Bosch Combi Drill

Designed and built with maximum connectivity in mind, this brand-new combi drill from Bosch is powerful, efficient and features a long-lasting brushless EC motor'

I’ve watched this technology evolve over the last couple of years and seen it during its developmental stages at conferences, but this is the first time I’ve managed to get my hands on one of the new Bluetooth enabled power tools. The Bluetooth technology is built into a module on the side of the drill handle with a cover that holds the battery to supply the power for the Bluetooth signal. The signal is linked via the Bosch Toolbox app on the Android and iPhone platforms and gives you access to the drill in order to check basic information, as well as a few more in-depth adjustments, which I will come on to shortly.

Great build quality

But first off, in its own right, the Bosch drill is up to its usual build quality, with one enhancement that I particularly like. Simple as it is, the return to a muted black finished chuck over the silver finished version used on a previous model makes it look like the true professional model that it is. I always felt the silver chuck gave it a cheap, inferior appearance, despite the fact it was of equal quality to the single sleeved all-metal one used here. The drill is very compact as well; the Bosch EC brushless motor helps to reduce things down to just 184mm from the back of the drill to the chuck tip, but it’s still powerful enough to drill up to 38mm in timber.

This is more than enough for most carpentry work, so the site workers will embrace it for this quality alone, but with no side handle, it does require some protection to the end user in order to prevent potential wrist injury. Of course, Bosch have included protection with an anti-rotation protective clutch that kicks in if the drill catches and rotates violently, which has the benefit of stopping the drill in its tracks.

A dual collar system allows the torque setting to be overridden for hammer and standard drilling The light is bright and can be altered with the smartphone app The speeds are altered via a simple top slider
A dual collar system allows the torque setting to be overridden for hammer and standard drilling The light is bright and can be altered with the smartphone app The speeds are altered via a simple top slider

Different functions

Even with its stubby length, there’s still room to house a twin collar adjustment behind the chuck; this allows for one collar to alter the torque settings to any of its 20 positions for consistent screwdriving control, while the second one controls the drill, hammer and screwdriving functions, overriding the torque once the collar is altered to the hammer or drill positions.

The hammer function puts in a good shift as well; the top speed of 1,900rpm means it’s on par with a mains model so it doesn’t lag when drilling into standard denser building materials, such as 7Nm blocks with smaller drills.

The most commonplace 7mm diameter plug that is used for many fixings is well within its remit, and likewise, if you ditch wall plugs in favour of the direct fixed concrete screws, I found the maximum driving torque of 60Nm was more than capable of driving a 100mm fixing into external blockwork.

This bit of circuitry does all the magic; a coin cell battery controls everything Aside from the app, the drill put in a good stint
This bit of circuitry does all the magic; a coin cell battery controls everything Aside from the app, the drill put in a good stint
drilling securing wall plates to hard brick...

Bluetooth technology

Despite the extra Bluetooth technology within the handle, Bosch have, as usual, retained one of the most comfortable grips on the market. It remains as slim as any other in their range, making control and comfort in use an additional, and welcome, bonus.

A trigger-operated LED is common nowadays, and no different here. It illuminates a decent area around the chuck and also remains on for 10 seconds after the trigger is released, so it will also act as a rudimentary torch.

Secondary to this, the light is also a diagnostic for the Bluetooth function, flashing to indicate the connection status when linking to your phone.

Looking closer at the Bluetooth technology, at its most basic it links to the app to record the tool to your own database, so you can update with the serial number for ownership. It also automatically loads all the information about the tool itself on first connection, the specifications and so forth, as well as telling you the battery status, so you can handily check this before you even get it out of the box!

But there are additional user-operated functions that are very useful. Remember that LED light and its 10 second illumination after the trigger release? The app allows you to alter the illumination length to suit your needs, cutting back to zero seconds and as high as 99 seconds of light.

The kick in speed of the clutch can also be altered to come in sooner as well as an additional torque setting that will switch off the drill once the desired torque is reached, rather than the drill ratcheting once the setting is hit, which protects the gears and prevents the tool from overworking unnecessarily.

The final part that will also prove useful is just how long the drill can be used for. It helps you keep tabs on it if you lend it to a workmate, for example, who only wants to drill a couple of holes, but when you get it back you find that it’s done the equivalent of the London Marathon of drilling jobs, as well as a general diagnostic should it fail for any reason.

... as well as driving concrete screws in to fasten the plates Once connected to the app there is a range of user-defined controls available
... as well as driving concrete screws in to fasten the plates Once connected to the app there is a range of user-defined controls available

Conclusion

All in all, the drill itself is a worthy addition to your kit if you are looking for a powerful and compact drill, but the additional app functions give you the extra scope required in order for you to achieve optimum performance. This is the tip of the new technology iceberg that, unlike the Titanic, looks like it will continue to steam on to greater things beyond. GW

Specification:

Speeds: 0-600 & 0-1,900rpm
Impacts per minute: 0-28,500
Chuck capacity: 13mm
Max capacity in timber: 38mm
Max capacity in steel: 13mm
Max capacity in masonry: 13mm
Typical price: £350 with 2 × 5Ah batteries
Web: www.bosch-pt.com

THE GW VERDICT

PROS:

App controlled adjustments; compact;1⁄2in metal chuck;fast top speed

CONS:

I like it, and it has great scope, but others may find the app-driven technology a gimmick!

RATING:

4.5 out of 5

 

For more information on BOSCH see their website