I received in the mail earlier today, several new Gerber models. I am going to comment on each of these from my observations and personal opinions. Like everything else, I hope the pictures tell you more than the words, as everyone has likes and dislikes that vary. I can be fairly opinionated at times.
The Gerber package arrived today with the following items.Gerber Balance.
I have waited for the Balance to come out for some time now. Other than a famous (or is that infamous) early model that made it out in the wild and subsequently mentioned on this forum, this model was a no show. From what I understand, Gerber withheld this model back from the retail channels to fix and or improve something. This extra wait only served to get my curiosity revving about this model.
First thing, I like the shape of this tool. It is very ergonomic, both closed and opened. One thing that makes me somewhat puzzled is the lack of a belt sheath with this model. You guessed it, no pocket clip either. To compound the issue, you don't even get metal lanyard loop. One thing that I quickly found annoying, there are two bit drivers (more on this later) whose round shape edges past the tool and causes grabbing points with the top of my pockets. I can rotate the tool and it slides in nice, but those same grab points seem to grab something on the way out. If I reverse the tool, the same is the issue. Pocket carrying this tool is a bother either way.
I am a big fan of the sliding pliers design. This possibly might be the first one that causes me some disquiet. You see, the sliding mechanism does double duty. It not only slides the pliers up and down, but also locks it in position. Now the button itself I don't like. Sliding the pliers out is positive and easy to do. My issue is sliding the pliers back down. The button is on a spring. When I try to press down and slide the pliers down, my thumb rolls off the button most times. An easy fix is to stab the pliers to push them in whilst pressing down the button. Be cautious if you use a leg or something fleshy, as sometimes, the pliers refuse to get pushed in....because the thumb rolled off that idiotic spring board button.
In this photo, you can see the problematic button. Also note the slightly complex locking mechanism on the opposite side of the button. You can also see how far the bit driver barrel sticks out of the handles catching everything it can.
It is quite possible I will get used to that spring loaded button with time. One thing I did note however, on the model I have, there is no way to satisfactorily open the pliers by flicking the tool one handed. No matter how fast I flicked the tool, they stayed put. That right there sort of negates one of the biggest advantages of Gerber's sliding plier design. On the flip side, there is no rattling.
Top down view. This is a medium sized tool, and the plier size reflects that.
As previously mentioned, there are 2 bit drivers with two dual ended bits. Each bit has a Phillips on one end, and a flat driver on the other. These are not regular sized bits either. Added to the underside of one of the bit drivers is a bottle opener. I kept opening the wrong bit driver until I realized to pay close attention to the colour of the handles. Once I figured that out, I accessed the bottle opener every time. On the positive side, the bit drivers are nice and long. I just wonder why there are two in here. Seems to me a bit storage spot like the Skeletool, would leave that spot open to add another tool or two.
Included in the tool mix are a good pair of scissors, and a half serrated knife blade. Another weird design decision centers around the scissors and knife blade. The scissors are opened easily at the opposite end of the pivot point. The knife however, has the nail nick too close to the pivot, meaning you have to exert a lot more force than needed if they had only placed the nail nick further along the blade.
A very nice touch is the inclusion of a great pair of tweezers that store in the handle at the pliers end.
I do like some weight to my MTs, and I also like metal construction. The Balance doesn't disappoint in this regard. In fact, one could almost say it is a tad too heavy for its size. It won't be something many people will want to EDC. You will know it is in a pocket...just be sure to tighten your belt.
- Solid metal construction.
- Long bit drivers.
-Great pair of scissors...just what you would expect from Fiskars.
-Ergonomic shape of the tool.
-Fidgety sliding plier button design.
-lack of sheath, belt clip, lanyard loop.
-Two bit drivers seems rather redundant. (to me at least). They also catch everything because the stick out of the sides too much.
- Why oh why did Gerber place the nail nick so close to the pivot point. It makes no sense.
I was prepared to really like this tool. Everything I saw and read in this forum and elsewhere lead me to believe this would be a great tool. I quickly came to realize that although it has some great characteristics, there is plenty to dislike as well. Some of it are design decisions that are not as user friendly as a multi-tool should be. As it sits, I am not a big fan of the Balance. Your mileage will vary.Gerber Steady.
Here is some irony for you. As much as I was prepared to love the Balance before seeing one in the flesh, I was prepared to hate the Steady. I do like the Steady, but there are also some issues with it...however, I am prepared to overlook them simply because it is darn cute to use with a camera. This one is definitely a conversation starter.
The Balance features a Crucial like shape that I dislike. I will always prefer flat handles to curved ones. At least, this one does fit my big paws a lot better. My hand still wants to slide up the tool to the pliers, but at least it is comfortable as far as a tool that features this type of handle shape goes.
Unlike the tank like Balance, the Steady is made mostly of plastic, and is very light for its size. The plastic surface is textures, and is edged by a very grippy green rubber in strategic places. In my example, there is a slight twist to one of the handles opposite of the plier pivot point that is fairly noticeable when you have the handles folded away for storage. This does not affect the tools functionality. Cosmetically, it makes the tool look cheaply made.
The Steady's claim to fame is its uniqueness to the photographic world...a tripod multi-tool. This is not designed for your big and heavy DSLRs, but will work with most compacts, cell phone cameras, and other light and portable cameras out there. They even included a cell phone suction cup adaptor for camera cell phone devices that do not feature a standard tripod mount.
You can see the cell phone suction cup adaptor (green disk) which is screwed onto the standard tripod screw. Just stick your camera to the suction cup and you're in business.
Here, I have a Kodak video camera that does have a tripod screw mount. It is the general size of many smart phones out there. Note the dual foldable tripod legs.
Not only does this cute little MT act as a small light tripod mount, you also get a nice half serrated knife blade, a 3D Phillips driver, a small flat driver, a combination flat driver/bottle opener, and a smaller package opener blade
The tripod legs lock into the body of the tool...so they won't open and flop around. The green rubber tips also grip the body of the tool. With that said, they are easy to open and close. You can tell that there was some good thinking that went into this system. the legs themselves have two stops in their motion, but you can pretty much position them anywhere you like.
The sheath that is included gives you a small pouch to store your cell phone adaptor, as well as the tool.
-Neat tripod function.
-Grippy exterior with super grippy rubber in places.
- Nice assortment of useful tools.
-A sheath is provided.
-Cheap plastic feeling supported by handle misalignment, Issue.
- When opened, if you squeeze the handles, they move quite a lot inwards.
-This tool just feels rather cheap in construction, fit and finish.
Despite the overall cheapness of the Steady, I do get it. I am prepared to overlook some flaws because of its primary uniqueness out there, that of a tripod. I can see the Steady finding a niche market. At least it is light enough that most people won't mind having it on their belt, ready to do duty as your compact camera's steady friend.Gerber BG Pocket Tool Knife.
I find myself a bit of a Gerber BG fan. I like the colour scheme and textures of the line. Not much of a BG fan myself, but I can definitely appreciate Gerber's lineup with his name on it.
This small pocket tool contains a knife, 3d Phillips driver, combination flat driver and bottle opener, and an awl.
Not much to say about this one. I do find the nail nick cutout for the 3D Phillips a bit hard to get at...but that is a very minor quibble.
-Love the exterior.
-A good assortment of tools in a small package.
-Excellent construction. It would appear brass pins were used.
-No lanyard loop.
Another neat item in the Gerber BG lineup.