Update: Less than 2 years old the battery can’t even mow 1/2 of what the old lawn mower battery could mow after it was much older. Unfortunately it seem that even my pessimistic expectations were too high. They managed to provide worse battery product after years of breakthroughs in improving batteries. I would recommend avoiding Black and Decker.
The bag is indeed much better than the old version but it is the only improvement. The other problems I mentioned do indeed continue to annoy as it is used.
My old version of this mower just stopped working and the repair guy said it would cost $250 for a new starter, new battery… So I bought a new one: Black & Decker 19-Inch 24-Volt Cordless Electric Mulching Lawn Mower #CMM1200. He said that the new ones were not as well manufactured. I couldn’t imagine how you could make things worse (it is a simple product and just adopting improvement over the years should be really easy).
But, the starter on this model is horrible. You have to tun this incredibly cheap key in a very poorly designed socket. Fails over 80% of the time. The old model started easily essentially every time. The design was just as you would expect, foolproof. Whatever pointy haired boss approved this design needs to go into another line of work.
The ability of the mower to cope with high grass is very poor – much worse than the previous model. I had a good test at first given the time between my mower breaking and getting the new one. Not often an issue, but still not a good thing.
They had a poor indication of the charge left in the battery previously. They now provide no indication of the charge left. It makes you realize that a poor indication was much better than none.
Battery technology has improved a great deal, and that was one of biggest the weaknesses of the last one. Well they seem to have managed to provide worse battery performance after 5 years of improvement in that technology. Pretty sad.