long haul trips (such as on-location shoots or holidays) without having to carry a notebook or similar computer with you. In addition to this the new Vista can also display downloaded images both on its full colour TFT LCD as well as an attached TV monitor.

Here is a summary of improvements and new features compared to the Digital Album product:

  • Instant Viewing on built-in LCD screen
  • On-screen display as file list, thumbnails, single image and zoom magnification (up to 8x)
  • On-screen display of EXIF information
  • Compact Flash Type II connector instead of PCMCIA (other media adapters available)
  • Copy back to CF function
  • Multiple file selection
  • Improved operating system and menu layout
  • "Reset function" - button combination (# and power) to perform a reset
  • Increased direct-printer printer support
  • Increased computer operating system compatibility (Win 98/SE/Me/2000/XP, Mac OS, Linux)
  • Connectors (USB, Video Out, DC-IN) now on Vista body, no docking station required
  • No cradle (see above)
  • Increased battery life thanks to new 1400 mAh battery
  • New accessories (Firewire Jack, Printer Jack, USB 2.0 Jack, Ethernet Jack)*

* Some of the Jack accessories will come later

Nixvue Vista Specifications

System Contents Vista, Battery, Charger (110/240 V), USB cable, Video cable, CD-ROM, Manual
Capacity 5, 10, 20, 30 GB
Price US$550 for 10 GB Unit
Input Interface CompactFlash Type II
Input Support (via optional CF adapter) - SmartMedia, Memory Stick, SD/MMC
Communications USB 1.1, optional Jack connectors
Optional Jacks * USB 2.0, Firewire, Ethernet, Printer
Printing support Epson Stylus Photo, HP Inkjet
Software Firmware upgradeable
Video Output Micro Composite jack (PAL / NTSC switchable)
Control Infrared Remote Control (included)
Power Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (1400 mAh, 3.7V; 52 Wh)
Dimensions 146 x 83 x 29 mm (5.7 x 3.3 x 1.1 in)
Weight 290 g (10.2 oz)
More information Click here

* Some of the Jack accessories will come later


The Vista is a little larger and about twice the thickness of a normal PDA. Most of the size of the unit is taken up by the notebook hard disk which resides inside. On the front you'll find the power button, colour LCD screen and a set of seven buttons. Four of these buttons make up a 4-way navigator, the center button used for 'enter' actions and the two buttons directly below the screen are used for OK (left) and Cancel (right). Around the back there isn't much to see other than the battery compartment door, after you've loaded the battery for the first time you're unlikely to open it again.

The previous 'Digital Album' model wasn't the most attractive piece of kit, the Vista is better but still doesn't have what I would call "showroom sheen". Now at least the whole unit is one colour but still the colour is pretty drab and uninteresting. The other thing about the actual body is the fact that the plastic material feels a little cheap, Nixvue really should have used a higher quality material and even considered rubberizing parts of the case. This is after all a unit you expect to be able to take anywhere.

LCD Monitor

The Vista's new 1.8" LCD screen is fairly bright and clear with a thick protective plastic screen covering it. Either side of the 'Vista' logo are two LED lamps. The left lamp indicates disk access, the right lamp blinks to indicate battery charging (goes steady once battery is fully charged).


For the Vista Nixvue has installed a new higher capacity Lithium-Ion battery. The battery is rated as 3.7 V, 1400 mAh (51.8 Wh) which is almost twice the capacity of the battery used in last years Digital Album. The battery charges in the unit, just connect the provided AC adapter.

However, it's likely that the Vista has harsher power requirements thanks to its new full colour LCD screen. Battery tests can be found later in this review.

Remote Control

The Vista is supplied with the same 'super slim' remote control we saw last year. This is used to operate the unit when it's in TV mode. There's no option to use the unit in TV mode without this remote so don't lose it.

The remote is powered by a single Lithium 'button battery'.

Soft Case

Also included is this protective soft case which has a velcro closing flap and comes with a shoulder strap. This protects the Vista from occasional knocks when being carried.

Compact Flash Slot

Instead of a PCMCIA slot (as we saw in the Digital Album and other products) the Vista now has a Compact Flash Type I / II slot. This has the benefit (for Compact Flash using photographers) of not requiring to carry a PCMCIA adapter around with the unit. Nixvue has clearly analyzed its target market and realized that probably >75% of their users own and use Compact Flash cards. For the rest there are readily available adapters for SmartMedia, SD/MMC and Memory Stick.

Compact Flash / Adapter insertion

The Compact Flash card (or adapter) is inserted into the bottom of the Vista with its label side down. One thing I didn't like about the CF slot is that there are no 'guide rails' until about 20 mm into the slot. This made inserting a card a little hit and miss to begin with, you get used to it eventually by ensuring the card is pressed against the upper side of the slot as you slide it in.

Compact Flash Type I / II connects directly SmartMedia via a CF adapter