The Automatic Link is the iPhone of OBD2 adapters. It's typically priced at $99.99, a price up to ten times higher than what competing hardware goes for on Amazon. What the product has that those alternatives don't, primarily, is a dedicated app that came to Android earlier this month. The gadget is currently available on Amazon for $79.99, 20% lower than its usual price.


People willing to experiment with other apps such as Torque or Dash can save themselves a few bucks by using any OBD2 adapter they wish, but others who would prefer a more plug-and-play experience may opt to pick up the Automatic Link. Unlike alternatives, it beeps when you drive in a way that uses up extra gas, and it doesn't have a single flashing LED light. Though how much that's worth is up to you.

Automatic Link on Amazon

Thanks, Matthew Fry.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • xsirxx

    I just use an android head unit, torque and a 15$ OBD2 bluetooth adapter from amazon. Problem solved and I get to see all the output in realtime in my dash. Why spend this much? What does it offer?

    • theseanteam

      Why spend so much on a Android Head Unit? Ha!

      • xsirxx

        No matter what you either need your phone mounted or an android head unit. For me, I don't have the room to place or mount my phone so a built in was the best option. But either way you have to pay for a display. But my solution cost me 20$ instead of 100$ extra. Plus android head units are only 300$ which is cheaper than most other head units that are worth while.

    • ddpacino

      Sir, can you post what models of each you use?

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

    FWIW, I recently reviewed Automatic alongside Dash and, while it certainly works and looks nice, Dash is almost exactly as Plug-and-Play as Automatic is. Most OBDII adapters work with Android by default (since iOS has a wonky way of handling Bluetooth that doesn't work so well with the adapters), so most of them don't require much setup beyond pairing via Bluetooth. Once that's done, Dash tracks everything in the background just as easily.

    There is one key difference, though. Automatic tracks your driving no matter what and syncs the data whenever it finds a connection. With the adapter I used (a cheap $25 one) and Dash, if you weren't connected via Bluetooth while driving, it wouldn't save the data. That might be a nice feature to have, particularly since the Bluetooth drained my phone while it's trying to make a connection to my car outside, but my car and living room are also really close together.

    So, yeah, get Automatic if the constant tracking regardless of being connected matters to you, but otherwise, Dash and a generic OBDII adapter are just as simple. Plus Dash has a ton more features.

    • nxtiak

      "Automatic tracks your driving no matter what and syncs the data whenever it finds a connection."
      Oh wow that is great, how much data/driving time can it hold before it starts deleting itself to make room?

      • Kenny O

        I can attest that it will hold at least two weeks of driving data. I've had one since it first came out as a beta app, when I got it for some reason there were issues pairing with the Nexus 5. For the first two weeks I drove around nothing logged to my phone, I thought the data wasn't there but then after the first update all of the data from the past two weeks showed up on the phone.

    • Kobi Medrish

      Can it sync the information to more then a one mobile device?

      Because it constantly gathers information could the app remind me to do car maintenance as soon as I travel more then X miles?

      • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

        I have my hands on the Link. I haven't tested out syncing to multiple devices, but I imagine it can as long as they're signed into the same account, and as long as you're not trying to do them both at the same time.

        As for the second question, nope. The app doesn't really offer much in the way of configuration.

        • Kobi Medrish

          Thanks ,
          I got a OBDII adapter for a very long time but can't find an app that would use the mileage information for active maintenance notifications.

          • andy_o

            Torque can't do it?

  • Grant Garrison

    A good friend of mine designed the UI, great stuff here!

  • h4rr4r

    Get $15 adaptor, turn on Torque, done.
    No experimentation needed.

    • nofearofimaginarymen

      I agree. Recently bought a $10 scanner from Amazon with the $5.00 torque app and it does so much more than my $100 scanner. I guess some people want their phone to beep if they drive poorly.

      • h4rr4r

        You could just have torque or a scantron show mpg.
        My car has a speedometer that changes color based on driving style and while it works fine in flat areas in hilly ones it sucks. No matter what going up a steep hill will never get a decent mpg.

  • syxbit

    A word of caution to you all, if you leave bluetooth on, it will DESTROY your battery. (reason is, Automatic leave a permanent service running to check for bluetooth connecting)
    I bought this, and had to uninstall it due to my phone dying in the middle of the day.
    Now it's a paperweight :(

    • Luis Felipe LondoƱo

      Send it to me :D

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Steve B

      Seriously? What did you think would happen?

      • syxbit

        What do you mean "What did you think would happen?"
        Um... how about not destroy my battery life. It doesn't on iOS. It's because the devs don't know how to code for Android

      • h4rr4r

        I bet he thought it would work like Torque meaning it would not do that. There is no need for it to kill battery life.

    • Aooga

      Buy from Amazon next time. You could have just returned it even past the 30 days.

    • peatcoal

      Why don't you just plug your phone in in the car?

      • syxbit

        The app has a service that runs ALL the time, even when not in the car. So even on days that I don't drive, the app cuts my battery life in half

        • peatcoal

          Oh, my bad, I misread your comment. Have you tried greenifying the app?

    • Somnambulator

      I have a G2 (Kit Kat) and a pebble steel smartwatch. My BT stays on pretty much all day. It's 3:32pm EST right now and I haven't charged my phone since 7am *yesterday*.

  • yankeesusa

    It's still a rip off.

  • Simon Belmont

    Why does the notifying your loved ones that you've been in a crash only work on the iPhone? Seems to me Android should easily be able to handle that.

    Oh, never mind. It's coming soon, apparently.

  • mbcls

    bought Zubie instead, no need to turn on Bluetooth on phone all the
    time to track your car location. it sends to the cloud with tmobile.
    99$ annual fee for service but 1st year free with Zubie device.

    • h4rr4r

      Why would you ever turn bluetooth off?
      $99 for a service? Please tell me you are being paid to post this.

      • mbcls

        why would leave Bluetooth on all the time when not needed? Zubie sends you car location to the cloud, no Bluetooth needed!
        you can even tell if your mechanic or valet parking take your car for joy ride.

        • h4rr4r

          Why would you ever turn it off?
          I leave wifi on when I am out of the house or not at work too. Who wants to keep turning this stuff off and on?

          By the "cloud" you mean to a server you do not own and do not have access to. Which means they will sell that data to any interested buyer.

  • Nick

    Deal? How is this a deal? It's a raging rip off! There is absolutely nothing this does that Torque and a generic bluetooyadapter can't. In fact I suspect Torque does more.

  • Somnambulator

    Android + OBDII BT adapter + Torque is almost as powerful as the $1000+ Snap-On scan tool my ASE-certified Master Technician buddy uses. It's not as easy, quick, or convenient to use in a shop environment, but it can read every sensor of every car that uses standard OBDII for engine and other systems management. I think some foreign (mostly German [BMW THATS DIRECTED AT YOU]) cars only use OBDII for the minimum required by the US DoT or something along those lines, but for everything else that means Torque then has access to the exact same data as a scan tool. Im not saying mechanics would be happy using this setup in a shop, but the data it can view would not be the deterrent. Torque can't control systems like the better mechanic's devices can (like turning off specific cylinders, retarding spark, etc), but it gives access to all of the same ECM sensors.

    For most people BT + Torque provides a $1000+ tool for $20. I use mine all the time. The only negatives to the app are the GUI being unintuitive and a lack of details/descriptions for the sensors. The app is incredibly overwhelming if youre not at least a little familiar with cars/engines/etc.

    Creating profiles is pretty easy for different cars, and it has the ability to create and save log files. Additionally, there are extra mods you can install to extend its functionality, like a graph to compare multiple sensors' data, or an app that overlays select Torque gauges on top of your camera, allowing you to record your driving with telemetry like speed, RPM, boost, fuel trim, etc built directly into the resultant video.

    If youre willing to spend a few hours of trial and error setting it up, Torque most likely blows Automatic Link's solution out of the water for $80 less.

  • Dave

    $80 is a deal? when the same adapters start at $8 ...