I understand the reluctance to buy a cordless for as much as $635.00 .... FYI, in my country sales tax is 19% ( ouch... ) and the total cost adds up to ?617.
At the current exchange rate, that amounts up to a little over $900 ! I was lucky enough to get a 14% discount but still...
I've been able to use the T15+3 in day to day work for a couple of weeks as well - and I think it was money well spent.
Over the years I've been using all sorts of cordless drills. There are some that I think are worth the money. I had a three speed Bosch "professional" from the early days with a 9.6V NiCd pack that was awesome - the build quality was great, and it did run up to 2900 RPM. It was rather heavy, but that made it stable when using small diameter drills in metal, the max speed made that more than a theoretic possibility. It was well balanced, so I got a little more life out of my small diameter drillbits as well. I've kept it, and one of these days I'm going to have the batterypacks repacked...
But for the most part, cordless drills have been a mixed blessing for me. They were either reasonable quality, but expensive and still not really what I expected, or rather cheap and not so usefull. Strangely enough I've kept a particular DeWalt cordless I got on a massive discount for I've gotten used to it's flaws and I don't mind using the backside as a mallet......
I must admit that I've bought the T15+3 (the set with the extra chucks) along with the new '09 Centrotec accessories-Systainer. When you've got a good part of the options, everything seems to make even more sense.
I can relate to Holzhacker in thinking that the drill shouldn't be bought without the optional chucks - If you can afford the T15+3, chances are that the full set will be more economical. But I think the most valuable option for me is in the basic drill: it's the anti-stupid part, or the save-the-looney's-*ss-part.
Every once in a while I tend to screw up things by cutting one corner too many. I'm sure some of you have been there :-)
For example: I had to mount a couple of rails in a wall that was rather "sensitive". It was a brick wall with a mortar layer and some stucco-related stuff over it. But the mortar was old and quite sandy, so any sudden force would probably result in a big patch coming loose. I drilled the holes with the T15, using a universal drill (basically just a mortar drill with the carbide part grinded sharp).
There was no need for impact or hammering or whatsoever, it would have ruined the hole.I started the drill, got about halfway, and suddenly: "beep-beep" and the drill stoppped. As it turns out, I forgot to switch the drill to drill-mode, and left it in srcew-torque-mode. HAD THIS BEEN THE USUAL RATTLE-CLUTCH, THE HOLE WOULD HAVE BEEN RUINED ! All I had to do was switch to drill-mode and off I got. No problem, one looney's *ss saved.
The power is quite astonishing as well. I used it with a 3" holesaw in some construction plywood, and actually was a bit disappointed.... It would turn, take a couple of mm's out and stop, beeping gently. I tried and retried, and still couldn't get the drill to do this. The 18V Makita LXT I'd been using with this saw had quite a hard time with it as well, but had pulled through without complaints, be it quite a bit hotter then I felt comfortable with. So much for electronic protection, I thought.
Then I moticed that the unloaded speed of the drill was slightly fading as well.... I inserted the other batterypack ( fully loaded ) and the drill almost broke my wrist as the saw got to work..... As it turned out the electronics weren't protecting the drill: they were protecting the batterypack.
I've been installing quite some replacement hinges in doors and windows, and when there's three or more in a part and the size is the same I like to replace them one by one without taking out the part. But that usually involves drilling new holes quite adjacent to the old holes, as the holes in the new hinges rarely are in the same spot.
So you have to screw and pre-drill alternatively, and although I've used the Makita flip-bits extensively, they're no match for the Centrotec system, let alone with the electronic clutch that's only activated in screw-mode.
The fact that the drill throttles down the max speed when using lower torque settings is very helpful as well.
Another BIG plus is the ability to place the drill on it's battery. Even with a 3" hole-saw on a rather long and heavy shaft in the keyless chuck, it wouldn't tip over when placed upright on a flat surface. Believe it or not, I had to get used to this! I'm used to having to lie down a cordless drill - but the ability to have it stand up can really speed up your work, especially when you'd like to keep an eye on the work and don't want to look away to locate your tools.
This is the first drill I feel confident in using when fastening old fashioned slit screws. The lowest speed is awesome and it's really easy to line up a couple of small brass screws in a piano hinge.
No cons then? Of course there are.
I'd like a couple more torque-settings at the lower end, to make the great control this drill offers even more useful. Think installing outlet covers or the like. The lowest torque settings will still easily strip small screw joints in softer materials. A 3 X 20 mm in poplar in 1st gear on the lowest torque setting will just keep spinning...... actual torque in the screw might be lower in 2nd gear, but that just doesn't feel right for tightening sensitive screw joints.
The transmission shift occasionally leaves the shifter a bit shy of the right position, and that doesn't feel right either. It works OK but you still think the gears won't be fully engaged. If this happens you'll have to shift back and forth under rotation to get the shifter to lock in the right position. Not a big problem, but it just doesn't feel Festool-like if you catch my drift. Perhaps it will wear in use.
The left/right button is conveniently placed when you need it, but somewhat too convenient if you don't. It's just a bit too easy to accidentally touch it and leave it somewhere halfway, stopping the drill. It may have something to do with the size of my hand, but I think it would have been better if this switch needed a bit more force to operate.
Bottom line: I think the drill is great. It adapts to my way of doing things, and saves me valuable time in doing so. It has pushed the "user error"-envelope a bit farther out for me.
Yes, it's a of money - but I'd buy it again without blinking an eye.