Swiss+Tech, as a lot of people here know, is the maker of a number of really innovative keychain multitools that combine functionality with a significant degree of style and quality in a small package.
The Swiss+Tech Transformer Pocket Screwdriver, however, is not one of those tools.
Oh, it's certainly functional enough, and the quality is pretty good, but there are some absolutely head-scratching design decisions in this tool. So many, in fact, that I simply can't recommend it in it's current form.The Good
Well, let's start with the good. The quality, for one, is excellent. The tools snap open and closed with some authority, they're well formed and the screwdrivers (apparently) meet ANSI standards. The fit and finish is also very good, with no sharp seams, unfinished edges or cracks or splits anywhere in the case.
The tools themselves are also very good. The screwdrivers are solid enough, and are extremely well cast with no seams or form problems. The six included screwdrivers all have a polished finish, however in use I've found that they actually bite and hold quite well with no slippage problems. The polished finish should mean fewer rust or corrosion problems down the road, and the sizing is very useful with 0-1-2 sized flat and philips head screwdrivers. The way the tool folds out also gives the bits a pretty good amount of reach, but it's mostly useless - actually torquing down on the drivers flexed the case so much I was worried about breaking it.
The Transformer has a decent two-led flashlight with a side switch that's easy to manipulate. It's not the brightest in the world, but more than sufficient for working in a computer case or trying to find a keyhole in the dark.
It's also relatively inexpensive, at about $14 + shipping street price.The Bad:
Well, now that we're done with the good, here's the bad:
This thing is ridiculously large. Like, freakishly, crazily, insanely, ridiculously large.
Now, the measurements on the Swiss+Tech website aren't quite right, but based on rough measurements the Swiss+Tech Transformer is 7cm x 4.4cm x 1.5cm. This equals an approximate volume of 46.2 cubic centimetres, and the weight is listed at 5.1 ounces or 144.5 grams.
In contrast, my day to day pocket multitool is my Leatherman Juice Kf4. The approximate volume of the Juice is 34.4 cubic centimetres, with a listed weight on Leatherman.com of 5.5 ounces or 156 grams.That's right. The Swiss+Tech Transformer, which is essentially a bunch of screwdrivers and dinky little LED light is larger than, and 92% of the weight of a Leatherman Juice.
Here's a few pictorial comparisons for you to see:
That alone is a deal-killer to me. I mean, is anyone here putting a Leatherman Juice on their keychain? No! Way too heavy. I mostly blame the head-scratchingly large plastic casing around the screwdrivers, but there's also the holder for the bits which is solid metal and far larger than it really needs to be. You simply can't get enough torque on this tool to begin with, nor do the tools lock to make that casing worthwhile.
In other design head-scratchers, when you fold out the screwdrivers, the LED light is actually at the opposite end of the tool. This to me makes no sense - I would have thought that being able to light up a recessed screw while you're trying to unscrew it would be much more useful.
While Swiss+Tech does have some nice items in their catalogue, steer clear of this one. It's pretty useless.Pros:
-Good fit and finish
-Quality screwdrivers with decent reach
-LED at the wrong end
-Way too heavy