BlackBerry World has been ripping at the seams with all these new apps emerging in the past month or so since the launch of BB10. ZoneWalker has brought their app – aCar, an application that has come off of a very successful run in the Google Play store - to BlackBerry World. Overall this app is a car aficionado’s best friend. Simply put, it can itemize every aspect of your vehicle’s life – all the way down to predicting your trip expenses and future fill ups. To read the detailed review hit the break…
ZoneWalker offers two versions of their application – a free version and a premium version. The difference between the free and premium version is the free version does not give you the vehicle statistics which include the daily running costs calculations, cost of ownership, service breakdown, and fill up stats. Not only that but the premium version includes import functionality from other popular car apps – most all from the Google Play store with the exception of a couple BlackBerry applications – and websites such as: Fuelly.com, FuelFrog.com, SpritMonitor.de, TrackYourGasMileage.com.
The clincher for me between the free and paid version comes down to the free automatic backups and the ability to export to Excel or in CSV format. For someone who loves analyzing stats on a larger screen, this is definitely a plus for me. All-in-all, not a whole lot of a difference between the versions, but for the price, your statistics and your backup functionality is well worth all the effort you put into this app.
To start off, you need to enter your vehicle data. This shouldn’t take long if you are somewhat knowledgeable about your car (as it does go into some detail, but doesn’t alienate the non-tech user). Once you have entered all your vehicles, you can go ahead and start tinkering.
Diving in to the meaty bits…
Next up, I started with adding the library of parts by selecting Vehicle Parts from the Vehicle Details menu item. I added all the parts I had installed on my car over the past few months as well as parts that I would be purchasing in the near future. Adding parts was fairly straightforward. If you have more than one vehicle you can select the vehicle, add all the specifics, and save the part. My only complaint is that you can’t use these parts for anything other than cataloging them. You can’t insert them into a service and you can’t assign a cost to them. I had to add a cost by adding it into the “Notes” section (not shown in the above picture).
After I created the parts, I moved on to adding service records. Since I’ve recently performed service on my car, I had all the info fresh in my head – especially since I am an avid DIY’er and had done the service myself. There are so many options here for service records, and on top of all the options that are already baked into the app, you can add your own and manage the existing entries to suit your car’s maintenance schedule. This is very beneficial for those like me, who are very particular about their scheduled maintenance So being able to edit existing entries is a HUGE plus.
The service features allow you to specifically annotate which services were performed, how you paid for the service, and also let’s you add tags to help differentiate your service from the rest. A few examples could be tagging a service record with “periodic (planned) maintenance”, “preventative maintenance”, or “emergency service”.
Next, I used the fill up record section to input my first data points to see what the app could do as far as handling my MPG. Again, this screen is really intuitive and easy to navigate. It also has a GPS feature that enables you to click select the “Find a Station Near Me” option and have it automatically fill the station information, so as to allow you to keep track of the places you fill up and the best prices in your area.
A couple more really useful features this app contains will absolutely butter the bread for users – Trip Records and Expense Records. The clincher here is the fact that you can itemize your car as an expense fo
We have another long list of pre-programmed items to choose from on the expense record side of things. Essentially, we have the same layout on the input screen for the expense record and trip record screens. We also have the ability to choose an expense center near our location, which is sourced by device GPS. We can also edit existing expense records and add new records to the list.
On the trip record side of things, we can choose so many options to detail the type of trip – business, charity, medical, moving, etc. You can add to virtually ANY list in this application, this list is no different. You can also choose the purpose for the trip, the client (if any), a location, a tax deduction and a rate of the amount you were taxed, the trip distance, and whether or not you were reimbursed for your trip. I mean the developers thought of everything!
Every entry from the service section gets placed into the database which allows the app to calculate your average running costs. The more you input, the more accurate the statistics get. This can prove to be essential for those who use their car for a tax deduction and need to manage their expenses. Note, that this “Statistics” section is only available in the Premium version of the application – via purchasing the aCar Pro Unlocker.
From the developer: The anatomy of the app is such that you should have both the free edition of “aCar” and “aCar Pro Unlocker” apps installed on your phone. Then simply launch “aCar” and you’ll see the pro features unlocked.
I was able to manage a couple of data points for fill ups and generate some previews of what the graphs would look like.
This is a really awesome feature for someone like me, who loves graphing stuff to study trends. A full screen graph can be viewed by holding your finger over the desired graph and selecting the “View Full Screen” option and hitting the arrow buttons to cycle through graphs without having to leave full screen mode. You can also search for any records by going to the “Search” tab that can be found when you’re looking at your statistics, which makes it easy for you to find the right record, after you’ve accumulated several records.
Finally, we have reminders and predictions. They are both pretty straightforward as the reminders offers a simple screen with reminders of when you have to perform services that have already been performed, based off of the time frame set by the user located in the service screen that I had mentioned before. And if those values were not changed, it retains the default value for time or mileage.
For projections, the app is able to predict what you will be spending on your services, fill ups, and such and gives you data that will allow you to budget you vehicle on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
This application is by far the most detailed car maintenance app on the market – for any platform. The developers have done an excellent job at making sure you know what you are spending on your car and they make it really easy to do so. This ability to itemize every aspect of your vehicle’s life will not only save you time and money, but it may even help your resale value, taxes, and just provide you with the upper hand when budgeting for your vehicle.
This application is a MUST HAVE for anyone with a car, and at $6.99 for the premium version – you really get your money’s worth with this app after literally one service and one fill up. You can easily justify this by looking at all the information this app allows you to access. Keeping in mind, the app is only as detailed as the user allows it to be – simply because of the fact that you are responsible for inputting all the data and information – this app is the be all, end all of car maintenance apps for BlackBerry. Don’t forget, the premium version let’s you backup all this data so you don’t lose all that important data you have put into this app!
Download the free version of aCar from BlackBerry World here.
Download the aCar Unlocker to unlock all premium features here.