If you wish to upgrade your car but cannot afford it, getting an add-on head-up display (HUD) is your next best option. These types of devices have become a very popular topic in crowdfunding campaigns. Navdy, however, adopted the more conventional venture capital approach when sourcing for capital for their product. This meant that their product can be purchased now, without having to wait. We tested the device for about a month and found it to be useful addition to our dashboard.
The device promises to blend hands-free control of your smartphone with car navigation –all this neatly wrapped up in a package that is easy and convenient to install. At first were unsure if Navdy was actually easy to install once we saw that the instructions required us to find the OBD-2 input on the vehicle we were using(a 2014 Honda CRV). Fortunately, Navdy gave the links to this information on the instruction manual. When we located the OBD-2 port, the rest of the setup was easy. After establishing the best height of mounting the device on top of the dashboard so as to enable optimal viewing, we picked the right mounting elements and fixed it to the dashboard. We then connected the cord running from Navdy to the OBD-2 port. The package also included clean towelettes to wipe the dashboard prior to the installation. There was also a cable guide to ensure that the cord that goes to the OBD-2 port from the unit does not hang or get in the way.
The unit is attached to the top of the dashboard over a small pedestal or pad using a sticky backing. You do not need screws, glue or any such hardware. To remove the device from the dash, all you require to do is to pull it away gently-in an upward motion and away from the dashboard surface. You can then quickly clean up any residue. The ease of installing and removing the device means you can quickly transfer it to different vehicles.
The Navdy dial that is mounted on the steering wheel allows you to operate the device hands-free. But the company also informed us that some users are installing it on their gearshift .This is then linked wirelessly to the unit on your dashboard and then to your smartphone through Bluetooth. Using the dial, you can scroll through such menu items like favorite places, music and contacts. Once you make your choice, you select by pushing the button in the middle section of the dial.
To avoid Navdy running throughout and draining your battery, the device is only activated when you turn on your vehicle. Before moving off, turn up the small display screen on the device and set in such a way that you can see the information displayed. Within just a few seconds after turning your vehicle, Navdy instantly shows your speedometer and other information, including compass directions and the time on the screen.
To function fully, Navdy depends on the companion app that is compatible with android Jellybean and iOS 9 and 10.The app gives Navdy the required access to the pertinent data on your smartphone. Using the Navdy dial, scroll through the menu items and retrieve the information from your phone that is then displayed on the HUD. Clicking on the dial allows you to select the item you want.
For instance, you can use the dial to choose a particular person on the contact list. When you find him or her, touch the dial’s middle button to make your call. Selecting your favorite places or music is equally easy. In addition, you can scroll through the options on the menu by making simple right or left gestures in front of the device. However, we found that doing this with some form of consistency was difficult. Further, this method did not allow us to have a more refined and reliable interaction with the dial.
The manufacturers of Navdy have dubbed the unit’s navigation system 'automobile grade' due its custom-built GPS chip. It worked very well during our tests and was undoubtedly superior to any phone-based system we have used before.
Even though it is necessary to use the app in order to enjoy the best experience with the Navdy unit, it is still pretty functional without a smartphone connection due to the OBD-2 connection. It can substitute your speedometer, temperature and gas gauge and compass. All these are displayed directly in front of you and you do not have to take your eyes off the road.
Whereas Navdy was quite easy to use, we experienced one problem with it. In the initial stages, we sometimes found ourselves looking narrowly as we changed our viewpoint in order to focus on what was being displayed by the small screen of the device. Thankfully, this did not result in any unfortunate incidents when driving but it took a while to get used to. Therefore, if you are thinking of buying the device, give yourself a bit of time to get used to reading dashboard information in a different way.
The Navdy has similar characteristics to other units like Carloudy and Exploride, which were both announced last year but have not started shipping as yet. In 2013, Garmin HUD made an early entry in the portable HUD Device market, but it only offers limited navigational functionality. Since it started being sold in mid-2016, users of Navdy have logged more than 1.6 million miles without reporting any major issues.
Admittedly, head-up displays are increasingly being incorporated into cheaper motor vehicles, but there are many people who cannot afford to buy a new car. Going at 799$, the unit is not cheap(the company also offers a two-year payment plan starting at $33 every month). But because it is easy to use and has a wide range of functionality, the Navdy is still one of the best alternative ways of adding a dash of cutting-edge technology to your car.
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