Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool

About Swiss+Tech


Swiss+Tech makes a wide variety interesting keychain tools and widgets. They are an American company but I have been unable to figure out where their tools are made. My guess is Hong Kong or Mainland China.

Product Description
Price: About $10

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
The Micro-Max Stainless 19-in-1 Steel Series keychain tool boasts a pair of pliers and a plethra of screwdrivers, and even a tiny drill bit! I was a little skeptical of this tool, but for 10 bucks and with 4 stars on Amazon, I figured I would give it a whirl. My review sample was purchased from Amazon.

Official Specs (From Amazon)

  • 2 hex wrenches (1/4", 7/16"), 6 screwdrivers (#0,1,2 flat, #0,1,2 Phillips)
  • Pliers, bottle opener, wire cutter and stripper, wire crimper
  • Hand drill, file, 2 rulers (mm and inch), 2 ruler extensions (mm and inch)
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Overall Design


A couple things stand out about the overall design of this tool. First off, it attaches to your keychain by clamping the pliers down, similar to the IDL T7 tool. And like the T7, this tool folds completely flat and is very compact.

Unlike the T7, however, the screwdrivers, which are the "arms" of the pliers fold out parallel to the pliers, which in my opinion is a fatal design flaw. You can't put much force on the pliers without the arms folding on you, and the same goes for the screwdrivers. So, if you don't plan on using much force on what you are fixing, then you're fine. But to me, neither is of much use if I'm precluded from really cranking down on something.

But wait, there's another fatal flaw, and for the same reason. Since the arms don't lock open or closed, the tool wants to fall off your keychain without a rubber band (see below.) So, even if it looks good and is suitable for light duty, it'll probably fall off your keychain anyway.

Fit and Finish


Overall, fair to good. It's a little rough around the edges and the pliers don't mate perfectly on mine, but overall it's well machined and highly polished. It's a good looking tool. The machining on the pliers is so-so, but the good machining on the screwdrivers more than make up for it. If the screwdrivers locked, the well-machined tips would really be useful. Poorly machined screwdrivers tend to strip screws, a problem these screwdrivers wouldn't have if they were actually usable.

Usability


I tried using the pliers on something, but it was nearly impossible to get enough force on the arms without them wanting to fold up. The screwdrivers are semi-usable if you only fold them out 90 degrees. Since the main draw for me was pliers and screwdrivers, I did not attempt to use the other tools.

Conclusions


My advice is to avoid this tool. It's fairly well machined, and it sure looks good, but in my opinion, it's more eye candy than a serious tool you'd be able to depend on. The screwdrivers are well machined but hard to use with any real amount of force. And given that it wants to unfold and fall off a keychain, I would say this tool would only be well suited inside a nerdy EDC bag, where you might use the screwdrivers on something light-duty like a computer motherboard or something.  But overall, as a multi-tool, you can do much better. Get a Squirt PS4 instead, and sleep well at night in the knowledge that it won't fold under pressure-pun intended. Or get the budget IDL T7, which is similar but with a better design.

Gallery

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
It certainly has a lot of tools...

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
The screwdriver tips are well-machined

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
The "drill" is too small to be useful, but hey, it looks cool

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
It's a good lookin' multi-tool

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
I like how the screwdrivers fold into the other screwdrivers

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
The pliers handle doesn't lock, so good luck putting any real force on it

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
The weight is entire reasonable for a multi-tool this size

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
I have to admit, it does look cool on my keychain, with the Gerber Shard and Fenix E01

Swiss+Tech Micro Max 19-in-1 Keychain Multi-Tool
I put a rubber band on mine to keep it secure on the keychain. I'm trying to be a good sport with giving this tool a chance





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