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Bluetooth Headset and Carkit Reviews

Nextlink Bluespoon AX2

Editor's rating (1-5):
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Review posted Nov. 2005 by Michael Thwaite

"Wow" is the phrase universally heard when you first show the Bluespoon AX2 Bluetooth Headset to anyone who's not seen this or its predecessor the original AX before.

Nextlink is a Danish company that specializes in all things Bluetooth from USB adapters through in-car systems to headsets. The Bluespoon AX2 represents the finessing of an already good product, the original AX. Improvements include increased battery life and support for Bluetooth 1.2.

So what spurs the "Wow"? Well, it's the size initially. The Bluespoon AX2 is really tiny and very light, so tiny in fact that it seems almost out of place with its surroundings. For example, when you plug in the charging cable, it feels like you're plugging the Bluespoon into the end of the cable rather than the cable going into it. If you lift one end of the cable, the headset is dragged around like a tiny rag doll… it's that lightweight.

To be precise the AX2 weighs in at 10g (>1/3oz), that's the same as a couple of 'quarters'. Try putting a couple in your ear; that's what the Bluespoon feels like. Actually that's a good analogy because the way the AX2 holds itself in your ear is very different to anything I've tried before, so different in fact that I had to read the manual! If you look at the pictures you'll see a thin rubber tail coming from the earpiece part, that's not, as some thought the microphone but is in fact a soft flexible prop that when bent into the inner curve of the ear falls into place and holds the headset in; back to the quarter comparison; if you place that against the inner of your ear, that really is what it feels like. Please don't try this with a dime; it's not the same and you'll get it stuck.

In your ear: I guess that headsets are an entirely personal thing, especially if they go in your ear, "Eyeoow it goes in your ear?" was one of the comments that I received, but once in, it holds very well, it does not fall off. Be prepared to try it though as not all ears take the Bluespoon design and one tester simply could not make it work.

I said earlier that the first impression was the size; it is small but at 42 x 25 x 27mm it needs a larger box or pocket that its visual size might indicate. It feels lightweight and small, a little 'plasticy' but not horrible. In the pocket though it somehow seems to poke and prod its nose or ear-piece into you despite my trying every angle to get it to sit comfortably. It would work in a pocket book or purse but the shirt pocket is out.

Paired up with my Motorola RAZR the unit worked well, it has the familiar three buttons; a centre button on its outside surface for call pickup/hang-up and two buttons on top and bottom for volume up/down. The mute function requires pressing both together; it's a tapered design and pressing both together squeezes the headset up and out of your ear… practice makes perfect. The feel of the buttons is a little un-responsive but audio-feedback confirms operation.

Pairing with other phones proved to be easy and straightforward with no issues.

 

Nextlink Bluespoon AX2

Bluespoon AX2 Bluetooth headset

Audio Quality was subjective; the inner ear design fell short of my expectations of a deep bass sound. I suspect that there's heavy filtering of the audio leaving just a very narrow voice audio band which certainly allowed for a clear conversation in noisy backgrounds, but those conversations seemed overly telephonic and ultimately tiring. Volume levels are certainly high; too high at maximum so plenty of headroom there.

Battery life has been increased with the AX2, now claiming 8 hours talk time and 500 hours on standby. Under test the low fuel warning came on at about 7 hours but I'd been using the unit with my PC in another room so I suspect that I'd been taxing the transmitter more than usual. Note that I say PC; testing with my phone was pointless; the headset easily outpaces that so, if you can survive day-to-day with your phones' battery, the AX2 will suffice. If you can't, the AX2 features a removable coin cell battery!

Charging is unusual; you can charge it using the charger or the included USB charging cable. Unlike the original AX, the AX2 ships with a charger in the US and most of the EU. You can plug either into the headset's port to charge it.

Conclusion

The Pros: It's very light, the battery life is good and it looks good.

The Cons: It doesn't fit all ears, audio quality can be tiring and it does go "In your ear".

It is not as small in day-to-day use so strike that off your reasons to buy it. On the ear… it doesn't feel like it's there it is so light. That's where it scores, on weight, which is odd as the size is the thing that hits you first. If they could alter the shape to make it fit pockets better and improve the audio quality I'd give it full marks. For now it's still 4 out of 5.

 

AX2 Technical Specifications
- Bluetooth v1.2 compatible
- Works with most Bluetooth phones
- Talk-time up to 8 hours
- 500 hours standby
- Headset range: 33 ft.
- Headset weight: 1/3oz (10g).

Package contains
- Headset
- Charger (for US and most EU units)
- USB charging cable
- Neck Strap
- Quick-start guide
- Rechargeable Li-on battery
- Two ear fittings (small, large)

Web Site: www.nextlink.to

Price is $99.99 (MSRP) but can be found for $69.

 

 

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