Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Welcome to our big head up display test 2022. Here we present all the head up displays we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best head up display for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of if you want to buy a head up display.




Summary

  • Head up displays allow you to project important information without taking your eyes off the road.
  • There are basically combiners and augmented reality head up displays, with both types having different advantages and price ranges.
  • There are many inexpensive ways to buy a head up display, these are mostly retrofit devices.

The best Head Up Display: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a head up display.

What is a head up display?

A head up display, or HUD for short, allows important information to be projected into the driver’s field of vision so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.

Literally translated, it means “head up display” and serves, as the name suggests, to keep your head up and your eyes on the road.

A head-up display shows drivers important information without them having to take their eyes off the road. (Image source: 123rf.com / 79277674)

In newer versions, it is called an augmented reality display, which then brings with it the integration of even more virtual aids.

It is used a lot in the aircraft industry, but is also increasingly being installed or retrofitted in cars.

The idea behind it is more safety. All important information is in the field of vision.

It can read a lot of different data from the car or via GPS and project it onto your windscreen, such as speed, navigation, current time, warnings, fuel consumption, etc.

In this video from Continental, the structure and the safety aid are explained.

How does a Head up Display work?

Basically, a head up display consists of 2 parts, an image projecting unit and a reflective surface.

The image is generated on the projecting unit (usually a display) and is projected onto the reflective surface using mirrors.

The projection surface is the windscreen, but a translucent reflective tape must be attached to it. Or a plastic surface that is folded out.

This projects the mirrored image and gives the driver the impression that the image with the information is 2m to 3m above the road ahead.

This information can be visually displayed in 2 different ways.

Static information Contact analogue information
The standard information and available on most devices. It is solid for the driver and always in the same place on the windscreen. Mostly information such as speed and engine revs. This information is rather rare and usually only available on expensive expert devices. The display elements seem to be literally an integral part of nature. These are then functions such as displaying the safe distance to the next car, or the turn arrow of the navigation, as if it were lying on the ground.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Head Up Displays?

As head-up displays are a rather new extra in the car sector, there is a lot of scepticism and ignorance about advantages and disadvantages.

We would like to show you the advantages and disadvantages here and describe what we have found on the subject:

Advantages
  • Safety
  • Convenience
  • Premium extra for little money
Disadvantages
  • You can”t see anything with sunglasses on
  • Can be irritating at night
  • Expensive new car built-in devices

The following is an explanation of the advantages of Head Up Displays:

  • Safety: A head up display increases safety, no more looking down at the speedometer or gauges.
  • Comfort: Of course, it increases comfort when driving and especially when navigating.
  • Premium extra for little money: Head up display solutions for retrofitting are usually not expensive and do what they are good for.

And here are the explanations of the disadvantages:

  • You can’t see anything with sunglasses: With polarised sunglasses, the HUB is hardly or not at all visible on many models. In this case, you have to increase the brightness or do without the sunglasses.
  • Can be irritating at night: If you have a very bright HUB or one with many displays, you may be easily irritated by it at night.
  • Expensive new car installation devices: A head up display can be added and installed immediately when configuring the car. These are usually very expensive (depending on the manufacturer).

However, it is much more important whether you see any benefit in a head up display, so it is advisable to simply try one out and assess for yourself whether it is something you want to have in everyday use.

What does a Head up Display cost?

As already mentioned in the advantages and disadvantages of the article, the price range of head up displays is very wide. The categories depend on quality, functions and the technology behind them.

Retrofit devices start at a very beginner-friendly price of €25 and usually cost no more than €100, as the technology behind them is very simple. Of course, there are some functions that you unfortunately have to do without.

Professional devices, on the other hand, are very expensive because they are built in and therefore have a more complicated design. However, they offer the user higher aesthetics and more functions, such as contact analogue information.

Type Price range
Retrofit devices 25-100€
Professional built-in devices 200-3000€

There should be no further costs after purchase. In the case of built-in devices, there may only be a service charge for installing and setting up the device in accordance with the regulations.

What are the alternatives to a Head up Display?

There are only very limited alternatives to a head-up display. Of course, you know the classic speedometer with displays for any information, indications and faults on the car. If you say you don’t need your information in your view all the time, maybe the classic one is for you.

In the motorbike and eyewear sector, there are already several models and devices that also want to create augmented reality with the help of projections and displays.

For example, small projectors or displays can be used in motorbike helmets to achieve the same effect as a head-up display in a car. Or there are already smart glasses that have such a function integrated.

Decision: What types of head up displays are there and which is the right one for me?

Before buying a head up display, it is important that you decide which type of head up display you want to buy:

  • Combiner Head up Displays
  • Augmented reality Head up Displays

The main difference is the type of projection and on which surface the given information is projected.

In the following, we will go into more detail about the advantages and disadvantages of both types for you.

What distinguishes a combiner head up display and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A combiner head-up display is very similar to the augmented reality head-up display. The difference is that a small plastic panel placed in front of the windscreen serves as the reflection surface for the combiner devices.

In most cases, space can be better optimised due to its compactness.

However, it has just as many advantages as disadvantages, which we would like to explain to you before you buy, so that you can find exactly the right one for your needs.

Advantages
  • Flat and compact
  • Requires less installation space
  • Usually cheaper
Disadvantages
  • Static information only
  • A little harder to read
  • Can look less aesthetically pleasing

It definitely scores points for its compactness, but projecting a lot of static information (see chapter “How does a head up display work”) makes it harder for the eye to read the information.

These combiner head up displays can be bought both built-in and not built-in, usually the built-in solution will only cost you 4-5 times the price.

What are the characteristics of an augmented reality head up display and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Also called windscreen head up displays, they reflect the content, as the name suggests, on the windscreen or a specially attached film.

This type of head up display thus has the possibility of projecting contact-analogue information into the field of vision.

This means that the content appears directly in the field of vision. You get the impression that the content is on the road and so you can react better to possible danger signs.

Advantages
  • Contact analogue information
  • The content directly in front of you
  • Top in safety and comfort
Disadvantages
  • More expensive
  • Harder to install
  • Difficult to read in the sun

For a more expensive investment, usually when configuring a new car, you get a very convenient and safe system that provides all the information you need to help you cope with daily safety and navigation problems.

Augmented reality displays are only available built-in, as they also send a lot of information back and forth with the car itself. Thus, each model has a customised augmented reality display.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate head-up displays.

Here we show you in which ways you can differentiate head up displays and what you should look for when buying:

  • Functions
  • OBD-2 or GPS
  • Size and protection
  • Wireless and mobile phone head up displays
  • Motorbike helmet and bicycle head up displays
  • Value for money

In the following paragraphs we explain more about the individual criteria.

Functions

When buying a head up display, it is important to know what kind of information you want to have displayed on it, and although it is a good idea to buy one with as many functions as possible, more is not better.

Many head up displays are overloaded with information and therefore only a distraction and annoying for the user.

But of course, better devices also have the option of showing and hiding the information that is important to you.

We divide this information again into static and contact-analogue information, as this of course also depends on the type of device purchased.

Static Contact Analogue
Speed Traffic Sign Recognition
Speed Lane Departure Warning
Fuel Consumption Distance
Trip Time Navigation Arrows
Trip Distance Any Environment Guidance

Of course, if you want more features, an augmented reality head up display will give you more. But if you’re buying the device for safety reasons, or don’t need much information, an upgraded Combiner Head Up Display would probably be right for you.

OBD-2 or GPS

If you have a car newer than 2004, you will also have an OBD-2 port in your car for reading the car’s internal codes. This port can do a lot, it gives you pretty much all vehicle relevant data in real time and you can use it for your external head up display.

GPS, on the other hand, as the name suggests, is based on a GPS signal, which attempts to calculate your data as accurately as possible.

Therefore, it is recommended to use the OBD-2 version if possible, as you will have more data and, more importantly, more accurate data available from the start of your car.

Size and protection

Bigger is not better. As already described in the functions, a display that is too large and packed with information can not only be annoying when driving, but can also jeopardise safety.

If you are distracted by displays a lot and have to concentrate on them all the time, you will notice the environment worse than if only a very small part of your field of vision is taken up with them.

Wireless and mobile phone head up displays

With a large market of cheap head up displays, there are of course many variations. One term that is also important when deciding what to buy is a wireless connection.

Wireless is only possible with a GPS device, but this is usually sufficient – depending on use, of course.

One version of these head up displays even only requires your mobile phone, which is used as a projector with the help of an app. This solution is, of course, extremely inexpensive, since the device you have to buy does not have to do any work, but only keep your mobile phone in the cradle while driving.

As already mentioned, the data is calculated from GPS and therefore does not result in a 100% correct reproduction; it is also important to ensure that the mobile phone has enough battery power.

Since the data is calculated from GPS, the playback is not always correct. (Image source: 123rf.com / 32493060)

Especially when driving for a long time, you will have to use some kind of power supply with a cable at the latest.

Motorbike helmet and bicycle head-up displays

But you don’t have a car, you have a motorbike, or you prefer to ride a bicycle, but you would also like to have such information?

There are also so-called smart helmets in the motorbike industry. The only disadvantage is that there is so little space available, it must not weigh much and the helmet should also remain comfortable.

That’s why the development of these head-up displays is progressing only slowly, but there are already a few models that can even be retrofitted to your own helmet.

If you ride a bike, you also have the option of accessing GPS data and having this information displayed on a screen.

There are developed models that can be attached to any sunglasses and reflect any information about the route onto your sunglasses.

Price-performance ratio

The complexity of the installation and the quality of the product play a major role in the price. Therefore, think carefully about what exactly you want beforehand.

It is important to go through the buying criteria already explained above and thus find out the important features of high-quality products.

If you read through our head up display test, we have selected retrofit products with a good price-performance ratio for you to look at.

If you want to buy a built-in device, there are very good sites like: Leebmann24.de where you can also compare price and performance of the different models. Just be warned, there is usually not much choice for built-in appliances, depending on your car model.

Picture source: 123rf / 79277677

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