TRITTON AX Micro
Pros: Comfortable, attractive, tiny
Cons: Sound quality is good, but not phenomenal; tiny
The TRITTON AX Micro Bluetooth headset has an unusual form factor. Weighing in at just about one-third of an ounce and less than two inches long, the shiny black AX Micro (TRI-BH 200) is tinytheres no doubt about thatbut, what makes it unique is not its diminutive proportions, but rather its little, rubber bear claw of an ear piece.
Only three-quarters of an inch wide at its widest point and less than half an inch thick at its thickest point (not including the earpiece), the thumb-sized AX Micro uses a soft, five-fingered rubber gripper to keep itself in place. While it looks a bit invasive, the grip is solid and the fit is comfortable. (We wore it as comfortably as we wear foam earplugs.) To help users find a good fit, the AX Micro comes with two sizes of ear bud.
While the miniscule size was a bonus, in terms of being lightweight, unobtrusive (you wont look like an android if you were it around), and comfortable, we found it also presented one problemthe AX Micro is easy to lose. We struggled to dig it out of pockets, purses, and pockets in purseswe even lost track of it several times when it was sitting on our desk. Since its half the size of a lipstick and smaller than everything else we carry around, except loose change, we often found we couldnt locate it in time to answer a call, particularly in the car. We chalk this up partly to our own chaotic handbag, but still for those of us with crowded desks, bags, and in-car storage compartments, the reality is this little black device might frequently go missing.
Presumably to help users avoid this, Tritton has included two lanyards, one to be worn around the neck, and one that seems to be for the wristor possibly a keychain? We tried using the smaller one to attach the AX Micro to our BlackBerry, but we only succeeded in losing it again in our handbag. Unfortunately, there are no instructions for how to assemble the lanyard (and it's suprisingly counterintuitive), and we found that there was no quick releasethus making it difficult to get the AX Micro off the lanyard when we wanted to use it. We suggest that in future re-designs, Tritton consider adding some sort of clip directly to the device.
On the occasions during which we were able to locate the AX Micro and detach it from its lanyard, we tested it on a T-Mobile BlackBerry Pearl 8120. The instructions walked us through the pairing process, which failed the first few times. We found the sound quality on our end to be excellent, especially out of doors. Our real world tests involved strolling past a neighbor who was whacking her weeds on a windy day. One caller claimed he couldnt hear the whizzing of the machine or the rush of the wind, while another wished we could turn up our volume, something that is awkward to do while using the deviceand which doesnt produce much of a boost, even when volume is maxed out. Our callers also complained of a slight echoing when in confined spaces and a bit of a hollow quality, in general.
Theres a little bit of a tin-can feeling, as though youre broadcasting from one of the island laboratories on LOST, said one caller, who regularly uses another brand of Bluetooth earpiece with his mobile device, although, its certainly within the bounds of what people have come to expect from a cellular device.
Our biggest complaint is with the Multi-Function button. This button is used to hang up, reject calls, activate call-waiting, etc., but it is very difficult to depress. Its surface is slippery and the hard plastic is flush with the rest of the device, making it difficult to locate, as well.
The AX Micro features voice dial, volume control, call rejection, call transfer, call-waiting, mute, and reconnect. It is Bluetooth V1.2- and 2.0-compliant. It charges via a small cradle with an AC/DC adapter and is rated for four hours of talk time or 150 hours of standby time. It can also be charged via USB, but you have to supply the cable.
It ships with the charger cradle and adapter, the two rubber grippers, the lanyard and clip, and a mini user manual (2.5x3.5) with instructions only in English.
We enjoyed the aesthetic of the AX Micro andwhen we could lay our hands on itappreciated its petite proportions and its manageable price. Although we remain frequently foiled by the Multi-Function buttonand still need some solution for keeping track of it (Velcro perhaps?), we think the AX Micro is a worthy solution for users looking for a non-bulky, affordable Bluetooth headset.
Naomi Graychase is Managing Editor at Wi-FiPlanet.com. She has been covering personal computing and mobile technology since 1994.
This article was first published on WiFiPlanet.com.