You may remember the name ZUS as an app/beacon/charger combo we reviewed a while back that allowed you to locate your car in the event you forgot where you parked.
The ZUS Smart Tire Safety Monitor is their next leap in useful car connected devices. It plugs into a USB power port (not included,) and along with four tire stem cappers it tells you what the tire pressure and air temp is in each one.
Throw in some stuff here about low tires exploding causing person to wreck into a bus full of nuns. Kidding. While low tire pressure is bad all around, your biggest immediate reason for getting this is it can pay for itself in about a year in gas. Not to mention informing you that your tire’s completely deflated before you get on the highway.
Alarms will sound on your phone (and the device will chime,) if any tire drops below a specified threshold, which is good because I bet the last time you even knew where your tire pressure gauge was was back when Obama mentioned tire pressure in 2009.
The device itself, not quite out yet. The software… it needs some work. I mean it functions, but it’s still got debug info and they’ve got some polishing to do.
That said, in the unpolished two-months-before-shipping alpha version of the software I’ve been alerted I have a slow leak in a tire (I do, it loses 10 pounds a day, yes, that’s a lot I know.) I can see the tire temp and pressure as I’m driving, and most importantly something that TPMS on my car does not do, I can tell which tire is having an issue as opposed to TPMS warning, check all 4 tires in the rain.
While I’d previously enjoyed low-tech tire pressure monitoring in the form of “look at them,” and some cheap valve cap monitors that let air out when the temp got cold, my tires are now connected to my phone, and that’s neat.
At the moment the alpha ZUS software does not do the car location using only the kit. I’m really hoping they modify that so that the kit should be able to function as a ZUS car locator as well, otherwise I’d be a little annoyed with them.
While the ZUS Tire Safety Monitor requires power from some external source, it provides pass-through charging so you’re not losing a port. I’ve got an email in asking if it’s pass through quick charge or what the max it can do is, but I don’t expect answers for a couple of days.
What’s wrong with the ZUS Smart Tire Safety Monitor?
What I’ve found after a few days of playing with this are (and please do keep in mind this is entirely pre-release software and most likely hardware)
- Notification needs to be more out there. I’m driving and I have a tire issue I’d like a unique sound to alert me.
- Things are labeled Front right, rear left, etc – while front and rear aren’t particularly ambiguous, right and left do depend on position. I didn’t see any note saying “all perspectives are looking from the rear toward the front” but meh, maybe I’m just nitpicking.
- On the ZUS Tire Safety Monitor there are 4 lights in the positions of your tires that will blink and a little chime will sound if there’s a problem. Unfortunately there’s no orientation to say which light goes with which tire. Not a big issue, fixable with a sticker saying this represents the front of the car.
- App says it’s calibrating and give it 15 minutes, get a phone call app no longer says it’s calibrating.
- No real way to mount it out of the box (perhaps a velcro strip?)
Overall though, once the app is complete they’ve got looks pretty awesome product.
Other neat features include restraining bolts to keep the relatively large tire pressure sensors from wandering away and maintain a tight seal.
Anyway, if you want one of these in your life, head on over to Indiegogo where ZUS is currently running an already fully-funded campaign but hoping to get enough pre-orders in for a larger manufacturing order (less expensive for them). They’ve got 20% discounts at the moment.
August is the expected shipping date