Review of Agilent U1273AX Handheld Digital Multimeter

Table of contents

RoadTest: Agilent U1273AX Handheld Digital Multimeter

Author: refaqtor

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: Fluke 27

What were the biggest problems encountered?: No big problems with meter, just irritations: - easily scratched display for an otherwise durable meter - annoying probe tips shipped by default - non-intuitive/unlabeled buttons for menu navigation - non-intuitive data logging view function

Detailed Review:

Well, after couple months kicking around on my bench along side several other meters, I don't find myself reaching for this meter any more than, say, my 25 year old Fluke 27.  The primary reason I grab it now, is for it's capacitance meter, or extra precision.  Don't get me wrong.  It is a decent meter and might have slipped right into default usage, if it wasn't for the initial impression and continued annoyance with the shipped probes (too short and pointy to clip anything onto, too fat to use easily between pins).  I can swap probes with my my Fluke, which came with additional clip probe tips.  But, surely, there are better probe tips to send by default.


There are some nice features that may win me over to make this my primary meter.  I'm beginning appreciate features like the LPF (low pass filter) voltage settings for photovoltaic inverter outputs, and the Smart Ohm (normal open/normal closed) for resistance and continuity.  Read the manual to know what that means. 


Speaking of the manual - I would rather have not had to search the Agilent web site to find the specific manual for this meter.  The quick start guide comes in the box, as products are often shipped now.  For all the color-coded twice-labeled buttons and all the display area, non-default usage of this meter is surprisingly non-intuitive.  It takes the actual down-loaded manual to make sense of some of the features.  In my case, specifically, it was data logging.


Having not received an external data connection device, bluetooth or otherwise, I found the datalogging feature practically useless.  Stepping through the data points one by one is of little value.  Clearly, to make the most of displaying and analyzing data would require export to another device - like Agilent's decent-looking desktop graphing application, but it would seem that there is the processing horsepower and the resolution in the display area to show even a rudimentary graph.  It seems like an incomplete feature for a meter with as much else as it has.


Another seeming shortfall is the easily scratched display; especially for a device that touts it's other rough service features - like water, shock, and cold resistance.  Maybe it is unfair to compare it against a mil-spec meter like the Fluke 27, which has seen many years of really rough service at my hands, which still has no scratches on the display.  But, a couple months on my bench should not haze the screen with scratches from dusting it off on my shirt!


Final word: It is a decent meter, and the OLED display will really be appreciated next time I'm out in the freezing cold working on a PV or wind system.  But, I don't believe that any single feature, nor the kit as a whole, would compell me to purchased it for the asking price.