Summary: I really abuse my Makita finishing sander and it has always performed well. I've used 36 grit sandpaper for hours, sanding down a considerable thickness (for a finishing sander) and I've never had a problem with it. I've never had a problem with coarse or fine sandpaper coming out of the clamps while sanding, and the vacuum system is surprisingly effective (I expected it to be a bit of a gimmick, but it actually works very well).
Summary: Amazing how there is almost zero vibration felt as you use this tool. It replaced a very old Black & Decker model that I couldn't keep my hand on for more than 10-15 seconds or so. The releases are very easy to use and the pad accommodates sandpaper that is pierced for vacuum, but if you don't buy that, the tool comes with a plastic jig that will punch holes in your normal paper. Nice, soft, flexible power cord.
Summary: I'm an amateur sawdust maker and I've built and or refinished dozens of pieces of furniture. Over the years I've owned and used a dozen different sanders of the finish, random orbit, and belt varieties. And I've tried every brand name under the sun, except uber-expensive names like Festool. I can say with enthusiasm, that this is the best sander I've ever used. It's smooth, quiet, easy-to-control, and produces excellent results. It's actually fun to use.
Summary: Nice item but Amazon free shipping was terrible. They just tossed the Makita box into a large shipping box and shipped, without any packing material inside shipping box. Needles to say the Makita box was beat to hell, looks like something that fell off a truck. I had purchased one about two weeks prior, it was packed properly with packing material, I purchased this second one to give as a gift, No way can I give this looking as it does.
Summary: I had a 1/2 sheet sander that finally died. I looked for a replacement, and found many palm (and similar sized) sanders, which were smaller than I wanted. I was happy to run across this 1/3 sheet sander so decided to give it a try. If you cut the sand paper in 3 sections along the long side, they fit perfectly.
Summary: There are many aggressive sanders available that remove material quickly.....sometimes too quickly. This Makita BO3710 is at the other end of the spectrum, closer to hand sanding. At no time does it 'surprise' you. It is as close to an extension of my hand as I could desire. It is quiet, the paper clamps are firm but easy, and it sits flat naturally whereas many sanders seem to tip slightly while running.
Summary: This sander leaves little to be desired, and is a terrific bargain at the price. I bought it to replace an aged Makita 1/4-sheet palm sander, and found that the new unit is far superior in every department. It is quite powerful, yet at the same time is notably quiet. Palm sanders are notorious screamers, and if you've suffered with those for some years, you'll be very pleasantly surprised by this machine. Is bigger a problem? No.