How to choose Your Perfect Heads-Up Display (HUD) in 2020?

HUDWAY
HUDWAY
Published in
6 min readAug 27, 2020

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Head-up display (HUD) is among increasingly popular technology options. Drivers get a new perspective on the road, and it can change the way we interface with our cars and our surroundings while we drive.

The aftermarket heads-up display is a special device for a vehicle which is mounted on the dash right in front of your eyes. It makes your driving safer and more comfortable. In this review, we’d like to show you the best heads-up displays and their worst copycats to help you pick the best.

Three important things you should know before buying a HUD:

1. There are two types of aftermarket HUDs for cars: projections and reflective screens. The HUDs that utilize their screen are generally superior because they are visible in bright light.

2. The majority of aftermarket HUDs are those below $25 and have very limited functionality — most often, they only read your car OBD data. Those syncing with your phone will cost you $199-$399 depending on the brand.

3. Different vehicles have different readout systems, which measure the vehicle’s performance. These readouts are OBD, OBD II, EOBD (for European standards), and JOBD (for Japanese standards). Your HUD and your vehicle readout have to be compatible.

What’s wrong with the low-cost category of HUDs?

If you’re are just starting to get acquainted with the technology, you will most probably stumble upon cheap options first. For example, Red Shield Universal HUD, BZseed, HaloVA, Frerush, Techstick, or Dewhel, and others on Amazon and eBay are available at as low as $10.

They are either sold as a clear film attached to your windshield or as a passive device with a reflective panel and a friction pad, where you place your smartphone.

To distinguish a decent low-cost HUD from a poor one, check whether its lens is transparent enough. Otherwise, you may end up having a very opaque piece of plastic that creates a blind spot right in front of you. Lens transparency is the crucial thing that makes the device a HUD.

Most manufacturers in this category claim their HUDs are superior, and the projection (or reflection) is clearly visible both in poor lighting conditions or bright sunlight. But it’s not true.

Most modern windshields use polarized glass that makes the image split into two. In the daytime, the image would appear dim, fuzzy, and faded when directly subjected to the sunlight.

Unless the device has its own projector (rather than using your smartphone fot it), and a quality lens that neither distorts the image nor blocks your visibility, you won’t get a clearly visible projection.

If peeping into the HUD image instead of keeping focused on the road is not part of your plan, drop the idea of purchasing a low-cost HUD.

Another obvious limitation of these HUDs is the preset display, which means the visual gauges are grossly simplified. You are only able to view the information in the form of numbers or arrows.

We don’t recommend buying such HUDs based on our own experience. When we started making HUDWAY devices, we purchased plenty of samples of portable HUDs on the market.

None of those low-cost looked or performed well.

Naturally, when you buy a HUD at $10, don’t expect a wow effect. And if you have any issues with it, you might have a hard time filing a complaint or report a problem.

After all, it might be better to place your smartphone on the dashboard and use it with a mirroring app instead of wasting your money on a plastic case with a low-quality film.

Now let’s see what is worth spending your money on.

TOP-3 Aftermarket Head-Up Displays you can get in 2020.

Again, we tried them all ourselves. HUDWAY Drive is our flagship product (and that’s why we feature it first on our blog).

The other two are made by our close competitors who have also put much effort into making great products. With these, you get the perfect balance of value, quality, and price. Anyhow, the choice is yours.

1. HUDWAY Drive

HUDWAY Drive is a knockdown device which features a mount and a cradle with a display of quite high resolution and a specially designed lens. It gets power from a cigarette lighter port with an adaptor and a cable, easily connects to a smartphone over the air (BLE, WiFi, Miracast) and receives the data from it, be it a navigation or incoming calls, texts or messages from over 10 different messengers.

It is the list of things that makes this HUD cool:

  • With this device, you can stay online while your phone never leaves your pocket. View message preview and other notifications without having to focus your attention on a phone;
  • It looks beautiful in every vehicle: the slimmest aftermarket HUD with the power-in mount;
  • You can see real-time directions in front of you;
  • It always shows your current speed and limits in front of your eyes. If you are speeding, you’ll see warning signals on your eyes level;
  • You can control every bit of your vehicle, such as RPM, oil, or engine temperature — with any OBD-II dongle;
  • HUDWAY Drive navigation is powered by MapBox, the maps that work all over the world;
  • Moreover, it has a video input port (CVBS), so you can integrate any 3rd party video devices/sources. As the video signal comes to the device, the video starts streaming automatically.

Learn more about HUDWAY Drive here.

2. Kivic

The Kivic HUD beams the various contents on the road in front of the driver by connecting with Android-based smartphones and iPhones wirelessly.

List of Kivic’s advantages:

  • On the device driver can view information like: time, vehicle speed, messages, incoming calls and GPS information while driving.
  • Navigated by Google Maps, Waze and other apps.
  • A key feature of Kivic is that all display information comes from your phone without relying on an OBD2 connection.
  • Moreover, you’ll also receive notifications when someone calls or texts.
  • Full-screen mode and screencasting will allow Kivic to show whatever image your phone is currently displaying.
  • Running the GPS-navigation on Kivic is one of its strongest benefits. Use GPS daily even on familiar commutes to check the traffic conditions and having your eye line on the Kivic display feels much safer even compared to having a phone holder on a dashboard.

Learn more about Kivic here.

3. Hudly

This device operates with similar features, as the aforementioned HUDs; the only difference is that it mounts to your dashboard not right in front of your eyes. In our opinion, it’s more distracting if the HUD is not located in line with your eyesight.

Why is Hudly one of the good?

  • You will get text messages, calls, and directions, keeping your eyes looking at the road. With it, all the driving data will be placed in your line of sight. Hudly guarantees eliminating of distractions behind the wheel;
  • Hudly doesn’t require the use of a proprietary app. You can navigate with Google Maps, Waze, etc;
  • Feel confident in all lighting conditions;
  • Customize with OBD2 integrations.

Learn more about Hudly here.

So which head-up display is for you? Aftermarket head-up display devices are becoming a vital technology due to their safety features, smartness, and the possibility of frequent content updates (that the built-in systems cannot offer).

Given that HUDs are everyday-use technology, hardware should be solid and well-built. We recommend investing in a HUD from a reputable company that offers the smartest features and best value.

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HUDWAY
HUDWAY

Hardware and software solutions to enhance driving safety and comfort while staying connected behind the wheel