A week with: Garmin HUD - a simpler, smarter sat-nav

 

Price: £129 for the unit (garmin.co.uk); the Western European App £59.99 (iTunes/Googleplay/Windows)
Features: Bluetooth connectivity; integrated USB port on the power cable for phone charging

What is it?

You could describe Garmin's HUD as an extraordinarily fancy smartphone accessory. You could call it the future of sat-nav. I think it's a little bit of both. This little black box isn't, in itself, a sat-nav unit. It's simpler yet smarter than that. It's actually a heads-up display (HUD) unit that projects directions into your line of vision. Turns, speed and traffic information appear in crisp turquoise numbers and graphics on your windscreen or its little plastic shield, so there's no looking down at your phone or getting mired in the multicoloured madness of a sat-nav map that's littered with points of interest and contraflow systems.

How does it work?

First thing's first: it won't do anything without your smartphone. To get those sci-fi fighter-pilot instructions beamed into your cockpit – sorry, car – you need to have downloaded a Garmin StreetPilot Onboard or Navigon sat-nav app. The HUD links to its smartphone master over Bluetooth, you plan your journey on your phone, then the display unit gets to work, stripping out the unnecessary details in favour of simple directions that won't distract you from keeping your eyes on the road. Turn-by-turn voice commands will come through your car's stereo (if it's Bluetooth enabled) or through your phone's speakers.

How easy is it to set up and use?

It took me about two minutes on a rainy petrol station forecourt to get the Garmin HUD up and running, having already downloaded the Western European App map on my phone the day before. The HUD has a semi-adhesive pad that clings to your dashboard and a little clear plastic visor that displays the directions. It also comes with a clear sticker that you can attach to your windscreen in lieu of the visor to make it really look as though your instructions are floating in the air. Pairing it with my phone's Bluetooth took seconds and away I went. The display is just that, so any route adjustments you make have to be on your phone (stopping safely before poking about with it) so do check out what the Garmin map is planning before setting off.

Is it worth it?

The big car brands already offer built-in HUD options for sat-nav, but if you're not in the market for a brand-new BMW and don't fancy handing over a four-digit figure to find out how best to get to Milton Keynes, the Garmin HUD is a bit of a bargain. Yes, you have to buy the compatible sat-nav apps, but that still works out to just over £200 for the combination I tested. Simple, safer to use than a traditional, cluttered display – I was won over. And not just because it made me feel as though I could take on Luke Skywalker. Honest.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Investigo: Finance Business Partner

    £45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Engineer with SQL skills

    £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

    £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm - London

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project