House of Bosch 2011 - the report

Posted on: 22 December 2011 by Alexander Hay

A happy evening spent drilling, screwdriving and painting things, while nimbly avoiding any pipes or wires in the walls...

The Ixo returns! (Well, it hasn't gone away, but you get the point.)Christmas is coming, and that means only one thing – another trip to the House of Bosch event, showcasing the latest DIY gear the dark green-obsessed German firm is about to unleash on its faithful.

First to be tried out was the PSR Select (RRP £59.99). This cordless screwdriver has a rotary function, letting you cycle through drill attachments loaded into the built-in rotating bits box. (Imagine the cylinder in a revolver and how it stores bullets, and you're there.)

As per (Bosch) standard, the PSR is compact, sturdy and powered by a reliable lithium battery. It also handles well, while the rotator lets you store all those drill bits that otherwise get lost easily.

Following on from there was the latest iteration of the ever popular Bosch Ixo screwdriver. Ixo IV (RRP £39.99), due out in May next year, has a refined design (a 'trigger' now long enough to accommodate larger fingers), and a more advanced battery (lithium again), which makes a charge last longer and the Ixo lighter than before.

Of particular interest, however, was the PMD 10 multi-detector (RRP £79.99). This tool meets a rather pressing need amongst DIY'ers – namely, the need not to drill into pipes, wood or indeed the mains when boring into a wall.

The PMD 10 gets around this by scanning several centimetres deep into a wall, being able to pick up metal and wood (but not plastic) at varying levels of depth.

It alerts the user via a colour-coded 'traffic lights' system. Green means you can drill away. Orange suggests great caution. And Red screams out to stop immediately and find somewhere else to drill.

Helping the PMD 10 along is a second sensory readout which tells you how close you are to the offending object. There was a certain sci-fi thrill to seeking out copper pipes and electrical wires, though you still need to show care with plastic pipes and anything deeper than the device can pick up.

A quick detour to another exhibition room lead to a try-out with the PPR 250. This paint roller uses a pump mechanism to get paint up to the brush. Most importantly, it is light weight and easy to clean, simply by siphoning water instead.

This was probably the most fun tool to play with on the night, with lots of paint going on plasterboard put up for just such a purpose. Much emphasis was put on it being female-friendly too, given that the roller is easy to use and doesn't require much elbow grease.

After a quick detour to the crafts section, where I tried the PKP 7.2 LI cordless glue gun for a second time, plus cut some cloth with the Xeo 2 universal cutting tool, I then went to visit Bosch's online suite.

Here, Bosch's new Ixo site was presented, complete with promotional videos, plus hints and tips on using the screwdriver to best effect. Promoting functions like wine bottle opening (a common use of the Ixo, it has to be said), the site also had a potted history of the Ixo from its birth in 2003 to its latter-day diamond-encrusted incarnation.

I also had a look at Bosch's Facebook site. This was already surprisingly popular despite on being officially launched only recently. In fact, it was more popular than Bosch's Twitter account as it was much easier for customers to interact and Bosch to reply. Certainly, being able to directly contact your customers and vice versa seems to work rather well, a lesson that other companies might want to learn.

Favourite device of the night, however, was the PPR 250, which helped make an often thankless and monotonous task much more fun and easy. (Painting the walls is always fun too.) It helped that you could also use any brand of paint with it, and it was – as said – easy to clean.

A close second, however, was the PMD 10 multi-detector, simply because it was easy to use, intuitive and also served a clear need – not drilling into something. All in then, another fun Christmas event, playing with gadgets...

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Alexander Hay

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