A few weeks ago we gave you our (very positive) hands-on impressions regarding the Bosch I-Driver, and this week we’re following up with a look at the other tool currently in Bosch’s 10.8V Litheon line: the PS20 Pocket Driver.
Like the I-Driver, it sports a motor and drivetrain capable of 80 in-lbs of torque as well as a compact 10.8V lithium-ion battery — which means it also shares the I-Driver’s impressively long runtime. Its more classic pistol-grip design, however, makes it more comfortable for drilling, as does its 0-400 RPM speed.
Bosch designed the Pocket Driver to perform 80% of the tasks for which you currently use your large 3/8″ or 1/2″ drill while weighing in at just 1.8 lbs — lighter than your 1/2″ cordless drill/driver’s battery alone — and fitting inside one of your tool belt pockets. Sure, we’re all familiar with the “bigger is better” concept, but is this really true when you’re talking about something you have to lug around all day? Lots more after the jump.
The Pocket Driver comes pre-packaged in a soft carrying case which also contains two Litheon 10.8V batteries, a 30-minute charger, and two quick-change screwdriver bits — a standard and Phillips.
Pictures belie the Pockeet Driver’s size; it always seems to appear larger or smaller in photos than it really is. The best way to describe its size is to say that it’s about the size of a small handgun. In fact, more than one of our testers commented immediately that the feel of it in their hand reminded them of a Glock. When we leave it out on the bench people who’ve held it before have trouble walking by without picking it up briefly.
Even though we’d read the specs — and used the I-Driver before — we were surprised by the power the Pocket Driver puts out in comparison to its size. It smoothly drives medium-sized wood screws, and it even has plenty of torque for most assembly/disassembly tasks. Maybe more importantly, it “feels” powerful and “up to” tasks much heaver than you’d expect.
We noticed that the clutch engages quite smoothly, more so than with many larger drill/drivers. This comes in really handy when driving screws, as it doesn’t briefly “overtorque” right at the end.
Though we miss the I-Driver’s large, three-finger trigger, the Pocket Driver’s trigger is extremely easy to modulate — even more easy than the trigger on the I-Driver. After just a few minutes with the tool you can squeeze out a 5-rpm turn, which can be really handy in delicate driving/drilling situations.
We’re also big fans of the white LED “worklight” just under the Pocket Driver’s trigger. It’s small, light, and very, very bright. It’s also extremely well positioned to shine on the hole you’re drilling or the fastener you’re driving without allowing your hand to get in the way.
As with the I-Driver, Bosch claims that the Pocket Driver can drive 100 3″ wood screws on a single charge. Again we perfomed the test ourselves, but could only drive 85 screws. For what it’s worth, we drove 105 with the I-Driver using the same battery system, so we suspect that our results were somewhat colored by the speed at which we drove the screws. (It’s actually easier on the drill to drive screws at full speed, but as we were still getting used to the Pocket Driver we drove the first 50 or so slower than full-tilt.)
We didn’t perform the test again — it’s hard on the arms driving that many screws — but we imagine that if we did we’d likely see results similar to Bosch’s.
As we reached the 50 screw mark we did notice that the Pocket Driver had become quite hot, almost too hot to hold. We donned a glove and continued, but we were surprised as the I-Driver remained cool through the entire test. In hindsight we suspect that this may have to do with our hand placement during driving; you have to be careful to make sure your second hand doesn’t cover up the vents cut into the rear of the drill’s body.
All in all the Pocket Driver is a very powerful and very light driver — a one-of-a-kind tool that you won’t (currently) find anywhere else. We know it can be tough to overcome the “bigger is better” feeling, but it’s worth the effort in this case. The Pocket Driver can save you some significant work by eliminating the need to haul around your uber-1/2″-drill/driver for most situations. Moreover, its Litheon batteries offer a long shelf-life as well as extended runtime — both of which help to dramatically expand the utility of the Pocket Driver.
During our time with the Pocket Driver it’s been extremely popular around the shop (and home, as we’ve had to pry it out of the hands of some contributors who immediately headed for the store to purchase their own), especially for small to medium sized tasks.