Best Car Gadget and Accessories 2013
Best Car Gadgets and Accessories 2013
The average new car already comes equipped with a doorstop manual’s worth of flash gadgets – either as standard or as extra – yet our desire to accessorise our favourite four-wheelers even further seemingly knows no bounds. Our resident car expert, Liam Bird, casts his critical eye over 2013’s best new motoring gizmos and accessories…
Alfa Pocket Squares
Ok so not a gadget as such, but read on; Alfa Romeo have launched a new campaign in aid of Heart Research UK, encouraging the fashion conscious to ‘get smart for hearts’ by wearing one of six specially designed pocket squares to support the fight against heart disease. Design contributions have come from Dragons Den star Peter Jones CBE; Team GB long jumper Chris Tomlinson and actor Tom Ellis, together with fashion label PPQ and 2012 Alfa Romeo Young Designer of the Year Janine Clark. Never before has the opportunity of being so sartorially elegant been such a life-saver.
There’s a video too: youtube.com
Casio Edifice X Red Bull Racing
Formula 1 and precision time pieces have gone hand-in-hand ever since Jo Stiffert signed a deal with TAG-Heuer. Ever since then every watchmaker you can think of has wanted a piece of F1 action. The latest edition to the long line of high speed watches is Casio’s Edifice X. As the official watch partner of Red Bull Racing, the new EDIFICE collaboration watch marks Red Bull’s dominant force in motor racing over the past season. Needless to say it’s worn by both of their drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, and features red and blue highlights on the dial to match the team’s famous colours plus a design inspired by the speed dials on a Formula One car.
At £330 Casio say the Edifice promises F1 technology on your wrist.
“Great for long journeys”
Motor Monkey in-Car Charger
The Motor Monkey is the world’s smallest in-car charger and has been designed so it can be permanently connected in the cigarette lighter without draining your car’s battery. It’s extremely compact and the latest model includes some clever features such as the self-sensing technology which automatically detects the voltage required, meaning it can charge iPads as well as much smaller devices via the USB socket. At £20 it’s pretty good value too.
Available from powertraveler.com
Mobile network Three’s new MiFi is a sleek and savvy little device that creates your own personal WiFi connection. Unlike a dongle, the MiFi is wireless, allowing you to get up to five devices online at one time. Its compact design means it can fit handily into your pocket or sit happily in its dock at home.
So if it’s completing your monthly shop online on your laptop, accessing your work emails, or simply surfing Facebook on your Ipad, the MiFi will be your new best friend. Ideal for those who are travelling and need a WiFi connection, the MiFi has battery power, and is great for long journeys. It’ll be sure to keep the kids happy too.
Three customers can get the HSPA+ MiFi experience on Pay As You Go from £84.99 with an initial 3GB. It is also available on a range of monthly price plans starting from £7.87 a month (with an upfront cost of £49.99).
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“Won’t eat data”
RAC QuickFix GO – Bluetooth Hands free & FM Transmitter Kit
Priced at £39.99 RAC’s QuickFix Go requires no wiring and lets you stream music from your smartphone, iPod, USB stick or SD card to your car stereo using the in-built FM transmitter. You can also make and receive phone calls providing the complete entertainment and communication solution for your car, and you can pop it in your pocket when you’re not using it too. Handy, useful and clever: what more could you ask for?
CoPilot Live sat nav app
Compatible on both iOS and over 250 Google-certified Android smartphones and tablets the CoPilot Live sat nav app uses High quality NAVTEQ street maps and real-time traffic routing. Being an app means it is more available than a dedicated sat nav and it also works offline, so it will work even when your mobile phone loses its signal. Likewise, it won’t eat into your data allowance when travelling abroad, so you won’t get a hefty bill when you return home either.
The CoPilot costs from £19.99 for the UK version and from £34.99 for the European maps.
“Fitted in seconds”
Motorway Walks and Breaks app by Lezli Rees
Sick of motorway service stations? Tired of paying £15 for soup and a sarnie? What you need then is the Motorway and breaks app. Having trekked over 1000 miles Lelzli Rees has compiled a host of walks, country pubs and petrol stations that won’t charge you an arm and a leg, and they’re all within 5 miles of a Motorway junction. All of the UK is covered, from Exeter to Perth and all listings come with map, contact details and opening times. You’ll find everything, from a haunted house just off the M4 to a field full of Henry Moore sculptures at the end of the M1. At just £2.99 it’s brilliant.
It’s all very well everyone harping on about winter tyres and their associated benefits, but where exactly do you store your winter wheels when you don’t need them? Your main dealer will charge you for shelf space and the chances are your own garage just isn’t that big. Fortunately Thule has the answer. They say their award winning Easy-fit snow chains can be fitted in just nine seconds and because the tensioning system is foot-activated no physical strength is needed to fit or to remove the chain from the car. You can’t say that about four wheels and tyres now can you? – even if you’re a Kwik-fit fitter.
RRP Easy-fit set of chains: £260.00 Inc. VAT
iO Play 2
If your car doesn’t already have Bluetooth then this is for you: iO Play2 is a new and innovative in-car music streaming and hands free device with a high contrast removable OLED screen that uses CSR Bluetooth technology to provide high-levels of sound quality and performance. Not only can the iO Play2 can connect and integrate all iPhones, iPods, mobile phones, MP3 players and Sat Nav systems with a vehicle’s existing audio system so drivers and passengers can listen to music stored on any portable device, but it can let them make and receive mobile calls using hands-free as well. In addition, the device offers advanced Text to Speech for every search category including, Songs, Artists, Albums, Podcasts, Audio books, etc.
For more information, check out my-io.com
NEW Thule Excellence XT Roof Box
New from Thule, the world leader in sports and recreation products, comes the Excellence XT, an easily mounted aerodynamic roof box that makes it easier for people to transport their equipment safely, and best of all securely. The high capacity Excellence XT is designed to be aerodynamic, even when driving at motorway speed. The box’s superior aerodynamics, say Thule, are aided by its refined smooth surface, diffuser technology and spoilers. Plus, it incorporates an innovative dual-side opening feature enabling easy mounting, loading and unloading; as well as a central safety locking system and grip friendly key. There’s even a specially designed LED lamp with customized reflector that automatically turns on/off just by opening/closing the box lid ensuring perfect visibility even in the most extreme of locations.
For more information go to thule.com – RRP £1,045