Overall Performance

Download to Vista Timing

Timings below were performed using 128 MB of JPEG images (66 files total). In all cases there was between a 6.5 and 7.0 second delay from selecting the Copy option and the unit beginning to copy files, this is likely to be the time to read the directory from the CF card as well as spin-up the internal hard drive. Timings were made from the moment the unit began reading from the card until the moment it completed. Each test was performed 3 times and speed calculated as an average.

Flash card Speed Total Time
512 MB RiData CF Type I
1.36 MB/sec 1 min 22 sec
1 GB IBM Microdrive CF Type II
1.32 MB/sec 1 min 25 sec
512 MB Simpletech CF Type II
1.27 MB/sec 1 min 28 sec
256 MB Viking CF Type I
1.26 MB/sec 1 min 29 sec
512 MB Lexar 16x CF Type I 1.24 MB/sec 1 min 31 sec
512 MB SanDisk Ultra CF Type I 1.18 MB/sec 1 min 35 sec
128 MB Delkin CF Type I 1.12 MB/sec 1 min 40 sec
128 MB OEM SmartMedia via CF->SM Adapter 1.06 MB/sec 1 min 45 sec

Overall transfers were fairly similar to the Digital Album, perhaps just a little slower. Transfer speeds are comparable to download on a Notebook computer via a PCMCIA adapter.

Display speed

There are three factors which affect the display speed of images on the Vista (both on the unit's LCD monitor and via Video out):

  1. If the image file header contains a camera generated thumbnail (which 99% of digital camera images do unless they've been altered) then thumbnail display is consistently around 10 sec.
  2. The size of the image file (not necessarily its dimension but it's file size)
  3. If the image has been viewed (and cached) previously

Displaying a thumbnail view of a folder full of images takes around 10 seconds (for 8 thumbnails), this is assuming all the image files have embedded thumbnails (in the header). Once the unit has generated its own thumbnails from the image a re-display of that folder of images takes just a second or two (it caches the thumbnails).

The amount of time it takes to display or magnification of an image in for the first time in depends on the file size, although it's not a directly linear relationship. Once an image has been viewed the Vista caches a smaller copy of the image, the next time you display that image it will only take a couple of seconds.

See the table below for representative display times.

Image size Thumbnail view
(8 thumbnails)
View image
Magnify image
2 megapixel (1600 x 1200) - 480 KB
9.5 sec 4.5 sec 3.7 sec
2 megapixel (1600 x 1200) - 960 KB
9.5 sec 5.9 sec 5.1 sec
3 megapixel (2048 x 1536) - 1.48 MB 9.5 sec 7.8 sec 7.5 sec
4 megapixel (2272 x 1704) - 1.84 MB 9.5 sec 9.9 sec 9.3 sec
5 megapixel (2560 x 1920) - 2.53 MB 9.5 sec 13.8 sec 13.5 sec
6 megapixel (3072 x 2048) - 3.20 MB 9.5 sec 15.6 sec 13.6 sec

As you can see from the figures above the Vista can feel a little slow, especially with larger images. Four, five or six megapixel images all take 10 seconds or upwards to display (for the first time).

Connection: Windows 2000 / XP (USB)

After connecting the Vista to your computer via the supplied USB cable the LCD menu will change from 'Turn On Video' to 'Turn On USB'. Select this option on the menu and unit will switch into USB connected mode and will emulate a 'Mass Storage Device'. This means that it doesn't need any special drivers to work straight away with Windows Me, 2000 or XP.

Checking Windows XP's device manager we see the new device listed ("Nixvue Digital Album"):

You can now access the Vista just as you would another removable drive on your computer:

To disconnect the Vista simply press the Enter button on the front of the unit.

Download to Computer Timing

We tested the Digital Album to evaluate how long it would take to upload your images once you get home (or back to your notebook).

  • Read: 0.69 MB/s (from Vista to Computer)
  • Write: 0.87 MB/s (from Computer to Vista)

It would take about twenty minutes to download 1 GB of images from a Nixvue Vista. Kind of a disappointing performance, but that's what we've come to expect from USB 1.1 devices. Luckily Nixvue should have USB 2.0 and Firewire "Jack's" available fairly soon, we'd expect transfer speeds to be much faster with these.

Image File Format Compatibility

Unfortunately it appears that the Vista was only compatible with normal JPEG files, here's the results of our test:

Image format Thumbnail view

View image
EXIF info
JPEG
Yes Yes Yes
GIF No No n/a
TIFF (Uncompressed) Yes * Yes * n/a
TIFF (LZW compressed) No No n/a
Canon EOS-D30 RAW (CRW) No No Yes (THM)
Canon EOS-D60 RAW (CRW) No No Yes (THM)
Canon EOS-1D RAW (TIFF) Garbled Shows thumbnail No
Nikon D1 RAW (NEF) No No Yes
Nikon D1H RAW (NEF) No No Yes
Nikon D1x RAW (NEF) No No Yes

* Three megapixels or less

Battery Life

The Vista is fitted with a new 3.7 V, 1400 mAh (51.8 Wh) Lithium-Ion battery. This new battery has about twice the capacity of that used in the Digital Album, however the new colour LCD screen on the Vista will obviously use more power. To test the battery life we put the Vista through two different tests. Test one was a download of 128 MB from a CF card, then to open a thumbnail view of the download and view the first image then power the unit off, this was repeated every five minutes. Test two was simply to download the 128 MB from the CF card and then power the unit off, again repeated every five minutes.

Method Number of transfers Total Time
Download, view thumbnails, view image
22 (2.8 GB) 1 hr 50 mins
Download 27 (3.5 GB) 2 hr 15 mins

Although the additional use of the screen for viewing thumbnails has some impact the overall battery life was about the same. You should expect to be able to perform over 20 transfers on a full battery charge.