I just got a sample of Petzl's new assisted braking device, the Grigri+. I must admit I look at it with a lot of disdain, mostly because
- It's bulkier than the Grigri 2;
- It's heavier than the Grigri 2;
- The possibility to choose between lead and top rope modes adds a new mechanical component, which should pretty much weaken the system;
- It has almost no ear to grab when using Petzl's recommended belay technique;
On the other hand, the device has very clear advantages over its predecessor:
- Stainless steel reinforcements to high friction areas;
- Added anti-panic handle;
- Internal components made of a different, higher friction material - this makes it possible to build a larger chamber, which should (in principle) decrease the friction when paying out slack;
- Casing improved in order to cover the whole interior of the brake - this should keep dirt out;
- Petzl finally addressed a very serious problem with Grigri2: the stupid, sharp, wrongly placed casing's tail;
I need to decide whether or not to sell the device without using it, otherwise the price will fall down - and I'm the first among my friends to have one of these, which means I can't just borrow one and test it. I've read multiple reviews, but everyone's just praising the device and the criticism is mostly expressed as "this brake is made to help beginners, and its functions should make the life of someone who just started to climb much easier". The thing is that an anti-panic handle, lead and top rope modes and stainless steel reinforcements mean pretty much nothing to me. What would really make me choose to keep this device are advantages 3 and 5: if it's really much easier to pay slack with this thing, and if it wears the rope less, then I'll keep it. All disadvantages are really important to me, specially 3 and 4.
Check the picture below. Notice how the back of Grigri2's casing (right) was smartly substituted by a new chamber design on the Grigri+ (left)... But notice also how the area to place your finger has disappeared in the Grigri+ (you can't see it in this picture, but the small orange button to place your finger is flat and not very anatomical).
So: have you used this device? Does it wear the rope less than its predecessor? Is it really easier to pay slack with? Have you had any problems with the belay/top rope button?