Last June we talked a little about the new Dewalt 20V Max Bluetooth battery packs. Well, Black & Decker has now come out with something similar.
Meet Black & Decker SmarTech. B&D 20V Max SmarTech battery packs feature Bluetooth connectivity, and will be supported by a new mobile device app.
Oh, and it will also have a built-in USB charging port, a great feature for a DIYer battery pack.
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- 1.5Ah capacity
- 1.0A max USB output
The free Black & Decker app will have 3 core functions: My Tools, Messages, and Projects.
In My Tools, users can:
- View a list of connected batteries
- Select and interact with individual batteries
- Enable or disable batteries
- View remaining battery charge
- Turn on “locate feature” to find missing batteries
- Activate a battery’s USB port
All of these features are straightforward, although I winder how the locate feature works. Is there a small chime that turns on, or does it work in a “hot or cold” process where the app will find a battery via signal strength.
Battery notifications will come through in the Messages part of the app, and the Projects will offer tool recommendations and project inspiration.
Price: $79 for the drill kit, $69 for bare battery
ETA: Summer 2016
To be completely honest, I find the built-in USB charging port to be the most appealing aspect of these new SmarTech battery packs, although the locate feature could also be useful.
I’m hoping that the max charging rate is at least 1.0A, but 2.0A will be better. I’ll add this spec to the feature list once I find out. The battery capacity would also be good to know. I’m going to assume 2.0Ah, because you can get (2) 1.5Ah battery packs for around the same $69 price.
Update: The battery capacity is 1.5Ah, and the USB charging rate is 1.0A.
It’s interesting that B&D is selling the drill kit for just $10 more than the bare battery. I’m guessing they’re looking to draw in first-time buyers and also DIYers who haven’t upgraded their drill in quite a few years.
In light of the battery specs, I’m going to say that the drill kit is almost a no-brainer, and that you should possibly wait until holiday promo sales if you want a second battery (or more).
Before you ask why pro-level power tool brands don’t offer built-in USB charging ports, consider how many batteries a typical professional user or advanced DIYer might have. For those users with lots of batteries, it makes more sense to pay the cost for individual slide-on USB charging adapters, rather than to pay the premium with every single new battery.