General Car Home Ultra - Android App

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RogerH69, Thursday 30th Oct, 2014.

  1. RogerH69 Premium Member Club Supporter

    South Africa Roger Oxford, UK
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    In my basic review of the Digital Car app, I mentioned another app called Car Home Ultra. I thought I'd review this one as well for HK, as it's also pretty good.

    Car Home Ultra is an app designed to be used as a home page / launcher when in the car. It's free to use for (I think) 40 days, and then if you want to keep using it you need to purchase the unlocker for £2.55. It may not look as 'refined' as Digital Car, but it does the job, and does it really well.

    Car Home Ultra is (in my opinion) one of (if not THE) best car dock apps out there. It's well established and well supported and though it doesn't have a tonne of features, it does what it does well, and has one or two unique features.

    Things I like -
    1. It has some basic themes support, including the ability to set one theme for daytime and another theme for nighttime
    2. It shows your speed, location and heading (and weather) as well as shortcut buttons on the same page without looking messy
    3. It has 5 pages that you change to suit you, with (currently) 3 different layouts you can choose (6 button, 8 button and media player controls). You can change this to only 3 pages, if you don't have that many shortcuts you want to assign.
    4. You can create shortcuts to show you a contact, so you can select a number to dial. Alternatively, you can assign a direct dial for a contact to a shortcut, so that the app will autodial that number with one tap of the shortcut.
    5. If you use the phone as a media player, you can change the layout of one of the pages to show media player controls, meaning you don't need to leave the app to play, pause, or skip tracks
    6. The media player controls support third party media players, and you can change the media player to control on the fly
    7. It is pretty easy to configure, and changing shortcuts, themes etc. is very quick
    8. It works equally well in portrait or landscape modes (I personally recommend landscape though)
    9. The app can be set as your temporary launcher, so that when it is running, pressing the home button will take you back to the app and not the homepage of your default launcher
    10. It can be setup to auto launch when your phone connects to a particular Bluetooth device
    11. It can stop your media playback automatically when you exit the app
    12. You can set the app to automatically switch between day mode / night mode as well as change brightness automatically
    Things I don't like -
    1. The ability to control brightness conflicts with any apps you use to turn off the backlight (I use Second Screen).
      • To mitigate the effects of this, as far as I know, if I set my Tasker profile to launch Car Home Ultra BEFORE setting backlight off, this SHOULD resolve this issue, but I think that if I switch to my phone's default launcher, or any app outside of Car Home Ultra, and then go back to Car Home Ultra, it will set the brightness again, in effect undoing the changes Second Screen made. This is an issue for battery drain (most car charges, and indeed the power cable from my head unit, do not supply enough power to ensure no battery drain when using HDMI AND BlueTooth / Wifi AND the phone's screen) as well as heat, and as my phone is hidden away in my console bin when connected to my head unit, I would not notice the screen has come back on.
    Yup, only one complaint from me for this app. Not bad for someone that's criticized for his habit of finding problems and not solutions :happycrying:

    I genuinely like this app and for people that spend a lot of time in their car and use their phone as a satnav / media player in their car, it can be used as is, on a phone or tablet in a car mount, or in conjunction with a head unit as I am doing.

    -- EDIT --

    I was going to make a video to show the issue with location on my head unit, but it seems it's working now, so it may have been a once off problem. I won;t both with a video then (as all of mine are silent), but will rather link to some existing ones.

    Video made by developer


    Third party review video
     
    Last edited: Thursday 30th Oct, 2014
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  2. Ichiban Founder Staff Team

    England CJ Leeds
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    don't have android device so can't test it :Frown: I may have to get a second hand phone for testing purposes
     
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  3. RogerH69 Premium Member Club Supporter

    South Africa Roger Oxford, UK
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    Seeing as a new phone is out of the question (which would make my Nexus 5 available for permanent use in my car), I'm looking at getting a cheap second hand Android phone to leave in my car all the time. Once it's setup, I'll disconnect the screen cable to save on battery usage.
     
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  4. Chunkylover53 Expert Advisor ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    Looks promising - downloading as we speak :Smile:
     
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  5. SpeedyGee Administrator Staff Team

    England Speedy Birmingham
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    Did CJ say he's going to get an Android phone :Whiteflag::Grin:
     
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  6. DeviateDefiant Co-Founder Staff Team

    United Kingdom Leo Northants
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    Is that your way of admitting how far behind Apple is? :Laughing:
     
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  7. Ichiban Founder Staff Team

    England CJ Leeds
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    No not at all, just want to have dibs at this as it looks cool. Apple is still preferred as you android boys get all the bugs and viruses.
     
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  8. DeviateDefiant Co-Founder Staff Team

    United Kingdom Leo Northants
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    I've never had a single bug on Android, yet I know we've both had them on iOS :Tongue: As for viruses, I think you'll struggle to find a single person you know who's had one :Whistle:
     
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