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5 head-up displays for retrofitting in the test

Dino Eisele
5 head-up displays for retrofitting in the test
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D he view from the street on the speedometer is often underestimated. At 100 km /h you can cover almost 28 meters in just one second. The wrong direction of view can therefore be decisive when things get tough. The approach taken by the automotive industry: head-up displays that project information such as speed and navigation instructions directly onto the window - the driver's gaze can stay on the road. This innovation is only slowly migrating from the luxury class to cheaper segments, and by no means every vehicle can be ordered with a head-up display (HUD). In addition, the data projection is an expensive extra: A head-up display installed ex works usually costs several hundred euros and is often only available in conjunction with other extras such as the navigation system.

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You have to be very precise when sticking the reflective tape. For the perfect alignment, it is best to get a second person to help.

Premium extra also for little money

But it doesn't have to be expensive to look at the speedometer to save. Retrofittable and affordable HUDs are now also available on the accessory market, so that used car drivers can also benefit from the technology. The devices often use the on-board diagnostic interface (OBD) as a data source, but products with GPS receivers are also available. Smartphones can also be easily converted into head-up displays. But what should you watch out for if your own car does not have a head-up display and a device that can be retrofitted is to be purchased? In the test, Auto Straßeverkehr tried five inexpensive onesHead-up displays and several smartphone apps. Displays up to 5.5 inches in size offer ample space for display options on the devices from TiPro and Lescars. But what do you really want to see on the window in traffic?

With the displays of Lescars, secondary data such as battery voltage and engine load can also be programmed into the field of vision. The hint from the TiPro HUD E300 that a break is advisable after four hours of driving seems to make sense. The small Speedvisio from Valeo does not reflect more than an easy-to-read speed display and the battery level with GPS status on the screen. For the sake of clarity, that's a good thing: The Speedvisio achieves top scores for the test products thanks to its good readability. On the other hand, the displays of the competition fail collectively: Even with a few rays of sunlight, the driver has to interpret the display values ​​rather than read them.

Sunlight as a challenge

The negative effect: the eyes wander to the speedometer looking for help behind the wheel, away from the road. In the dark, on the other hand, almost all devices show an appropriate lighting effect. The TiPro HUD E300 and the Valeo Speedvisio even sparkle a little too ambitiously at night, which makes it difficult to read. Due to the many colors and effects, the Lescars HUD 55c is more like a pinball machine than a device that is supposed to increase security. Under a starry sky, however, it doesn't necessarily have to be a HUD device. Anyone who wants to conjure up a head-up display in their car can also use a standard smartphone. With apps such as Head-up-Display, Torque and SpeedHUD, values ​​such as speed, time and daily distance can be projected onto the screen. Those who do not want to rely on the cell phone's GPS data will find the OBDLink-2-LX connector from ScanTool.net interesting. It sends almost all vehicle data that can be read out via Bluetooth to a mobile phone or laptop.

Ignition timing of the individual cylinders, coolant or exhaust gas temperature? Everything can be thrown against the window almost without any problems. But only almost. Because with all apps an unfavorable picture emerges in daylight: Even with the highest brightness level of the displays, no values ​​were readable on the pane. The smartphones also became extremely hot when the sky was cloudy, which could mean the battery would end at temperatures of more than 35 ° C. Smartphones are not safe on the dashboard anyway. If you still want to use your mobile device as a HUD, you should invest in an anti-slip mat or bracket. Films on the pane also help to improve reflection. The Valeo Speedvisio .

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The installation is often difficult and incomprehensible.

Stabilization and positioning are the be-all and end-all

It is attached to the dashboard with a strong 3M adhesive strip. For large devices like the Lescars HUD 55 c.bt must On the other hand, you are looking for a place where neither ventilation nor storage compartments are covered. Inside, after the installation of Lescars and TiPro devices, an unpleasant plastic smell spread, which is probably due to the cheap production in Asia. In addition to the stable fit of the display, the positioning of the device is also important. The display should be in the driver's field of vision, but not obstruct the view of the road. Equally relevant: the display must not shine directly from the car. Otherwise other road users could be irritated. There were problems with some head-up displays in city traffic: the automatic start-stop system in the BMW test vehicle turns off the power supply to the OBD devices. After the traffic light has started, it takes far too long before the driver is provided with information again. GPS devices such as the TiPro HUD Q7 or the Speedvisio from Valeo can do that much better, even if they are Signal quickly loses in underground garages and tunnels.

Deviation between instrument cluster and OBD

Although the OBD devices have a more precise data source, the values ​​between the vehicle speedometer and the HUD sometimes differ significantly. This becomes noticeable, for example, with the speed. Various parameters can be adjusted for this in the respective settings menu. But until then it's a complex road. Complex? That's not what the HUDs are supposed to be. They should make the journey easier and safer. None of the test subjects managed this in all driving situations.

Valeo Speedvisio (GPS)

Pro: Simple installation, securely glued to the dashboard, battery operation possible, a lot Accessories included (3x foil + squeegee), no start-stop problems.
Cons: Little information for the driver, search for GPS satellites sometimes takes a long time, brightness not adjustable, dark foil impaired partially the field of vision.

TiPro HUD E-300 (OBD)

Pro: Display good and easy to read, understandable operating instructions.
Cons: Long reboot after start-stop pause, rev ring and multi-function display too bright and confusing at night. Processing cheap.
Conclusion: Recommended

TiPro HUD Q7 (GPS)

Pro: Quiet and clear in the night design Displays, no start-stop problems.
Cons: Little information compared to OBD devices, speed ring illegible.
Conclusion: Conditionally recommended

Lescars HUD 55c.bt (OBD)

Pro: Pleasant brightness levels at night, additional Bluetooth function allows data readout on the mobile phone, 2x reflective film included.
Cons: Bluetooth function cannot be used in parallel with HUD display, cheap processing.
Conclusion: Conditionally recommended

Lescars HUD 55c (OBD)

Pro: The speedometer is kept in the center of the field of vision.
Cons: Despite the good alignment, a display that is very difficult to read, only 1x reflective foil, sometimes confusing operating instructions.
Conclusion: Conditionally recommended enswert

Overview and price comparison

This is how we tested

Head-up displays can be retrofitted in any vehicle on the market - an OBD socket or cigarette lighter is required. The head-up displays were installed in the test vehicle in accordance with the work steps in the operating instructions. The complexity of the installation and the handling of the devices were assessed; The models were also able to collect points for their workmanship and the accessories supplied. The displays then had to prove themselves in practice over a specified route. After the test drive, the drivers assessed the clarity of the displays and whether the devices reacted to different light situations, such as darkening in tunnels or under overpasses. In direct sunlight, the testers also rated the readability in daylight, and the vibrations that occur on a rough road.

This is what the TÜV

expert Philip Puls from TÜV Süd sees Retrofittable head-up displays are rather skeptical for safety reasons. There is currently no test standard for retrofittable head-up displays. We see this condition with concern at TÜV. The ideal place in the cockpit for the retrofittable head-up display can vary in different car models. A Mini Cooper has a different windshield and thus a different uncritical area in the field of vision than a VW Multivan, for example. The car manufacturers should ideally be involved in an approval process for the HUDs. So really safe head-up displays can be usedcome onto the market with which you don't have to fear a police check. The connection via OBD is also critical: The connection to an accessory product can have harmful effects on the car - after all, you can access the engine control via OBD.

How the installation works

1. Connect HUD: Most HUDs use the OBD socket as a data source. The location of the socket can be found in the log book; in most cases it can be found on the left in the driver's footwell. GPS devices, on the other hand, need electricity from the cigarette lighter. Secure the cable with adhesive tape or lay it behind the dashboard.

2. Attaching the film: Clean the inside of the pane. Moisten the windshield with an atomizer where you want to apply the film. Due to the fine film of water, the film can be moved even if it is glued and air bubbles can be pushed out more easily.

3. Align the display: Position the head-up display below the reflective film. Sit behind the wheel in the driving position and readjust the position of the head-up display if you cannot see all of the display content.

4. Remove air bubbles: Use a flat object or a squeegee to remove air bubbles and moisture that have collected under the film.


Have a look at the HUD beforehand If you want to try it out, you can download one of the mostly free smartphone apps. For real operation, only an OBD adapter (from 15 euros) is then required. Regrettable: In sunlight, the displays of the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S4 could barely deliver readable results.


Whether app or display: none of the systems really convinced us. The accessory companies have to work particularly on legibility and quality. Because what use is the mirrored information if it cannot be read? The safety aspect of the devices should not be forgotten: in the event of an accident, the displays can become projectiles and some law enforcement officers could consider their lights to be a traffic hazard. None of the products comes on the level of a display ex works. Logical: In terms of price, the tested models are far below the head-up displays ex works, but they also have much more to offer. Nevertheless, we were able to win the test winner Valeo Speedvisio , as well as the second-placed TiPro HUD E-300 ( successor model TiPro HUD E-350 ), pronounce the judgment 'recommendable'.


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