* We test car-related phone apps * Apps for Android devices * From 'black box' video to parking locators...
These apps will help you locate petrol stations, find the cheapest fuel - and even teach you how to drive more efficiently.
Drismo driving skills monitor
Info Get it here
App size 1.5mb
What is it? The Drismo app is designed to analyse your driving style which could help you learn to drive in a less aggressive manner, and save fuel in the process.
How does it work? Fix the phone in your car, start the app and follow the simple instructions to calibrate it. You then have the choice of three monitor modes: wheel primitive, or map. All three modes give your driving a real-time rating of excellent, good, okay, or bad. At the end of the trip you can review your driving through a summary in figures, a graph, or colour-coded map of your route that reveals where your driving was great, good, okay or just plain bad.
Verdict A fun app that really could help to improve your driving style and save fuel. Aggressive manoeuvres and harsh braking are highlighted. All recorded trips are archived, so regular outings such as your journey to work, can be compared. The summary includes data such as top speed, average speed, percentage of good and bad driving, along with an overall quality rating which makes fascinating reading. Results can be exported by e-mail or shared through Facebook.
CarStations electric vehicle charge point finder
Info Get it here
What is it? CarStations is designed to ease the range anxiety felt by electric vehicle (EV) users by allowing them to find their nearest charge points, or to plan by searching for points in other towns and cities.
How does it work? It can search for the closest charge point using the phone's GPS system, or search for charging points near an address you input. There's also a function that allows EV drivers to enter the location of a charge point that has yet to be mapped on the app's database.
Verdict We used the 'find nearest' function of the app in the commuter town of East Grinstead, Sussex. The app drew a blank despite there being at least two charge points in the town. After this we entered London as a destination, which returned just two results. Just as strange, the two London sites had disappeared the next time we tested the app. We downloaded several such apps and this was the only one to find any facilities (albeit for a short time only). We suspect the 'add station' might be the only button you'd be using with this app. Range anxiety lives another day.
WhatGas Petrol Prices
Info Get it here
What is it? WhatGas Petrol Prices finds the price of a litre of fuel at stations across the UK and several European countries.
How does it work? The app can check prices at fuel stations that are closest to you or from a location you choose. Results are displayed on a map, which can be dragged to show prices and locations of more outlets.
Verdict: This app is powered by a community-generated database, and there are warnings that some prices may be a 'few days' out of date. We checked our local stations and found they'd not been updated for more than two months. While the app will probably give a relative guide to the most expensive and cheapest stations in the area, it just serves to highlight the hit-and-miss nature of community-powered databases. However, the app is free will be useful for anyone who needs to find a petrol station at short notice.