The drive comes preformatted in the FAT32 file system. This means it will work with both Macs and PCs immediately. This also means, however, that the drive can't be used to store files larger than 4GB. This is just a limitation of FAT32. You can easily convert or reformat it into the NTFS (Windows) or HFS+ (Mac) file system to overcome this shortcoming. If you choose to reformat, make sure you back up the Lexar Echo Backup software the drive comes with.
The software works very much like that of the HP SimpleSave or Clickfree C2N. Once plugged in, the software will run by itself and take care of backup by automatically finding important data and copying it onto the Echo drive. There are options to further customize what files and folders to back up and how often. In addition, the drive comes with 2GB of free online backup. Overall, we found the backup software works well for PCs. For a Mac, we'd recommend Time Machine instead.
Despite supporting only USB 2.0, the Lexar Echo MX backup drive impressed us with its performance, especially for a drive of its tiny physical size.
In our testing, it registered 20.2MBps for writing, compared with the LaCie FastKey's 28.8MBps. In reading, the Echo scored 36.3MBps, just a tad slower than the 36.6MBps of the FastKey.
What is interesting is the fact that these numbers are actually higher than those Lexar claims for the Echo, which are 17MBps for writing and 30MBps for reading. Note that the throughput speeds also depend on the computer you use the drive with. Overall, among USB 2.0 external storage devices, we found the Echo's performance above our expectations, considering its ultracompact physical size.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
Lexar Media backs the Echo MX backup drive with an impressive five-year warranty, which is the most important aspect of support for a storage device. At the company's Web site, there's a support page for the drive with a long list of FAQs about different functions and the backup software.
With its great amount of storage space and tiny form, the Lexar Echo MX backup drive is an excellent secure mobile backup and data storage solution. Its hefty price tag and relatively flimsy design, however, might make many think twice.