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Fat Charlie 05-18-2011 12:59 AM

Torque for Android review

Well, I've had torque for almost a week now and I'm quite pleased with it. Mostly my time has been spent trying to figure out which gauges in what sizes and what locations would be the most useful. I had some disconnection problems that I couldn't figure out until I found that my left foot managed to hit the OBD scanner. The scanner itself is small and if I find this to be a continuing problem I'll just move the connector.
When you select "Realtime Information" it takes you to a screen that's full of gauges and looks great, but at arm's length while driving is too busy to be useful. That's fine because changing the screen is easy, and there are seven screens that you can drag between. Having gauges or groups of gauges readily available but not taking up screen space all the time is a great feature.
There are several types of display. Here are Dial (Round), Graph, Dial (Meter) and Digital Display. Each one is useful in different ways. Note that the three displays that give hard numbers are all off a bit. It looks like there's a little slop between all the widgets taking readings from the car. That's going to happen, and the revs were fluctuating- I had just started the car so that the gauges would have something to read for the screenshots.
After four days of commuting with it, this is the screen I'm using right now. I just threw the coolant in there because it was "extra" space. We'll see how it goes. It could even go to HUD mode, but I think that's more of a clever developer trick than a useful feature.

Raw Data display

The stunningly useless "Eco Warrior." It adds leaves to the tree as your driving becomes "greener." Get it?

Options while in the display screen

The "Add display" menu


Data logging settings

Sensors that Torque will display, if your car has the sensors:

0-100kph time
0-60mph time
1/4 mile time
1/8 mile time
Acceleration sensor (total)
Acceleration sensor (x axis)
Acceleration sensor (y axis)
Acceleration sensor (z axis)
Ambient air temp
Barometric pressure
Catalyst temperatire (bank 1, sensor 1)
Catalyst temperatire (bank 1, sensor 2)
Catalyst temperatire (bank 2, sensor 1)
Catalyst temperatire (bank 2, sensor 2)
EGR commanded
EGR error
Engine coolant temperature
Engine load
Engine oil temperature
Engine RPM
Fuel level
Fuel pressure
Fuel rail pressure (diesel)
Fuel trim bank 1 long term
Fuel trim bank 1 sensor 1
Fuel trim bank 1 sensor 2
Fuel trim bank 1 sensor 3
Fuel trim bank 1 sensor 4
Fuel trim bank 1 short term
Fuel trim bank 2 long term
Fuel trim bank 2 sensor 1
Fuel trim bank 2 sensor 2
Fuel trim bank 2 sensor 3
Fuel trim bank 2 sensor 4
Fuel trim bank 2 short term
GPS accuracy
GPS altitude
GPS bearing
GPS satellites
GPS vs OBD speed difference
Intake air temperature Intake manifold pressure
Kilometers per litre
Kilometers per litre (average)
Litres per 100 kilometer
Litres per 100 kilometer (average)
Mass air flow rate
Miles per gallon (average)
Miles per gallon (instant)
O2 volts bank 1 sensor 1
O2 volts bank 1 sensor 2
O2 volts bank 1 sensor 3
O2 volts bank 1 sensor 4
O2 volts bank 2 sensor 1
O2 volts bank 2 sensor 2
O2 volts bank 2 sensor 3
O2 volts bank 2 sensor 4
Speed (GPS)
Speed (OBD)
Throttle position
Timing advance
Transmission temperature (method 1)
Transmission temperature (method 2)
Trip distance
Turbo boost & vacuum gauge
Voltage (control module)
Voltage (OBD adapter)
The gauges are as accurate as anything you could want- they're getting their data from the same place your OE instruments are. Because this is my phone I'm not installing it in my car, but there's a great cubby in the dash right above the EVIC display that the phone fits in perfectly. I leave the car's display on cumulative MPG and the phone on instantaneous. I already have a tach and a speedometer. I already have a coolant temperature gauge as well, but it was unused space and I was curious about the temperature my car runs at. I already know it's in the middle of the OE needle, but I don't know how hot that is.

I'm glad I got Torque. It's going to help me be more effective at hypermiling. I just hope that I bet right on which Bluetooth OBD2 scanner to buy, because if I didn't then I'm buying another one. This app is worth it.

phunky.buddha 05-18-2011 01:42 AM

Awesome review! How much is the app?

my first gmc 05-18-2011 02:52 AM

The app is like 5 or 6 bucks, but there's a free version, then you have to get the scanner that's $44. Just ordered one to try it out since I got a american express gift card from work. I'll be using it for work since I drive to locations for jobs, so I bet I can write it off as a business expense. :P How accurate is the mileage widget? I love how my car tells my mileage and hopefully now I can do the same for my truck in real time.

Fat Charlie 05-18-2011 10:15 AM

The mileage is accurate. When I started with it I had instant and cumulative on together and they were both in line with my car's display, which is really close to what the odometer and gas pump agree on.

The app itself was less than $5, some oddball number because the developer is British and probably prices it in Euros or something. I spent $49 on the bluetooth ODB scanner.

One more thing- Your phone still works while Torque is running. Incoming calls aren't a problem and the default setting is to remain running in the background when you leave it, so any logging isn't interrupted. I'll leave any study of the logging features to the next guy, but I do like returning to an app in progress more than starting the app up all over again. If you're using your truck for work, the logging can probably help you deduct a little bit more than the price of the scanner & app. A pile pf receipts with log data is always better than a pile of receipts. That could really be worth looking into.

JasonG 05-18-2011 09:15 PM

Awesome !

I downloaded the free version for now.

Hope my ebay module works. If not I'm only out $18.

This could give a Scangauge II a run for the money.

I can pick up a Nook color for <$200 and root it. Hmmm.......

my first gmc 05-19-2011 12:22 AM


Originally Posted by JasonG (Post 239368)
I can pick up a Nook color for <$200 and root it. Hmmm.......

Nook's have bluetooth?

Fat Charlie 05-19-2011 10:57 AM

They do now: Nook Color Can Now Use Bluetooth For Keyboards And SIP Calling

There are also ODB scanners with USB output. That falls into the "I don't see why it wouldn't work" category, but I don't see why not. I asked over at the Torque forum if anyone has done that yet.

Fat Charlie 05-19-2011 01:11 PM

Well, now I see why not. Ian Hawkins answered me pretty quickly.


Unfortunately there is no Android API for connecting devices via USB, so at the moment itís not possible. However if Google add formal API support for USB host mode, then it may be possible to allow connection to USB adapters

I'm pretty sure that it's completely possible if Google decides to let people do that. In order to get screenshots without rooting my phone I had to download the SDK. It provided a datalink from my computer to the phone to log application activity (and get screenshots). Unfortunately Google hasn't seen a reason to let regular developers use the datalink feature by USB when it does let them use Bluetooth, WIFI and cell signal. Kind of a silly oversight if you ask me.

Fat Charlie 05-19-2011 02:13 PM

In a thread about MPG calculation someone posted a picture of their display.


Re: MPG Calculation
on: April 8, 2011

Oh, the free version. Havenít touched MPG in that for a *very* long time. Itís probably out, and definately wonít work for diesels. Probably where the issue is.

the MPG updates may make it to the free app over time (though at the minute I havent time to work on it as all my free time is going into the paid version). Iíll see what I can do in the next couple of weeks.
I just set up a screen with instant MPG, average MPG and trip length. I'll compare it against the car tomorrow and see how well they agree.

If you're at all curious, the Torque site is here.

i_am_socket 05-27-2011 10:43 AM

The answer for Android USB is here: Android ADK. Of course it's not fully implemented yet and will only support newer devices, but it's a start.

I recently had to remove my MPGuino to fix some engine warnings (where I spliced the wires was getting loose and the wires themselves were starting to rust) and I've been meaning to check out alternatives. I think I may go this route. Thanks for doing the review :thumbup:

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