Just about everyone has a car charger. It’s pretty much a necessity considering the fact that we use our phones for power consuming tasks such as GPS navigation and streaming music. However, all these devices do is charge. Since the car charger came about, nothing’s changed. No one has added anything to the formula. Nonda however has changed that with ZUS, the world’s first smart car charger.
As a standard car charger, how exactly does the ZUS perform? Long story short, it does very well. There are two full size USB ports on the charger which max out at a combined 4.8A (2.4A each). Nonda claims that the charger can charge 2 iPads in just 3.75 hours and can also charge this year’s crop of Nexus smartphones faster than the top selling chargers out on the market today (2.78A compared to 2.18A as tested with the Nexus 5X).
I did my testing with the Nexus 6P and found that the charger was able to easily charge my phone up about 20% during my 25 min drive to and from work. The fact that it has two ports is a huge plus for charging either multiple devices or for multiple users.
As far as design is concerned, Nonda has produced something surprisingly beautiful. The ZUS has a simple design, but it looks great. The matte black body looks great in any car and the LED accents just enhance that. My favorite part of the design is certainly the LED’s inside of the USB ports that make it easy to insert your USB cord even at night.
Now, what makes the ZUS “smart”? After downloading the official companion app on your smartphone (both Android and iOS support is available) you can connect over Bluetooth to keep track of your car’s location. This is done though the GPS locator built into the charger. Once you’ve parked your car, the ZUS will take note of your location and pass that information over to the phone. Later on when you are coming back to your car, you can open up the app on your phone and use the “compass” to find your car. The results are never dead on, but they certainly help you find your car in a crowded parking lot. Note: The ZUS cannot track your car’s location if it is parked in an indoor parking lot (ex. multi-story parking garage) or underground.
Now, you’re probably asking why you couldn’t just use an app (or the built in functionality in Google Now) to do this same thing. Well to be honest you could, but with the ZUS, all of this is done completely automatically in the background without you needing to do a thing. The one thing I’d love to see added is the ability to see how long I’ve been parked to ensure I don’t go over the meter or even some sort of alert if I’ve gone past the car. Android Wear/Apple Watch compatibility would also be an awesome addition.
For now however, the ZUS is a great product. At $49, it’s noticeably more expensive than pretty much any other USB car charger out there. Is it worth it? Well, that depends. If you tend to lose track of where your car is on a regular basis, this could definitely be worth buying.