Every manufacturer nowadays has a "lite" version of whatever they sell, from the stripped model sub-compact car to lite beer, cheaper components and a few shortcuts is the fast and easy way to make the product available for a few less dollars. But if everyone followed Tim Leatherman's model, the world would be a better place.
At under $30, the Kick is the Leatherman "lite" model, but don't let the price fool you. Viewing the Kick through it's boxed blister pack, concerns about compromise fade quickly - the brush-polished stainless steel exterior looks very solid and precisely machined, as do the pliers. The oversized round bolts holding the whole tool together are the same as on the $75+ Core model, with only the contured black plastic bordering the grip seeming to soften things (it doesn't - the plastic is actually the "metal replacement" polymer Zytel, which is roughly as tough as gold). Visually, it's virtually identical to most any other Leatherman model, both in appearance and quality.
All of which is confirmed when you hold the Kick. The weight and feel is that of a small semi-automatic handgun; the cold and unyielding touch of one millimeter-thick stainless steel makes it clear that this is definitely an all-business tool. "Lite" doesn't refer to weight here, though 5.2 ounces doesn't sound like much, compared to other modern portable devices, this is a serious slug of metal. But unlike a cell phone or iPod, you could accidentally run the Kick through a cycle in the washing machine or even back over it with your car without fear.
The seriousness continues with the Kick's features, each of which are made from optimized-grade density stainless steel and are just as precisely engineered as the exterior. Only the most common tools for day-to-day use are included, so you don't have to deal with the added weight and bulk of a corkscrew or some other feature you'll never use. Each individual tool is machined with an inflexible strength and design as though it could be sold seperately. The long Phillips screwdriver (ideal for recesssed/hard-to-get screws) is compatible with Leatherman's Removable Bit Driver, so if carrying the Kick's twelve tools in your pocket isn't enough, you can also add ten different screwdriver bits. Or add the Wave Tool Adapter, making any 1/4" drill bit compatible with your Kick. Of special note is the knife - though it's just a basic clip-point design, this example is *wicked sharp*, remarkably so for an under-$30 tool or knife.
Comparison shopping to other brands of multi-tools, you'll see thinner and poorer-quality metals, slipshod design and machining, strange combinations of feautres, and countries-of-origin galore, sometimes at double or more the Kick's price. It's obvious that Leatherman was first and has had the most experience with the multi-tool idea, and the Kick reflects this in every facet. So if you think you or someone you know is ready to enter the do-all world of the Leatherman owner, the Kick is a compromise-free introduction at an introductory price.