It's unlikely that most people have enough budget to give a brand-new car to their car-crazy loved ones, so we've rounded up a selection of car-tech gadgets that can be used with the car that's already in the garage.
Griffin SmartTalk Solar
It's unlikely that most people have enough budget to give a brand-new car to their car-crazy loved ones, so we've rounded up a selection of car tech gadgets that can be used with the car that's already in the garage.
The best kind of hands-free speakerphone is the one that you never have to think about. Griffin's SmartTalk Solar fits that bill perfectly with a built-in solar cell, so you'll almost never have to recharge it, and automatic Bluetooth pairing, so you won't have to fumble with your phone when entering the vehicle. Simply set it up and forget about it.
For families split along the Android-iOS divide or multivehicle households, the Cobra iRadar is the high-tech radar detection unit of choice. Its simple, portable design allows it to be easily transported from vehicle to vehicle; smartphone app integration gives drivers a heads-up on speed traps and road hazards before reaching them; and dual-mode operation lets users switch from compatibility with Apple or Google devices with the flip of a switch.
A dashboard camera is useful for a number of reasons, such as proving your innocence after a fender bender, protecting you from insurance scammers, and just automatically capturing video of the many crazy things you pass while driving. Cowon's Auto Capsule isn't the cheapest unit on the market, but it is one of the best-looking ones and a solid performer.
There is a ton of data that passes through your car's central computer that you're just not made privy to. An OBD-II scanner like the PLX Kiwi Bluetooth for Android phones (or the nearly identical Wi-Fi model that works with iOS devices) puts that information at the fingertips of the DIY mechanic, the informed car owner, or simply the curious driver via the vehicle monitoring app of your choice.
Pioneer's AppRadio 2 allows users to bring a wide range of car-specific smartphone apps for navigation, audio streaming, etc. to a car's dashboard, where they can be safely and legally interacted with. The unit is compatible with both Android devices and Apple's iPhone.
The Contour+2 combines all of the best bits of Contour's entire line of sports cameras into one fantastic product that is both less expensive and more robust than the previous generation. With the aid of the Moto Mounts kit, the Contour+2 can affix to your vehicle in a variety of ways, including a powerful suction-cup mount, to allow you to document your automotive exploits at the track or on your favorite back road.