AUTOMATIC DONGLE

$99.95

Analyze your driving as you go

The Automatic smart driving monitor is a small dongle you attach to the diagnostic port under your car's dashboard. The dongle talks via Bluetooth to your smartphone to transmit data about your driving habits, trips and data from your car's ­computer, including miles per gallon and engine ­diagnostics.

The device's first generation seemed too limited to warrant paying $100 for it. It did keep track of your trips, but you were only able to view the data after the trip was over. The second-generation dongle has more features, including real-time driving feedback and an app store with more than 20 apps (and more coming) that take advantage of the device's data feed.

Data from your car can be displayed in real time to let you analyze all sorts of metrics on speed, rpm, horsepower, torque, miles per gallon, cost of each mile and much more. When you're finished driving, all that data can be exported for examination. Each trip you take is logged with details that include a route map, with distance and time, mpg on the trip and the cost of your gas.

The dongle also keeps track of your driving habits, marking each time you accelerate too quickly or hit your brakes too hard. You can also set a speed threshold so that it will warn you when you exceed the limit.

The Automatic is the perfect tool to show you exactly what's happening under your hood and in your fuel tank.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS

VENTURE 30 SOLAR RECHARGING KIT

$170

Recharge device using sun power

With a portable backup battery, being off the grid does not mean being without power. Goal Zero goes a step further with its solar power pack, which includes its durable Venture 30 Recharger with an attached micro-USB cable and a USB port for charging other devices, with the ports protected by rubber coating.

When the device runs out of juice, the solar panel can be used to recharge it. (Charging takes eight hours in full sunlight.) A "pass-through" feature allows the Recharger to send out power while it is charging. And its smart-charging technology means that devices will be charged at their intended amperage.

NEW YORK TIMES