If you were at a marketing department meeting for an outdoor store or a general gear company, the sort populated by the folks that brought us Poochie, you'd probably hear a lot about branding and end line users (that's us, in case you don't speak "marketing"). You'd probably hear stuff about "value lines" (that's Chinese made). And then you'd hear stuff about trends. It would start out with gear, and then slowly zombies would creep in (they always creep, right?). In the event this was Gerber they would then turn to how to bundle as much stuff together with a nylon carrying case and slap the word zombie or apocalypse on it (you would, in their marketing version of the apocalypse, need seven blades but no pain relievers, water filtration, or fire starting equipment). Zombies and one piece multitools have nothing to do with each other, but they are such incredible buzzwords in the gear community that it was only time before someone other than Gerber brought them together in a meaningful way. But unlike Gerber's attempt to part you from your cash with junk tools and a zombie label, this little guy from TT PockeTTools invokes the zombie name for good instead of ill.
Here is the product page. There are no reviews, written or video, this is the first. There is only one source for the TT Zombie and it is the product page above. Here is the TT Zombie review sample:
The trend seems to be towards larger OPMTs, like the Pocket Tools X
Piranha, which is about the size of a credit card, but both Todd and
Peter Atwood have gone the other way. Atwood's Ghost is smaller than
the Prybaby and here the Zombie is smaller than the Chopper. The TT PockeTTools TT Zombie (from now on "TT Zombie") is a itty bitty OPMT. It is very compact, even compared to other TT PockeTTool OPMTs. This compact size means that you have no trouble dropping it on your keychain or hiding it in your pocket. It also means that it weighs only a smidgeon. Overall, I like the smaller design, but there are some drawbacks, which will be noted below. From a blueprint perspective though, I like the tool, I like the look, and I like the size. The tool was small enough to slot nicely on to the BladeKey, for those of you out there looking to comply the ultimate compact key set up.
The ratios are decent. First, though, the obligatory scale shot with the Zippo:
See I told you, absolutely tiny. The tool:weight, 10.87, is pretty darn staggering, given that this thing weighs a feathery .46 ounces. The Charge by comparison has a tool:weight of 2.32 (19 tools:8.2 ounces). Safe to say this will never be beat as it is probably impossible to make a tool smaller and still have it be useful for EDC tasks.
Fit and Finish: 2
Todd's finishes are the best in the OPMT business. I know that is controversial. I know Atwood fans love his work, as do I, but the slick satin finish on a lot of his stuff makes grip an issue. Todd opts for a raw bar finish that hits all three features I like in a finish: it is good looking, it adds to grip, and it wears very well. The edges are a bit buffed which provides a visually interesting contrast. The angles, jimping, and grinds are very clean and even. The holes are nicely cut but not sharp or snagging.
As a mini OPMT the TT Zombie does very well. It tucks in your keychain with minmal fuss even with the massive thickness. The selection of tools suits the small size well and the appearance is a visual pun tying in with the name. That last point is not a big deal, but just a little wink from a skilled and clever maker.
By now we have all learned that gear design is a set of tradeoffs and here the trade off for the miniature size is less of a grip. There is thick and pointed jimping that helps and the raw bar surface is nice, but there simply no way to get around the fact that a tool this small lacks leverage, both in the pry tool and the bottle opener. More on how this affects performance later.
I'd give this thing a three if I could, it carries so well. The idea that I could drop this on any keychain without concern, even something as tightly designed as the BladeKey, is a sign of the tool's compact greatness. The Atwood Ghost falls into this same category, so it would be nice to compare the two, but I am more than satisfied with how things thing carried.
The choice of 154CM puts this little tool in the upper echelon of OPMTs. Production stuff like the Boker Toucan and the Leatherman Pocket Tool X designs use lesser steel and it works quite well. Todd's other stuff and Atwood's stuff is usually S30V and some folks opt for Titanium. While 154CM is not as high tech as other options, it is more than fine in the role. Also, Todd's penchant for massively thick tools works well both stylistically and in terms of adding stability to the bottle opener.
Lots of stock of a good steel equals a 2.
As small as the TT Zombie is, everything is laid out well and nothing gets in the way of anything else, which is kind of surprising given the space constraints. This is, however, a nod to Todd's skill as a designer. Even when the TT Zombie was lashed to the BladeKey I could still get to everything. On a regular keychain the thing is just awesome. Great job.
Retention Method: 2
There is a laynard loop at the top giving you one option and the bit holder gives you another. The thickness of the stock makes a split ring harder than normal to use, but you know how I feel about split rings (BARF).
Tool Selection: 1
This gets a 1 for exactly one reason: NO SNAG EDGE. The Chopper spoiled me. It had all sorts of things that made it innovative and great and one of them was the snag edge which was very new at the time. The TT Zombie could easily incorporate one and it would make the tool all that more useful. The snag edge should be a standard part of all pry-based OPMTs--it is just too useful.
Tool Performance: 1
This was a tough category to score. I could see any of the three options being legitimate and fair. If you do a lot of prying, then this thing's size is an issue and could result in a score of 0. But generally OPMT are too small, even in the largest sizes for lots of prying, so I don't think that is fair. The bit holder really is a masterpiece design and locks the bits in almost as if they are magnetized.
I screwed and unscrewed a normal 2.5" 8d Phillips head screw into a pine 2x4 three or four times all the way down and all the way up with no cam out on the tool side (the bit did cam out of the screw, but not from the tool). If you do lots of screwdriving, this thing is freaking amazing and a 2 would be fair. But most of us use OPMT as a bottle opener like 85% of the time. In those instances, the TT Zombie's size is a factor. It does open bottles, but it is a two or three pull device. Here is a mid-action shot (yes, I know I have a Mac, I have a blog, and I drink Sam Adams; I am hipster...really though, I drink bourbon if I had a choice):
Overall Score: 17 out of 20
The world of OPMTs is starting to mature into various product types. We have the general purpose OPMTs like the Atwood Prybaby, the PockeTTools TT Chopper, and the Gerber Shard. We have those with a blade like the Boker Toucan (review coming, I promise). And we now have more than one miniature sized OPMT, the TT Zombie and the Atwood Ghost. This is all a good size folks, a sign of a more evolved and sustainable product class.
In the mini tool product class I have only had the chance to review this gem, but it is quite good. If you accept the limitations that are dictated by size, then this is a capable little tool. It works very well on a wide variety of keychains and it can do a good deal of real work. I wish it had a snag edge and the bottle opener was a bit more leveraged, but those drawbacks are minor ones. For the price, $20.99, you'll be hard pressed to find something better. Hell, the Boker Toucan is a production OPMT and it is $25.
AWESOME Everyday Commentary Reader Bonus:
Todd's letting me give this gem away. Comment in the comment's section and I will choose one at random by next Monday as a winner.