I will admit, I had higher hopes for this toy. I have several sonic screwdrivers (9/10 UV light edition, Future Sonic from “Silence in the Library”, the Master’s Laser Screwdriver), and have always been impressed by the quality of the product and it’s versatility during cosplay. Aside from a few instances where the screwdriver felt a bit brittle, I’ve dropped them all only to find them in perfect condition afterwards. So I expected nothing less than similar quality when I ordered the new 11th Doctor screwdriver.
Right off the bat, things went horribly wrong. After a gut-wrenching time trying to twist off the top to access the battery case (I felt like I was going to snap the extender arms), I found that one of the screws (the one closest to the inside) was of extremely poor quality and stripped as I was trying to open it. So here I was, unable to open the casing without cracking it. I eventually had to break the casing off just to access the batteries, and smooth down the sides so the device would extend properly. (It still doesn’t, it only extends halfway on the initial press, and halfway when the button is released, unless you tap it very fast, at which point it will extend fully in one shot.)
After inserting the batteries and testing the device out, I found that the only way to turn on the SFX while the device was extended was to use the second access button, hidden at the base of the handle. While mine worked (I know this is a common issue- several of my friends have found the second button does not work at all, even when extended), it feels like an incredibly poor idea to have the second button be the only one that works while the device is extended. It would have made more sense for the buttons to work the other way around- it makes the device ungainly to hold and wield while extended.
Speaking of extension: I tried to place mine back in the box for display, only to find that once it clicked back into the holding tray, the device would turn on…and stay on. None of the buttons were being pressed, it just refused to shut off until I removed it from the tray. I’ve read reviews that this sometimes happen when the device is extended, but the seemingly random nature behind mine made me remove the batteries before I could store it.
As to the design of the torch itself: I have no real complaints. While the screwdriver resembles a single handed lightsaber hilt (a friend of mine refers to it as a cattle prod as well), it has a strangely comfortable grip and is easy to twirl around. From a strictly aesthetic point of view, I don’t dislike it. It looks a lot more “futuristic” than other screwdriver models (even the Future Screwdriver, which I jokingly say looks like something out of steampunk), and it is a bit more fun to wave around. But all the aesthetics in the world cannot save this from being poorly produced and designed. I have the distinct feeling they rushed this out as fast as they could without proper testing, from the fans or designers. Character Options needs to seriously review their design schematics before producing more of these.
On a side note: as I write this, I am chatting with a friend who is messing with his screwdriver. He said that while we were going over the flaws in the design, his backfired and now no longer makes any sounds or lights. Like some others, the hidden button on his never worked properly, and two of the clamps were loose out of the box. I would like to test mine out to see if the same issues would happen, but at the same time am reluctant to see my screwdriver break any further.
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Here’s the thing: A lot of people have bad things to say about the 11th Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver. And they’re valid complaints. BUT, I think it’s over-all a great product.
About the seller:
AWESOME. The product came with no problems or complications, and it arrived two days before the estimated arrival date.
About the Screwdriver itself:
-It IS kind of lame that when the claws are extended you have to push the button at the bottom to activate the light and sounds.
-It IS kind of lame that the main button on the side doesn’t quite line up sometimes, so when the claw is not deployed, and you’re supposed to be able to use the primary button, about half the time it doesn’t work.
-A lot of customers say that installing the batteries is overly complicated and difficult.
-Releasing the claws and the spring action is SO satisfying and makes you feel like you’re gonna take on the whole Dalek empire singlehandedly.
-I didn’t have any trouble at all installing the batteries. It was simple and quick.
-Sure, it’s disappointing that the main button is finicky. But it requires you to adjust the top of the screwdriver or hold it in a specific way. It takes a delicate touch and I’ve gotten pretty good at it while my friends still can’t get it. And that makes me feel even more like the Doctor. It’s totally an oversight on the part of the manufacturer, but it’s fitting that you have to fumble about and make the screwdriver work sometimes just like The Doctor often does with his technology.
Overall, it’s an awesome toy. It’s not perfect, but who cares? It’s 20 bucks and you get to run around annoying your friends, pretending to be the doctor, and sonic-ing everything in sight.
I bought this Sonic Screwdriver as soon as I knew they were selling them. This sonic was great fun and even had new sounds and settings that the old sonic never had. But for some reason, after one afternoon of sonic-ing everything in the house, the screwdriver stopped making its signature sound. Changing the batteries did not solve the problem, meaning that is is some sort of wiring problem. I did not abuse the toy or anything, either. I’m hoping that mine breaking is an isolated case, but you should beware if you are planning on buying this.
My second one broke in pretty much the same way, but it was after several months this time.