The press release for Bosch’s new GLM 80 laser distance measurer lists a ton of features, like the fact that it’s lithium-ion powered, that it has an automatic backlit display, and that it plugs into an accessory to become a digital level. But what you really want to know about it is that it payed a lot more attention in geometry class than you did. That plus a built-in inclinometer means that it can perform 90-degree height measurements with just one laser sight. Or it can give you the height of, say, a distant window without you being level with the bottom of it. Just point it at the top, click, point it at the bottom, click, and you get the height.
In 90-degree mode, you can shoot any point on a wall and the GLM 80 backs into the 90-degree measurement based on the straight-line distance and an assumed 90-degree angle. No more shooting once at (hopefully) 90-degrees and again at your measure point. It’s a big time-saver, and seems more accurate than putting the device on the floor.
Like other laser distance measurers, it offers length, area, and volume calculations as well. And it offers four reference points to make measuring easy: the front, the back, the tripod mount, and the corner pin. Snap it into the R60 accessory — which looks like an aluminum level with a cutout in it — and it switches to level mode, displaying angle and offering standard digital level features like angle memory. When in level mode, the display automatically flips to stay right-side-up however you position the level. The backlight clicks on whenever the GLM 80’s light sensor thinks it’s dark.
All in all, this looks to us like a pretty slick little unit. It’s actually not that exciting to use, which is the whole point: you just push the button and it does its thing. We figure the jobsite is kinda like airline travel, in that less excitement = a good thing.
Look for it in the July timeframe at an MSRP of around $250.