App Review: Car Home Ultra – Finally a Real Car Dock App for Android
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a huge fan of having a car dock app. The drawback to this is most of the car dock apps that come stock on the phones are normally lacking at best. A couple of them I’ve run across are decent in terms of functionality, UI, etc.; but for the most part, they simply turn into a half-functional shortcut box. Thankfully, I randomly ran across Car Home Ultra, by TheSpinningHead. I’ve been using it for almost two weeks now into the 30 day trial and love the app.
Immediate kudos go to the UI. It’s got plenty on it, without looking too clustered or poorly managed. As soon as you open the app, you’ve got access to app shortcuts along with all your navigation information. This includes MPH, direction, current street, and city. They even show the current weather conditions, which is a nice little touch. There’s a few default apps already set which are commonly used like navigation, voice search, phone dialer and maps. There’s plenty of empty spots provided to add shortcuts to your own apps as well.
If you have a dock from the manufacturer, it registers the dock as soon as it’s placed. I have the Samsung dock for my Galaxy SII and it works flawlessly. Within seconds of it launching, the GPS locks and pulls up all the info. If you don’t have a manufacturer dock to sit your phone in, the app has to be manually launched, but all the features still work on it.
You get up to 18 app shortcuts with this one, which is a nice change compared to similar apps I’ve used either stock or 3rd party. I doubt anyone will use all of those spots, but it’s nice to have a shortcut to the occasional one-off app you may need without having to back out and dig through the app drawer.
The menu does have options to conserve power where you can refresh your update rates if you don’t need it working too hard for you. If it’s just casual driving this is fine, but if you’re using it for turn by turn, you want to have it set to fastest. The fastest setting has yet to cause any overheating or charging issues with the device, so there’s really no need to adjust it.
Personally, I never use the night mode on the display although the option is there. The night mode does look good and gives a calmer tone for low light, but I always prefer full brightness. Option to set it to automatic or manual are in the settings menu.
Initially when I first started using it, I thought it may be a bit of overload. After going back to the stock apps just to check the difference, having all the functionality and options to play around with really became a nice change over the direction and six apps bland choices I had before. It’s nice to have something I can call a car dock, instead of just an annoying app I immediately close when I dock the phone.
Car Home Ultra is free for 30 days to try it out, and the paid version will run you $1.99. Not a bad price for a well done and useful app.
Download it from Google Play