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Launch CRP 123 Professional review

It may feel like a gaming machine, but the Launch CRP 123 Professional can still handle those pesky car problems

Launch CRP 123 Professional menu screen
(Image: © Launch)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Its big screen and wide format make the Launch CRP 123 Professional an excellent OBD scanner to figure out what’s wrong with your car, but it lacks a touchscreen and its cable is too short.

Pros

  • +

    Wide color screen

  • +

    Good assortment of diagnostic tests

  • +

    Inexpensive

  • +

    Comes with 16GB micro SD card

Cons

  • -

    Short cable

  • -

    Lacks touchscreen

Launch CRP123 Professional: Specs

Size: 7.8 x 4.2 x 1.1 inches
Weight: 10.3 ounces
Live data: Yes
Display type and size: Color, 3.5 inches
Number of keys: 7
Bluetooth & app: No
Handheld: Yes
Warranty: 1 year

If you’re looking for an OBD scanner that has lots of diagnostic power and a large screen to show what’s going on inside your ride, look no further than the Launch CRP 123 Professional. Not only can it interrogate every major aspect of the car, but it is a lot easier to handle than other horizontal scanners. Inexpensive at $146, it comes with a flash storage card for moving data to a desktop computer.

Launch CRP123 Professional: Pricing and availability

At $146, the Launch CRP123 Professional is a crossover device that is aimed at knowledgeable DIYers and professional mechanics. The company also sells inexpensive scanners that start at under $30 all the way up to professional gear that tops out at $1,200.

Launch CRP123 Professional: Design

The horizontally-oriented Launch CRP123 Professional packs a lot of diagnostic power into a small case. At 7.4 x 4.3 x 1.1 inches it’s slightly smaller than Foxwell’s similar NT614 and has finger cutouts in the back for securely gripping the device. While it requires two hands to use the CRP123, its 10.3 ounce weight is a relief to work with compared to the NT614’s 1.1 pound heft. 

Using the CRP123 can feel like playing with a Nintendo Switch, although its 3.5-inch screen feels skimpy, particularly in light of the NT614’s 4.3-inch display. Unlike the Topdon ArtiDiag 500, neither the CRP123 nor the NT614 have touch sensitive screens that ease navigation within the scanner’s menu.  

Launch CRP 123 Professional reading

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

With seven keys available, the interface has a four-way control and actuation key, as well as an escape button and one for interpreting the diagnostic code from the scanner’s internal database. There are no shortcut buttons as on NT614 that can streamline its use.

The device’s front LEDs show it’s turned on and connected to the car’s computer. Inside, the CRP123 has all the generic codes listed as well as some manufacturer-specific codes. Unfortunately, it can’t suggest repairs or the needed parts, something several Innova scanners do.

Launch CRP 123 Professional menu screen

(Image credit: Launch)

While the top of the case has a connector for the OBD cable, the bottom has a micro USB port for updating its firmware or connecting to a printer. It has a micro SD card slot, for use with the included 16GB flash card that’s covered by a fold open door.

Launch CRP123 Professional: Setup

A few seconds after I plugged the CRP123 into the OBD-II port of my 2014 Audi A4 AllRoad, its screen lit up. There are links for Diagnose, Settings and Help. On the downside, the 46-inch cable is too short for any use other than in the car’s cabin. It worked well with the three-foot OBD cable extension cord that extended the scanner’s reach into the car’s engine bay.

In addition to the scanner, the package included a USB cable, an OBD cable, 16GB microSD card, a microSD card reader as well as a start-up booklet. Launch includes a 1-year warranty as well as lifetime firmware updates. Based in southwestern England, Launch’s website provides help with printing and formatting the flash card for use, but not much more. For specific questions, you can email or call them, but you’ll pay for the call. 

Launch CRP123 Professional: Performance

A crossover device that should appeal equally to driveway DIYers and professional mechanics, the CRP123 goes beyond the expected tasks, like a pre-inspection I/M Readiness test and showing the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). It was able to run a complete set of diagnostic tests on everything from the car’s catalytic converter and oxygen sensor to anti-lock brakes and air bags. It can also reset the oil change light as well as adjust the steering wheel angle.

The scanner immediately responded to my introduced fault when I disconnected the oil temperature sensor. After fixing the problem, I was able to turn off the Check Engine light. 

Launch CRP 123 Professional graph

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The data can be shown numerically on-screen as well as graphed. With the included USB cable, it can be linked to a notebook or desktop PC for printing just about any item. Unlike the Topdon ArtiDiag 500, it can’t run on battery power, but the CRP123 Pro came with a 16GB microSD card for transferring data to your computer.

Launch CRP123 Professional: Verdict

Attempting to appeal to home mechanics as well as garage pros, the Launch CRP 123 Professional feels like a gaming machine in the hand yet can ferret out pesky problems with your car. While its cable can’t reach from the car’s interior to the engine bay, the CRP 123 Pro offers a lot for a modest price tag with an excellent assortment of diagnostic tests and the ability to turn off the Oil Change light. In other words, it’s a lot of OBD scanner for the money. 

Brian Nadel is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in technology reporting and reviewing. He works out of the suburban New York City area and has covered topics from nuclear power plants and Wi-Fi routers to cars and tablets. The former editor-in-chief of Mobile Computing and Communications, Nadel is the recipient of the TransPacific Writing Award.