Customer Review

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great concept but a really disappointing result, 7 April 2014
This review is from: Garmin HUD+ Head-Up Display In Car Navigation Display with HUD Application (Electronics)
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I tested the Garmin HUD+ on a variety of familiar routes so that I could evaluate how it reacts both when its routes are followed exactly and when the driver diverts onto an alternative route. I installed the required app - which is the brains of the HUD+ and is responsible for the actual route calculations - on my trusty Samsung Galaxy S3.

The hardware itself is a mixed bag. The sticky pad on which the HUD+ rests is pretty effective at holding the unit in place in your chosen location. It adheres to the dashboard without leaving any sticky marks, and can easily be relocated/removed as needed. The display is easily readable both in bright daylight and night conditions. However, the display itself is a very simplistic old-fashioned green screen affair. There are no details of the surrounding area to be seen, just a giant arrow giving turn-by-turn instructions. If it's a complex area with many roads/exits to chose from, there are no details on-screen to help you choose exactly the right one, so if it lags behind you for just a second or two you will probably take the wrong turn. On top of that, the power cable's plug was so tight it nearly pulled out my entire lighter socket from the dash when I first tried to remove it, which has never happened before with any other device.

The major weakness of the HUD+ is the app itself (or at least the Android app). The initial map download was incredibly slow - it took well over an hour and a half to download just the UK maps using my fast 50 megabit broadband. At one point it just stopped for several minutes and looked like it had crashed, so I ended up killing the app and starting again. Several of the advertised upgrades available as in-app purchases warn that they are currently only relevant for Germany and Austria, so these are a non-starter for UK users. I found the location search to be fairly poor, both in terms of usability and accuracy. I searched for my place of work and it confidently tried to direct me to a different location several miles away.

The actual performance of the app was really poor. On my first test journey, it twice told me to "prepare to make a u-turn" when doing 60MPH on an A road pointing directly at my final destination. This could have been due to the GPS signal level, but I've never had that problem on the same route with Google Maps. It recalculated quite quickly (within 5-10 seconds) when I deliberately took the wrong exit from a roundabout, but a few seconds after recalculating it suddenly displayed a phantom roundabout directly ahead of me which didn't actually exist. Presumably this was the roundabout I had just exited 30 seconds earlier. Ironically, one of the roundabouts I then came to a few minutes later was shown as just a normal road junction and not a roundabout. One of the main roads through my city had no speed limit available. That said, the speed limit warnings are not nearly configurable enough. By default, it won't alert you until you're 10MPH over the limit in a built-up area, or 20MPH over on faster roads. This is ridiculous, as you are already exceeding the speed limit enough to get points on your licence by the time it warns you about it. The lowest value over the limit you can set is still 5MPH, and you can get 3 points for going 35MPH in a 30MPH zone, so I think this is really poor.

There are still some advantages over a traditional standalone GPS unit. You get free annual map updates through the mobile app, which is clearly better than having to pay separately for this update service. You also get free access to maps of most European countries, which is excellent value for motorists who regularly drive on the continent.

The idea of a head-up display unit projecting information over your windscreen sounds great. In theory, there should be no more looking down at the GPS screen at critical moments. But was the Garmin HUD+ good enough to persuade me to retire my ageing Garmin Nuvi 1390T? Erm, no way - the product doesn't live up to its potential. I found I cannot live without a detailed view of the surrounding area to help me orient myself and confidently choose the correct turn/exit. You can get the full colour view from the app, but then it's not a head-up display any more! The free Google Maps app performs much better as a basic satnav anyway, as does my old Garmin Nuvi 1390T, so why would I want to use the HUD+? Perhaps if the app improves over time it will become a better option, but the display will still remain too basic for me. I think in a few years time the hardware/software will catch up with the concept, but I cannot recommend this device as it stands.
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2.8 out of 5 stars (10 customer reviews)
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Location: Cambridgeshire, England

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