Carlulu for BlackBerry 10 smartphones helps you record fill ups and tune ups. With our SUV starting to get a little older, I noticed that the trips to the repair shop were becoming more frequent and more expensive; neither of which came as a surprise. We've amassed a small pile of invoices and repair records that is only expected to grow. These are then filed away for safe keeping and for reference, not for ease of access on the go. That being said, obviously I opted to look for another method of tracking automotive repairs than just on paper; especially for when I'm away from home, possibly stuck on the side of the road. Carlulu offers just that; the ability to track how much gas (and money) your vehicles are guzzling from the tanks (and your wallet).
Understanding that it shouldn't replace the physical records I've collected, nor the service records at the repair shop, I decided to take Carlulu for a test drive to see if it ran smoothly on my BlackBerry or if it needed a tune up.
Carlulu comes in both a free version and a pro version (which is only $0.99). I'll get to the differences later on. From the main screen, you have quite a few options, which we'll look at in detail. First off, we should add in details about your car. Under the option My Car, you can enter in your Car Model, the model year, odometer, notes (its nickname, how many accidents it has had, etc), your email address and car code for syncing with the server. Now onto the main menu for record entry! Whooo, exciting!
The most prominently displayed options include the following:
Service – This is your complete service records that you have entered. At a glance you can see the type of service done, the date, odometer and cost. To add a service, you'll see the Add Svc option near the top. There is also an option to add additional notes (up to 300 characters); perhaps notes on suggested future repairs or to find someone cheaper next time.
Gas – No it's not a fart button, though there are still plenty of those (unfortunately) in BlackBerry World. Here, like the Service section, you'll see a record of your fill-ups. When you add an entry, you have the option to enter the date, the odometer, the amount paid and the amount of gas. Carlulu automatically calculates the price per litre (or gallon) for you, based on the details you added. Based on the info you entered, Carlulu will display a calculated fuel mileage.
Sync – This option allows you to sync your service and/or fuel records with the server for backup. Carlulu is cross platform, so you can track the same vehicle on other BlackBerry 10 smartphones or otherwise; provided that you use the same email address and car code.
There is no way to upgrade to pro version from within the Lite version, the app must be installed separately. Luckily, if you enter the same email address and car code from the Lite version into the Pro version, you can use the sync option to update both service records and gas records.
Advisor – Available only for the Pro version, the advisor (Xpert LuLu) takes the data you have entered into consideration and gives you recommendations on what you should be doing in order to properly maintain your vehicle. Carlulu goes on to say that this is only advice and you should refer to your owners manual, and of course your trusted mechanic. Advisor will tell you if and when parts need to be replaced, if the services you entered are still valid and will also give you tips on each topic (timing belt needs to be replaced every 100 000 km, for example).
The main menu also provides quick access to the Add Service and Add Gas options that are found in the categories above. These provide one less step, if you don't want to access service or fuel history. The Search option could come in handy if you have made a large number of entries into Carlulu; you can search for an entry by service type (brakes, coolant, etc), key words entered into notes or by entries after a specified date. This is especially useful when you are dealing with two vehicles. The options of Carlulu allow you to set the maximum number of entries (for both services and gas) to be retrieved from the server, which also helps with browsing through details. Other options allow you to switch between metric and imperial units of measurement. There appears to be an option where you can change your language and currency preferences, but you can only choose english and the dollar; perhaps this will be expanded upon in future updates.
- Quick, paperless access to service record details
- Data can be shared between multiple users
- Receive advice on future service needs in the Pro version
- UI is easy to navigate
- Lack of multiple language and currency support
- Cost entries must be rounded up to nearest whole unit; no decimal places allowed
- Initially time consuming if you have many prior entries to fill in
- Can only track up to 2 vehicles
If you want to have a brief, but neatly organized reference to track vehicle service and fill-ups, Carlulu is an app to look at. It sure beats jotting notes down into Remember without specified fields (don't get me wrong, I love using Remember for keeping track of other topics). While it's a great idea to keep your hard copies, why not have the basic information at your fingertips? If you break down, and are at a service station you haven't been to before, you'll have some records on what has already been done. The free version of Carlulu sets a record limit for service and fuel details where the Pro version has virtually no record limit (and the Advisor option to boot). The Lite version doesn't specify the limit, but I have yet to reach it. Both versions are available in BlackBerry World.