B&Q, the purveyors of DIY in the UK, thinks it has just the thing to complete any flat-pack induced shopping spree at IKEA - a cordless screwdriver. But can the device, which costs under £20, be meaty enough for the job? We get screwing to find out.
The Gofer cordless screwdriver admittedly isn’t new and was originally launched in 2001 by B&Q to make screwing screws in easier for an older generation.
Four years on and the company has added a X to the title, turned it white (for that iPod generation don’t you know) and included a colourful docking station that has got more lights on it than the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square.
The design is based around a large pebble that is designed to sit in one hand and works by applying pressure to get the screw mechanism turning. B&Q has labelled this mechanism Push & Go and the idea is that pushing on a screw head activates the device rather than having to push a button on the unit.
While this means you won’t have to press a button to activate the screwing mechanism - although you do have to slide a switch to let the Gofer know which direction you are wanting to screw - it does cause problems when it comes to undoing a screw. Why? Because you have to push the screwdriver in enough to activate the mechanism, but not too hard otherwise you can’t pull out the screw.
The GoferX comes with six different tips suitable for most screwing occasions and these are simply slotted in at the tip of the device.
Recharging the GoferX is done via a docking station/cradle and B&Q seem keen to make this as interactive as possible. The cradle offers nine lights, that let you know when the device is 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and fully charged. While charging all nine lights will flash until the unit has met a specific charged threshold - i.e., 20%. At this point those lights remain light while the rest will still continue to flash.
It is an over-bloated way of letting you know how much of the battery is charged and a simple light telling you how much time you’ve got left would have been more useful.
More worrying the instruction manual supplied with the unit states that “If the GoferX battery is too hot the charge base will wait for the temperature to reduce before charging. The red light will flash if this occurs”. Why it should get too hot to use is beyond us.
In our tests the GoferX performed well in putting together flat pack furniture or unscrewing light fittings, but anything more serious and the GoferX just isn't powerful enough. In fact, anything more than screwing in screws into pre-drilled holes resulted in a slow whirring noise before the device came to a halt.
Where the GoferX fails for us is its Push & Go element, especially if you are unscrewing things rather than screwing things in.
Too much attention has been paid to making it look appealing to the iPod generation rather than making it powerful enough to work effectively.