2nd gen users: what do you make of the pro?

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I've been a mostly-happy owner of a 2nd gen adapter for over a year and a half--mostly happy because it mostly works as advertised--there are times when the bluetooth doesn't pair correctly with the phone (maybe 1 out of a dozen engine starts at this point), but it manages to re-sync on the subsequent drive.

I'm usually excited about hardware upgrades to a platform I'm already using, but the pro doesn't feel like a big upgrade to me--some features were eliminated (I see several people complaining about the loss of the fuel gauge--I don't care too much for that myself, but users never like features to be removed), and the new selling point was the 3G--it's nice to have real-time updates, but the primary use case--showing where you are to someone--seems to overlap with how I use waze already.

So, I'm at a point where I like the product enough to keep using it, but not enough to move to the latest and greatest despite the current product getting jettisoned from active development. What do you fellow 2nd gen users think? Or, fellow pro users, is there something you love about the pro that you think someone who has a 2nd gen would be enticed to upgrade for?
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Masashi Ito

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Posted 1 year ago

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Amy

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Hi Masashi - Hopefully some other users will answer your question as well but I can tell you as a person who has used the Gen 1, the Gen 2, and now the Pro since we first starting doing internal testing, I am loving the Pro. Yes, I do share my car so it's nice to have the real-time location of the car as it's driving. But beyond that, the fact that it is not reliant on a successful Bluetooth connection other than for initial setup and Check Engine Light diagnosing is amazing. As you've mentioned, one out of a dozen drives the BT just doesn't connect for you. BT connection is a finicky thing and not having to hassle with that is really nice. 

Additionally, the new app provides a really enjoyable user experience and will continue to be developed and expand its feature set. 

Ultimately, you need to decide what's best for you. If your Gen 2 adapter is still working most of the time and you value some of the features from the original app then stick with that for now!
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Howard

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Bluetooth is finicky?  since when? It's been streaming audio and data for several years now extremely reliably to 10's of thousands of devices.   My 8 year old Mazda CX-7 streams audio just fine to my iPhone X.  Not magic, just two products that support standards. 
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Howard

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Automatic Gen 2 now working with IOS 11.2. #AppleBug
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Masashi Ito

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Thanks Amy. Can you shed some light on the bluetooth experience of pro? Is it any more reliable than 2nd gen? The integration with 3rd party apps like obd fusion is still via BT, correct?
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Amy

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Hi Masashi. You'll use the Bluetooth connection for the initial setup and then again if you ever need to decode & clear the Check Engine Light. And yes, as Jeremiah mentioned below, it's required to use the OBDFusion integration, which is the only streaming app that's supported with the Pro. But yeah, overall even the BT connection is more reliable with Pro than with the older adapters. It gets really hard to keep our old hardware connecting reliably with newer and newer phones & their evolving operating systems. 

I had another cool Pro experience last week that I wanted to share. My car was in the shop for some body work. They had it for about 4 days and I was notified by the app every time they drove my car. I was able to see that they were only moving it from a parked location to another location within their facility. Each trip was super short. It was nice to have the peace of mind that they weren't taking it out for joy rides or using it to run errands. :) 
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jeremiah.moss

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Just got the Pro. The 3G functionality is pretty good, and does mean that there's less concern about the reliability of Bluetooth - if you don't use third party apps like OBD Fusion.

That said - you do have to make sure Automatic is connecting via Bluetooth when you are using third party apps. There are "Automatic Pro" and "Automatic Pro (LE)" connections, and for some reason "Automatic Pro" doesn't like to connect automatically on my iPhone, although that's the one needed to connect to third party apps.

For the most part, I upgraded for two reasons:
  1. My 2nd generation adapter was constantly opening the Automatic software when I started the car, which gets a bit annoying when trying to open Waze or Stitcher for my drive.
  2. The 2nd generation adapter is basically treated as obsolete. It may get some fixes to ensure it works with iOS 11, but they have stated they won't be adding any new features to the old software or moving it to the new software.
. . . which is actually kinda disappointing, as the 2nd generation adapter appears to have more functionality than the Lite adapter. It still has crash detection (not in Lite? Really?), it still has third party software integration, it still has last known parking location.
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Amy

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Here's an OBDFusion FAQ that might be helpful, Jeremiah.  
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jeremiah.moss

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I could have sworn I set it up, but apparently not. It's working great now :).

With it fully set up, Bluetooth definitely seems a lot more reliable now. Does Bluetooth LE help in establishing a regular Bluetooth connection?
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Amy

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Yes, I believe so. MFI proved to be somewhat problematic even though that was the official Apple-certified BT. 
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Masashi Ito

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Thanks for the replies. I've decided to give the pro a shot, mostly out of the hope that the bluetooth is more reliable (it's really annoying when it messes with the wireless carplay). If the BLE is implemented properly, that'd be a nice improvement on the phone battery consumption too.
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Masashi Ito

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As an update, I've driven to work with the pro, and all seems well--it didn't mess with wireless carplay or anything--but I suspect it's just masking the BT issue by not using it at all unless needed explicitly (for stuff like OBD Fusion). For example, it was completely oblivious to the fact that I parked in an underground parking lot and turned off the ignition--all it would say is that it can't connect to the server.

To be fair, it's no worse off than the 2nd gen in this regard, but given that it has both the network and the BT connection, it would be nice if the app realizes from the BT connection that the ignition is off and that I did indeed park--not just disappeared from the cellular network.
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Amy

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Hi Masashi - glad you're not having BT interference issues.

The loss of cellular connection when underground is known behavior. Here's our FAQ about this: What happens if there is no cellular coverage while using Automatic Pro?
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Marc

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Any news on adding speed alerts and low fuel warnings on the Pro? If not, is this a software or hardware limitation?
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Amy

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No news right now, Marc. These are things that are high on the list of features we'd like to add but there's not a timeline. My understanding is that it's software (firmware & app). 
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Marc

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Any more updates on adding speed alerts and low fuel warnings on the Pro?
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Derrick S., Official Rep

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Hi Marc,

There aren't any updates for these features unfortunately. 

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