Driving and texting is illegal in most of the United States. And many of those states don’t even allow you to touch your phone, even if it’s to check for directions. So one option is to buy a brand new car with a built-in heads up display, which projects the car’s speed, directions, and other info directly onto the windshield and in the driver’s view. But that isn’t exactly a practical resolve. Enter Garmin’s HUD.
The HUD, announced by the company today, pairs with your smartphone over Bluetooth and can display turn-by-turn directions directly onto the windshield using the included reflector lens or a special transparent film that sticks to the windshield – the lens attaches directly to the HUD. You’ll of course need to be running, using, and paying for one of two Garmin navigation apps: Garmin StreetPilot1 or NAVIGON app. So in other words it won’t work with Google Maps or Waze, which makes the HUD far less attractive. You’ll also of course need a smartphone with Bluetooth connectivity, but in this day and age that should be a moot issue, at least for anyone considering this product.
In addition to displaying turn arrows, which are complemented by spoken directions from your phone, the HUD can also display distance to the next turn, current speed and speed limit, as well as estimated time of arrival. It can even tell you what lane to maneuver into for the next turn, and alert you when you’re speeding. Garmin says that the HUD will automatically adjust its brightness allowing it to be viewed even in direct sunlight, though color me skeptical since many built-in ones struggle to do this.
To setup the Garmin HUD you simply need place it on the dashboard – I’m not sure if a sticky attachment or mat is included – and either attach the reflector lens or the included transparent film. A provided USB adapter provides power, though keep in mind you’ll need to drape the cord over your car’s dash, which isn’t exactly unsightly.
The Garmin HUD goes on sale this summer (no date specified) for $129.99. The aforementioned Garmin apps start at $29.99.
Of note: HUDs won’t work with polarized sunglasses.