The best head-up display units take top tech, bring it to your car for safety

The best head-up display units take top tech, bring it to your car for safety

First used in military fighter jets, the head-up display (HUD) falls somewhere between a tech and safety feature. The device reduces dangerous distractions by displaying key information, such as a car’s speed and navigation directions, directly in the driver’s line of sight. Some systems project information onto the windshield, while others project it on a separate screen.

HUDs are becoming increasingly common in all types of new cars, ranging from Mazda3 to a BMW 7 Series, but you don’t have to trade in your older model just to get one. Several aftermarket solutions let you modernize your current ride, whether you prefer an affordable device or a high-end product with a price tag to match. Below, we’ve singled out some of the best ones on the market.

Garmin Head-up Display ($150)

Garmin Heads-up Display

Garmin’s HUD adheres to the motto that simpler is always better. It’s a small, lightweight device that sits on the dashboard and projects information either on a transparent film that needs to be affixed to your windshield, or on a reflector lens. The brightness of the display is adjusted automatically.

The device provides turn-by-turn navigation directions, the posted speed limit, and the location of speed cameras, which comes in handy should you try to beat its estimated time of arrival. The unit needs to be paired with a compatible smartphone via Bluetooth, however, and Garmin stresses it only works with StreetPilot for iPhones or Navigon for Android devices. Sadly, Google Maps is not compatible with this HUD.

The Garmin HUD is also relatively compact so it can be moved around from car to car. It’s not as feature-intensive as some of the high-end units on our list, but it’s built by a trusted name and priced at a reasonable $150. Read more here.

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Navdy ($499)


Navdy is the most comprehensive aftermarket HUD available. It’s a small device that attaches to your dashboard and displays information on a transparent screen. It performs all of the basic functions you expect: it gives navigation directions even when it’s offline, it provides your car’s current speed, and it can be configured to show a digital tachometer.

That’s plenty for many motorists, but Navdy takes in-car connectivity a step further. It responds to voice commands and recognizes hand gestures, so the driver can make a simple motion to answer — or ignore — a phone call. It even comes with a Bluetooth-enabled dial that attaches to the steering wheel to let the driver select songs, contacts, or routes.

While some HUDs relay information shown on a car’s instrument cluster, Navdy offers many features normally accessed via a dash-mounted touchscreen. The trade-off is that the latter isn’t cheap — pricing starts at $499. Read our first impressions.

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Exploride ($500)

awesome tech you cant buy yet august 23 2015 exploride

The Exploride HUD is similar to the Navdy unit but it comes with a more budget-friendly price tag. It’s designed to sit on top of the instrument cluster, and it projects information on a transparent screen that’s located right in the driver’s line of sight.

The device gives navigation directions even when an internet connection isn’t available, and it provides email notifications as well as news and stock updates. It responds to gesture controls, so the driver can take a call or raise the volume with a simple swipe, and all of its features are accessible via voice commands. Motorists can take their music – and their friends – along for the ride because popular apps like Spotify, Apple Music, Twitter, and Facebook are built into Exploride.

Pricing starts at $500, but there’s a catch: you can’t buy the Exploride quite yet. Early adopters can pre-order the device for $299, and the company expects to ship the first units in the coming months. Read more here.

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Mpow Universal HUD ($30)

Mpow Universal HUD

Mpow’s Universal HUD is cheaper than other units on the market because it doesn’t include any built-in software. It’s a tray-like platform with a large, glossy display that showcases a reflection of your smartphone’s screen. It sits in your car’s dashboard, and it doesn’t require a power outlet. Keep in mind that you’ll need to keep your phone’s battery topped off if you’re going on a long trip, however, and that the device is also only built to accommodate phones measuring less than 5.5 inches in length.

You’ll also need to download a third-party HUD app before you can use the Universal HUD. There are several to choose from — many of which are free — but none of them are particularly great when it comes to conveying a wealth information on your dash. The Universal HUD isn’t the most high-tech display, but it’s a solid option for motorists who want a simple device that won’t break the bank. It’s also compatible with all types of smartphones, regardless of whether they run iOS or Android.

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Sherox 3.5-inch HUD ($40)

Sherox HUD

The Sherox HUD is one of the more basic devices on the market. It plugs into the car’s OBD2 port, meaning it is not compatible with older models, and it displays basic information about the car and its surroundings without going too deep into details. It includes a speedometer, a trip meter, as well as information about the voltage and the coolant temperature. The warning lights could help prevent a costly breakdown.

Once it’s set on the dashboard, the Sherox HUD reflects information directly onto the windshield without requiring a reflection film. The company explains its device relies on nano-technology to eliminate double reflections. It turns on as soon as the driver starts the engine, and it shuts off at the same time as the engine, so there is no need to manually turn it on or worry about it draining the battery. It’s not the most feature-intensive HUD on this list, but it earns points for simplicity and affordability.

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Update: Added the Sherox HUD.

Published at Mon, 18 Sep 2017 23:31:14 +0000

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