Nextlink Bluespoon AX2

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INTRODUCTION

Nextlink’s latest
Bluetooth headset builds upon the successful
features and price-point of their Bluespoon AX. The
Bluespoon AX2 keeps the same external body design,
but upgrades the inner workings for significantly
increased performance.



WHAT’S HOT

The Bluespoon AX2 adds support for
Bluetooth 1.2 while also increasing clarity, battery
life, and the connectivity range to about 10-15
meters. The AX2 has a talk time of 8 hours compared
to the less-than 6 hour talk time of the original
AX. The standby time has also been increased to
500-1500 hours. But with the increased
responsiveness of Bluetooth 1.2, you can keep the
headset off and when a call comes in you can quickly
turn it on and answer the call, thus further
increasing battery life.


Even though the Bluespoon looks
big in Jackie’s small ears, it remains unobtrusive
and fashionable.


SETUP

Initially, you’re supposed to
charge the Bluespoon AX2 for about 8 hours the first time. Subsequent
recharges should only take about 2 hours. The process of pairing
the Bluespoon 5G with your phone will vary between
manufacturers. I used my imate JAM Pocket PC Phone.

Once you’ve got
the battery charged, turn it on by holding down the clear center talk button
on the top for about 4 seconds. You should see a blue light blink
signifying the power on state. Continue to
hold down that button for a few more seconds until
the light alternates between red and blue. This
indicates that the Bluespoon is in pairing mode. Now
you can go to your Pocket PC Phone (or other
Bluetooth phone) and search for bluetooth devices
within range. When the Bluespoon AX2 shows up in the
list, you can initiate a pairing with it. The PIN
number to enter when requested is “0000”.
After a successful pairing, your Bluespoon AX2 will
be functional as a Handsfree or Headset device
depending on which Bluetooth profiles your phone
supports. In my case, with the
i-mate JAM, the
headset was bonded as a Handsfree device. Now any
calls I make from the imate JAM will be automatically sent to the
Bluespoon AX2.


PRODUCT FEATURES

The Bluespoon AX2 has two volume buttons on
the sides and one talk button on the top that
doubles as an LED light.

After you’ve bonded
with a mobile phone, when you start a call the audio
will be transferred to the headset. While you’re on
a call and connected via the Handsfree profile, the
volume-up and volume-down buttons control the volume.
Pressing the center talk button will end a call. If
you hear an incoming call, pressing this button will
answer the call. Holding both the volume-up and down
buttons at the same time for about 3 seconds will
mute the microphone. Doing the same for 4 seconds
will un-mute. Pressing the center talk button when
not in a call will activate voice dialing on
bluetooth phones that support that function. If
you’re in a call and have another call coming in,
you can press and hold the volume up button until
you hear a second tone in order to put the current
call on hold and answer the second. To do a redial,
hold down the volume-down button for about 4
seconds. There’s also a nice new feature where if
you’re phone is out of reception, the Bluespoon AX2
will beep periodically in your ear to let you know.


The Bluespoon AX2 sports some new
packaging and includes a micro-usb cable for
charging, a neck strap, multi-lingual manual, and
two soft springs.


The branding for the Bluespoon AX
is in very small print underneath the headset.


The only way you can tell this is
not an original Bluespoon AX is from the “AX2” label
just behind the speaker. You can also see the same
micro-USB port here for charging the battery.


The Bluespoon AX2 uses the same
soft-spring mounting design as the Bluespoon AX and
Bluespoon 5G. This allows the headset to be worn in
either the left or right ear.


Here you see the original
Bluespoon AX (Clear), the Bluespoon AX2, and the
Bluespoon 5G.


The battery drawer pulls out of
the back just like the original Bluespoon AX. You
only get one battery though, so you’ll probably just
recharge it when needed.


The Bluespoon AX2 is 4.2cm x 2.5cm
x 2.7cm and weighs 10 grams. The black with silver
accents match nicely with a variety of devices.


The Bluespoon AX2 comes with a
neck strap that plugs into the micro USB. While
handsfree headsets are becoming standard fair in the
New York City area, wearing them dangling around
your neck is not. Keep the Bluespoon AX2 in your
pocket when not in use.



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Nextlink



Bluespoon AX2

Octobor 4,
2005

Review by:
Adam Z Lein, Senior Editor

Jump
to: PAGE 1 |
PAGE 2



HELP SUPPORT

As the Bluespoon AX2 has
not been released yet, you will not find much
information about the product on the
Nextlink.to
website
. The included manual takes care of all
the instructions with very helpful illustrations,
however. If you’re not already familiar with the
method of mounting a Bluespoon headset in your ear,
there are instructional videos available on their
website. If you have any other
questions, Nextlink is very communicative with their
customers and will usually respond to your inquiries
very promptly. The Nextlink staff is also quite
active and helpful on a number of mobile phone
forums that discuss their products.


SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

You need a
Bluetooth enabled phone, PDA, or Computer with the Headset or Handsfree
profiles in order to use the Bluespoon AX2. It will work with any
Bluetooth version including Bluetooth 1.1, 1.2, and 2.0.  You’ll also need some kind
of USB port to charge the Bluespoon AX2’s batteries since it does not
come with a normal AC power adapter. There are plenty of
inexpensive AC and Car USB power adapters available.


BUGS AND WISHES


It’s pretty difficult to find things wrong with such
a great headset, but once you give some one what
they want, they want more. And that’s what this
section is all about. So… where’s the Bluetooth
2.0 support?  Now that we’ve got Bluetooth 1.2,
new devices with Bluetooth 2.0 have started
appearing. Also, even though the AX2 is quite small
and lightweight, after using the Bluespoon 5G, I
think we can go a little smaller. 


There are a couple serious problems with the AX2
however. Even though the range is definitely
increased, you’re still going to hear some static
when using the headset behind 12 inch thick concrete
walls. Your mileage may vary as the connection is
also dependant on the device you’re using it with.


The Bluespoon AX2 can also have a problem with
echoing if your volume is very high and the headset
isn’t seated securely into your ear canal. The audio
from the loudspeaker escapes your ear and gets
picked up by the external microphone in such
scenarios. An easy fix is to lower the volume and
adjust the softspring for a tighter fit.


This headset is still analog as well. That means
there’s no digital signal processing chip or noise
reduction software. So you do get some noise on
calls, but in enclosed/quite environments,
everything should be fine. Of course the lack of
these types of features keeps the price down.


PURCHASING


The Bluespoon AX2 won’t be available until November.
You’ll be able to find it at the

Nextlink.to web store
as well as other online retailers including

Pilcon
. The suggested retail price should be in
the same $70-$99 USD range as the original AX.


PROS

  • Bluetooth
    1.2
  • Only ten grams
  • Increased
    range over the AX
  • Eight hour
    talk time and huge standby time

  • Inexpensive


CONS

  • Static
    when connected through walls
  • Echo can occur for other end
    when the volume is too loud
Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What
do these ratings mean
?


OVERALL IMPRESSION


In my Bluespoon AX review I said that it addressed
just about all the complaints from customers of
previous Bluespoon headsets. The Bluespoon AX2 goes
even further by adding increased range, better
battery life, and Bluetooth 1.2 support.
I
accidentally dropped it the other day, and the body
survived with no scratches, although the battery
must have gotten jostled as it wouldn’t turn back on
until I removed and replaced it. Overall, the
Bluespoon AX2 is an excellent (yet minor) upgrade to
an already great headset.


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About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002.Read more about Adam Lein!