Trying Out Some Gadgets - Nonda ZUS Product Review

While I was away in Saudi, we received an e-mail from the guys at Axtro. They were happy to introduce a few products that they were bringing in to Malaysia from the US – The Nonda ZUS gadgets. Gadgets that connect to your car and to your phone so you can see some information about your car. Now, I’m no big fan of tech-stuff like this, but perhaps some of you might be interested. So, I’ll give this a go.

I got the email. I got curious. So, I asked if I could borrow these things for a while to see what’s up.

What are these things?

They are:

1. A Smart Car Charger

2. A Smart Vehicle Health Monitor

 

And

 

3. A Smart Tire Safety Monitor

 


 

First Impression

I was intrigued by the Smart Vehicle Health Monitor since it connects to the OBD2 port. Perhaps we could see some interesting information with it. The Smart Car Charger seemed pretty dull, but some features turned out to be helpful. I was very doubtful about the security of the Smart Tire Safety Monitor since it looks like something a delinquent child would steal just for the giggles.

It comes with an App

Obviously, since it connects to your phone. To get the app running, you will need to turn on your Bluetooth and Location services.

What does the app look like?

It looks like this:

 

Information from all the devices deployed will be displayed real-time on the main user interface. I appreciate the digital tachometer since my car doesn’t actually have one. The layout looks pretty neat and readable.

Let’s go through the devices one by one



1. The Smart Car Charger

 

The Smart Car Charger does a few other things besides charging your phone, like:

  1. Showing the status of the car battery
  2. Showing your mileage and journey costs
  3. Helping you locate your car


The charging time is faster than a standard charger which makes it very convenient. It looks good too.

How do you connect it?

Plug it into the 12V socket and connect to your phone via Bluetooth.

 

 

Pros and Cons

The phone charger works well and fast.

 

I found the car battery health monitor to be very helpful since sometimes you never know when the battery is running low on juice. You might have a failing alternator or you might have a weak battery. Sometimes when you get a battery replacement, there is a tendency that the shop might accidentally give you a faulty one (old stocks).

 

If you’re the kind of person who logs every single bit of his expenditure, the mileage feature can be useful. The only downside is that your location is being shared with the app. This might be a matter of concern for personal trips, but hey, Waze, Google, and Facebook know your location too. For business purposes the mileage feature is a good thing.

What about the car finding app? If you need an app to help you find your own car, you might need to learn becoming less dependent on apps and technology.


 

2. The Smart Vehicle Health Monitor

 

The Smart Vehicle Health Monitor is an OBD2 Scanner that connects to your phone. What does it scan? Well, almost anything that can be read via the OBD2 Port. The device provides information in the 6 following categories:

  1. Fuel, air or emission control
  2. Ignition System
  3. Speed and Idling Control
  4. Computer or Auxiliary Output Circuit
  5. Gearbox
  6. Car Battery

So, you can scan your car whenever you want and you can even get a real time display of your tachometer, speedometer, battery health, coolant temperature, and engine load. The health scans are not entirely detailed but they are good enough to get a simple diagnosis of a problem with your car.

How do you connect it?

Plug it into the OBD2 port. Connect to your phone via Bluetooth.

 


 

What does it show you?

 

Pros and Cons

The real time display does give you a more accurate value than an analogue tachometer and speedometer. The units are imperial by default and you can adjust them in the settings. The Health Monitor can be a little bit misleading. A Glow Plug/Heater Circuit is not present in a petrol car, but the app didn’t identify that as being absent after the scan.

 

Overall the device is still helpful for rough diagnosis. There are more advanced OBD2 scanners out there and they cost more. It depends on what you need. If you’re a mechanic, you’re better off with a proper standalone OBD2 scanner. If you’re a serious DIY guy, a BlueDriver is a good option (also costs around RM700). The Nonda ZUS scanner is good enough for a rough diagnosis and to alert you on anything that has failed in the system.



3. The Smart Tire Safety Monitor

 

Most full spec modern cars would have the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) feature built in already. The sensor is inside the tyre. Mercedes cars would normally have this. The Haval H2 and the new Proton X70 also come with TPMS from the factory. Perodua sold some as an accessory at one point and they functioned similarly to these ones from Nonda. The added feature of the Nonda ZUS TPMS? It notifies you on slow leakage.

What does it do?

  1. Monitors tyre pressure and temperature in real time
  2. Notifies you on punctures and slow punctures

It is a good idea and it provides useful information for the driver. Under inflated tires reduce fuel efficiency whereas over inflated tyres might put you at the risk of a blowout. The app also monitors the temperature of the tyres. The only problem it has is the hardware. I shall elaborate on that.

How do you connect it?

To the USB charger. Or to the Smart Car Charger

 


 

What does it show you?

 

 

Pros and Cons

Good information. Good idea. Helpful. The hardware is not its strong point. Dust caps go missing very easily but they are also cheap to replace. It’s not the same case with this type of sensor since they are not cheap to replace. Nonda has labelled them with ‘Rear Right’ or ‘Front Left’ to help you install them. They’ve also provided lock nuts to help you secure the sensors in place. What’s the problem with that? Inflating the tyres becomes tedious. You need a small spanner to get these lock nuts tightened right. However, it is not compulsory to use the lock nuts. The TPMS will still function normally.

 


Another problem is that the sensor is constantly pushing on the Schrader valve pin. Which means we are now relying on the sensor cap to keep the air inside the tyre. You have to tighten it right too so that air doesn’t come out. The app warns you about this, acknowledging the possibility of it happening. Nonda claims the sensor caps will not cause any slow leakage after an extended 3-month testing period. We would still suggest you double check just in case.



Diagram of a Schrader valve

 

Verdict

Were the gadgets helpful? Yes, they were. The charger is good and gives additional information and the OBD2 scanner is good enough to warn you on possible system failures. The location service is great for tracking your expenditure (especially for small businesses). The TPMS hardware could use some improvement. Although they might not be necessary soon with cars having them factory fit these days.

To get it all working you need to turn on the Bluetooth and the GPS on your phone. It can be taxing on your phone battery. But then again, you can always charge your phone on the go.


Get 10% off on either of these products with the Promo code "COM10" here

 

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