Here at the Gadgeteer we review lots of car chargers. I mean lots. All shapes and sizes. But the Nonda Zus car charger is different. We all know how anemic standard car lighter charging ports can be, right? I have long since given up on them and in fact, the last 3 cars I have purchased had USB ports built-in because the lighter port simply isn’t sufficient to charge anything anymore with all these modern gadgets. So one thing that makes the Zus different is that it claims to charge at a much higher speed than the standard car lighter port. But where the $29.99 Zus really shines is that it will enable you to locate your car when you can’t remember where you left it. Yep, that’s right. So does it work? Let’s find out.
If you are like me and my family, it is quite common for us to exit Walmart or the mall, or after a big game at the stadium, and pause trying to remember where we parked. And the older I get, the worse it gets. So the real killer feature of the Zus is the ability to have your phone lead you directly to where your car is parked. It does several other things too which I’ll cover shortly, but let’s jump right into this killer feature first.
To get started, you download the free Zus app for your phone (iPhone or Android), plug the Zus into your car lighter outlet when the car is on so you can see the 3 lights on the Zus turn on, and then follow the instructions on the screen to create your Nonda account and connect your phone to the Zus using Bluetooth. So here is an example of how it works:
- You travel to the mall and park your car.
- When you turn the car off your phone beeps and you see a popup on your screen indicating that the Zus location (and thus your car location) has been saved to your phone. (This works even though the Zus loses power when the car is turned off.)
- You go shopping in the mall.
- 2 hours later you come out of the mall and can’t remember where the car is parked (go with me on this one)
- (Screenshots for all this are below) You open the Zus app and you see a big circle on the screen with a green arrow (kinda like a compass) pointing in the direction of your card. Then you simply start walking in the direction the arrow points and you’ll be taken to your car. And right there on the screen it tells you approximately how many feet away from your car that you are. You also have the option to swipe up from the bottom and use the Google Map mode and walk along the map toward the direction of where the icon for your car is located on the map. Pretty cool.
I can tell you that the Zus app has been spot on every time I have used it and it has taken me directly to my car every time. At this point I should mention that you have to make sure that when you get out of the car after parking, and again when you exit the mall to locate your car, that the GPS on your phone is turned on otherwise it can’t save the location of your car to the app or lead you to it. You can turn the GPS off when you go into the mall if you want to save battery, but it won’t locate your car for you unless the GPS is turned back on.
So here are the other things that the Zus app can do which are pretty cool:
- If other members of your family have the Zus app installed, you can share the car location with them right there in the app so everyone can find the car.
- At the bottom of the main screen you have a few buttons to enable you to do other stuff, like taking a picture of the location of the car if that will help you later to find it.
- You can also set a parking meter alert with a timer to remind you when the parking meter is about to run out so you can go back to the car and feed the meter.
- The app will check on the health of your car battery so you’ll have an idea of what kind of shape it is in.
- You can also buy multiple Zus chargers for all your cars and keep track of all of them from the app.
The Zus charger has 2 USB ports that according to Zus will charge your devices at Fast Charging speeds, as long as your device doesn’t use the Qualcomm Quick Charge standard. My Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ is one of those devices, so when I plug up my phone to the Zus I don’t get the indication that I am charging at Fast Charging speed. However, my phone charged much faster than just using the standard lighter port speed. My estimate based on performance is that I am getting about 90% of my Fast charging speed, which I won’t complain about it.
The USB ports are also reversible so no more struggling with which way to plug in the cable. Just plug it in any way you like! The ports are also lighted, so in a dark car it is easy to find the ports and plug up the cable. The picture below is of the Zus plugged up in my car, but it’s really dark so the picture kind of stinks. But you can see the lighted ports.
The Zus is military grade quality, so it just feels really solid in your hand. And with reversible lighted ports that provide fast charging for some devices (and almost-fast charging for others), the Zus is a solid car charger. But what really makes it shine is the integration with the app and being able to locate your car where you left it. That alone is worth the price you pay. The only thing you have to watch out for is making sure you don’t get run over while looking at your phone and following the green arrow!
I still use this gadget for finding my car when I go somewhere and there is a possibility that I won’t remember where I parked, like ballgames, shopping malls, conferences, etc. It has charging ports in it but with my portable fast-charging batteries that I keep everywhere I don’t really need that feature on the Nonda Zus. I use the smart car finder feature, and it simply works great. I love it.