It's amazing how much measuring we all do, even if we are not in the building trade.
Most households do a fair bit of DIY around the place, from measuring windows to planning a patio or building a veranda. And here I'm just listing a couple of things that are happening in my household right now. All of this requires a fair bit of accurate measuring but never before has it been so much fun or accurate as with the M2, an inexpensive laser measuring device.
Time to ditch the old tape measure? Probably not as we first need to do some comparisons.
Let's see how the M2 measures up.
4Cabling has just announced the availability of the M2 here in Australia and this might very well be the first review of this device.
We have reviewed several other items from 4Cabling, like a server rack or the SynCharger Mini and the Socomec UPS so we were pretty confident about the gear they're selling. The M2 might be another useful tool for businesses and professionals as well as for tradespeople and the general public.
The manual by way is very readable unlike some transliterated Chinese prose that we come across all the time. It is interesting that the only eyebrow raiser is found on the box where it mentions "Gorgeous Double Injection"!
It's a robust looking device, you might even call it handsome, but gorgeous?
Anyway, let's get to the heart of the matter: the specs of the M2 are extremely attractive. We have a range of up to 80 m and most importantly an accuracy of 1.5 mm.
Let's talk accuracy for a moment. I have always been a bit sceptical about high accuracy claims of these types of devices. So I have taken quite a few comparative measurements to see if we can back up the claims made for the M2.
The ruler or square will probably give the highest accuracy when it comes to measuring over smaller distances. A tape measure by its very design is bound to be more inaccurate and, unless you can keep the tape absolutely straight, your reading might be off by several millimetres. Try measuring for instance the distance from the floor to the ceiling with a tape measure. Unless you have an offsider to help you, you have to be a contortionist to get a decent reading.
The M2 makes it all too easy: two clicks of a button and you've got a more exact reading then you can get with a tape measure! Not just along a wall either but from anywhere in the room right down into corners where you can get a minimum and maximum reading through the continuous measurement function. Pretty amazing.
The M2 also features a numeric keypad, which can be used as a stand-alone calculator but will be much more useful when you will do calculations on your measurements. This works well even for measurements you've taken earlier as it will retain the last 50 readings.
The Pythagoras function is quite handy to measure the height of an otherwise hard to measure object, like the facade of the building or a tree. The clever thing about the M2 is that you don't have to be measuring dead straight along the ground either but by using the Auto Height Measurement function you can get the height of an object even from eyelevel.
Similarly, area and volume measurements are made quite easy with the M2.
The unit is backlit and measurements can be made in metres or feet with a press of a button. Another button will let you switch the reference point from either the bottom of the unit or the top or from the tripod thread location on the back of the device. I had wondered about where the reference point was before reading the manual and the ability to switch is extremely handy. That means you can set it in a window sill and easily measure the inside of a window frame.
Let's go back to the range. It may go up to 80 m but you will have a hard time locating the red laser dot! Even though it's a very powerful laser, the dot is quite small. Easily visible up to 20 m in low light conditions but it will get progressively harder unless you have a reflective surface at the other end. Another thing to consider is that it can be hard to stabilise the unit in your hand so you might have to put it down onto something or put it on a tripod.
I have often wondered if the large Tasmanian blue gumtree near the shed would be able to fall clear of the shed if I were to bring it down. Because of the distances involved the only way to do this is at night time when you can still clearly see the red laser dot. In fact, at night the furthest distance I've been able to measure with the M2 is a good 93 m!
With the triangulation I was able to ascertain that I would not have too much luck if the tree would fall in the direction of the shed....
The M2 Laser Distance Meter is an amazingly useful device. Sure, at just over 200 Aussie bucks it won't replace all the measuring tapes out there but it is a no-brainer if measuring things is part of your daily life.
With a rechargeable battery it's compact, weighs less than a tape measure, has a greater accuracy over longer distances with a lot more functionality. What's not to like?
Head over to 4cabling.com.au and get yourself one or check out the dTape2 which does most of these things but costs less than 100 bucks.
Overall rating for the M2: Highly Recommended!