Review of Agilent U1273AX Handheld Digital Multimeter

Table of contents

RoadTest: Agilent U1273AX Handheld Digital Multimeter

Author: DavenPaget

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

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

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: The only meter it comes close is the U1272A, Fluke can't possibly compete with their ridiculous pricing honestly

What were the biggest problems encountered?: While putting it back together i managed to snap a screw head ... :( And also agilent, this is a 700SGD DMM and yet what sort of plastic have you put on such a high value item that scratches so easily? I merely used my microfiber cloth to clean off the dust and it got scratched rather badly

Detailed Review:

First and foremost i shall apologise for being late. I had a bad fall and got hospitalized and when i got out could barely move for a week.

And also my laptop died so i scrambled to setup a desktop in 2 weeks (Xeon L5520+EX58-UD5 if you're interested i'm on OCN) and stabilizing the desktop + undervolting the CPU took time as well as i was writing this just now and my temporary GPU suffered a sudden death and i had lost everything i was typing so i have to type all this all over again

On top of that when i was planning out a review last week or so and the Bluetooth Adapter finally arrived so i was forced to replan the review

Also i apologise for the bad lighting and noise i don't have my DSLR with me and also i have been fighting to get my blog up which is finally up now because my webhost has been DDOS'd badly even with CISCO Connect. Not that i know anything on their side but anyway

 

Appearance And First Impressions

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Epic packaging. Doesn't get any better. *Free Element14 advertising for you

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It's very sexy! But i was impressed by how big it is and how rugged it feels. Feels every part of a solid agilent multimeter

http://sphotos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/555491_512084225534106_2059630912_n.jpg

Umm, quick start guide ... right, okay. Pretty sure anyone who buys a 700$ DMM would know how to "quickly use" a DMM, OR IS IT?

We shall see.

 

Teardown

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A look at the epic shielding. I would have preferred if Agilent use an soldered-on piezo transducer instead but seeing as the board is very packed to the brim i guess it's possible

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http://i492.photobucket.com/albums/rr283/DarkShadower/IMAG0318_zpsfce6d0db.jpg

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No superconductors? ... But at this moment i have no idea what ASIC or MCU is that. OLED board on the right

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Great feeling probes, 16AWG wires to boot. BUT GRR, stupid probes! Agilent should give both shrouded probes and non-shrouded probes! I CANNOT test continuity with it or use in everyday situations


The Bluetooth Adapter

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Came in a lovely box

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The plastic is of very good quality and it looks very nice on the DMM. On the right shows the Tx/Rx IR LEDs

*Agilent Logging software on Android review to be uploaded tomorrow


My Tests

- Practicality

Not entirely practical as it's a HUGE for a DMM. Although it will fit in most toolboxes definitely i am worried about the screen (more on that later)

7/10 for practicality. Knocked off 2 points for the size and the screen and another point for the placement of the LowImpedance voltage mode. Although it's detent mode from the other modes to OFF compared to LowZ is very high i still managed to accidentally turn to LowZ mode instead of switching it off, very annoying

- Responsiveness

Downsides : Bootup takes quite a long time so it's definitely not very responsive on bootup front

Upsides : Once you're on you know this is definitely a very fast multimeter displaying 7 readings per second in voltage mode on full 30000 counts mode! Show me a non-agilent DMM that can do that

Continuity

https://djdestiny.opendrive.com/files?69352258_F2pd7 <- Continuity, Definitely very very responsive. This is what's very new to multimeters and i haven't seen a review talking about it. It's the Tone mode of continuity

https://djdestiny.opendrive.com/files?69352260_ZWN6D <- Normal Continuity response. Fast as hell and the latching can be monitored on the screen

https://djdestiny.opendrive.com/files?69352260_ZWN6Dhttps://djdestiny.opendrive.com/files?69352266_CqnyG <- Continuity response in Diode range, slow as hell but this is meant to warn you of a shorted diode not to track down shorts

Verdict? Very responsive. Tone mode is very practical for everyday use. 8/10 for Responsiveness

I docked 2 points because it's very confusing to have a continuity mode in Diode range and it's a slow one. If you're in a pinch and need fast continuity mode you will turn to the one you don't need to hit another button you will be dissapointed and also Bootup is rather slow although i have seen worse on top of that Tone mode is not mentioned in the user guide i think, if i'm not wrong

- Usability

https://djdestiny.opendrive.com/files?69352266_CqnyG

Tone modes is something i think all non-agilent multimeters. At least if one frequency is annoying you can set another frequency in the menu.

The menu on the other hand is not very intuitive. I think it's rather stupid! If you want to change the settings you have to press the Hz button and then once you're done and want to exit you must hold the Setup button to exit and even so it will force the whole DMM to reboot. WHY?!

I'll be docking 2 points for that alone. 8/10 although this multimeter is very useful in situations as long as you don't use those shrouded probes unless you're in high-voltage situations

- Durability

Being an Agilent DMM if it isn't durable it means Agilent has gone south. Fortunately it's just as durable as any other agilent DMM but there's a major problem with it! The screen can't take scratches even minor non abrasive items like microfiber clothes can cause scuffs

http://sphotos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/894416_512146955527833_1356891052_o.jpg

It doesn't look so obvious but it's really really obvious in real life and pisses me off to depths of hell just looking at it so i'm giving this oversight a durability score of 7/10. Yes, i'm docking 3 points for that terrible piece of plastic


Conclusion

Since this review is to talk about the reason why this multimeter exists, i shall talk about it.

There's a characteristic this multimeter hasn't been discussed before is that it can go all the way down to -40C. Cool eh? (Pun not intended) Short of dipping it in Liquid Nitrogen i can't test that Well Agilent has demonstrated the ability of THIS multimeter to work in a "coldbox"

Also, if a meter can work down to -40C and has poor performance it's no good. But also it's pointless to test the characteristics again since so many reviews of the U1272A has proven that this multimeter is very good

 

Otherwise the value of this meter is not good at all, battery life is poor even on lithium metal batteries and the ones Agilent supplies are the really expensive types (here in my town) given they should last but when it comes to replacement time i'm swapping them out for Li-Ion 14500 cells

If you want the OLED screen the 1273A is better value. If you intend to use it in North Pole or Russia during winter or a Cold Room this is the DMM for you

Overall the U1272A is a better value item because it's battery life is a huge amount longer without using Li batteries and it's cheaper. MUCH cheaper.


 

 


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