Man I loved the movie the Matrix, until they ruined it with all the sequels. Well now Black and Decker has come along with their own Matrix. At first I was a bit skeptical, I mean I am not sure if I like the idea of a modular tool. We have seen it before with the RIDGID JobMax that had limited fanfare, but Black and Decker decided to target not the pro market. Instead they targeted the DIY casual user with a low MSRP.
The Matrix comes in 3 base platforms: a 12V which we will focus on in this article, a 20V and a corded version. Our 12V tool came with a charger and 1 battery. The battery goes in vertically not horizontally like on most 12V grip packs. This design allows the unit to stand up and give it a more comfortable grip, although the unit is a bit big for a 12V. Now the bad part, it takes 3 to 4 hours to charge the battery. That alone makes the tool limited to the scope of work you can do unless you get more batteries or the 20V or AC versions.
I really like the grip on the 12v Matrix, it is very comfortable and there is a bit holder molded onto the back of the tool base. Balance is a different story depending on what attachment you have on. I was disappointed that there is no LED on the unit as I think every tool should have an LED light these days. The rubber over-molded grip helps your hand stay planted and protects the tool from marring any surfaces when placed down. The grip is very comfortable and the entire tool feels well built.
You wont be building an entire house with the Matrix, but the Matrix can handle almost any punch list item from sanding and drilling to cutting and routing.
Drill: The 3/8″ drill has 600 rpm with 11 clutch settings for more delicate work. The chuck holds the bit with ease, simply twist and lock and your set.
Impact: The Impact worked well for driving in 2″ screws into a 4×4 and made the tool a tad nose heavy. For the homeowner it is great and will get most jobs done.
Jigsaw: .5″ stroke length, 0-2100 spm with 12V battery. The jigsaw works well for small jobs, when you need more power you can upgrade to the 20V or AC version. It uses tool-free T or U shank blades.
MultiTool: 2.8 degree oscillation angle and up to 14,500 opm. For extended work the trigger needs a lock as your finger tires out. The tool has more vibration than I would have like to have seen. However Black and Decker took their award winning tool-less blade change from the Porter-Cable brand and added it to this tool. Obviously this is designed for small quick jobs and being as versatile as it is did a good overall job as an oscillation tool.
Sander: 0-6500 OPM12V battery. We got about 11 minutes of run time with this attachment. The shape allows you to get into tight spots. Of course you could always just get the multi tool attachment which comes with sanding disks also.
Router: 6800 rpm and 16mm of depth adjustment. The router is good for quick small projects.
To sum it up, I like how Black and Decker is offering an innovative tool for the home owner at a great value. You can add accessories for roughly $29-$39 per accessory, which is a nice price point. I really liked the Matrix, but the 4-5 hour battery charge time was a bummer. With a faster battery charger this tool would almost perfect for any homeowner.
The Matrix hits shelves just in time for the holidays and will be released on November first.