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Logitech ZeroTouch phone mount: A nice idea that still needs work

Dan Rosenbaum | Aug. 15, 2016
The purpose: To enhance voice-only commands and increase safety while driving

You trigger the software by waving at the front of your phone, near the proximity sensor that is usually located near the earpiece. The ZeroTouch app chirps; you can then tell it to call or text someone, play music or navigate to someplace on a list you've already saved. If there there is more than one person or place with that name (or with a similar name), the ZeroTouch app will say the names in question and understand your response.

That's the theory. The practice was something else altogether.

Cars are difficult and noisy environments, and I found that the ZeroTouch had significant problems understanding me above the road noise beyond the four core commands of Call, Text, Play and Navigate. For example, I told the ZeroTouch to "Call Jeremy." It correctly found the two Jeremys in my phone book and asked which one I wanted to call. But when I told it which to call, the ZeroTouch seemed unable to process the request.

Worse, if nothing immediately happened, there was no feedback -- audible or visual -- about whether the device hadn't heard me, didn't understand what I said, or was simply thinking about it. And all too often, the ZeroTouch app would give up entirely and reboot the phone -- not something you want to happen while you're driving, especially if you're getting instructions about where to go.

Bottom line

As far as the physical mount is concerned, the ZeroTouch is entirely reliable. Even on rough city roads during construction season, the magnet held the phone fast during my test drives. The software, however, is not fully baked.

The idea of a $60 gadget approximating what expensive built-in car systems can do is tempting. But the ZeroTouch programmers need to go back and spend some more time on their app before they declare it ready.

At a Glance

Logitech Zero Touch

Price: Air vent version: $60 (vendor price); $60 (Amazon price). Dashboard version: $80 (vendor price); $78 (Amazon price).

Pros: Strong magnet holds phone in place

Cons: Software is still buggy; lacks audible or visual feedback while processing commands; reboots phone when it gets overwhelmed

 

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