Tech News on G4

Nonda ZUS Smart USB Charger & Car Finder

August 29, 2016

By Greg Gazin - Apple Gazin’ - G4 Canada

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Nonda ZUS Smart USB Charger & Car Finder

Nonda ZUS Smart USB Charger & Car FinderI've never been a super fan of gadgets that follow the Swiss Army Knife philosophy particularly when vendors add features not because they are useful, but because they can. But sometimes, you might get a pleasant surprise and this is definitely the case with the new Nonda Zus Smart USB Car Charger & Car Finder.

As a car charger, it plugs directly into your 12v cigarette lighter. It has two standard USB ports, which can charge two devices simultaneously. Plus, it has a special chip to allow your devices to charge at their fastest possible speeds. It can charge two iPhone 6s' in less than 2 hours, 2 iPad minis in under 4 hours - almost twice as fast as an average car charger and faster than the one I previously used. It's rated at 4.8v so it can even simultaneously accommodate high-powered devices like a pair of full sized iPads.

I found that charging did work as advertised with a selection of USB devices. Nonda does advise that Fast Charging is not compatible with Qualcomm quick charge devices or some Samsung smartphones that are designed to use a higher voltage for fast charging.

At first glance you'll notice it has a pretty cool and inconspicuous design. It has a refined 12v connector and the USB ports are positioned at an easily accessible angle so. It has fine little touches like soft white LED status indicators and illuminated ports so you can easily see where to plug in and yet not overly distracting particularly when driving at night.

It has a solid construction, made from military grade heatproof materials - so its coolness does have another meaning. This is an added plus, considering excessive heat generated from any electrical device can lower its lifespan and this does not even consider the greenhouse effect, i.e. the additional natural heat you get especially in the sweltering summer.

It also has a titanium coating to help keep it from getting too scuffed and scratched.

Smart Car Finder

Nonda ZUS Smart USB Charger & Car FinderThe huge added value to the Zus Charger is its free connected car app suite. Designed for both iOS and Android, the app allows you to turn your Zus into a car finder and more.

Once installed, the app automatically connects to your ZUS Charger via Bluetooth and while paired, it will constantly save your car's location as long as it's running in the background. Once you park and turn off your car, your ZUS charger will also lose power, thus prompting the app to save or tag your car's last known location. (You can also configure it to ignore certain locations like home or office so you're not constantly bothered)

When you want to find your car, Compass View will tell you, in feet (or metres) how far away your car is and point you in the direction you need to go. You can alternately go to Map View where you'll get both an indication as to where you are and where your car is.

The Car Finder can be really handy especially when parking in a place you may not be familiar with or even when traveling or driving a rental car.

Nonda ZUS Smart USB Charger & Car FinderNow the tracking isn't totally live since your ZUS is likely off when your car is not running. What the app is doing is guiding you to the location your car was last tagged. The nice thing about this is that it's also not constantly polling the device and using up your data.

According to Nonda, to maintain location accuracy, ZUS utilizes your mobile's built-in locating features such as GPS, Wi-Fi signal, cell tower, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope and barometer.

However, the system isn't perfect. If you park underground at a multi-level parkade or a place surrounded by a plethora of tall buildings, the system may not be able to pinpoint your location.

Parking Meter Reminder and Family Share Location

The app also has additional features that can come in handy. For one, it allows you to set a Parking Meter alert to tell you when your paid time will expire. This can certainly save you from some hefty fines. You can also add additional vehicles and track more than one. The app also has a Family Share feature where your family and friends can be alerted to where you parked the car. Of course, they will also need to download the app as well.

Battery Analyzer

Nonda ZUS Smart USB Charger & Car FinderFor iOS users, you get an additional bonus - a car battery analyzer. The app can actively monitor your battery's health in real time. It can also graph the data of its highest and lowest voltages for the past 7, 30 or 90 days. This can be particularly handy for those of us that leave our cars outside in sub-zero weather.

Bottom Line

Nonda ZUS Smart USB Car Charger & Car Finder is a funky little gadget that actually makes sense. It's a little higher priced than an average charger but it does give you a whole lot more. It's well built, charges fast, allows you to find your car, keep tabs on your battery, is inconspicuous for theft, and visually appealing, too.

If you're going to keep a charger plugged into your 12v cigarette lighter socket, it might as well have a useful secondary and even tertiary purpose.

The charger would pair quite nicely with the Zus Kevlar Cable we reviewed here at G4 Canada back in July.

Nonda ZUS Smart USB Car Charger & Car Finder is available directly from Nonda. It retails for U.S $49.99, but is currently listed at US $29.99 and available in multipacks. It's also currently listed for $38.99 CDN at Amazon.ca.

Pros:
Solid heatproof design
Quick high powered charging
Smart Car Finder with Family Share

Cons:
Limited use in multilevel or underground parkade
GPS must stay on
Not compatible with Qualcomm quick charge devices

Rating: 4.5 / 5

(All photos courtesy of their respective companies)

 

Greg Gazin can be reached at  gadgetguy "at" telus "dot" net , GadgetGreg.com , or on Twitter @GadgetGreg

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