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Top accessories to make your car smarter

You don't need to buy a brand new car to enjoy better connectivity and safer driving.

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1 of 14 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Magnetic car smartphone mount

Proporta's Magnetic In-Car Air Vent mount for smartphones is a stylish accessory which allows drivers to connect their smartphones to an air vent rather than rely on dashboard outlets.

The mount can be rotated and as it relies on magnetics rather than grips, the type of smartphone you use doesn't matter.

Price: £6.95 ($8.95)

Via: UK | US

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2 of 14 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Port Designs headrest tablet holder

Traveling with children in the back can be difficult without some form of entertainment, and so to make journeys easier but without the risk of damaging expensive electronics, a simple headrest-based tablet mount could be a worthwhile investment.

Port Design's model, for example, is affordable and caters for tablets sized between 9 -- 10.1 inches.

Price: £19.99

Via: UK | US alternative

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3 of 14 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

USB car charger

A small, cheap, and common gadget, nonetheless, a USB charger which converts outdated cigarette lighters into charging ports can be a handy accessory for keeping your electronic devices connected and operating while on the road.

Price: £2.50

Via: UK | US alternative

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4 of 14 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Esky LED Reverse Backup Radar System

Far from the prettiest piece of kit on the market, nonetheless, the Esky LED Vehicle Reverse Backup Radar System can help you if you have trouble with reverse parking -- and for a cheap price.

The product contains four obstacle sensors and once connected to your car's power supply, will issue a warning on both the display and through noise alerts if you are reversing closely to objects.

Price: $14.99

Via: UK alternative | US

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5 of 14 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Automatic

Automatic is a subscription-based service which unlocks the data hidden in your car -- no matter how old -- for diagnostics and checkups. You plug the Automatic adapter into the standard diagnostics (OBD-II) port, and information such as mileage, fuel usage, and engine performance is pulled into the cloud, where you can access it from a range of mobile apps.

The service can be signed up for as a Lite or Premium customer.

Price: $Varies

Via: Automatic

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6 of 14 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Zubie

Zubie is another accessory which makes your standard car smarter. Zubie connects your car to the Internet to deliver real-time location, trip history, maintenance alerts, engine diagnostics, driving insights, and optional in-car Wi-Fi. You plug in the key, connect it to your smartphone and accompanying app, and you can access a variety of features including trip maps, traffic reports, and check on the status of your car remotely.

Price: $Varies

Via: Zubie

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7 of 14 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

ION Audio Cassette Adapter

One for archaic car models which still have cassette players, the ION Audio Cassette Adapter transforms the cassette player into a Bluetooth music receiver. While it looks like a classic tape, the product connects up to your car's speakers to your mobile device via Bluetooth for more modern music.

Price: $22.75

Via: US

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8 of 14 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Mpow Streambot

If you're in the market for another kind of Bluetooth receiver so you can connect up your mobile device or iPod to your car's speaker system, the Mpow Streambot is a device plugged into your car via a 3.5mm audio connector, and also includes music control and call answering features.

Price: $17.49

Via: US | UK alternative

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9 of 14 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Drive.ai retrofit kit

The Drive.ai retrofit kit is the product of a startup hoping to make products that turn dumb cars autonomous.

As something we may see on the streets in the next few years, the kit is interesting as it uses a LiDAR camera system and sensors to improve safety, fuel economy, and maintenance for standard cars.

Via: ZDNet

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10 of 14 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Pioneer 2-DIN receiver with 7.0" display

For a slightly more expensive investment, the Pioneer 2-DIN receiver with 7.0" display, which comes with a dash and installation kit, is a touchscreen display which can be used as a bolt-on for older cars.

The receiver supports DVDs/CDs, Bluetooth pairing with smartphones, Siri hands-free, iDevice support, media playback from services including Pandora and Spotify, as well as Android Music, and hands-free calling.

Price: $319.99

Via: US | UK alternative

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11 of 14 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Clip & Talk Bluetooth hands-free car kit

While there is a ban on using your handset while driving in the UK, many drivers continue to ignore it. To stay legal, the Clip & Talk Bluetooth hands-free car kit fits onto the top of a sunshade, allowing you to keep your hands on the wheel.

Price: £19.99

Via: UK

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12 of 14 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

GPS car tracker kit

In the case of car theft and joyrides, you may have to rely on the police to -- hopefully -- recover your stolen vehicle. However, more drivers than ever are turning to technological means to help themselves.

A GPS tracker kit can help you pinpoint the location of your car. Once connected and fitted with a SIM, you simply send a text message to the product and it will respond with current latitude, longitude, speed, and time, and will also supply a map to your smartphone to help you recover your vehicle.

Price: £30+

Via: US alternative | UK

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13 of 14 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

OldShark dash cam

Dash cams are becoming popular for both scenic drives and as ways to store evidence in collisions and accidents. The OldShark is a popular model which sticks onto your window and provides full 1080p HD recording, automatically saves footage when an impact is detected, and playback features including stop, loop, and zoom.

Price: $62 (£49.99)

Via: US | UK

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14 of 14 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Maplin wireless reversing camera

Many next-generation vehicles have infotainment dashboards which also display footage of the back of your vehicle as you reverse. A gadget which mimics this is Maplin's wireless reversing camera, which has a 480p wireless camera and comes with a small 3.5-inch display to assist drivers in reversing around tough corners and parking properly.

Price: £69.99

Via: US alternative | UK

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