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recently received my driving licences and I’m now the proud owner of a beautiful 2003 VW beetle Cabriolet. The only problem with her was that she has an analog Speedometer. Since I had learnt to drive in my husband’s Prius, which contains an all digital HUD, I got a bit spoiled. Thus, finding myself taking my eyes off the road for at least 1-2 seconds to find out what speed I’m actually at.
Studies show that even taking your eyes off the road for 2 seconds can significantly increase the risk of accidents. Furthermore, with the relatively recent changes to the law on the use of mobile devices in the car, any distractions could be fatal.
This felt quite dangerous and I knew I would have to get a heads up display! So, off for some late night Amazon shopping!
We’re looking for something that will help display the information I need closer to my field of view when watching the road. So, after a few hours of browsing around and research, I’ve found 5 candidates. Let’s take a look at them in more detail.
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Contender 1: Eximtrade HUD Car Phone Holder GPS Image Reflector
I always like to start my way at the lowest end and work my way up from there. So, my first contender was the Eximtrade HUD.
At the affordable price of £9.90, it’s definitely an enticing offer.
The Eximtrade was a breeze to setup and quite nice considering its simplicity. The only issue I had was that I needed to haefv my phone in it at all times. Since it required an app that supports HUD mode (the contents of the screen are reversed to display correctly in the reflective lens), my options were quite limited. None of the top navigation apps I used worked with the HUD and that was a real shame. This is considering how simple a coding job that would be.
I downloaded some apps from the iOS app-store but they were all rubbish, honestly. The speedometer was off by at least 4-8Mph. Furthermore, there was significant lag between setting off for your journey and the time the speedometer actually showed your cruising speed.
Good price, but with some significant flaws. It’s a real shame, considering the potential this device has. However, it’s still at a good price point and does work to a degree. However, the input lag needs to be resolved.
- Quick to Setup
- Phone use is lost during operation and has to be docked all the time
- Unreliable speedometer. Even on the best apps as it has no OBD connection option
Not to worry, on to contender number 2!
Contender 2: KKMoon Car HUD 5.5″ Screen
For our second contender, I decided to up my budget to £50. Let’s see what further up the market has in store for us.
The KKMoon Car HUD 5.5″ model was at first very impressive with its bright screen and vivid colours. This made it ideal for any driving condition, night or day. However, I will mention that it’s probably the first product I couldn’t setup until I read the manual. A first for me! The device itself plugs into your cars OBD port, so you can get accurate speed readings. However, there was a 1 second delay between the cars actual speed and what was shown on the display. This wasn’t too much of a bother. But, it was slightly worrying, as I tend to accelerate a little quicker than expected at times and hit the speed limit faster than anticipated. Thus, having a more reliable speedometer within my viewing range without taking my eyes off the road would be preferential. Nonetheless, it was good to use for a while. However, after about a week of usage it soon became clear it’s not that good afteral.
The “speed bumps”
While driving sometimes, I found that the device would restart itself and then not make a connection to the car’s OBD port. This would persist until the car was stopped and started again. Moreover, it had a tendency to go into sleep whilst in traffic and would often not turn back on again when the traffic finally started to move. As a result, the product was returned. What looked to be a possible solution turned into another bump in the road on my quest for a good HUD. What a shame!
- Very Bright Screen (adaptable in both light and dark environments)
- Not too expensive.
- Unreliable (after a while)
- Terribly fiddly to setup
- £50 is too much an asking price for the product quality
So, overall it was a good product initially, but the flaws started to appear after continued use. Another shame. Onto to the next!
Contender 3: Hudly
Contender 3 comes at a must higher price tag than the previous two. However, when Hudly arrived, it immediately made more sense. It had a built in OS to display the native options, but also an Android or iOS mirroring option. Thus, I could finally have it all it seemed. It even came with its own little lens that sticks onto your windscreen. So, you could have the HUD wherever you want it! Moreover, the setup was also a breeze! Once connected to my car’s OBD port, Hudly provided not only the actual engine speed, but also more useful info such as my engine temperature and drive score. Unfortunately, this device isn’t perfect..
A few issues
After 1 day of usage, I started to notice some of the potential problems with this device. Firstly, you need to device between having your entire phone screen mirroring on the Hudly display or run the Native Hudly OS. This was an issue for me as I could not see useful OBD info whilst I used Google Maps on my phone. The other main issues were the speed limit info was not always correct and sometimes took at least 10 seconds to update when I passed into a new speed zone. So, sadly, it also had to go back. I was starting to lose my patience.
- Very easy to setup
- The HUD could be postionied wherever you like
- Can mirror anything you see on your screen, Google Maps and all!
- Far too expensive for what it actually does
- Unreliable speed info
- Seems to be still in a beta, in its operation
Looks like I will have to up my budget even further. This is getting rather expensive.
I wasn’t starting to lose courage and tried for a few days driving without any HUD in the hopes that I would just adapt. However, even after a week, I still found that I would take my eyes off the road to check my speed or my engine revs. Back to Amazon we go. This time, however, I decided to gamble with my pay monthly credit card to see what was out there. In the worst case scenario, I could always return the product. However, if it was good, I could pay it off over 12-24 months. So, not too risky, but still a consideration. Nonetheless, this time I came across a very promising contender.
Contender 4: Navdy
Coming in at a whopping £399 is the 4th Contender. Navdy did look to be extremely promising. The setup, like the previous contender, was a dream and it even came with its own wireless steering wheel controls. What’s more is that the digital on screen speedometer has a little notch on it, which dynamically changes accordingly to what the current speed limit is. Moreover, it updates within seconds of entering a new speed zone and since it’s connected to the cars OBD port the speed info is spot on. Also, it clips onto its own magnetic base. So, when you leave the car you just take it with no cables, no mess, no unplugging. The screen is super bright, even in the brightest of light.
But, what really sold it was the fact that it supported push notification. Therefore, I could see my calls and texts right on the screen. I could choose to answer or dismiss calls with a simple steering wheel dial or even a hand gesture.
I also had the option to enable verbal warnings for speed cameras and when I was exceeding the speed limit. This was heaven. However, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, there was one more option I had missed. I found the option to allow the entire speedometer to change colour when I went over the speed limit. Thus, ensuring I would notice the mistake. SOLD.
- Very easy setup
- Included Steering wheel control
- Push Notification Support
- Accurate speed info
- Speed limit warning, both visual and verbal
- Far too expensive for what it provides (but the tech in it is substantial.. so maybe)
- Does NOT support google maps natively at all, major disappointment
- Will need to buy a separate mount for short dashboards which costs a further £80. Shame
In the HUD market, the more you spend doesn’t necessarily mean a better quality product. My best advice is to work your way up. A good product does not always have to be the most expensive. In this case it was true, yes, but not the norm. So, take extra care in unboxing and using yoru product until at least 1 week in. Then, you can be sure that if it’s not good enough you can return it for a full refund.
Nonetheless, I feel this definitely is the future for smarter and safer driving globally. This technology, I feel, should become a standard for newer vehicles. Thus, reducing the time you are likely to look away from the road and, as a result, reduce the risk of a potential accident. So, Stay Smart and Heads up!
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