Best Heads Up Displays – Buyer’s Guide

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Best Heads Up DisplaysWhether you drive for a living, drive for fun, or just drive to get from point A to point B, taking your eyes off of the road is one of the most dangerous and common behaviors engage. Of course, with most of the vehicle’s relevant information display on the dashboard, most people are forced to look away from the road every so often. This is where the best heads up displays would come in handy to help reduce the risk of an accident. That is why we have come up with a list of the 5 best heads up displays on the market and highlighted what each one does best.

Best HUD for Cars of 2019

Product TypeOBDIIAlarm systemProjectorDimensions 
VJOYCAR P12 (Editor's Choice)VJOYCAR P12Heads up displayYesYesNo5.6 x 3.6 x 1.9 inCheck Price
YICOTA Q7YICOTA G7Hud for car windshieldsNoYesYes4.9 x 3 x 0.6 inCheck Price
Color Tree A8Color tree A8Universal heads up displayYesYesYes5.5 in displayCheck Price
Fansport E300Fansport E300Hud with alarm systemYesYesYes4.92 x 2.95 x 0.59 inCheck Price
Prosport Gauges HUDProsport Gauges HUDHeads up display with boostYesNoYesNo informationCheck Price

 

1. VJOYCAR P12 – Best Diagnostic HUD

VJOYCAR may not be the most well-known company in the automotive aftermarket ring but they are actually one of the more established and experienced brands that we came across. With a history that stretches back nearly twenty years, this company actually cut its teeth by manufacturing OEM products for major automotive manufacturers. This means that the VJOYCAR P12 is at least good enough that numerous professional automotive manufacturers trust to come with their vehicle off of the assembly line. Part of this is almost certainly due to the significantly expanded functionality that the VJOYCAR offers compared to pretty much every other HUD that we saw. As such, it seems like a relative no-brainer to use that this is not only the best diagnostic heads up display that we saw but also our Editor’s Choice best HUD reviewed.

Knowledge is Power

It is important to keep in mind that thought the VJOYCAR P12 may look similar to its competition and even use the same kind of OBD II connector, this is a much more impressive HUD than we generally encounter. One of the biggest advantages that this particular HUD offers is the ability to actually run a diagnostic check on the various systems of your vehicle. While most HUDs offer some warnings and alarms to inform you when a major issue occurs, this is the only heads up display we saw that allows you to do a deep dive into the various systems of your vehicle and provides actionable data. In fact, this HUD definitely provides the most information on our list with access to over 50 different readings which is significantly more than all of the other products on our list. Finally, this is one of the few HUDs that we came across that not only offers significantly more information but also has numerous presentation modes to ensure that you can clearly see the information too.

Top Tier

While having the ability to diagnose automotive problems and provide a wealth of information is great, it does not really matter if that information is not true. Thankfully, the VJOYCAR P12 comes with some of the most accurate sensors that we saw, though they are not, strictly speaking, the most accurate gauges we found. Still, you will be hard-pressed to find another heads up display in this price range with anything resembling the VJOYCAR P12’s accuracy. On top of that, this is one of the few HUDs that we came across with a performance mode explicitly designed to help you tune your vehicle with the help of the VJOYCAR P12. As if that were not enough, VJOYCAR also went the extra mile in terms of convenience by making this HUD easy to use, though not the easiest.

PROS:
  • Is an ECU diagnostic tool
  • More accurate than most
  • Can read over 50+ gauges
  • Has a performance mode
  • Is easy to use
  • Has a bright display
CONS:
  • A more expensive HUD
  • Must be fastened awkwardly

 

2. YICOTA Q7 – Best GPS HUD

The YICOTA heads up display may look nearly identical to a number of the other products on our list, but this particular HUD actually uses an entirely different tracking system than all of the other we saw. While this does present some unique limitations to this product, it also offers some interesting benefits as well. Specifically, this is the only heads up display on our list that does not use or even allow connection to your vehicle with an OBD II port. Instead of using the customary OBD II connection, the Yicota takes an alternative route and connects via GPS instead. While this does mean that you can occasionally lose your satellite signal, it also means that you do not have to worry about whether or not your vehicle is compatible with the OBD II connection. As such, this is by and away the best HPS heads up display that we came across even if it is otherwise fairly standard outside of that.

Almost Identical

From a quick glance, the Yicota does not look like anything special as it features the same basic setup and arrangement as many of the other products on our list. Granted, the fact that tracks your information via a satellite is different, but the display and general usage follow the industry standard. For instance, this is another projector HUD which means that it will suffer a bit when driving during the brightest days. That said, Yicota does do better than some of its other projector competitors in this regard with a brighter display than most of the others we saw. Of course, when you get pretty much everything that a competitor does for about ¾ of the price, you should consider that a great deal.

Standard Features

One of the bigger considerations regarding a heads up display is how easy the product is to use considering the ostensible point of getting a HUD in the first place is the ability to keep track of your vehicle’s readings without having to look away from the road or fiddle with various settings and menus. The Yicota takes the common rolling menu selector to ensure that you do not have difficulties using the HUD while driving. On top of that, this particular heads up display comes with a wide variety of alarms and warnings to ensure that your vehicle runs in top shape. Even better, the display itself allows for a multi-color presentation for multiple pieces of data or a stripped down version that highlights the meter you want to pay attention to.

PROS:
  • A less expensive HUD
  • Is a projector HUD
  • Has GPS tracking
  • Is easy to use
  • Has numerous alarms
  • Is brighter than most
CONS:
  • Connect via satellite
  • No OBD II connection

 

3. Color Tree A8 – Best All-Around Value HUD for Car Windshield

Color Tree is a bit difficult of a company to pin down primarily because they do not actually specialize in any particular kind of product. This does leave Color Tree a bit more susceptible to subtler issues, but the brand is moving towards an automotive direction, even if that seems to be geared more towards motorcycles, which are significantly more popular in East Asia. That said, the company has put out a solid HUD at a fairly reasonable price even if it does not really break the mold in any meaningful way. As such, with a fair amount of functionality and few deal-breaking flaws, we ranked the Color Tree A8 as our best all-around value heads up display reviewed.

Plenty of Options

One thing to consider with a heads up display is how many different pieces of information the HUD can read and how well it can present that information. Keep in mind, a HUD that provides a wealth of information crammed into a small display that is difficult to read does no one any good. Thankfully, the Color Tree A8 understands this is a fairly common issue within the market and makes it a point to tackle this problem with a display that has numerous color-coded options to ensure that you know immediately what a given reading refers to. To take that a step further, this is actually one of the few heads up displays that we came across which has various display modes depending on what you are trying to keep track of.

Fairly Convenient

Beyond the numerous pieces of information and methods of display, the Color Tree A8 also makes it a point to be easy to use. Granted, you need to have a rough idea of how the product category works as the instructions are absolute rubbish. That said, once you connect the Color Tree A8 via the OBD II connection and get it set up, actually controlling the device is done primarily with a rolling menu selector. On top of that, this heads up display also provides the most warnings and alarms other than the HUDs that are designed to be used by performance vehicles. Finally, the Color Tree A8 is a projector style HUD which removes the need for a large base, though it can get a bit difficult to see during the brightest of days.

PROS:
  • Is a projector HUD
  • A less expensive HUD
  • Is easy to use
  • Has numerous alarms
  • Is easy to read
  • Has multiple display modes
CONS:
  • Poor instructions and difficult setup
  • Not great in bright light

 

4. Fansport E300 – Best Budget HUD

Fansport is a Not everyone who gets a heads up display is looking for a truly diagnostic tool and instead simply want a better display for their basic readings. Of course, most brands stay within the same general price range regardless of why you actually want a HUD. This is where the Fansport 300 really comes into play as it may not be the most impressive HUD that we saw, but it does offer a solid value. In fact, the Fansport E300 is actually the least expensive product we reviewed making this the best budget heads up display that we reviewed. To be fair, this likely has a bit to do with the fact that this is an only online company which does not actually specialize in any particular kind of product.

Pretty Easy

Like a number of the other heads up displays that we saw, the Fansport E300 uses a fairly similar functionality as many others. For one, the OBD II connection allows the Fansport E300 to know a wide range of details about your vehicle. However, the one that makes this an incredibly convenient HUD is the fact that it automatically turns on and off with the vehicle. The Fansport E300 HUD also provides the same turn-wheel selecting option, so you do not have to worry about navigating confusing menus. To make things even easier, the Fansport E300 also features the popular plug and play feature that does not require any kind of extensive installation. All you have to do is connect the Fansport E300 to your vehicle via the OBD II connector, and the Fansport E300 takes care of the rest.

Decent in Lights

One thing that anyone looking for a heads up display should know is that the sun will regularly make it difficult to see. This is mostly due to the fact that many other HUDs, like the Fansport E300, use a projector system. More often than not, this creates a difficult situation during bright days where the sunlight completely floods the film that receives the projection. This is still technically true for the Fansport E300, but the company does make it a bit better than some. For instance, this HUD actually comes with an intelligent light sensor that makes the Fansport E300 brighter as the ambient light gets brighter too. This makes the Fansport E300 much easier to see than many of its projector competitors even in brighter sunlight.

PROS:
  • The least expensive HUD reviewed
  • Is a projector HUD
  • Has numerous alarms
  • Is easy to see
  • Is easy to use
  • Has an intelligent light sensor
CONS:
  • Not great in bright light
  • Not as much data

 

5. Prosport Gauges HUD – Most Accurate HUD

Prosport Gauges is likely one of the few companies that truly specializes in aftermarket vehicular gauges, though complete HUDs are not actually their specialty. That said, a quick look at the Prosport HUD might leave some a bit confused as it seems as though it is a good bit simpler than many of its less expensive competitors. Of course, Prosport is not trying to win the game of price or even value because they understand that you get what you pay for. If you want a HUD that can provide real-time accuracy on par with your vehicle’s onboard systems, you are going to have to spend two to three times what you would pay for an entry-level HUD. As such, you may spend a good bit more, but you will walk away with the most accurate heads up display that we came across.

True to Life

While most HUDs these days are relatively accurate, especially if they connect directly to your vehicle with an OBD II connection, many of them will be off by a degree or two, by a mile or two. While this generally does not cause any real problems as even police rarely pull people over for speeding by one or two miles, it can cause issues when you are trying to use a HUD for a performance car or to help tune your vehicle. This is where the Prosport’s accuracy really comes into play, as you can use this HUD to help you with a number of different aftermarket tricks. In fact, this is the only HUD that we came across that is actually able to recognize when it is connected to a vehicle with a supercharger or some other aftermarket speed booster.

Standard Fare

Outside of the accuracy and the unique ability to properly read a supercharged vehicle, the Prosport also provides pretty much all of the other conveniences and features you have come to expect. While it does not provide the most, the Prosport HUD does at least offer the second-most number of data points. On top of that, this heads up display also provides more alarms and warning systems than all of its competitors except for legitimate diagnostic tools. This is also one of the few projector heads up display we saw with an intelligent light sensor to increase the brightness of the Prosport on especially bright days. It should be noted that the Prosport does suffer some of the same issues as other projector HUDs but not nearly as bad.

PROS:
  • The most accurate HUD reviewed
  • Has an intelligent light sensor
  • Has numerous warning alerts
  • Provides a wealth of information
  • Easy to use
  • Has a boost function
CONS:
  • Most expensive HUD reviewed
  • Not great in bright light

Prosport Gauges Heads up Display

 

Buyer’s Guide

Connection

This is actually an incredibly important consideration despite the fact that it might otherwise seem irrelevant, especially when compared to the other aftermarket systems available. Basically, the connection will affect what kinds of information that heads up display can read and how accurate the display will be. Of course, on the flip side, one of the biggest issues with HUDs is that they are often not compatible with all kinds of vehicles. In this instance, you will generally have to make a choice between a HUD that is more accurate or one that is universally compatible.

OBD II

This is by far the most common type of connection for a heads up display to use, though this is as much by necessity as anything else. Basically, the OBD II connection is how a mechanic connects to the ECU when trying to figure out what is wrong with a vehicle. In fact, this is also the only kind of connection a diagnostic HUD can use to provide information about defective or failing systems. This connection offers the most information as well as the most accurate readings, but it comes at the cost of compatibility. Basically, OBD II is the current US standard, but it has not always been that way and is not that way outside of the country. As such, it is vital to make sure that your vehicle has an OBD II connection port to use one of these types of HUDs.

GPS

This was the technology used when aftermarket HUDs first made an appearance but soon fell behind due to data limitations. However, GPS HUDs are starting to make a major comeback due to the inconsistent firmware automotive manufacturers use and the compatibility issues that arise. Instead of connecting directly to your vehicle’s ECU, a GPS HUD connects with a 3rd-party satellite. While this does mean that GPS HUDs are a bit more limited in terms of functionality, this also makes them universally compatible. In fact, a GPS HUD can work with a wide variety of vehicles, not just cars and trucks. Of course, like with satellite radio or TV, you do still have to worry about the GPS HUD losing connection with the satellite.

Display

The type of display will have a fairly large impact in terms of the HUD’s visibility, but it also affects how easy it is to install the HUD. That said, it should be understood that the overwhelming majority of new HUDs use a projector system. While this is incredibly convenient, it does come with some serious limitations that are better or worse depending on where you live.

Another element of the display to consider is that literal user interface as most HUDs offer a wealth of information. Of course, with an inherently limited display size, finding a way to present the information that is easy to read and understand is vital.

Screen

HUD ScreenThis used to be the most common type of heads up display but has quickly been losing ground to the projector system. Granted, that was back when the HUD needed to be mounted directly into your dash and hardwired to the vehicle’s ECU. That said, the projector system is not an inherently better method of a display as much as it is generally less expensive to manufacture and offers some convenience benefits as well.

Still, the screen style of display comes with a number of built-in benefits on its own with the most important being clarity. Basically, since the screen projects directly rather indirectly, it does not have to worry about the same light sensitivity issues that some of the other types of displays do. Even better, a screen display does not have to worry about a polarized lens or special windshield materials.

Projector

HUD ProjectorA projector heads up display functions by projecting the image on to a piece of reflective film on your windshield. This arrangement allows you to keep track of the various readings without having to constantly take your eyes off the road and look at your dashboard. This by and far the most common type of display used today primarily because it is much cheaper to make than the other types of displays. This has led to a proliferation of cheap heads up displays that also produce questionable performances.

That said, the projector display system does have some significant benefits over the other types. In fact, if you are getting a heads up display explicitly to keep your eyes on the road and you safe, then a projector display is easily the best option. That said, it is important to remember that bright sunlight will generally wash out the projected image for all but the strongest, brightest, or best-made HUDs.

Modes

While the display may seem to be focused almost entirely on the physical presentation, the user interface is often just as important. Basically, you can have all of the vehicle’s information at your fingertips, but if it is too messy or cluttered to read quickly, it does no good, especially if you are purchasing a heads up display for the safety benefits. In order to address this, manufacturers have taken a couple of different approaches to this, but most are limited to either color-coding systems of different presentations.

The color-coded system is quickly becoming the most popular, though it is generally the same kind of system most vehicles use anyway. That said, the color-coded system can still seem a bit cluttered, especially if the proper color were not chosen. This generally has more to do with the sheer number of colors used with more being able to offer additional layers of distinction and nuance. However, the color-coded system has the disadvantage of not being able to explicitly single out any piece of information separately from the rest of the display.

HUDs do not use multiple presentation modes as much anymore primarily because it makes using the HUD more difficult. Granted, the decrease in ease of use is technically minimal, but when you are driving, that slight difference can make the HUD more dangerous. However, there is no getting around the fact that a HUD with numerous presentation modes is likely to be much easier to read than a color-coded system. On top of that, multiple presentation modes also allow the HUD to display the information in ways that highlight or draw attention to one thing over another.

Diagnostics

This is easily the least common feature on a heads up display due to a couple reasons. For one, the firmware necessary to run diagnostics is difficult to program and significantly increases the price of an otherwise average HUD. However, another major issue with a diagnostic HUD is the fact that most people will not even know how to get the most out of their HUD unless they are a professional mechanic.

That said, a diagnostic function allows even weekend warriors to have a much better idea of what their vehicle is doing along the entire system. It is also worth noting that heads up displays with a diagnostic function have a tendency to be far more accurate than most of their peers. Not only that, but the kind of experience required to manufacture a good diagnostic HUD generally removes any cheaper producers from the list.

Conclusion

As we can see, there is a pretty clear demarcation between the professional heads up displays and those meant for a consumer market. While the latter has some decent products, it is going to be difficult to outperform a professional product like the VJOYCAR P12. Aside from the fact that this company has numerous contracts with automotive manufacturers, this is also the only HUD we saw that can also be used as a diagnostic tool. On top of that, this is easily one of the most accurate heads up displays that we saw with the ability to work with performance vehicles too.

Of course, not everyone wants to spend so much money for an improved version of something their vehicle already comes with. In this instance, we recommend the Yicota because not only is it a good bit less expensive than most of the HUDs we saw, but it is also the only heads up display on our list that connects via GPS. While this limits the functionality a bit, it also ensures that you do not have to worry about compatibility issues.

Ryan Chambers

I'm Ryan Chambers, an enthusiast of cars and pretty girls; I try to run, repair and equip my garage on my own. On the pages of this blog you'll find all information you'll need related to the operation and repair of a home garage.

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