Car Gear

Using a Tablet as In-Car Entertainment? Make Sure It Is Crash Tested with ProClip USA

I made a strategic error a few months ago. My iPad-loving father-in-law was looking for a new stand for his iPad, and I let him try the ProClip MultiStand I reviewed here. I never got it back. ProClip [affiliate link] makes some of the most impressive stands and mounts for a host of devices. Among the tablets they design for: the Apple iPad 1 & 2, the Motorola Xoom, the BlackBerry PlayBook, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and more. Now they just got better. If you are thinking about using an iPad for in-car ProClip USA has a new product for you,…


Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM GPS Review

Smartphones and tablets are “category killers” that have decimated numerous standalone products. As I have written previously, from one perspective the iPhone and the iPad are like “Rorschach devices”. They are “blank slates” (pun totally intentional) that can take the form and function of a wide range of devices depending on whatever software they are currently running. That means that, with the right apps, they can double as a camera and do photo and video editing on the fly. The result has been the demise of the Flip camera and some serious “hurt” on the point-and-shoot camera market. (Once the…


Satellite Navigation GPS Review: Navigon 40 Plus

The increasing reach of smartphones has called into question the usefulness of many dedicated devices, from music and video players, to compact cameras, and of course the ever-useful GPS. With GPS and turn-by-turn navigation almost standard equipment on Android devices, and the prevalence of iPhones, one could be forgiven for retiring their trusty nav and leaving their destination in the care of their phone. Realising this, several of the top navigation device companies have put their eggs in several baskets, with versions of their software and maps available for smartphones across the globe. A personal favourite of mine is Navigon’s…


Saved by ‘Old’ Technology!

I have said it before and I’ll say it again – the iPod Touch is the worst iPod I have ever owned. Why do I say that? Because one of my main listening modes is in the car to and from work and between different offices, and changing anything requires you to look at the iPod Touch – and therefore away from whatever else you are doing! And as Carly mentioned here, that can be a very dangerous prospect. For a long time I used a second generation 4GB iPod Nano, but the screen slowly stopped functioning and then the…


Review: Bluetrek SPEAKY Bluetooth Speakerphone: “The most friendly car kit”

I thought I had seen it all until the SPEAKY showed up at my door. SPEAKY looks like a little Kewpie Doll, albeit without hair and not quite as cute but has some interesting hidden features. Yes, SPEAKY is a full-service Bluetooth speakerphone. I took a look at one and we’re giving it away so… read on. From BLUETREK: A cute, interesting speakerphone developed for those who need a good audio quality as well as ease of control. Speaky is the first Bluetooth carkit in market which enable automatic switch on/off functions. Speaky is equipped with the best in class…


OnStar Testing New Family Link Vehicle Location Alert Program

It’s 10 P.M. Do you know where your children are? Soon parents may be able to answer a resounding “Yes” to this question thanks to a new program being tested by OnStar. OnStar has launched a pilot program called Family Link to explore ways subscribers can stay connected to their loved ones when driving OnStar-equipped vehicles and one highlight of that new service is Vehicle Locate where the subscriber can log on to the Family Link Web site to view a map with the vehicle’s exact location at any time. “Our subscribers have asked us for a solution to help…


The Maxxeon WorkStar 220 LED Pocket Floodlight Inspection Light Review

photos by Kevin There is not much worse than being in an unfamiliar dark area with no idea where to find a light, or that feeling you get when you have dropped something vital into a dark crevice, but you aren’t sure if there is a “critter” down there that might bite or sting. Carrying a pocket flashlight (or penlight, as we’ve always called them) is an easy solution, and I’ve found one that you might like to consider. The Maxxeon WorkStar 220 LED Pocket Floodlight is a slim penlight that uses three AAAA batteries, the first set of which…


Intel’s “Upgrade Your Life” Event

Along with 12 other site owners, I was invited to attend the Intel “Upgrade Your Life” experience in Santa Clara, California on July 13th. I went into this event with no itinerary and no idea of what we were going to see, but I figured it had to be more than “just” processor chips. Sure enough, I was in for an eye-opening day … After a greeting by Intel’s Social Media guru Alison Wesley and an ice-breaking game of ‘guess the tweet’ game, we were on to the first speaker … Suzanne Fallender – Director, Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy and…


Enjoy Being ‘King of the Road’ with the Magellan RoadMate Pro 9165T

What good is spending $200K on a land yacht if you end up RVing down a scary rut road that winds through the middle of Deliverance country? Sure, you could buy one of those huge atlases that they sell at every truck stop on the interstate, but this is the middle of 2011! Any self-respecting captain should have the finest navigation tools at his fingertips! And as much as we all love convergence, that doesn’t mean placing your smartphone on a mount in the middle of your 7′ wide x 5′ tall windshield — squinting at its 4″ screen —…


iPad Accessory Review: The Joy Factory’s PowerBullet-X

My brother-in-law Robert recently ordered an iPad. I never thought I would see the day when that would happen but order he did. The same goes for my friend Michael. He too finally hit the “Order” button and came into the new post-pc era. I predict that Robert and Michael will find themselves using their iPads even more than they expect. That means they’ll need some key accessories. Chief among them, a way to charge the iPad in the car. As you are likely aware, the iPad requires a 10W power source. That means you cannot use many, or all…


Bluetooth Car Accessory Review: SuperTooth Buddy

I recently spent a week driving my father-in-law’s late-model Acura TL. I loved the power but the thing that really impressed me was the integrated Bluetooth. No, it wasn’t anything that you cannot find in most cars today but the combination of a super quiet ride and state-of-the-art Bluetooth was impressive for me as the not-so-proud driver of a 2003 Subaru Outback. The ability to get into the car and immediately have my phone re-pair with it was awesome. Even better was being able to seamlessly stream audio form the iPhone through the car’s audio system. I went back to…


Your Car Is Naked without a Carstache

Sure, your car visits the car wash often, and you’ve carefully kept the paint looking fresh, maybe spruced it up with wax or an air freshener. But your car is not truly complete without a key accessory: the CARSTACHE! Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is. From the company: QUESTION: Will having a Carstache® change your life? ANSWER: YES, it will make it better. We made the Carstache® purely because we think it’s funny and it makes people smile. No other reason. When people see a Carstache® on the streets they laugh, wave, thumbs-up, fist pump, gun flex, wink…


Car Audio Accessory Review: XtremeMac InCharge Auto iPhone and iPad Chargers

If you spend a fair bit of time in the car, it makes sense to have a car charger for your electronic devices. I know I have always kept one handy for my iPhone, since topping off my iPhone when I drive from place to place is always useful — especially on long days when my iPhone would otherwise NEVER make it through the day. Things became a bit more complicated when the iPad was released, since it requires a 10w charger, and most of the previous adapters aren’t up to the task. XtremeMac has rolled out a few car…


Review: BlueAnt S3 Compact BlueTooth Speakerphone

One of the more interesting Bluetooth accessory manufacturers that I’ve encountered over the last year is BlueAnt. I wasn’t all that familiar with the company until the fall, but they have been making some impressive moves with regard to product design and innovation, and I’ve been quite impressed with their offerings. Currently their portfolio includes car speakerphones, the S3 and S4, with the S3 being the lower end of the two. Lower end does not, however, mean “not awesome”, since both speakerphones have impressed me quite a bit. Today we are going to look at the S3 and then follow-up…


Review: Magellan Premium Car Kit and iOS App for iPhone and iPod touch

My iPhone makes a great portable GPS system. This is particularly important because my car does not have a built-in GPS system, and my daily work has me going to a variety of locations with which I am not always familiar. Using the iPhone as a GPS works rather well for the most part. It starts up in GPS mode rather quickly, locks in on satellites fairly efficiently and does quite a good job of holding the signal once it does. There are a few significant shortcomings however. Chief among them is the impact using the GPS on the iPhone…


Bulldog Security’s Automotive Remote Starts and Secures Your Car

I live in the northeast. That means is has been a brutally cold winter and, as a quick look outside would suggest, it isn’t completely and totally over. You know what would have been great to have over the past few months? A remote starter! Yes, just imagine if I had been able to push a button a few minutes before I needed to leave for the day. Then I would have been able to sprint from my warm house and, seconds later, jump into an equally warm car. There’s only one problem with this idea, my Subaru Outback is…


Long Playing Long Gone an In-Vehicle USB-powered Turntable

I read a story the other day about how automakers have finally axed putting cassette players in new vehicles. Lexus was the final brand to do so and that went away with the announcement of the SC430 being discontinued. As I look around my office area here at home I am reminded of other technology gone the way of the Dodo bird. Nearby sits an old 8-track tape and in the other room is a “stack of wax” as DJs of days gone by described them. LPs. Long-Playing Records. This past Christmas I bought a USB-powered turntable to turn some…


The Consequences of Distracted Driving

I got into a fender bender last night. Luckily no one was hurt, and as for the damage to my car (see above), well, that’s what insurance is for. In the aftermath, though, I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking on how easily I let myself get distracted while driving, not just yesterday but in general…and fortuitously, this afternoon I came across my old iPod shuffle. If you’re wondering how I went from distracted driving to iPod shuffle, it’s not that crazy a leap. I usually use my Droid for music in my car, either using the built-in music…


Mark Levinson Helps Lexus Celebrate Launch of CT200h

The automotive audio industry has been a busy and competitive business segment for several decades. What began on the west coast in the 1970s spread to the rest of North America in the ‘80s and from there to the OEM side for automakers around the turn of the millennium. Entering its 10th year with luxury brand Lexus, Harman and Mark Levinson recently celebrated their latest partnership for high-end mobile audio with the release of the new Lexus CT200h hybrid sport wagon.


Automotive Technology Déjà Vu

I love new technology when it hits the automotive market, but sometimes I just cannot help wonder if someone else did not think of this first. Two releases I spotted this morning jumped out at me, and I was overcome by a strong sense of déjà vu. First, Ford Motor Company: Ford is aggressively accelerating its commitment to wirelessly connected intelligent vehicles – known as vehicle-to-vehicle communications – becoming the first automaker to build prototype vehicles for demonstrations across the U.S., doubling its intelligent vehicle investment in 2011 and dedicating even more scientists to developing this technology. “Ford believes intelligent…


iCarBlackBox: Like Having a Lawyer Riding Shotgun?

A new little app called iCarBlackBox caught my eye this week. It was introduced by a company of the same name and the press release from its spokesperson even included a YouTube video link. Now, besides the fact that the movie clip includes what appears to be bootlegged copyrighted crash scenes, the information provided delivers some of the bad news about this product. First, one must activate the app on the smartphone each time you prepare to hit the road. And the only thing that will be recorded on video is what is in view of the lens. If you…