Only a few readers of this blog might know I am a serial Kickstarter backer. Fortunately, I’ve backed tens of projects over the last few years and have yet to back something that didn’t eventually deliver. One of the most recent projects I backed was the SES Ultra Screwdriver. Considering there isn’t much info about it yet, I wanted to share my first impressions and anything you should know about this.
I opted for the non-motion control model. I just wanted a simple adjustable screwdriver, so I got the SES Ultra Plus.
Packaging and first impressions
Before we get into the features and other bits and pieces, we’ll briefly discuss my first impressions. With Kickstarter projects, you never know if the project pitch will be the same as the final product. Before I even opened the screwdriver, it was nicely boxed in a sturdy white box with exterior branded black packaging. Subtle and not too over the top. My hunch was this would be a quality product before even using it.
Inside the box is a long sturdy zip-up case that resembles a Nintendo Switch travel case, except a little wider. Inside that case is a rugged aluminium case which is impressively built. It feels sturdy, like you could drop it, and it wouldn’t break (I wasn’t game enough to find out). Pressing on the bottom of the case, the charger holding the screwdriver and bits slide out. Strong magnets hold the bits in.
Enough about the packaging, but the packaging is essential. The first time someone experiences your product can make the customer feel like they bought something high-quality or cheap.
Features and specifications
If you’re just a Kickstarter backer excitingly awaiting your SES Ultra screwdriver to arrive, you already know about these features and can skip to the next section. The MAX model has Bluetooth and Smart Motion Control (not listed), but the other specs are the same for both models.
- 4 kgf.cm torque force
- 70 S2 steel bits
- Five torque modes
- 500mAh Lithium-ion battery
- OLED display
- LED illuminated tip that lights up what you’re screwing
- Aluminium outer case with interior plastic USB-C charging case. The underside of the aluminium case has a magnetised pad for holding bits. The case also has an in-built magnetiser to keep your bits magnetised
- It will automatically switch to manual mode allowing you to use it manually if the electric mode can’t provide enough torque.
Putting it to use
Firstly, the SES feels premium in your hands. The material’s shape, feel, and square-like edges give you an excellent grip on this. It’s slightly weighted but very light and is comparable to a regular magnetised screwdriver. The little details make this screwdriver feel nice besides the engineer of the screwdriver itself.
The way the screwdriver snaps into the case. It’s surprisingly satisfying. The magnets feel high-quality; you can feel the screwdriver snap into place and hear it. Like an expensive car door being closed, it just sounds pleasant.
Another excellent detail is how easy it is to get the screwdriver out of the tray and the bits. I’ve owned plenty of screwdriver sets and handheld screwdrivers with bits. They’re often clicked into place in moulded plastic and are sometimes a pain to put in and get out. The SES case holds the bits into place using solid magnets, which are solid but easy to get out. I appreciate that Arrowmax had the foresight to leave space around the bits to get your fingers in there to unseat them easily.
And then you have the OLED screen. As you’re holding down the directional buttons, it displays the direction of the screw on the screen, which animates, and it’s a nice touch. The screen is nice and bright (like a good OLED should be). The LEDS at the top where the bits attach are also nice when working in a small space (like a phone or computer tower).
I don’t need a screwdriver that often, but I play guitar and service my guitars. I, fortunately, had a guitar that needed some machine heads replaced, and this is the first thing I used my SES Ultra Screwdriver on. I set the screwdriver torque to the number 3 setting, chose my needed bit and went to work. It didn’t break a sweat; the number 3 setting was more than enough. I could have used setting 2.
Something worth noting is that heads are screwed into the wooden headstock of the guitar and aren’t very loose because they’ve been there since factory assembly. The screwdriver showed no signs of strain.
Using the screwdriver was a lot of fun; it made me look around the house for other things to take apart. I used the lower torque one setting to tighten my glasses (there are some great small bits for glasses). Then I took apart the remote to my ceiling fan (also torque setting one) and, using torque setting five, tried it out on some door hinge screws for the door that leads into my study.
The torque five setting is noticeably powerful. Unless you’re attempting to drill into masonry or something where a drill would be better suited, I honestly can’t see the SES Ultra struggling to achieve most screwdriver-based tasks. It won’t help you assemble flatpack furniture, but if you’re repairing gadgets or need a screwdriver for a quick task, this is what you want. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to use.
Who would have thought a battery-operated screwdriver could be so much fun?
A few shots
If you’re wanting a few shots of what it looks like, see below for a few basic photos. I didn’t photograph the packaging, just the screwdriver and the case. The photos don’t do it justice; the lighting was terrible. But you can see, it’s very much a real product.
Overall, the SES Ultra is way better than I was expecting it to be. If you’re using the SES Ultra for what it is intended for (small electronics and other things), it does the job impressively. I can’t speak for the MAX version with the motion control feature and Bluetooth, but given how impressive the Ultra is, I am tempted to buy another one. And that should tell you all you need to know about this screwdriver: it’s worth buying again.
If you’re interested in getting one yourself, they’re currently being sold on Indiegogo here.