SOG has been in the multitool business since 1991 and have done a lot for the industry in terms of radical designs; which is a departure from the norm considering how often designs are copied and there is little in innovation. Compound leverage has been a featured design of many a SOG tool and hallmark of what makes their tools so unique.
Even though their designs are unique they tend to not stray or deviate from what they know is their money maker. When a new design comes out we are both excited and hesitant because we don't want SOG to get complacent and rest on their laurels. When news of the SOG PowerDuo came out we were once again intrigued but wanted to know if they were able to one up themselves and produce something different. We got our wish, SOG broke away from their traditional style and went with a tool that focuses primarily on the knife blade rather than the pliers.
The PowerDuo is a lot like a tool I used to own by Meyerco called the Paradox. The Paradox was a knife primarily and a tool second, it had a pair of pliers that rotated out for use as well as driver for philips and straight headed screws. The problem with the Paradox that made it a poor tool was even though the design was great the materials used and construction made it a horrible tool. Has SOG learned from their mistakes or made some of their own?
I love the idea of a tool that has a large and that the tool uses this as it's primary function. There's nothing worse than using a rinky dink blade on something when it's not up to the task. The PowerDuo gets it right by placing a blade as it's main function and a multitool second. The blade doesn't flick open like most modern knives and requires some muscling to open it one handed. When opened the blade locks with an authoritative snap and is held in place by a mid style lock back. More traditional style lock back knives had the lock towards the butt of the handle. A mid lock is used to eliminate the possibility of accidental closure by the user. When they placed the lock at the end it was possible to disengage with heavy use resulting in possible injury.
The blade is decent for a multitool; it's 3 inches and has a slight recurve to it giving it a little belly compared to the normal pen and clip style blades we're use to seeing. Being an imported too SOG opted for 9Cr18MoV steel which is equivalent to 420 steel. It will hold an edge for most tasks but if used a lot for heavy duty it will require frequent sharpening.
The second act this tool has to perform fix stuff around the house and this couldn't be achieve without a decent set of implements. First on the list we have the patented Compound Leverage pliers. Similar to their other tools, the pliers are accessed by rotating the outer handle away from the body. The pliers are quite good and reminiscent of the pocket power plier. The wire cutters function well and the compound leverage does wonders in making small work of small wires and cables. The only problem I have with the pliers is they don't unfold enough for me to get a good purchase on the tool. Adding anything into the jaws spreads the handles apart enough you have to use two hands to work on something. With their other tools their handles are closer together and the handle travel to jaw ratio is much better. They're not perfect but they will work well in a pinch.
The last thing a good tool needs is a load out of drivers and other assorted goodies for keeping you well prepared for what life throws at you. The only tools that the PowerDuo has is a can opener with a small eyeglass screwdriver, a bottle opener which doubles as a flat driver and a fairly long Philips head driver. Overall the tools they provide in the tool will do most jobs you ask of them I feel but they seem over polished and more rounded that I prefer. On their normal tools the drivers and implements are sharp an precisely cut; doing a much better job handling things that something like these. They feel like an afterthought and are reminiscent of something you would see on a low budget tool. The positive thing about them is the locking mechanism used to lock them in place. The lock is very similar to what SOG uses on their pocket knives called ARC lock. When you pull back on the little nub a cam pulls back on lock which keeps the tools in place. It works really well and there is no possibility of accidentally unlocking these tools.
The only thing left to mention is the fact the tool comes with a toothpick and tweezers. When you think of those two items the one thing that always comes to mind is Swiss Army Knives. These accessories seemed to be added on as an after thought, like they had extra room up under the scale and thought why the heck not.
The PowerDuo is a tool to which I have mixed feelings, it's a great idea like the Paradox was and SOG most certainly did a better job on it than Meryerco did. For your novice tool user who likes a main blade and tools as an additional bonus than this would fit the bill nicely. For real hardcore multitool guys I would stay steer clear because the QC will not be what your use to seeing on some of SOG's other tools.
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