Home / Mobile / GPS & Sat Nav / Garmin HUD / Performance and Verdict

Garmin HUD - Performance and Verdict

By James Morris



Our Score:


Garmin HUD: Performance

So the projection element works fine, albeit with one caveat as the effectiveness of the display is reduced if your windscreen is really dirty or you have managed to get fingerprints on the HUD projection screen, whichever one you are using. In bright light, both these types of dirt catch the sun and interfere with visibility. If you keep all the surfaces clean, though, this isn't an issue, and it isn't an issue if the lighting is not intense and direct. In the dark, the HUD display is supreme.

The details projected don't include the whole map from your smartphone app, however. Instead, you see the equivalent of the turn-by-turn view, plus your ETA, current speed and the speed limit.

Your next turning is illustrated, but there is also lane assistance, showing you which carriageway to be in at a complex junction. There are icons notifying you of approaching speed cameras and traffic on your route, if your sat-nav software supports this and your subscription is current.

We tested the HUD with Garmin Streetpilot Western Europe. Initial pairing with our iPhone was a doddle, with the HUD display prompting us to pair the devices until we did this, which doesn't require any security code. We did occasionally have issues re-pairing the devices after the initial journey, but nothing that couldn't be surmounted by attempting pairing again.

There is no configuration required within the navigation software. Once you have set up the destination, and the sat-nav software has achieved a GPS lock to begin navigating, the commands will be sent to the HUD and the display will begin updating as you travel, counting down the distance to each turning as you approach.

Whether or not this is enough information for you is the key consideration here. If you're used to a regular 3D map-based sat-nav view, where you can see the turnings you're not taking as well as the ones you are, the turn-by-turn view supplied by the HUD might not make you confident that you are following the correct route.

Should I buy the Garmin HUD?

The appeal of the Garmin HUD depends on a number of factors. Most importantly is how you like to be navigated. If a map view of your route as you travel is important to you, the HUD will leave you concerned that you are going the right way. But if you're happy to follow sat-nav directions as they come up, the HUD display is undeniably cool, albeit more so with the adhesive panel than the screen, which appears a little cluttered in comparison.

The HUD also turns a relatively inexpensive smartphone navigation app into a setup costing around the same as a premium standalone model. So this is more of a luxury addition than an essential purchase. If you're looking for a less intrusive navigation experience, so long as you have a compatible smartphone app, the Garmin HUD delivers technology you would normally have to buy an expensive premium car brand to obtain.

SEE ALSO: Best sat nav round-up


For those who fancy navigating their car like a jet fighter pilot, Garmin's HUD provides a highly visible windscreen-resident heads-up display for a compatible smartphone app.

SEE ALSO: Best sat nav round-up

Overall Score



October 8, 2013, 9:45 am

I can understand why Garmin have done this, but it seems so silly to buy a piece of kit like this which is so proprietary. Garmin should have open sourced it!

I'm not a professional driver, and I find that a combination of google navigation and pocketgpsworld (for speed camera warnings) works fine for me. The former is free; the latter costs £20 per year, and my Android phone has no problem running both at the same time. An HUD which works with these apps would be cool, and I would be willing to pay for it, but I'm never going to buy something which ties me into only ever using Garmin's more expensive apps.

Does anyone know of any other solution which would work for me?

Terry Byford

October 11, 2013, 2:16 pm

Unfortunately, Garmin hasn't looked beyond the end of its nose here. There is a very real risk that a vehicle will be broken into to steal it. So making it virtually a permanent fixture is not a good idea at all.


October 12, 2013, 11:18 am

Theres LOTS of HUD programs on the smartphones app stores (Android and iphone)

comments powered by Disqus