• 2.0 out of 5 stars

    Unreliable! A huge disappointment. But I gave it a try.

    • Written by from Norwood

    The tech is cool... when it works. The device seems temperamental at best and it's hard to determine whether this is a hardware or software issue. A few observations:

    - This device has a long "break in period" where it downloads updates and/or gathers initial data to work with your vehicle. It may not actually give you useful information for a week or so. Apparently this is stated deep within the website and user manual, but i didn't notice it before i purchased.

    - Approximately 40% of my trips never ended up being recorded. I don't know if this was a bluetooth issue or what. It may have been that I was using the GPS to run Google Maps while the Automatic App was running. I was unable to get this resolved by tech support.

    - The interface cute and creative... but is less than intuitive and doesn't give you the deep diagnostic insight that other devices & apps offer. It's not a dashboard enhancement device.

    - It theoretically calculates gas price for any given trip, but does not allow you to input the price that you pay. It gathers this info online from nearby gas stations.... so i don't trust the data.

    - The audio alerts come from the device, not your phone. because it's tucked underneath by my legs, i never heard it. Defeats the purpose. Also, alerts are not customizable.

    - You cannot use for multiple vehicles without losing all the data. I understand they want to sell one device for each car you drive, but this seems unreasonable.

    - Just plain disappointing. I returned it.

  • 2.0 out of 5 stars

    Interesting idea, not quite there

    • Written by from Cupertino

    What it does well:
    The app is easy to set up and link to the device. Once in, you have a basic dashboard view of your trips and your score. It gives you a guestimate of the price of the gas you've used based on average price to purchase at the pump determined from a proprietary source they don't disclose.

    Room for improvement:

    There is zero transparency on what the device does. Once you start driving for the first time, you lose the instructions for how to use the app. There is no link in the app for the privacy policy on how your data is used. The app will update the firmware in the device, but it will stop working and recording data while this is happening. There's no notification that the device will stop recording nor any way to force an update.

    Once the information is in the app, there's nothing you can do with it. You can't adjust the price of the gas based on what you actually paid, especially useful if you use a card like Texaco/Chevron which adjusts the price of the gas if you pay cash or credit. You can't dump the data out, and you can't access it from a website. You can add names to destinations (work, home, etc), but you can't do anything beyond that.

    The audio notifications are... interesting. The device beeps when it detects behavior that should be corrected like speeding, jackrabbit starts, and hard braking. However, every instance of hard braking I had was an emergency situation with cars jumping out in front of me. Nothing's better than an emergency with a klaxon going off at you.

    Finally, because the app is constantly using location services, I found you better have your phone plugged in to the 12v port in your car, or you'll have a dead battery on arrival.

    Summary:
    Mildly useful way to teach you how to drive better, not very useful for data junkies.

    3 of 7 people found this useful

  • 2.0 out of 5 stars

    Not that impressive

    • Written by from Exeter

    Lots of potential but this app really doesn't do too much for you. Most cars already supply info as to milage etc and the older cars that do not have this info won't typically work with this app. Would be nice if this app would store all trips for the year of which could be used to track mileage for tax purposes.

    0 of 3 people found this useful

  • 2.0 out of 5 stars

    Great customer support... Inconsistent product

    • Written by from Centereach

    My device connected to my car just fine and the phone read it. I kept getting the error "invalid 6-digit pin" when I clearly typed it correctly. Customer support was great but could not fix the issue. I noticed a few others had the same issue. This is a great idea but I'd wait to buy one until the developers gets it right and puts out consistently operational hardware.

    4 of 8 people found this useful

  • 2.0 out of 5 stars

    Overpriced, under-useful

    • Written by from Santa Clara

    There are so many problems with this product, but the deal breaker is that it just doesn't do much -- even when it does work. If your car has a built-in trip computer that's anywhere near capable, don't bother with this thing. A few of the problems it suffers from:

    • Zero real-time data. Compared to my 1999 car's standard-issue trip computer, this is an embarrassing shortcoming for the Automatic.
    • "Remember Where I Parked" seems more like a lucky accident than a deliberately designed feature. And it's completely useless in a multi-level parking garage.
    • Uploads your driving data to the company's servers. You have no access to your data once Automatic Labs has it, not even for some potentially useful charting over time.
    • Uploads your VIN to the company's servers. The Automatic doesn't provide vehicle-specific fault codes anyway, so there's no excuse for this.
    • Doesn't show a log of past fault codes. Will only show any current code, which is less than useful for troubleshooting over time.
    • Beeps annoyingly if you brake hard. The last thing I need, after braking hard to avoid an accident, is a dumb device squawking at me that I shouldn't break hard. Maybe I should just hit the other car instead.
    • It also squawks annoyingly if it catches you speeding -- which it defines as 70 mph, non-configurable. Do 40 in a 25mph zone? Doesn't matter -- it won't squawk, even though that's more dangerous than doing 72 in a 70mph zone (which my drive includes). Oh, and you can't disable the squawking.
    • If it's squawking because it thinks you're wasting gas, it should also check what gear you're in. It doesn't. 40mph in 3rd is going to burn more gas than 70mph in 5th. The magic 70mph number reigns supreme.
    • It bases cost estimates on data from the last gas station you filled up at, but doesn't take into account what grade of gas you buy (which, of course, affects price by 10¢ to 20¢ per gallon). There's no way to manually enter a price.

    This product wasn't worth the money at its introductory price of $70. Now it's $100? Forget it. I've unplugged mine from my car, and will only use it again if and when I have a "Check Engine" light that I want to reset.

    The Automatic has long way to go to justify even its introductory price. In its current form, it's very disappointing.

    75 of 98 people found this useful

  • 2.0 out of 5 stars

    Half Baked

    • Written by from Warsaw

    I like the idea but the implementation hasn't been done well. Even when opening the app before every drive, the link and app don't always synchronize. This leaves trips partially recorded or sometimes completely missed.

    One glaring omission is the lack of ability to view real-time data from the OBD-II bus. This seems a rather simple feature to tack on.

    12 of 30 people found this useful