Perhaps the most innovative and advanced scan tools on the market are the Autel MaxiSys Ultra, Autel MaxiSys Elite, and the Launch X431 PAD V. They are a dream come true for auto technicians and mechanics.
If you’ve come across the three devices, you’re probably wondering why you should get one over the other.
This review and comparison guide covers just that.
It’s especially made for professionals that are looking for a user-friendly professional scan tool for full system diagnostics, divert service functions, and ECU programming.
Let’s delve into what each diagnostic tool offers.
Table of Contents
Autel MaxiSys Ultra Vs. Elite Vs. Launch X431 PAD V comparison chart
Autel MaxiSys Ultra
Autel MaxiSys Elite
Launch X431 PAD V
|Advanced service functions||10/10||9/10||10/10|
|Supported protocols||OBD2 protocols, DOIP, D-PDU, Mega CAN, SAE J2534, & RP1210||OBD2 protocols||OBD2 protocols, D-DPU, J2534, RP1210, CAN FD and DOIP|
|Vehicle coverage||Cars, SUVs, 12V trucks, hybrids, EVs||Cars, SUVs, 12V trucks, hybrids, EVs||OBD2 protocols, D-DPU, J2534, RP1210, CAN FD and DOIP|
*Notes: Excellent: 9-10; Good: 7-8; Fair: 5-6; Poor: 3-4; Very poor: 1-2
Autel MaxiSys Ultra Vs. Elite Vs. Launch X431 PAD V: Review and comparison
Are you a professional mechanic/technician that wants an advanced diagnostic scan tool for fast repairs and maintenance?
You have a choice among three full OBD2 diagnostics, full system diagnostics, and ECU programming scanners.
The three devices enjoy superfast Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity plus capacitive touchscreens.
Here’s what they have to offer in the way of advanced functions.
Advanced system diagnostics
All three scanners support OE-level system diagnostics. You can read trouble codes from all modules for 90% of OBD2-compliant vehicles. We are talking more than engine, airbag, ABS and transmission. You can also look at all the systems in your vehicle, including the SRS, TMPS, EPB, etc.
These scanners can produce freeze frame data, powertrain diagnostic data, emission diagnostic data, emission diagnostic trouble codes, oxygen sensor monitoring test results, and onboard monitoring tests.
Also, all three perform intelligent diagnostics. When you insert the scanner, they will automatically read the VIN information. However, on the Launch X431 PAD V, you can see a real-time voltage display.
Both the Autel MaxiSys Ultra and Launch X431 PAD V support topology mapping. This means they can check all systems communications and DTCs visually. Still, you can perform remote diagnostics with PAD V. It supports instant messaging and remote diagnosis to make the job easier and faster.
Meanwhile, with the MaxiSys Ultra, you can see two different functions since it supports split-screen multitasking. Furthermore, you can turn the MaxiSys Ultra into a 4-channel oscilloscope, waveform generator, CAN Bus Tester, and multimeter. These functions are entirely optional on the Launch X431 PAD V.
As you can see, you have more functionalities with the Autel MaxiSys Ultra. It’s our recommendation for advanced system diagnostics.
Advanced service functions
The three devices allow you to access standard reset features. These include oil lamp reset, injector coding, electronic parking brake reset, steering angle calibration, ABS bleeding, TPMS reset, etc.
However, if you’re looking for repair advice, MaxiSys Ultra gives you detailed repair information and illustrations. It also includes an extensive waveform library, plus Oscilloscope preset guides. The MaxiSys Elite gives you access to the MaxiFix platform for repair and diagnostics tips.
On the other hand, PAD V also has sunroof reset, suspension, AFS, gearbox, and EGR reset. It also supports Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) to access unique electric components in vehicles.
Equally important, all three scanners have bidirectional functionality. It means you can perform active tests on various systems and modules. But the specific systems supported are dependent on the vehicle make and model.
You can program the ECU on any of the three devices. On the MaxiSys Elite, the device supports J2534 ECU programming on vehicles that support the J2534 protocol. Online ECU programming on the Elite is possible on Benz and BMW models. As for online coding, this is possible on VW/Audi, Seat, Porsche, Renault, and again, BMW and Benz models.
With the MaxiSys Ultra and Launch X431 PAD V, these are special tools that can perform coding and programming for countless models, including the above-mentioned. For online ECU programming, MaxiSys Ultra can do so without special connectors on BMW F&G chassis. It can perform new chassis online programming and SCN on Benz.
Launch X431 PAD V supports online coding on VW/Audi, Benz, BMW, Porsche, Seat, etc. You may want to ask Launch specifically about online coding on your vehicle. This tool can also perform online calibration, online parameterization, power balance, programmable module installation, and key programming. All these features are dependent on the type of vehicle. But most importantly, all these features are supported on VW and Audi models.
Launch X431 PAD V is your go-to for ECU programming and coding on VW and Audi vehicles. At the same time, the Elite is ideal for Benz and BMW. In contrast, the Autel MaxiSys Ultra covers many different cars. It’s better off in the hands of an auto technician.
First, all three scanners are excellent all system diagnostics tools. For drivers and car owners, you are better off with the Autel MaxiSys Elite. It’s a much simpler and more affordable tool. And on top of that, it offers many similar functions to the MaxiSys Ultra. Only that, it cannot pair with the 5-1 VCMI.
Nevertheless, the Elite is a brilliant tool for at-home repairs, thanks to the MaxiFix platform. It helps you ask for help from peers and experienced automotive experts.
For mechanics, you can use the remote diagnosis feature to initiate a remote diagnosis with other diagnostic tools of the Launch family. You can help another mechanic to interpret information on the device without being physically present.
Launch X431 PAD V is also a unique tool for VW and Audi vehicles. It supports the most functions on these vehicles than on any other car brand.
Looking at the Autel MaxiSys Ultra, you get a tool that comes bundled with a VCI that transforms it into a 4-channel oscilloscope, multimeter, CAN BUS tester, and waveform generator. If you need these functions, the MaxiSys Ultra model is the ideal choice for your needs.
The Autel MaxiSys Elite supports five OBD2 protocols and some OBD1 protocols. These are SAE J1850 PWM, SAE J1850 VPW, ISO14230-4 (KWP2000), ISO9141-2, ISO 15765-4/SAEJ2480 protocols.
Autel MaxiSys Ultra and Launch X431 PAD V, on the other hand, support DOIP, D-PDU, Mega CAN, SAE J2534, & RP1210 protocols.
In terms of full-system OBD2 diagnostics, all the Autel scanners support 80+ car brands from domestic US car brands, to European and Asian vehicles. The difference comes in programming and coding, as discussed above.
In the meantime, with the Launch X431 PAD V, you’ll be able to diagnose over 110 car brands. This includes hybrids and pure electric vehicles (PEVs) and 24V and 36V heavy trucks.
The truth is, if you want a tool that supports lots of service functions on Audi and Volkswagen cars, the Launch X431 PAD V is our top recommendation. Autel Maxisys Ultra and Elite are highly recommended for BMW and Mercedes beside tens of other brands.
Pros and cons
Autel MaxiSys Ultra pros and cons
- Pairs with powerful 5-1 VCI
- OE level topology mapping
- Advanced programming and coding
- Online ECU coding and programming
- 12.9-inch touchscreen tablet
- Superfast Android 7.0 operating system
- Only one-year free online updates
- Updates are expensive
Autel MaxiSys Elite pros and cons
- Autel cloud technology
- Boots in 20 seconds
- It lasts up to 8 hours charge
- Can operate wipers and honk the horn
- Retina display
- Very expensive considering its features
Launch X431 PAD V pros and cons
- Dual Wi-Fi connectivity
- Entire vehicle systems support for over 110 car brands
- Supports purely electric vehicles
- Offers remote diagnosis
- Optional ADAS calibration
- Guided functions are only for VAG vehicles
We hope the above guide clarifies the differences between the Autel MaxiSys Ultra, Autel MaxiSys Elite, and Launch X431 PAD V. They suit any professional mechanic or technician.
The Autel Maxisys Ultra model has the highest number of advanced service functions, including online ECU programming, and coding. Get it if you want to pair with 5-1 VCMI or work with protocols DOIP, D-PDU, Mega CAN, & RP1210.
Autel Maxisys supports J2534 ECU programming for BMW and Mercedes. If you love the advanced service functions of Autel Maxisys Ultra but have a tight budget, take Autel Maxisys Elite.
Launch X431 PAD V is an advanced diagnostics tool that favors professionals, especially those needing guided functions for VAG vehicles.
Can I use the Autel MaxiSys Ultra without updating the software?
Yes. Autel offers a one-year free update to the MaxiSys Ultra and Elite. You can still use the devices after the update expires. However, if you want to add new vehicles or fix a bug, you’ll have to pay a one-year update which costs $600 for the Elite and $1500 for the Ultra.
Does the online programming function of the Launch X431 PAD V work on the US vehicles?
No. As of this article’s publishing, Launch is still testing online coding in the US. The brand will give an update on the same soon.
How many years of free updates do I get with the Launch X431 PAD V?
You only get one year update with the PAD V and a 5-year warranty. Updates after the free update cost $599.