September 27, 2022
AutoZen (app) – A quality replacement for Android Auto

We typically do not take the time to talk about apps since there is a whole dedicated market of publications for that. However, sometimes you find a special reason to discuss something. Due to the demise of Android Auto, a good replacement needs to be found and Google Assistant’s Drive Mode just isn’t it (not yet, at least). So we played with a number of alternatives and eventually ended with AutoZen as the one we wanted to discuss. This is going to sound like a conflicted recommendation though, but bear with me.

AutoZen is a great replacement for Android Auto since it is being removed from the market. Zen does some things even better than Auto did, like putting the focus on the map vs notification screen, or on the new widget screen that has a lot of promise (it’s not there yet, but it is still in beta). In fact, there are a number of things in this app that are or feel like they are in beta. However, we feel it has a strong future ahead.

I did a lot of playing with it and found that there are a few things that will cause me to seek something else for now. It wouldn’t be a permanent escape as I will likely come back over time (I even paid for Premium in preparation for a comeback). I just feel that a dumbed-down interface like Google Maps would be something I will use for now until Zen is in its prime.

For one, it does indeed seem to chew up a bit more battery than Google Maps does. I have a wireless fast charger in the car, so this counters it, but it is indeed noticeable. Many navigation apps suffer from this though and even Google Maps can go through growing pains from time to time.

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