GWA show you some of the best car gadgets available on the market. Everything from phone chargers to 4G hotspots helping you update your car and make your journey that little bit better.
- Draper Tools 12V DC Vehicle to Vehicle Booster
OK, hands up, if your car ran out of battery and you had to give it a boost, would you know which jump leads go where? If not, this gadget could be your saving grace. The vehicle-to-vehicle booster works in a similar way to common jump leads – in that it transfers battery power from one car to another. However, instead of lifting up the bonnet, you can just connect this device to both cars’ 12V cigarette lighter socket and a few minutes later your car will be raring to go. The lead itself is six meters – easily long enough to stretch between two cars.
- Olixar Triple USB Super Fast Car Charger
When you’re going on a long journey and your passengers are using their phones/tablets, it can be helpful to be able to charge them on the go. However, if you have more than one passenger it can lead to arguments over whose gadget is more in need of a boost. The Olixar Triple USB Super Fast Car Charger can eliminate those car journey squabbles. It comes with three USB ports including two that are powerful enough to charge tablets (2.1amps each). The other is a 1 amp port for Smartphones.
- Nextbase InCarCam DUO
Popular dash cam company Nextbase have just launched the DUO, said to be the UK’s first dash-cam which comes with both a camera for the front and rear of your car. While the front records in 720P HD, the rear camera lens comes with a 50m zoom. The screen even playbacks the synchronised footage at the same time. If you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to supply footage to an insurance company, you can rest assured the camera will have recorded the whole incident – it comes with g-sensor technology that will recognise an accident and store footage safely for insurance purposes. While you’ll need to invest in a Micro SD card for it, everything else comes with the camera including the window mount and power cable. It gives a good, clear view and is worth the money.
- Garmin nuviCam LMT-D
There are plenty of satnavs out there and one of the market leaders, Garmin, has a great one. If you wanted Nav and a camera the nuviCam is the one for you. In addition to the usual easy to read maps and clear directions that you’d expect, it also comes with a built in dash cam that automatically records if your car is involved in an incident. The device also comes with two great safety features, a lane departure warning so if you’re driving and drift out of your lane you’ll quickly be alerted, and forward collision warning notifications so if you get too close to a car in front you’ll know about it too. You can even use the Bluetooth enabled device to connect to your Smartphone so you can talk safely. One worth investing in.
- Buzzard 2 from EE
One to use on home soil rather than abroad (where you’d be at the mercy of roaming charges), this will keep the whole family entertained on long car journeys without using up your internet data. EE’s Buzzard 2 provides in-car 4G wi-fi which up to 10 devices can connect to. The Buzzard 2 comes with either 6GB or 24GB of data. Before you set off on your journey, you’ll need to register the sim, but then you’re good to go. Useful if you want to keep the kids busy watching an online film or use your smartphone as a satnav.
- Alcosense Digital Breathalyser Lite
Although we don’t condone getting behind the wheel after a drink the Alcosense is a very clever gadget.
The Alcosense Lite has two features that make it an attractive proposition (three if you include the low price), namely re usability and accuracy. This is maintained by the fact that it uses disposable blow tubes which provide a controlled way of getting your breath samples to the sensor and it has a self-clean function.
The makers claim that readings are accurate to within +/- 0.02 per cent of your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content).
This may also be of use when driving abroad, don’t forget that some European countries, like the Czech Republic, won’t tolerate any alcohol in your system, let alone the UK’s generous 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
- iODB2 Engine Data Reader
For those of you that want to know what your engine is up to, the iODB has the answer. Plug the 16 pin diagnostic connector into your engine’s data port, download the free app (available for Android and iOS), connect via Bluetooth and you can access a wealth of data about your engine’s performance. If you are keen on checking your engines health and performance this is the gadget for you.
The device allows you to diagnose and view fault codes and currently, the standard module supports models from 38 car makers. However, there are unique versions for BMW and Volkswagen-Audi group motors, sporting slightly different levels of access.
The device allows the user to customise and change the live data feed to their preferred readings at any given time to show values like vehicle speed, fuel consumption, engine RPM, air intake temperature, acceleration etc. For those of you who have ‘private land’ there’s an acceleration and deceleration function that gives a simple quarter-mile performance figure.
- Parrot Asteroid Tablet
If you want the latest tech in your car then Parrot’s Asteroid tablet is the thing for you. You can find the system for around £270 but you will need to budget about £80 for installation unless you are very adept at such things. Once it’s up and running you will have a connected media system equal to the best factory fitted systems.
The Asteroid system has a 5 inch tablet that runs a modified version of Android 2.3 and the eBox which is where the brains and power of the system are stored including the CPU together with the 4x40W amplifier, digital sound processing, noise cancellation and lots of other clever tech.
The tablet can either be mounted in your dash if space allows or alternatively stuck to the windscreen using a conventional screen mount. The system lets you access a range of free and premium Apps including iGo, TomTom Navigation, Waze, Glympse, TuneIn, VLC, Spotify and suchlike. But you don’t get access to the Google Play Store.
The system can connect to the internet at either a 4G or 3G speeds via your smartphone or a USB dongle and once connected, the Asteroid can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Parrot Asteroid comes complete with steering wheel controls also. So the ultimate cat tech for a very reasonable price.
- Parrot Minikit Neo
If you don’t quite have the budget for the Asteroid tablet but still need Bluetooth, Parott’s Minikit Neo is one of the best you can get. The compact, sleek shape not only looks good but makes the Neo very easy to slide onto your sun visor single-handedly. If your phone supports NFC then it can be used to enable straightforward pairing.
The large answer/hang up buttons and the rotary volume control between them make the Neo easy to operate. The 3-watt NXT vibrating panel works great for voice calls and is helped by excellent active noise suppression and aggressive echo cancellation.
The voice command system is well thought out and a handy vibration sensor automatically brings the device to life when you start to drive. There’s also a useful companion app for iOS and Android that can reply to texts automatically when you are on the move and tells your phone to make a note of the GPS location when the Bluetooth connection ends so you can find your car afterwards. Battery life is more than adequate, expect around 10 hours from a full charge.
For any car enquiries contact the GWA team.