We've all downloaded an app on a whim — mostly because it was free — only to discover that it was actually useful. We might even end up recommending it to friends.
The Automotive Lighting iPhone app falls into just that category. Since its creator is Magneti Marelli, a maker of exterior lighting for automakers such as Audi and Mercedes, there's a cool car element to the app. And its crisp graphics place it a notch above other freebie flashlight apps we've seen. If a flashlight app can be slick, this one is. Think of it as the Maglite of flashlight apps.
Choose Your Vehicle
The first thing you notice when you start up the app is that you're given a high-resolution overhead view of four supercars. Choose your vehicle, and then select a color. Next, tap the start/stop button centered on a panel that looks convincingly like full grain leather and you're on to the next screen, which features your vehicle and three control buttons for lights on, pulse lighting and the option to choose among LED, xenon and halogen lamps.
When you're choosing the various lighting systems, you also get a graphic illustrating the different beam strengths. When we used the app, we couldn't discern any notable differences among the various flashlight beams. But you can adjust the light strength with what we think is the coolest feature of the app: Swiping the car forward or backward works as a dimmer by showing more or less of the headlights. Or you can just use the glowing red taillights.
We definitely can't classify Automotive Lighting as a must-have app. But we give it points for its creative approach to a decidedly mundane category of apps — and for its automotive theme.