FOBO Tire Review: A Tire Pressure Monitoring Kit

FOBO Tire is an advanced Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) using the latest Bluetooth 4.0 that works directly with your Android and iOS device. It also comes with an intelligent In-Car monitoring unit that works on its own or simultaneously with your smart phone. They have recently completed a successful round of funding via Indiegogo, raising 190k out of a target of 25k. The product is now on sale on their website for 175 USD.

I received my FOBO Tire promptly as promised, as one of the Indiegogo funders, and promptly put the device through its paces.

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The device came in a nice box, albeit with one too many logos on the side. But in addition to the device itself, it comes with 6 locking nuts (2 spares) and 2 locking wrenches. The locking nuts were a suggestion during the indiegogo funding process, to prevent people from stealing your sensors. Although technically the thieves would have on their hands a useless sensor, you’ll also be losing out if your sensor was stolen. The sensors are tied specially to your account, until you deactivate them. The sensors come with a choice of either black or silver covers. The sensors uses CR2023 batteries (same as what you use for watches) and are supposed to last up to 2 years.


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Installation was a pain for me the first time around. Bearing in mind that these are bluetooth devices, which meant that they had to go through a slow bluetooth pairing process one sensor by one sensor. The app provided also had no feedback on why the pairing sometimes failed, and once it failed, you had to repeat the pairing process from the very first sensor. I was left wondering whether i had a faulty sensor, and I ended up taking a break before trying again. The pairing process the second time around went much smoother. The sensor is actually very big though. Pardon my very worn out rims.

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You have two ways of getting feedback from the monitoring system. Through the in-car unit as well as the app that you can install in your phone.

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You can place your in-car unit anywhere in your car. FOBO provided a velcro tape for you to affix the unit, and remove it each time you want. I would recommend reading the manual on how it works though. I didn’t and I didn’t know how the thing works until I gave in and read the manual. Using sensors inside the in-car unit, it’ll power on each time it detects your engine running/car moving. I found this portion working well. There will be a beep indicating that the unit is on (and a different beep if it failed), followed by a one time check of all your tyres. Any issues, there will be a light indicating the problematic tyre. If it’s a serious case, like a totally flat tyre, the device will keep the alarm on. The in-car unit works without the phone app, but the phone app is required to initialize the system at the start. It is recommended to keep the in-car unit inside the car at all time. I would agree too, I see no need for it outside of the car.

The whole system is controlled via the app on your phone. It’s easy to use, and displays the tyre pressure readings and temperature at one go. Updates might be slow when you first open the app. The app needs to establish connections with all the sensors. In the current app, there’s no way to tell when the readings were last updated (whether it was when you were previously using the app, or whether it’s a new reading). But the developers have already promised to change this in a future update. Either way, just be patient, and the readings will appear soon enough.

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Settings are changed through the app, and might take a while to be sent down to the in-car unit. You can either trigger it manually, or it will be updated each time the in-car unit starts up. Anyway, it’s unlikely that you will keep changing the settings anyway. You can choose your preferred tyre pressure, as well as the upper and lower bound which triggers the alarm. I wished I didn’t have to select which car I wanted to be displayed each time i open the app though. I only have one car. The app also allows you to indicate that you’ve done tyre rotation, so you don’t have to remove the sensor itself.

At a retail price of $175, it’s very expensive. Tyre pressure monitoring systems on aliexpress go for around $100-120. Admittedly FOBO is the only one working off bluetooth. However, the additional features that come from that arn’t very useful. Although there’s “24 hours” of monitoring, you’ll only be updated when you’re near your car. (at which point you can just look at the in car unit). And although you can “have 20 cars” in the app, the tyre data only gets updated when you’re near your car. Having said that, the system works well and accurately. I do think a tyre pressure monitoring is a good to have (regardless of which system you get). I remember driving once with a nail in my tyre, without realizing that my tyre was slowly becoming flat, until it was too late.

There’s a version that can be used for motorbikes as well. Find out more here. 

 

tedfox

Zhaolin aka Tedfox owns both Nexus 7 (2012 and 2013), a Nexus 4, iNo Two, and the OnePlus One. He enjoys playing with the latest gadgets as well as software, - like Plex and Waze.

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