The Echo ZE memory stick is very small. Plugged into the USB port of out Dell Mini 10 netbook, the Echo ZE protrudes by just 8mm. The idea is that the Echo ZE stays permanently plugged into your computer - what Lexar calls "plug and stay". This is because the Echo SE continually backs up your data.
Lexar's Echo Backup Manager software is included on the memory stick. During the installation process we were prompted to choose whether to backup a specific set of folders - the ones used most commonly - or any other user defined folders. There's also an option to use Lexar's online storage service to complement the Echo ZE memory stick.
There are plenty of other options to set as well. Backups can be encrypted and we could choose how many versions of updated files could be retained. The default setting of three versions means that we were able to edit a document and save it three times and could easily retrieve any one of the three previously saved version. Backups could also be limited to files of particular sizes and age.
What makes this backup solution work so well is that it requires no effort. Once the software was installed and the Echo ZE stick plugged in, there was nothing to do. Lexar's software monitored our chosen folders and automatically backed up changes.
Of course, the proof of any backup is in the restoring. We restored deleted and altered files without any problems. It just worked.
One of the other applications of the Lexar Echo ZE is for transferring files from one system to another. The Backup Manager application can be used to back files up on one system and then restore them to another. This also works if you're moving files between a PC and a Mac.
Lexar's Echo ZE and Backup Manager software makes the task of backing up critical files dead easy. The memory stick weighs next to nothing and is hardly noticeable when plugged in. The 16GB unit will retail for about $45. 32GB will cost about $80 and the 64GB unit will set you back around $148.