Here is the best tech gear to outfit your car

in General Discussion edited March 2020
Getting a new car is an exciting time, whether you're buying a brand new model just off the line or a gently used new-to-you vehicle. Here is all the gear that we recommend for your car -- new or old.

2019 Jeep Cherokee
2019 Jeep Cherokee

A great dash cam

Something we easily recommend that is gaining in popularity is a dash cam. These are not just fun or useful to share the reckless drivers on the road with friends but can really save you in the case of an accident when the other driver is at fault. They can also monitor your vehicle when you aren't in it in case someone backs up into you.

We've seen more and more people picking up dash cams for the security and peace of mind while parked and on the road -- and for good reason. The one we've been using at the moment is the Owl dash cam. This camera has dual microphones, dual cameras, and wide LED touch screen, not to mention a host of other great features.

Owl dash camera from the exterior
Owl dash camera from the exterior

There is constant connection with 4G LTE over the AT&T network with one year included, 1440p outward video recording and 720p interior filming, night view, real-time video from anywhere, crash detection with e911 assistance, easy, unobtrusive installation, and more.

We've tried others like this one from Garmin and the Goluk T3 -- both of which are great, cheaper alternatives to the excellent Owl.

The Owl dash cam is available to pick up on Amazon for $349.

Phone mount

If you're reading this, you probably have an iPhone. A mount is vital, and if you pick the right one you can charge a phone while on the go.

Kenu Airbase Wireless smartphone mount
Kenu Airbase Wireless smartphone mount

What kind of mount will depend on two things -- do you want it on the dash, vent, or windshield and do you want/need a charging mount or a non-charging mount.

For those with wireless CarPlay, we highly recommend a Qi wireless charging car mount. Something like the Kenu Airbase Wireless which comes in both suction and vent-clip models. It easily holds your device and charges it at the same time so you just get in your car, set your phone down, and it powers up while CarPlay automatically connects and starts playing your music, radio, or book.

Those without wireless CarPlay can still benefit from a Qi charger for the times when they don't use CarPlay or for a passenger in the car. They also are great if there is a battery case on your phone. Your phone can charge while using CarPlay over Lightning and the battery case can charge concurrently wirelessly.

For those who don't want a wireless charger, we dig the iOttie Easy One Touch and the Kenu AirFrame+.

A Lightning cable

Sans wireless charger, powering up your phone is going to need to be tethered. For this, you need a solid Lightning cable. Really, any Lightning cable will do but we have one specific recommendation in mind.

Nomad battery cable
Nomad battery cable

We dig the Nomad Battery Cable. This cable is a normal Lightning cable, but it has a battery integrated right into the cord. By being integrated into the cable itself, this means the battery is always charged and ready to go.

This is perfect for the car because you have your cord with you, but if you get out and need some extra juice, just take the cable with you. We've countless times headed out to for an evening or to a hike and extra juice can come in handy. This requires no forethought to always be prepared.

If can be picked up for $49.95 from Nomad.

Garage door opener

Next on our list is a connected garage door opener. Surprisingly, fewer cars are integrating garage door openers into the vehicle, leaving you to clip a controller onto the visor. This is fine, but we like the convenience of a connected garage door opener.

Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage door opener
Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage door opener

Particularly, the Chamberlain MyQ smart garage door opener with the add-on MyQ Home Bridge which adds HomeKit support.

This makes it easy to just ask Siri to open the garage or to have it open automatically when you approach your home. With the new update to CarPlay in iOS 13, your garage door opener can also appear right on your car's CarPlay dashboard.

Driving monitoring

Another useful device we like to have in our car is the Automatic connected car adapter. It plugs into the ODB II port and adds safety and information monitoring to your car. There is 24/7 monitoring for crash alerts that sends emergency services when an accident is detected along with your location.

Automatic smart driving assistant

Your car can be tracked in real time which is great if your children use your vehicle or it is stolen. Even useful for remembering where you parked.

Finally, it translates all your cars diagnostic codes for you and lets you know what your car has wrong without having to visit a mechanic. Answers the question of "is it safe to drive?" when the check engine light comes on.

It is available on Amazon for $99.

Hit the road

There is so much connected technology out there to outfit your car that this list is only a start. These are our pieces of gear that we currently use and love but it is ever changing with new accessories launching constantly.

These are also all easy go-to device and doesn't scratch the surface about more in-depth features such as an app-enabled remote start or an aftermarket wireless CarPlay unit.


  • Reply 1 of 4
    Flux capacitor?
    [Deleted User]
  • Reply 2 of 4
    mobirdmobird Posts: 746member
    I use the Harman Spark that plugs into the ODB II port. Connects to the AT&T cellular network and does diagnostics, Wi-Fi, geo-fencing (if you have kids), monitors driving behavior, vehicle disturbances, and a few other things. From AT&T for $79.00 and added to my data plan.
  • Reply 3 of 4
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,978member
    A dash cam can also be used as evidence of your fault too. And yes, "i'll just delete it" is a crime. 
  • Reply 4 of 4
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,500member
    Some new cars already have the ability to send OBD II signals to your local phone. Most people won't know that, including AppleInsider, since they are calling it an ODB II port instead of the correct acronym.
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