The next items I decided to review from the bundle of stuff I received were the two Multicomp Pro Screwdrivers - the MP700130 12-in-1 Ratchet Screwdriver Set (currently US$11.99 or AU$33.62 inc GST) and the MP700124 11-in-1 Multi-Bit Screwdriver Set (US$10.99 or AU$26.08 inc GST). My review will quickly look at the various bits that are provided and what I think about their design and value for money. Off the bat, however, it can be seen that there is a significant discrepancy in prices for the Australian shop, which makes these "value-for-money" range tools a little less appealing compared to just the straight currency conversion price. This may be because of the cost incurred in shipping these items overseas, so perhaps this is something worth bearing in mind for those in Australia (or other faraway places).

 

MP700130 12-in-1 Precision Ratchet Screwdriver Set

The first item is the 12-in-1 precision ratchet screwdriver set. The first thing you'll realise as soon as you get it is just how small it is. It has a retracted length vaguely similar to a regular ball-point pen, with the body being around the same thickness at the tip, expanding to about three times the diameter at the rear section. This makes it quite an interesting candidate for having it on-hand as you travel, to attend to emergency repairs on smaller electronics.

The central section can be extended by undoing the locking collar and pulling out the central rod, bringing the length to around twice the length of the ball-point pen. This arrangement places a fair amount of stress on the clear plastic handle at the locking collar - I found that putting downward force on the screwdriver when turning screws can result in unexpected retraction of the rod, thus use in the retracted state (if possible) is preferable.

The rod itself is held in place by the locking nut squeezing together the "split" plastic, relying on friction alone. I have a suspicion that this arrangement is not going to be suitable for higher-torque applications, so users should be careful not to twist too hard or use the screwdriver as a lever or this could be the weak point. That being said, the product page does say "Lifetime Warranty" in the product overview, even though this is not in the datasheet, so I'm not sure as to whether this is the case. Apparently this product also should carry the California Proposition 65 warnings, as it has on the product page, however I did not see any labelling to that effect.

The bits are stored in the rear section, which is closed by a black plastic cap that clips in via the use of a split ring. I found the clear plastic towards this end of the tool to be rough and the cap would fall off if given any substantial tap, an area which could be improved. If the tool is to be used when travelling, perhaps it's worth placing it in a bag to avoid the loss of the double-ended bits. The cap also has a brass bit holder in the middle, so one could use the cap and bit as a "stubby" short screwdriver as well. One cool feature is the fact that the cap has a magnet within it, which could be a lifesaver when it comes to retrieving a lost screw.

The bit storage is divided into four in the rear, with a fifth in the centre of the black plastic cap. The final bit is stored in the front of the screwdriver, so no matter what, it's going to be "pointy" which is perhaps not ideal for travelling. All included bits are double-ended with identification of their type stamped into the body.

 

One downside of these double-ended bits is that if you lose them, they can be difficult to replace. Another downside is that often, because the bits don't have a nice big flat back to support the bit, they can rock about slightly more than with single-ended bits. To counteract this, the design of this unit seems to hold the bit very snugly - thus requiring quite a bit of effort to remove. Another downside of interchangeable bit screwdrivers in general is that they won't be able to reach recessed screws in narrow holes due to the size of the bit-holder, with this design being no exception. That being said, aside from the reservations as to the longevity of the plastic and looseness of the plastic cap, this seems to be a rather convenient way to have most of the common bits and a screwdriver in the space of around three ball-point pens.

 

MP700124 11-in-1 Multi-Bit Screwdriver Set

While the first unit is more targeted at delicate work, this one is a much larger screwdriver and nutdriver which is more suited to larger screws. It comes in a plastic bag with a label that has the California Proposition 65 warnings, and is apparently Made in the USA with "US and global components" according to the website. It also carries a lifetime warranty, although the terms are not stated.

My first impression is that this tool seems to be a rather chunky and sturdy tool with a comfortable rubberised handle. The rubber portion has the Multicomp Pro logo, along with warnings, while the green plastic body (the colour for Multicomp Pro products in general) has 11 in 1 written on the rear.

How does one get to the eleven pieces? By disassembling the screwdriver itself. The shaft comes out of the handle's metal inner collar by pulling on it, revealing that it is double ended. But within each end, a second collar slides out revealing two ends on each. Thus a total of four double-ended bits, providing eight functions, plus three different nut driving sizes corresponding to the ends of the big shaft plus one of the inner shafts makes the eleven claimed functions. In disassembling this tool, I found the connections to be quite tight and difficult to get apart, which might be a good thing as it might become looser over time. However, the fact that it is lightly oiled from the factory can make initial swapping of bits quite tricky with bare hands. Because of the size of the shaft and adapters, a similar caveat with regards to accessing recessed screws exists for this unit as well, along with the same caveats of double-ended bits. An added consideration is the numerous points where parts come together, resulting in a little play in the shaft, but not so much as to make it difficult to use.

The choice of double-ended bits also seemed a little strange, with the less common square shapes appearing twice. Each of these bits have a spring-loaded ball bearing to help keep them wedged into place. They will be difficult to replace if lost and just like the other unit, one of these bits will always be exposed on the end of the screwdriver while in travel, so it will always have a "pointy" end.

 

Conclusion

Considering the price in the USA, both products seem reasonably priced given their functions. The MP700130 has its attractions in being very compact in size, about the size of three ballpoint pens, with many of the bits necessary to service smaller electronics equipment. The MP700124 is targeted at more serious tasks where larger screws or fixings need to be attended to, with its comfortable stubby rubberised handle. In the case of both tools, the ability to carry a selection of common bits without needing to take up much additional space makes them the ideal companion for travel or emergency use.

 

The downsides include the use of less common double-ended bits which can be difficult to replace and can exhibit more play due to the lack of a solid "back" to rest against inside the bit holder. Another downside, common to all interchangeable bit drivers, is the inability to access screws down narrow recessed holes, which is why regular screwdrivers are still necessary at times. In the case of the MP700130, I have some reservations about the durability of the clear plastic in the long run, especially with the central segment fully extended, and note that unexpected retraction can occur if downward pressure is placed on the driver. As for the MP700124, the numerous interconnecting pieces can be difficult to disassemble and reassemble, but due to the number of pieces, the amount of play in the screwdriver is perhaps greater than in a conventional interchangeable bit screwdriver.

 

In all, they probably should not be your primary tool, but instead maybe a convenient one you reach for when you're on the road or kept on the bench for the occasions where you can't be bothered to look for the right screwdriver ... after all, they both do the job well enough for most cases. Unfortunately, if you're in Australia, the prices don't seem quite as affordable by comparison.

 

Update - 18 May 2020

It hasn't been long since I posted this quick review and while I have done a few jobs with these screwdrivers, today marks the first real problem with regards to the MP700130 12-in-1 precision ratchet screwdriver set.

While using the T8 bit to undo some mild-steel screws that needed some persuasion to get going, I managed to completely mangle the splines on the bit all the way around. Surprisingly, I managed to do this with my hands and the tool alone, with no additional leverage or motorised assistance. This is somewhat disappointing, as surprisingly this damage did not strip the head of the screw relatively weak mild-steel screw itself! I suspect that perhaps the profile of the tool may have had splines which were too thin to adequately transmit the torque and were hence either fatigued or bent as a result. Swapping over to the same-size mini-bits from my Xiaomi/Wiha screwdriver kit did let me finish undoing all the screws, with that bit seemingly surviving the same torture unscathed. I suspect, but cannot conclusively determine, that the bits supplied with this particular screwdriver may not be as "hard" as desired - which is not an uncommon problem, as I had a number of eBay special sets which had bits weaker than the screws as well. Perhaps if you're using one of these, be a bit gentle?