I love the idea of a heads up display, or HUD. Jet fighters use them! Fancy sports cars have them! It’s the stuff of the future, right? I jumped at the chance to try out the A8 HUD unit with OBD connectivity.
The A8 HUD unit consists of a flat, smartphone-shaped bar with a large array of multi-colored LED lights… in reverse. It’s backwards so that the lights reflect on your windshield (windscreen).
In the box you’ll get the HUD unit, a manual, OBD cable, sticky pad and reflective film.
It really does feel like a smartphone in the hand. Just about the same size.
On the edge of the HUD unit itself are the micro USB-shaped connector, a power toggle switch, and a three-way jog switch for settings.
On the left is a gummy, sticky pad. You place this on your dash, and the HUD unit goes on top. On the right is a semi-reflective sheet of plastic intended to go on your windshield/windscreen to reflect light from the HUD unit.
Oh yes: Don’t forget to peel off the plastic film that comes with the HUD. This minimizes unwanted reflections.
No more film. Much more matte-looking! Note the light sensor hole in the upper right. The display can change brightness depending on the ambient light.
The HUD gathers data and gets power from the car’s OBD port. Most cars after 1996 have this, usually tucked in somewhere under the dash.
Here are some very blurry photos under my cramped dash. First the OBD port, then the HUD cable plugged into it.
The A8 really produces some gorgeous colors. Solid, intense blues, greens and reds.
After fiddling with some settings (the HUD comes programmed in metric by default) I slapped on the sticky pad on my dash, placed the HUD on top, and plugged in the OBD cable. Presto! Lights! However, I didn’t install the reflective film. This creates a double reflection from both the inner and outer surfaces of the glass.
I went ahead and installed the reflective film. The HUD image was much sharper without the blurry effect of the second reflection.
Yes, it actually works. I could see speed and engine RPM. It also displays fuel consumption rates and voltage (in this example). I’m not sure the temperature bar graph ever worked right, though. In the photo above, the camera shutter had a hard time capturing all the lit segments, so the display becomes a tribute to the Police album “Ghost in the Machine”.
In actual practice, I discovered a few things:
- The image is nearly entirely wiped out if you wear polarized eyewear. It just vanished for me when I wore my sunglasses. No wonder, too: Polarized lenses are supposed to reduce glare, and this kind of HUD is, quite literally, reflected light. UPDATE: I re-tested the stick-on reflective film at 90-degrees, and it resolved the polarized lens issue! Since the film is rectangular, you do lose some viewing angle this way. Also…
- Having this film and light display proved ridiculously distracting. It literally drove me to distraction.
I drive a car with a manual transmission, so knowing engine RPM is pretty handy. I think I’ll stick to my ears, in-dash tachometer, and butt sensors instead of the A8 HUD Display.
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Gearbest. Please visit http://www.gearbest.com for more info.