Wednesday, 21 January 2015

[Review] OBDLink MX Wi-Fi

We have now had a look at the OBDLink MX Wi-Fi, which is the successor model of the OBDlink LX Bluetooth scanner reviewed earlier here on the Androidistica blog.
The key differences in this beefed up model are that it connects to your device via Wi-Fi instead of via Bluetooth as the LX model does, also there is added support for all Apple iOS devices and the Single-Wire CAN (GMLAN) and Medium-Speed CAN (MS-CAN) protocols which enables owners of select Ford and GM car models to remotely, from your device, start the engine, lock and unlock doors and honk the horn of your car if need be, perhaps an efficient way to keep nosy bypassers at a safe distance from your precious vehicle while it is parked outside your favourite diner.
Similar to the LX model , the MX comes bundled with apps for both android and iOS , and a license key for the Windows software ,OBDwiz.

Packaging and first impression.
The MX WiFi comes in a neat see-through box with all the necessary information printed on the box.
Getting inside the box was frustration free , no wrap rages or bleeding finger incidents occurred during unpacking .

Inside the box
Once opened , the box revealed the MX Wi-Fi device, and separate quick start guides for all the three supported platforms. The Windows guide contains the license key for the included OBDwiz software and a download link while the iOS and android guides also contain WiFi setup instructions and links to downloadable apps.

Getting the device up and running was quite easy , as with the LX model.
The WPA2 key is printed on a sticker on the side of the MX , and should be noted down before installation since it will be difficult to read while the MX is plugged in.
Once plugged in to the OBD 2 socket , The MX immediately started up the ADHOC Wi-Fi network and allowed connecting with my android phone, using the WPA2 key noted down earlier.
It is also possible to configure the MX WiFi to join an already existing WIFI network if needed, the MX has a built in web configuration page for this purpose.

The MX Wi-Fi was tested using the included OBDlink app ,but it is possible to connect via WiFi to the adapter using other third party Android apps such as Torque and DashCommand.
The OBDlink App supports detecting and resetting ECU trouble codes as well as customizing and setting up gauges of your liking into dashboard views.
In addition ,is also supports logging of your mileage and fuel consumption and sharing the logs and maps with trip data from your phone or tablet.
The source information for the app to produce graphs and gauges consists of a customizable blend of your android device's accelerometer , GPS and the ECU PID data pulled from your car.
The refresh rates of the displayed gauges are really fast ,as promised by the manufacturer ,the values are seemingly updated in real time.The responsiveness can clearly be proven by checking the fuel consumption while accelerating , the built in display in my car was dragging behind with a second compared to the OBDlink gauge's display.

All in all this is an impressive gadget , which should be in every toolbox of a any car mechanic or car enthusiast , considering the support of most car makes and models on the market including support of the CAN protocols used to remote control some of the GM / Ford cars.
The list price of $119.95 might seem steep compared to other OBD adapters on the market , but the cross compatibility between car brands ,and the amount of supported devices and platforms and a three year warranty helps with softening the blow.

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