Pros: Comfortable, reliable, low-vibration, dust collection, hard case, price
Cons: Dust container fills quickly, ruining dust collection
There's something to be said for removing material, for making things smooth. It brings about some strange, smug sense of satisfaction that must be akin to removing a tumor from a patient, removing excess fur from a cat or even bringing peace to the Middle East.
Indeed, sanders allow us to do this with ease. Some sanders do it better than others. Sheet sanders take a bit too long, while belt sanders can simply overdo it. Random orbit sanders do it best
Bosch has packaged this beautiful little sander very well. It comes in a hard case with spots for sandpaper, and it also has a vacuum adapter. You'll learn to love the vacuum setup once you try it - it's a real time saver. A little additional space for sandpaper would have been appreciated, but it's sufficient.
Features and Ergonomics
Variable speed with a dust-protected switch. That pretty well sums it up. It also has a container for collecting all the dust, when not used with the vacuum. The canister is crafted of plastic and twists off the sander. It contains a filter element which separates from the main container body. I have no reason to believe that this filter can't be cleaned with an air compressor. The sanding pad base is standard 5" hook and loop.
Ergonomics and aesthetics of this unit are excellent. It can easily be controlled comfortably with one hand on the highest setting. The palm swell is very accommodating to medium to large hands, but may be a bit large for smaller (infants, toddlers, Justin Biebers and small women) hands. Rubber overmolding is placed in the right places to make this easy to grip. The on/off switch is located at the fore of the grip, and it is very easy to manipulate. The speed selector switch is located towards the rear, and it cannot be easily manipulated during work, basically forcing the user to remove the sander from the work piece to change speeds.
Keep in mind, this is specifically designed as a finish sander. For much more aggressive material removal, look into a more powerful 6" unit or a belt sander. Typically you'll be using 80-220 grit sandpaper with this for smaller-medium size surfaces - not larger floor refinishing projects or the like. That being said, this does remove material much more quickly than a sheet sander, and I'd recommend spending a little more for that capability. Another point to be made is that you'll not do any sort of detail sanding with this, so it's good to have a detail sander/multitool to augment it.
Performance is very good, overall. There are no excessive vibration or chatter issues of any kind, and the sander leaves few swirl marks with light pressure; heavier pressure can lead to swirl marks, of course, but these are easily removed with lighter pressure. The dust container included does a surprisingly good job of cleanup, but it still does not compare to that of a vacuum setup. I would estimate a dust collection rate of around 60-70% with the container and darn near 100% with a good vacuum setup.
If you're going to use the container, be sure to empty frequently, as dust collection drops precipitously as it fills - and it fills rather quickly.
This is a very reasonably priced "big name" unit offering what I felt were the best ergonomics in its class. For light finishing work, it would be tough to beat the performance this offers dollar-for-dollar. I find this, in conjunction with my Bosch MX25 multitool, are capable of handling most small residential projects.