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Best GPS Tracker: Vyncs 3G GPS Tracker at Amazon
"A step above the rest chiefly because it doesn’t charge a base monthly fee."
Best Car Charger: Roav VIVA Alexa-Enabled Car Charger at Amazon
"Brings a whole new level of control to your in-car entertainment and navigation experience."
Best Smartphone Mount: iOttie Easy One Touch 3 at Amazon
"Works with nearly every smartphone (up to 3.5 inches in width)."
Best Dash Cam Mounted Video: AUBBC Full HD Dash Camera at Sears
"Users have praised the product for its affordable price tag and its quality high definition."
Best Key Finder: Beets BLU Bluetooth Wireless Key/Item Finder at Newegg
"The app pulls up a lost location tracking on your smartphone, making it easy to help find lost keys."
Runner-Up, Best Smart Driving Assistant: ScanTool OBDLink at Amazon
"Scan tool, trip computer, logger and real-time performance monitor."
There are many smart GPS car trackers available on the market today, all promising the ability the keep tabs on young drivers, co-workers, people borrowing your car or even potentially cheating spouses. But many of these trackers all want you to buy the device and then pay a monthly fee to use the device, sometimes up to $25 a month. That’s a hard sell to many customers, but the Vyncs 3G GPS Tracker is a step above the rest chiefly because it doesn’t charge a base monthly fee. Instead, you pay for the device once and then you get one year of service. After that, the cost is $69.99 a year, which again, is cheaper than its competitors.
The Vyncs tracker updates its location every three minutes at the base price, but you can pay more if you want it to update every 60 seconds, 30 seconds or 15 seconds. It offers up a stable 3G wireless connection in all 50 U.S. states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada and then delivers information back to the owner via a Web portal or Vyncs iOS or Android apps. The info it collects includes GPS location (duh), vehicle diagnostics such as check engine light, fuel economy, fuel level, driver scoring and more. All in all, this is the most well-rounded GPS tracker we’ve seen and a relatively good deal, to boot.
Far more than just a charger, the Roav VIVA is a smart accessory that brings a whole new level of control to your in-car entertainment and navigation experience. This Alexa-enabled device plugs into your console outlet, connects with your phone via Bluetooth and instantly lets you get directions, make phone calls, stream music and more, all just using your voice. Simply ask it to navigate to your destination or play a song, and Alexa will respond without you ever having to take your eyes off the road. If your car lets in a lot of road noise, don’t worry – the Viva’s built-in Acoustic Echo Cancellation technology is able to isolate your voice from the background and accurately pick up on what you say. And for those times when you don’t want Alexa listening, just press the single mute button on top of the charger to shut off the mics.
The Alexa skills and voice control alone makes the Viva a worthwhile buy. But it’s a charger, too — and a good one. The USB ports are created with Anker’s patented PowerIQ technology, charging your devices with lightning speed. And the dual-port design means both you and your passenger can plug in simultaneously. For such a small device, the Roav Viva keeps finding ways to pack in more power.
Smartphone mounts have been around for years and come in a surprising amount of styles. But with phones getting larger over the past few years, not all mounts are suited to help you regardless of phone size. The iOttie Easy One Touch 3, however, works with nearly every smartphone (up to 3.5 inches in width), including newer models like such iPhone X, 8 and 8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.
The iOttie Easy One Touch 3 attaches to your dashboard or windshield via a sticky gel pad that works on most surfaces, and it holds your smartphone tightly in place no matter where you stick it. The mount has a telescopic arm that brings your phone one inch closer to you and it can pivot 180 degrees, so you can use your phone in portrait or landscape mode.
While this is our overall pick for best smartphone mount, we’d caution that this is not well suited for hot temperatures and may come loose under excessive heat.
One way of assuring safety in a “who hit whom” car accident is by having it recorded on camera. The best and most convenient way of filming your driving incidents is with a dash cam.
The AUBBC dash cam is equipped with a 2.7-inch high definition LCD screen display with a 3M pixel CMOS image sensor. The lens provides a full wide angle view at 170 degrees. It can record 1920 by 1080 pixels at 30 FPS or 1280 by 720 pixels at 60 FPS so you can capture crisp images of other drivers’ license plates in case of a crash – and night-vision ensures the same quality even in low light. It comes with a 32GB TF Memory card and is powered by a USB power adapter and built-in battery. A mounting kit is also included so you can place it on your dashboard.
Multiple Amazon.com users have praised the product for its affordable price tag and its quality high definition recording for up to three hours.
Diagnostic scanning tools have become a big hit recently, as more and more people are wanting to keep track of their car's performance. And one of the best tracking tools out now is the ScanTool 427201 OBDLink LX Bluetooth for Android & Windows (unfortunately, you'll miss out if you own an Apple product).
The OBDLink LX is a Bluetooth-connected diagnostics scan tool, trip computer, logger and real-time performance monitor. It works with all from 1996 and after, as well as light trucks that are sold in the United States (except hybrid or electric vehicles). It's also pocket-sized, so it won’t get in the way of you legroom.
The device allows you to “Clear Engine Light," read all diagnostic trouble codes and research them online, check emission test readiness and calculate instantaneous MPG with the free OBDLink App. This extends over to your Windows PCs and laptops for a more thorough view as well. OBDLink LX includes a secure 128-bit data encryption, which keeps hackers from accessing your car’s network. It’s smart enough to go to sleep as soon as you turn your car off, thus saving your car’s battery life.
Some Amazon.com users recommend the product for car tech enthusiasts that want to perform thorough diagnostic checks on their vehicle. Other Amazon.com reviewers found some unstable connections pairing it with their smartphones and using Bluetooth. On the plus side, it includes free lifetime and firmware updates and a three-year manufacturer warranty.
Compatibility - Before purchasing any product for your car, make sure that the device is fully compatible with your vehicle’s specific make and model. Some smart car accessories make use of a car’s OBD port or could require particular inputs such as an auxiliary jack. Check a device’s compatibility before purchasing to reduce any possible future headaches.
Power needs - Does your new gadget remain plugged in all the time or does it need to be recharged on occasion? Make sure that your vehicle has the proper power delivery to keep your accessory running. If your device is battery charged, you may need to keep a micro USB or another cable on hand.
Subscription - Some smart car products require a subscription to keep them up and running. Just because an accessory appears affordable at first glance doesn’t mean it is in the long run. Check for any possible subscription costs and be sure to factor them into your decision making.