Review: Zus Smart USB Car Charger and Car Locator

zus logo

There are many in-car USB charges available to juice up your devices while on the move. While you may not have paid attention to the modest little charger plugged in your car’s 12V accessory socket, there are a plethora of innovations going on in the segment to make you consider upgrading the device.

First came dual USB chargers. Followed by high powered ones (the ones which can charge your device faster – really useful when using GPS). Then came smart ones which would identify the plugged in device and deliver the charging power to best suit the device. Nonda’s ZUS is a few steps ahead of the curve.

Lets go through the specs first:

  • 2 smart USB charging ports
  • Up to 4.8A output, fully charges 2 iPads in 3.75 Hours
  • Smart Car Finder
  • US Military MIL-STD-810G Grade High Temperature Standard. German Bayer PC + Titanium to withstand temperatures up to 100°C/212°F.
  • In built cooling system to keep the charger at a lower temperature.

Design

The ZUS is a great looking charger with a solid and plush feel. The product is made of premium components and you can feel it when you hold it in your hands. The build quality is stellar. There is also a 24k gold limited edition available on amazon.
 
zus-charger-design 

Usage

Apart from being “smart” in a traditional way of detecting the best charging power for the plugged in device, ZUS is also a car finder. Here is how it works:

  1. ZUS has a bluetooth chip built in.
  2. You download the app and pair your phone with ZUS.
    ZUS iOS app
  3. ZUS detects when you have parked your car and tells your phone to record your current location. You don’t need to do anything – the app notifies you that it has recorded the parking location.  You can even set a parking timer if you are parked in a metered zone.
    zus app parking timer
  4. When returning to your car, you open the app and it leads you in the direction of your car. You can switch between compass and map views.
    zus-car-locator zus-car-locator-2 zus-car-locator-3

The whole process works flawlessly. Every time. Why would you need a car charger to record your car’s parking location on your phone you ask? You don’t. But you need a way to tell your phone that you have parked and that its time to record the location. Traditionally, car finder apps have relied on the premise that humans beings are diligent/attentive/careful/patient enough to open the app when they park their car and tell the app to record the location. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen. Recording the car’s location is not the part of the problem to solve, telling the app is. The folks at Nonda made ZUS to solve the right part of the problem. It sits humbly in your car’s accessory socket to serve the regular purpose of charging your phone in the car and as soon as you park it, it tells the app to record the location. No human intervention is required. How does ZUS know you have parked your car? Simple:

  • In most vehicles, when you switch off ignition, the accessory socket is turned off. ZUS uses this event to derive that you are parking the car.
  • In the vehicles where the accessory socket is not turned off when the ignition is switched off, ZUS relies on Bluetooth to determine if your phone is nearby. If you are heading away from your car, it derives that you have parked your car and tells the app to record the location. This feature will also work in the scenarios where you might be making a quick trip to a store and leave the car’s engine turned on because someone is sitting in the car. Pretty neat.
The only improvement I would like to see here is to have the ability to add common locations you frequent to disable ZUS from recording your parking location every time you visit there. you really don’t want to be notified when you are parking your car in front of your home. Having an ability to setup such locations in the app would be great.

Packaging

Nonda has paid a lot of attention to ZUS’s packaging, Its elegantly packed in a white box with the product attached using almost invisible notches. The packaging looks great on the shelves and feels like a premium product.
 
zus-charger-packaging zus-charger-unboxed

Conclusion

If you live in an area with huge parking lots, this thing is going to save you a lot of time and effort finding your car. If you live in a city and park on metered slots, this thing will also help you avoid getting your car towed. The only place where it will not work reliably is underground parking lots because there is no way for your phone to find the current location. But that is a reasonable limitation to have with all that it has to offer.

As of today, ZUS retails for $33.99 on nonda.co. If you have multiple cars, Nonda offers discounts if you buy 2 or 5 units together. ZUS is also available on amazon for $35.99.  According to us, the price is reasonable given the value the products adds to your everyday life. With a beautiful and robust design, coupled with super useful & cool features, we rate the ZUS at 4.5 out of 5 stars. The half star is taken away because of the missing home geofencing option I mentioned earlier.

BTW, the 24k Gold Limited Edition is currently available, if you have $499.99 to spare (and really want to increase the chances of your car being broken into).

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