Available from: Carphone Warehouse
Smartphone mounts are a dime a dozen these days, so when a manufacturer releases a new product it better be something special. The Zerotouch doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel with its design but has a few cool tricks up it’s sleeve, if only the implementation was a little more refined.
Shipping in a small but eye-catching green box, motorists will have two versions to choose from. The compact Air Vent is the cheaper of the two at $59.99 and can be attached to… you guess it, a car air vent. The larger Dashboard version is a bit more expensive at $79.99 and can be attached to a window or dashboard for those who like their phones closer to the wheel. Both products feel very well built, with solid metal and rubber construction. They’re similar in design to the Logitech [+] Drive Mounts which preceded them, albeit with a subtle few tweaks. Both use the low-power Bluetooth option for connectivity to your smartphone, using a supplied magnetic adhesive strip. This is where things start to go a bit south.
Logitech Zerotouch software is great but flawed
Once you’ve got everything in place and ready to go, it’s time to use the Zerotouch application (Android and iOS). While it’s well designed and has good setup functions, it unfortunately suffers from a few notable flaws. The biggest concern we have is directional information, which seems to be seriously lacking. Trying to set our office as the work location was a nightmare, with the app unable to locate the address even when searching by postcode. After numerous attempts, our only option was to use Angel House, which seemed to be the closest location it could recognise. The same was also true when setting our home location. For a product who’s primary function is navigation, this is unforgivable and Logitech really needs to work on improving the mapping accuracy.
Once you’ve actually got your location dialed in, things are pretty smooth. During the initial setup process, you’ll have the option to set your preferred mapping software and messaging apps to use with Zerotouch. Logitech told us that the software implementation is half-and-half, with some of it taking place using their own location tech and the rest using third part mapping. We opted for Google Maps, which the application will default to with a special Zerotouch overlay once your navigation is in progress.
Once you’re in navigation mode, you’ll soon realise that the primary mode of interaction with Zerotouch is entirely hands-free. Logitech told me that their thought process behind the product was to “eliminate distractions as much as possible”. The entire of the app can be navigated entirely by voice command only, which we found to be very accurate. Utilising the ambient light sensor on your mobile device, you simply wave your hand over the phone to activate the voice command function. Then it’s just a case of ushering one of the many phrases to get different levels of contextual feedback. We found that it managed to locate most of the places we mentioned, as long as they were restaurants. It missed a couple of the smaller stores and on some occasions navigated to a chain much further away but on the whole, it wasn’t a bad experience. That said, it still feels a little behind embedded maps software such as Google Maps, making it feel a little redundant.
A number of negative reviews found in the Play Store have focused on the ZeroTouch application crashing unexpectedly. We reached out to Logitech who clarified that the situation is with newer Google Pixel handsets and not a fault of themselves. In a statement to What Mobile, they said: “We are aware that a known issue with Android 7.0 and 7.1 may cause ZeroTouch to crash on certain Nexus and Pixel smartphones. Google is currently working on a fix. In the meantime, we recommend users install the latest OS update available for their smartphone to minimize the impact of this issue.”
The idea is really good and from a safety perspective, it really does take some of the distractions away from the handset. Unfortunately, the software still feels a little half cut and needs some refiniement to compete with competitors. With a few more updates, we can see it becoming useful. As it stands, there’s still some work to be done.