Bring your wheels to the future with these devices to drive with, says Alvin Thomas.
Plug and Play
Automatic is a car adapter that plugs into the on-board diagnostics port of your car’s Engine Control Unit (ECU) to provide you with essential information. The device pairs with your smartphone via Bluetooth to give you data readouts such as your fuel economy, engine wear and tear and trip history. The device also moonlights as a GPS tracker for your car – so you don’t have to (embarrassingly) spend hours searching for it in the mall parking lot. Oh, and before I forget: the Automatic works with most cars built after 1996. Get it at amazon.com for RO27.8.
There’s a saying that a little thing can make a big difference. Sticking to that motto are the boffins from TaoTronics, with their wireless portable audio adapter. As the name suggests, the device lets you wirelessly connect your smartphones and tablets – even those running the newer Bluetooth 4.0 and 5.0 – to your car. All you need after that is your car’s 3.5mm jack. Once connected, you can play all your music files; remotely control the volume, play or pause the music and even skip tracks using only your voice. The TaoTronics also features a “Double Link” technology that allows you to connect two devices at the same time, so you can answer your phone and enjoy music all at once. Yours for RO6.1 from amazon.com.
How awesome would it be to have cold soda to sip on while on a road trip, right? Well, worry no more, as the Wagan Personal Fridge eradicates the need for you to stop at every convenience store to buy more drinks. The Wagan plugs straight into your car’s cigarette lighter and can cool nine cans. The refrigerator can cool your drink to below five degrees Celsius, and once you remove the adaptor from its power source, you can still enjoy your cold cold drinks (and food) for up to two hours. Yours for RO17.3 from amazon.com.
Modern cars have come to a point where they can literally drive you from point A to point B safely. But there’s no denying that we’re still years, if not decades, away from autonomous cars. until then, the weakest link on the road is still the driver. But Navdy – with its head-up display – aims to reduce the risk of having an accident by gluing the driver’s eyes to the road. Like any other head-up display, the Navdy displays essential information such as your vehicle’s speed, location (using Google Maps), and even turn-by-turn navigation; but as an added treat, the device gives you live fuel-readings, the ability to conduct searches on Google, access to Siri or Google’s assistant and even responds to hand gestures. Get yours from amazon.com for a hefty RO193.
App of the Week
There are many applications that can help you improve your driving but very few that can integrate driving aids into your smartphone. That is where the iOnRoad comes into play: the app gives you information such as collision and lane departure warning, headway distance monitoring (distance between cars), speeding alerts, car locator as well as SMS and notification narrator while you’re behind the wheel of your car. The app is available for download from both Google Playand iTunes for 381 baisas.
Must-have games of all time
Sim City 2000
Sim City brought to the hands of the average gamer one very special feature: the ability to build and control an entire city. That had never been done before and, for that very reason, Sim City 2000 manages to sit atop our list of must-have games. When it was released, it came with bare-to-the-bone graphics and even a basic control system. However, it still allowed gamers to visualise and execute beautiful cities and manage real-world scenarios. There are reports of users clocking nearly 10,000 hours with this game, and while that may not seem like too much nowadays, it still gives you some idea of how addictive this game is.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Batman: Arkham Asylum is a cramped, dense, dark, unoriginal and extremely claustrophobic game but I love it, as do the millions of others who have played it. It gives you complete control of Batman, with whom you can explore the far ends of Gotham’s Asylum (Arkham). There isn’t much to explore, though. But Rocksteady’s (the developer) melee combat system is simply spot-on and the storyline is anything but unique. There are terrific-looking horror scenes, psychedelic cut-scenes and a Joker that Jared Leto can only dream of becoming. Think of this as the daddy of all open-adventure Batman games that have followed since its release in 2009.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
The only reason GTA: Vice City comes third on our list is because it is rated PG. Even then, I was probably 13 when I first came across this game. It let you do what every 13 year old has always wanted to do: run wild through the streets, drive fancy cars and have cutting-edge haircuts (No? It was just me? Oh well…). The scene is set in 1980s Miami and has a complex storyline. However, most kids who have played this game have never cared about the missions; for them it has been all about street cred. GTA: Vice City was followed by GTA: San Andreas, which is arguably the next best game on the list, but that’s for another day. Even today, Vice City is touted as a game-changer in the much-loved, open-world action-adventure,third-person shooter genre.