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Foxwell NT680 Pro review: A top-quality pro-spec OBD-II scanner you can carry around

Our Rating :
£300.17 from
Price when reviewed : £389
inc VAT

Built to face the rigours of daily use, the Foxwell NT680 Pro is a portable diagnostics tool for enthusiasts and professional mechanics


  • Portable and well made
  • Covers lots of makes and models
  • Easy and free to update


  • Manual provided in the box is useless
  • Limited coding capabilities

Today’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) scanners, which plug into the OBD-II port of any vehicle manufactured in or after 1996, essentially allow safe access to a car or van’s numerous electronic control units (ECUs), detecting any issues that the system might be logging.

The Foxwell NT680 Pro Diagnostic Car Scan Tool is a professional-orientated device, as it covers a vast number of vehicle manufacturers from across the globe, including some obscure Chinese brands, while providing live data, fault reading and maintenance tools.

It’s a fairly large unit, but with just five main buttons it’s relatively easy to use. The full-colour TFT display is also
very easy to read, even in low-light situations. For those with a decent amount of mechanical knowledge, or people caring for lots of different cars, this is a great tool to have in your arsenal.

Foxwell NT680 Pro review: What do you get for the money?

Although largely fashioned from plastic (with some rubber grip around the edges), the Foxwell NT680 feels well built – as it should for £389. The budget does buy you a handy plastic carry case to keep everything safe, but the thin ‘quick start’ manual doesn’t go into great depth.

If you want to extract every single feature from this OBD-II scanner, you need to visit the Foxwell website and download the comprehensive 30-odd page user guide, which walks you through absolutely every detail.

Unlike some smartphone- and tablet-based systems, Foxwell says updates on this unit will be free for life, meaning that new vehicle models and system improvements are released as a firmware patch you download from the website (I’ll come to this later).

The list of systems it reads, fault codes it clears and models with which it’s compatible is extensive, and this is one of its biggest attractions. You can even plug this thing into a Bugatti and run detailed diagnostics.

The Foxwell NT680 reads from Engine, SRS (Airbag), ABS, Automatic Gearbox, Central Locking, Climate Control and a number of other controllers and ECUs, while cars from the Asian and American markets are largely covered as well.

Additional features include the ability to service electronic parking brakes (retracting them into a service position), diesel
particulate filter regeneration, oil service reset and the option to register a new battery – something that’s surprisingly costly with some auto brands.

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Foxwell NT680 Pro review: What do we like about it?

As I mentioned earlier, this unit could happily be put to work in a local garage or by a mobile mechanic. However, it will be overkill for anyone who simply wants to read a few fault codes and potentially erase them.

Alongside diagnostics, the Foxwell NT680 will assist in resetting service intervals once they’ve been carried out, and it can also read out reams of live data, so experienced users can check the figures are operating within suggested parameters.

At around 18cm tall and 9cm wide it’s a beefy device that feels solid, and it’s really easy to operate, even with oily or gloved hands, as its oversized buttons give a reassuring click when pushed. You can also opt to have an audible beep every time a button is pressed, but this quickly becomes irritating.

The entire system is logically laid out, with a tiered menu making it a doddle to progress forward or go back a level without having to start from scratch. There’s also a 16GB microSD card embedded in the tool, which allows for complex data to be saved, removed and then viewed on a laptop. Foxwell provides software on its website to assist with this.

Foxwell NT680 Pro review: What could it do better?

Loading times between screens can sometimes take a while, and the diagnostics themselves are rather slow. But then that has been the case with any OBD-II scanner we’ve used that goes into this kind of depth.

And, as I mentioned above, the quick start guide is no good. You’ll have to head to the Foxwell website to download a much more thorough guide, although I found most of it pretty self-explanatory once I got going. Updating the unit requires plugging it into a PC or laptop, and it has to be a Windows machine for it to work; Mac users be warned.

The other important thing to note is that this device can’t write code, which some cheaper alternatives can. The Carly, for example, is able to recode certain elements of some models, such as tweaking the interior ambient lighting or changing the logo on your infotainment system display.

The Foxwell NT680 can reset certain elements, and even change the default tyre size in the vehicle’s menu systems, but that’s the limit of its coding abilities. This is very much a straightforward diagnostics tool.

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Foxwell NT680 Pro review: Should you buy it?

Aside from opting for a professional tool from the likes of Snap-On et al, which can cost over £3,000 and come with monthly subscription fees, the Foxwell NT680 is about as close as you can get to a professional device without the big-garage budget.

It’s a superb option for advanced hobbyists and will even make a nice addition to the toolbox for those who work on vehicles for a living. There will inevitably be some gaps in coverage, and the Foxwell NT680 won’t be able to do everything that’s advertised for every model on sale, but it gets very close and is very easy to update, so long as you have a Windows computer.

Granted, it’s expensive, but the annual subscription packages associated with the likes of Carly and other smartphone-based diagnostics tools soon add up. The Foxwell NT680 will pay for itself in a couple of years if used regularly.

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