Torque App and Parrot Asteroid Together

This is a bit of an odd review. This is a review of two products I’ve already reviewed.

What’s cool is these two products are finally together, and they really deserved to be together.

One is an in-dash entertainment system, the other is a cool automotive data app. Together, they’re awesome.

A little while back I reviewed the Parrot Asteroid Smart, a slick car audio system that runs Android. The promise of apps was one of the main selling features of the Asteroid, and at launch there were precious few.

In fairness, there still aren’t that many, but there are enough basic apps that the Asteroid doesn’t feel lacking.

In the months I’ve had the Asteroid installed, I have had no major complaints. I still think it could use a subwoofer, (something I can add). There have been a couple of crashes, but when I’ve reviewed factory car audio systems, those crash a lot.

Best of all, there have been a few updates that streamline use. All-in-all I’ve found it to be a great addition to my aging car.

But the one thing I’ve wanted is a way to see some of my car’s data. Modern cars show all sorts of cool stuff, like MPG, and… well, actually that’s the main thing I wanted. I’ve always wanted to be able to see what my car’s MPG is while I’m driving (not just when I fill up a tank and do some maths).

The Torque app does exactly this, and a lot of other stuff. Cool, certainly, but I didn’t have much interest in checking my phone while I was driving (being, you know, illegal). What I’d wanted was the Torque app but on my Asteroid.

Bam! Wish granted. The Torque app for Asteroid works basically the same as the app for phones. You need an OBDII code reader. Mine is Bluetooth (reviewed with the Torque app), and nicely cheap. It seems you could also do USB, if you want to skip the wireless aspect. Judging from the issues I had, that might be a good idea.

After you download the app, the only real trick is getting the Asteroid to talk to the OBDII reader. With my setup, this proved regularly troublesome. It seems that I needed to disconnect the Bluetooth connection between my phone and the Asteroid first, then connect the OBDII, then reconnect my phone. Both will work at the same time, but it would only connect to both in that order. You might have similar issues, you might not.

Using the app on the Asteroid is basically the same as on a phone. The stock setup has basic gauges like RPM, speed, voltage, and so on.

But you can add new gauges, and move them all around. So I was able to have the real-time MPG gauge I’ve always wanted. Pretty much any data you can get off the OBDII (or the Asteroid’s GPS) you can create a custom gauge for. It’s all pretty cool.

So if you have the Asteroid, this is definitely worth the $5.94 (and getting an OBDII reader).