Review: Nexto eXtreme ND-2700

By Mark Levesque, CPP

The digital age has brought with it the benefits of rapidly improving technology that simultaneously becomes more capable and less costly. As a consequence of more and better megapixels, photographers are generating ever increasing quantities of data. The recent trend in DSLRs to add HD video capability compounds the problem: how to contend with all the data generated on a shoot. The solution has been to take advantage of a similar trend in the flash memory market: more memory for less money. Larger memory cards notwithstanding, photographers often find themselves on location and running out of memory, or simply looking to quickly create the peace of mind that having your data safely backed up can bring.

Enter the Nexto eXtreme ND-2700 from Nexto DI. Touting “on the go” backups, this device is the essence of simplicity. Plug in your card, and press the button. The embedded hard drive springs to life and the copying of your data commences. It’s that easy to create reliable backups. In short order you have a copy of your data, along with status indicating its integrity.

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©Mark Levesque

In essence, the Nexto eXtreme is a laptop hard disk drive with a rechargeable battery, two card slots that will accommodate just about any sort of camera media, and interfaces for communicating with a computer. Its spartan design includes no frills; everything has a purpose. Build quality seems quite solid. The case is metal and has a textured, fingerprint-hiding surface.

The button (yes, there is just the one) has a solid feel to it, which is important because as your only human interface, you need to modulate the button to choose between yes and no and to make other choices. There are 4 possible inputs recognized by the device: a short pulse, a long pulse, a double click and an extra long pulse, which is used to turn the unit on or off. Menus have a maximum of 3 choices along with S, L or D (Short, Long, Double) to indicate the input that corresponds to each choice. This arrangement is simple yet somewhat cumbersome, and the more choices you have to make, the more noticeable that the restrictions of a one-button interface become. Fortunately, simply backing up data cards is extremely easy.

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©Mark Levesque

The Nexto eXtreme connects to a computer via a USB 2.0 or a much speedier eSATA interface. To your computer, it looks like any other external disk, so moving files to and from your computer is a familiar process. NextoDI has also given the Nexto eXtreme USB 2 host interface capability, which allows you to connect the device directly to a camera, camcorder, card reader, or even another disk. Since the physical connector for the USB is a device connector, Nexto DI has included an adapter cable that converts a standard USB cable to have device connectors at both ends, making direct connection to a camera or camcorder possible.

Powering the Nexto eXtreme is accomplished in one of three ways. An AC/DC converter is provided to allow powering from a regular household outlet, a battery-in connector allows the use of an auxiliary battery pack, or the USB interface can be used to power the unit. Once the internal Lithium-Polymer battery is charged, the unit can be expected to backup approximately 60 GB of data before needing to be recharged (140 GB with the optional auxiliary battery pack).

Nexto DI touts the performance and reliability of the Nexto eXtreme. Performance is provided by a patented technology that Nexto calls X-Copy. It appears to be a DMA architecture that bypasses the CPU when delivering data from the memory card to the embedded hard disk, and includes hardware for data verification. My testing supported the claimed transfer speeds: under 5 minutes to backup and verify a full 4GB card. To really get a sense for the reliability of the device, one would need an extended test period under varying conditions, but based on initial impressions, it performs as expected.

For flexible, reliable, on-the-go backups in the field, the Nexto eXtreme fits the bill nicely. While the design may be a bit bare-bones, there are many useful features which will make it an asset, not the least of which are its compact design and ease in transferring data from your flash cards. The lack of a screen to preview images and rudimentary interface style are what separate it from similar storage devices like the Epson P7000, but you do get a lot more storage capacity for the money. If you ever run out of memory cards, or travel to remote locations and want the security of data backup, this solution may be for you.

The Nexto eXtreme ND-2700 (160GB capacity) sells for $235; 250GB ($267), 320GB ($299) and 500GB ($334) sizes are available.

Mark Levesque owns and operates Studio Mark Emile, a portrait studio in Nashua, NH.

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Comments (4)

Thanks for the great review Mark! I do have one question - when the card has finished backing up, what occurs? Is there a confirmation that the backup was successful?

The reason I ask is because I have a similar device by Digital Foci...although it is a couple years old, one of my major annoyances is that it will backup the card, display "100%" for a few seconds, then shut itself off. At weddings, I never have the time to constantly watch it, so if it's off I just have to assume that it backed up my card. I can deal with not being able to preview images on the device (which just drains the battery anyways)...I just want confirmation that the images are there!

I'm also glad you noted the battery life. My Digital Foci device allows you to replace the battery (each will only last for about 20GB each), which is fine but I have to carry an extra charged battery around. If this one stays true to its claim of 160GB then there certainly is no need to carry an extra battery even if you could change the battery in it. :)

Mark Levesque:

Hi Kim-

When the backup completes, the device "verify done", and then awaits your next action. If you don't do anything for awhile, it will shut off. Fortunately, the next time you turn it on it will indicate "prev copy success". So it will solve your issue of not being able to wait until the copy completes to check the status.

Additionally, you can browse through your files. It's a bit of a pain, but you can at least see that the new directories are present and have files in them.

One note, the internal battery is good for 60GB, not 160. With the auxiliary external battery, you can get 140GB. It sounds like plenty to me, at least unless you are on a lengthy trip to the amazon rainforest or something. :)

Thanks Mark! Haha, the 160 was my typo...even the 60 is plenty. One 20GB charge on my current setup is just not enough to cover my assistant and I who both shoot raw with 5D Mark II's at a wedding, but 60GB would work!

This would come in great for the larger megapixel cameras coming out. We're using 7D and 5D Mark II's for video and boy they eat up memory card space like crazy. Would be great to offload between places.

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