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Android Compatibility

This page discusses and recommends compatible accessories for Android devices and our line of Harry's app. Although the page is focussed a lot on Harry's LapTimer, findings apply to most other apps too. LapTimer in particular is pretty "extendable" and allows to evolve a basic installation step by step to a professional data recording kit. 

There are lots of discussions on accessories on the forum. In case you have questions, please join a thread or start a new one. Like on the forum, this page is structured in sensor types (with a few exceptions). We rate these sensors with respect to LapTimer use, not in general. The selection of sensors discussed is derived from our experience with the sensor and with the company creating it. Although the selection is pretty extensive, it does not cover every device available. Some sensor not mentioned in individual discussions may be listed in the closing of a sensor type section. And sensors not mentioned at all are likely not recommended at all. 

NB: Although this page is updated regularly, things change pretty fast and today's best is probably second best tomorrow.

We do not sell hardware and we are not associated with individual manufacturers. We fully concentrate on supporting you in getting the best possible experience when using our apps. You can help us maintaining this page by using the "Buy From" links below. It doesn't cost extra. The links will select a local store automatically. In case your store does not have the accessory listed, please use the manufacturer's link.

When ordering accessories from other countries (e.g. Europeans ordering directly from an US manufacturer's web site) take care you check shipping costs as well as VAT and other taxes due during import. Regulations vary by country.

Smartphones

LapTimer's formal minimum requirement for an Android smartphone is it has Android 4.0 or later installed. We are big friends of always staying up to date, so please load the latest Android version available for you make / model.

As a real power app, LapTimer is quite demanding in terms of main memory and processing power. The Geekbench benchmark shows a good comparison of current devices and their processing performance. Our tests using LapTimer v18 show you need a device scoring 1200 in the MultiCore benchmark to have fun. This means a device like Samsung's S III is kind of the lower end. Especially when recording and overlaying video, go as far up as possible. In case you want to record OBD data in parallel to video recording, please make sure you get a 4 core processor.

Main memory is another critical parameter. Due to Android's type of memory management, main memory should actually be double the size of what active apps actually use. Devices with less than 1 GB of main memory will run out of space frequently - in particular when processing video. We recommend 2 GB or more main memory. 

When using LapTimer's video functions (both recording and overlaying), another very important system parameter is storage available. A smartphone with a SD card slot is preferred against smartphones emulating SD cards using their internal memory. A second advantage of an external SD card is results can be transferred to a desktop fast and easy. In case you plan to record videos regularly, select a 64 GB SD card or even bigger.

The Android smartphone market is pretty fragmented and many manufacturers compete in this space. In 2015, the largest manufacturers by share were Samsung, Lenovo/Motorola, Huawei, and LG Electronics (links show 2015 top models). They all run a big portfolio of smartphones with many matching LapTimer's requirements.  

Our Android line of apps is not yet optimized for tablets. You can use a tablet nevertheless, but will get too small fonts and other not so nice effects. NB: Many tablets miss an internal GPS sensor. You will probably not notice this as positons are derived from mobile and Wi-Fi networks by this devices. But, this approach named "triangulation" is no replacement for an accurate GPS sensor and cannot be used on track. In case your device misses an internal GPS, please check the section GPS and GNSS for external solutions.

Mounts

A stable mount is the only accessory besides a power supply one needs to start using LapTimer. A mount is used to install the smartphone in a place it has both perfect operating conditions (like good GPS reception and a low amount of vibrations) and can be monitored by the driver. Please never use LapTimer without a mount - like placing the smartphone in your cloth or in your car's center console. You need to be serious about this when attending track days.

There are plenty of mounts available today, in all colors, shapes, sizes, and prices. Only a very small number of mounts is well suited for track or other heavy duty use. We have tested dozens and were almost always disappointed. The selection shown here covers some mounts produced by RAM Mounts(R). RAM Mount has an incredible big portfolio for all kinds of vehicle types, mounting positions, and smartphone form factors. They are not the only ones to provide usable solutions, neither all of their mounts are suitable for track use. So please read this section as our recommendation on devices we have experience with. Use a slightly different one (e.g. one made from composite instead of aluminium, or one with a smaller suction cup), and you will get completely different results.

racelogic vbox sport RAM Mount Suction Cup plus Adapter for Cars

The full description is "RAM Twist Lock Suction Cup with Double Socket Arm and Diamond Base Adapter; Overall Length: 6.75 in". The product number is RAM-B-166U. This is kind of the mother of mounts used with LapTimer. It is super stable and allows to position the smartphone in a way it has a free field of view (for video recording). Please do not opt for the cheaper composite version! When installing, make sure you place the suction cup in the top of the windscreen and let the arm point down. To attach your Android phone to this mount, please add one of the generic X-Grip cradles. They are available in different sizes, the most common will be the RAM-HOL-UN7BU. In case RAM Mount has a cradle for your specific make / model available, we recommend to order this instead of the X-Grip. It will show less vibrations and will lock the phone.



Buy at AmazonRAM Mount

racelogic vbox sportRAM Mount Motorcycle Fork Stem Base

This is the motorbiker's counter part of the suction cup model for cars. Its full name is "RAM Motorcycle Fork Stem Base with 1 in Ball", the product number is RAM-B-342U. The base is optimized for a big number of motorbikes. This list of compatible bikes is listed on RAM Mount's site. Like for the car version, add either a make / model specific, or a generic X-Grip cradle to attach the phone. In addition, you need to order an arm and another ball to connect the stem base with the cradle: RAM-B-201U-A and RAM-B-238U. This combination is well suited to orient the device for perfect lean angle measurements. There is a similar package with a longer arm available (product number RAM-B-176U).


Buy at AmazonRAM Mount

 

As introduced above, RAM Mount provides several other options. The above two examples are the ones used most frequently. In case you do not want to, or cannot use a suction cup, you may opt for a RAM Flex Adhesive Base with 1" Ball (RAP-B-378U) or a RAM Rail Base (e.g. RAM-B-231U).

GPS and GNSS

Allmost all Android phones supported by LapTimer come with an internal GPS sensor and can be used for lap timing out of the box. However, if you are interested in higher accuracy and use LapTimer a lot, we recommend the use of an external GPS accessory. For Android tablets it may be a different story. They do not necessarily come with an internal GPS sensor (network triangulation only) and thus may not work without additional sensor support. Please check your tablet's specs to find out.

Adding a GPS to an Android device is easy as Bluetooth is making a versatile connection. There are lots of devices around and LapTimer will be compatible to any device implementing the NMEA 0183 (or later) standard. In case you run into compatibility issues, please let me know and we will get this fixed.

Whenever possible, LapTimer will access the GPS's NMEA stream directly. To allow this, turn off any GPS helper app that may come with your GPS and add the Bluetooth device to LapTimer's Sensor List. For a how-to on connecting Bluetooth GPS sensors to your Android smartphone, please read this FAQ:

[HOWTO] Connecting GPS/OBD Bluetooth Devices

The list below is not a list of all compatible devices. Please consider it just a selection of accessories we have seen a lot.

dual xgps 160Dual XGPS 160 (Sky Pro)

Dual's XGPS 160 is LapTimer's work horse currently and will provide very good data recordings for most users. It delivers 10 positions per second (10 Hz) and utilizes both the U.S. GPS and the Russian GLONASS system. Using both systems has its advantage in having nearly double the number of satellites available–yielding better accuracy and better lock stability. The XGPS 160's ability to connect to several devices at once does not look like a key feature initially, but saves you from conflicts when accessing it with more than one smartphone. LapTimer is fully integrated with all of this device's features.



Buy at Amazon

dual xgps 150Dual XGPS 150A

The Dual XGPS 150A is the 160's predecessor and has been the former recommendation for LapTimer. Other than the 160, it comes with a 4 or 5 Hz GPS only chip (i.e. no GLONASS support) and connects to one smartphone at a time. In terms of integration and capabilities, we consider it the same value for money like the 160, making it the recommended solution for price sensitive users. NB: the XGPS 150A often comes with a 1 Hz firmware preinstalled. To enabled 4 or 5 Hz operation, please sign up for the fast firmware here



Buy at Amazon

racelogic vbox sportRacelogic VBOX Sport

Except for the Autosport Labs RaceCapturePro/MK II sensor (see OBD and Engine sensors), Racelogic's VBOX Sport is the fastest GPS available for LapTimer currently. It delivers all data LapTimer uses at a rate of 20 Hz. This update rate is actually beyond what most users will need but an impressive output. The device uses GPS only but is able to deliver corrected data even at 20 Hz. Racelogic is a well known expert in track data recording equipment, something the VBOX Sport clearly benefits from. When opting for this solution, we strongly recommend to attach the external antenna offered. We found the antenna built into the device to be not en par with the rest of the package. NB: this GPS is supported by LapTimer GrandPrix only.



Buy at AmazonRacelogic

garmin gloGarmin Glo

Other than for iOS, we can recommend Garmin's GLO sensor for Android. Like the Dual XGPS160, it delivers 10 Hz update rates and utilizes both the GPS and the GLONASS system. Not a lot more to say on this sensor, it is light weight and comforms to the NMEA standard. Not sure the option to exchange the battery makes sense, but it has it.



Buy at Amazon

qstarzQstarz BT-Q818 XT

Qstarz has a long history in producing GPS accessories. The Qstarz BT-Q818 XT is the one used most often by track visitors. Its main advantage is a good price / value ratio. The Q818 XT delivers GPS at 10 Hz like other devices listed above. You may want to throttle it to 5 Hz nevertheless. At 10 Hz, the device is not able to use differential information improving accuracy. The Qstarz BT-Q818 XT uses GPS only.



Buy at Amazon

OBD II and Combos

The following section shows a number of genuine OBD II dongles supported by LapTimer. I'm aware there are a lot cheaper ELM327 copies around but I discourage their use. Although LapTimer will connect to most – if not all – ELM327 wifi dongles, my recommendation is to spend the money for a genuine ELM 327 dongle like those listed. It really makes you feel better because you know what you connect to your car's bus. Furthermore we consider all these knock offs to be product piracy hurting those who invest in innovation.

Besides the discussion below, we regularly run benchmarks on OBD II update rates achieved with LapTimer. Up to date results are available in this thread.

 

obdlink mx btOBDLink MX Bluetooth

The OBDLink MX BT adapter is incredible fast and probably the first choice when looking for an OBD II adapter for Android. It connects using Bluetooth and supports all relevant bus protocols. For a how-to on connecting Bluetooth OBD sensors to your Android smartphone, please read this FAQ:

[HOWTO] Connecting GPS/OBD Bluetooth Devices



Buy at AmazonScanTool

 

obdlink lx btOBDLink LX Bluetooth

The OBDLink LX BT is the budget version of the MX adapter. We have not seen any difference in performance. The major difference between the two versions is the LX's missing support for proprietary Ford and GM vehicle networks (MS-CAN and SW-CAN). As long as you plan to use the adapter with LapTimer only, you can opt for the LX. The Ford / GM extension isn't used by LapTimer.



Buy at AmazonScanTool

automatic 2genPLX Kiwi 3

This adapter joins PLX's iOS and Android product lines (WiFi and BT) using Bluetooth Low Energy (BT LE). BT LE is available for modern Android smartphones and works around complex connection making. At least Android 4.3 is required. Update rates measured are en par with GoPoint's BT1 for non CAN vehicles, and a bit faster then the BT1 for CAN cars. As a word of caution, we see many Android BT LE implementations are not stable. This is the reason LE support needs to be enabled manually before the adapter can be connected: LapTimer ‣ Administration ‣ Settings ‣ Expert Settings ‣ Accessory Tweaks ‣ Use Bluetooth LE Sensors ‣ ON. There is a known problem with connection making for early Kiwi shippings. Please make sure you update your firmware to 15.0.0.2 or later to fix it.

Buy at AmazonPLX

obdlink lx btRaceCapture (Track, Pro MK1/2/3, Apex)

The devices for the specialists. RaceCapture devices come with a higher price tag than other adapters on this page, but offer huge value for money and pro level sensors. All of Autosport Labs' devices are integrated into LapTimer GrandPrix now. LapTimer pulls a defined set of GPS and engine data as described on the forum. Please make sure you set your device configuration accordingly. All but the Track device connect either to a standard OBD II port, to CAN directly, or allow the connection of individual analog and digital sensors. Data rates are up to 50 Hz. Keep in mind these beasts require some fun and skills in tech tweaking from you! For Android, Bluetooth options are preferable.



Autosport Labs

gopoint bt1GoPoint BT1A

GoPoint's BT1A can be used both for Android and iOS. It uses Bluetooth for connection making. Although LapTimer has some optimizations built in, it is not the fastest OBD II connector you can buy today. So in case you are interested in Android only, there are probably better solution around (namely the OBDLink adapters). In case you want to get the option to keep your OBD adapter when changing platforms, it will be the best solution for you. NB: Make sure you get the BT1A version, not the BT1. The later is iOS only. Please make sure you update the firmware to 177.0.6 or later.


Buy at AmazonGoPoint

automatic 2genPLX Kiwi 2 Bluetooth

PLX has been a pioneer in making OBD II available on smartphones. The Kiwi 1 has been the first adapter LapTimer integrated years ago. It's 2nd generation successor, the PLX Kiwi 2 BT, should be considered an evolution, it is not a completely different device. PLX uses the ELM 327 command set to allow apps to access it. This in turn makes it a pretty universal solution compatible with many apps. In case you can get your hands on one of these, they are still a very good solution.


Buy at AmazonPLX

Action Cams

Today's smartphones come with great internal cams contributing awesome material to add overlays using LapTimer. Nevertheless, there are some limitations making external solutions interesting. For spectacular driving videos, a wide field of view is what you want. Action cams listed below all come with wide angle objectives.

hero5GoPro HERO5 Black

The latest and greatest HERO generation, the HERO5, is an incredible cam to record videos on track. While the HERO 5 comes with a number of new features compared to the HERO 4 generation, it does not really have an advantage when using it LapTimer focussed. As an example, the HERO's GPS cannot be used for data recording. The HERO5 supports browsing through videos on the cam's SD card. It is even possible to download videos from within LapTimer. This means there is no manual operation necessary when overlaying videos recorded externally. Like for the HERO 4 gen, connection making can be a bit cumbersome as it utilizes both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Please plan exchange batteries or an external power supply.



Buy at Amazon

hero4GoPro HERO4 (Silver, Black, Session, Plus, LCD)

Although the HERO4 has been replaced by the HERO 5 now, it is perfect for using it with LapTimer. We like the Silver Edition in particular, because it supports all cam modes LapTimer can process and has a nice back side touch screen allowing field of view adjustments easily. It allows browsing through videos on the cam's SD card and it is possible to download videos from within LapTimer. This means there is no manual operation necessary when overlaying videos recorded externally! Connection making can be a bit cumbersome as the HERO4 introduces some dependencies between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Common for all HEROs is the lousy battery time. Please plan exchange batteries or an external power supply.



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hero3GoPro HERO3/3+ (All)

GoPro started a trend when introducing their line of HERO action cams. Although not the latest model any more, the 3 and 3 plus series is still an up to date model and used by many friends of dynamic sport clips. We are official GoPro development partners and are able to provide a much better integration between LapTimer and HEROs compared to initial experiments. To automatically record videos in parallel with data recording, LapTimer GrandPrix is required. GoPro's HERO3/3+ is connected to the smartphone using Wi-Fi, keep that in mind in case you want to add other accessories. Not all of LapTimer's latest features are supported for the HERO3/3+, automatic transfer of footage from cam to smartphone in particular. For more information, please check the Video Documentation.



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sonyAS100Sony Cams

Sony has made Wi-Fi remote controlling available for many of its latest cams. The full list is available on Sony's website. Like for GoPro HERO cams, connections are made using Wi-Fi. This in turn blocks any other accessory using this channel (e.g. OBD Wi-Fi adapters). The range of video quality is as big as the number of supported devices is. Choosing the Sony HDR-AS200 as a typical action cam, video quality is mostly considered a bit below the HERO counterpart, but the price is lower too. Features supported by LapTimer (et al) vary by model. Oddly, Sony has decided to cripple the cam's interface in several areas. This is the reason LapTimer does not support access to videos on the cam currently. Instead, you need to copy footage manually just like for the HERO3. We plan to find a workaround for this in the future.



Buy at Amazon

garmin virbGarmin VIRB Cams

Support for Garmin's VIRB X, VIRB XE, and VIRB Ultra 30 has been added recently. Like for most action cams, connections are made using Wi-Fi. This in turn blocks any other accessory using this channel (e.g. OBD Wi-Fi adapters). Like for Sony's cams, LapTimer does not support direct access to videos on the cam currently, footage needs to be transferred manually. No big deal, direct transfers are a lot faster anyway.



Buy at Amazon

I'm contacted frequently with the question if action cam XY is compatible with LapTimer too. The answer is "any external action cam recording H.264 encoded HD and FullHD videos can be used to provide video which can be overlaid by LapTimer". This statement however focusses on compatibility of video material, not remote controlling or integrating the cam with LapTimer. A tight remote controlling integration including easy synchronization of data recordings and video is provided for the above cams only. For all others, the cam needs to be operated manually, synchronization needs to be added by the user, and transfer of footage from cam to smartphone is a manual process too. All of this is described in Video Documentation.

Please understand I will not add further cam support as long as the cam manufacturer does not offer a public developer program, or offers individual support for integration. I contacted many in the past but found most of them not interested in 3rd party support.