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Instant Best car Heads Up Display upgrade – HUDWAY Drive review. How good is it?

HUDWAY Drive Freeride and screen mirror views

If you are looking for a way to quickly and easily upgrade your daily drive or to improve the cool factor of your vehicle, then the HUDWAY Drive may be the perfect instant upgrade you can do today! It’s pretty much plug and play and you are enjoying your vehicle like it’s new again. Add a Heads Up Display that can be customized to display your vehicle speed, notifications from your phone, navigation, screen mirroring and more. In this video, I’m going to review what you should know before you buy the HUDWAY Drive so you know what you get.

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A quick disclosure before I get started. This is not a paid or sponsored review. However, I initiated contact with HUDWAY after finding out about the HUDWAY Drive. They agreed to send me this new unit and the accessory side and rear camera kit for free to review and I do get to keep these afterwards. I will provide my honest review next.

Find our review of the HUDWAY Drive cameras set (3-camera kit) here.

HUDWAY Drive Heads-Up Display (HUD)

I have used vehicles with factory Heads Up Displays and they really are a cool feature to have. But, the downside is that they are often an expensive add-on that could cost upwards of $1,000. Even after spending this much money, the configurability of it can be very minimal and what it shows may not be enough to justify the cost.

Upgrading your vehicle with a HUDWAY Drive can make more sense since it can be less expensive while offering a lot. Even vehicles that do not offer a Heads Up Display option can now also have one too. Not only do you get your typical readouts like speed, rpm and weather, you can get additional sensor parameters like engine coolant temperature and fuel economy, phone notifications for calls, message, screen mirroring and more. I particularly like using the screen mirroring feature together with the Torque app and a faster OBD adapter for more real-time parameter readouts. Let’s take a look in more detail about the HUDWAY Drive and what it has to offer.

Though this is one of the most advanced Heads Up Display you can add to your vehicle, one of the first things to understand about the HUDWAY Drive is that you will need your smartphone for this to be able to work. The Drive connects to your phone through Bluetooth and they work in conjunction to display what you see in the HUD.

The main screen will show a view with 3 widgets that you can configure. The center widget being larger than the two side widgets. All widgets can be customized to display what you want to see. You can even minimize the widgets for a cleaner, less cluttered look. There are 4 modes that the HUD can work in and these are Freeride GPS, Freeride OBD, Navigation and Mirroring. In GPS, OBD and Navigation mode, the corresponding configurable view will be used to display in the HUD. In mirroring, the screen of your smartphone is displayed.

In the video footage I created for this review, you will notice that the display doesn’t fill the whole lens. In person, the image almost fills the whole lens. This is actually due to the positioning of the camera. It is positioned closer than where the driver would sit and how far the eyes are away from the lens, as you can see here.

HUDWAY Drive Freeride GPS mode

In Freeride GPS mode, the HUD will display one of two Freeride views that you customized. In this mode you are only using your smartphone together with the HUDWAY Drive. The unit will use the GPS signal from your phone to calculate the speed to be displayed in the HUD. When you configure your HUD, only the parameters that can be measured or calculated using the GPS data of your phone or other parameters like time and weather will be selectable and therefore displayable.

The other OBD related readouts will be disabled unless Freeride OBD mode is used. Just note that for GPS mode, if you are in a tunnel or anywhere data or the GPS signal is blocked or if the phones data or GPS setting is turned off then this will not work until the signals are restored.

Get a HUDWAY Drive for yourself or friend and family

HUDWAY Drive Freeride OBD mode

This is the most useful mode for the HUDWAY Drive. In Freeride OBD mode, the HUD displays a second Freeride view that you customize. This only shows up if you enable and use OBD mode. You will also have to use the included OBD adapter and connect it to your vehicles OBD port. This is usually located on the driver side under the dash. Once the OBD adapter is connected to the HUDWAY Drive, you will have options to add additional parameter readouts to the HUD such as RPM, battery voltage, fuel tank level, fuel consumption, engine coolant temperature and engine oil temperature.

This is good stuff, especially for the car enthusiasts out there and even the daily driver.

A few things to note for OBD mode is that the speed displayed is from your vehicle’s sensors and not the GPS. Your vehicle will also have to be newer than 1996 and must support the OBD II protocols for this to work. Lastly, what parameters are actually available for use would be dependant on your vehicle and what data it outputs to the OBD port. In our case, the fuel tank level and engine oil temperature parameters are not supported in this vehicle.

Aside from screen mirroring, I like using this feature the most especially on a regular basis. It definitely makes driving this old vehicle feel high-tech and cool. Maybe that’s the car enthusiast side of me talking, but I can’t see myself uninstalling it now that I have had a taste of it.

HUDWAY Drive Navigation mode

In the Navigation mode, the HUD uses the Navigation view that you configured. The main center widget will show the navigation info and there is no other selectable option. The side widgets are the same you can select from GPS and OBD mode with the addition of ETA.

For navigation mode to activate, you have to go to the Navigation page, set your destination and start the navigation. Once navigation mode is active, the HUD will now use the Navigation view you customized. Note that the HUDWAY Drive uses the HERE or Yandex map providers. It would have been nice if Google maps or Waze was supported natively here, as well. If you want to use alternative navigation apps then you will have to use the Mirror mode, which I cover in the Mirror mode chapter so lookout for that upcoming.

I tried the navigation of the 2 map providers and they are ok. It definitely does need some polishing up. It isn’t the most up to date for mapping data and sometimes recalculations do seem to take a long time. Another improvement that could be made for the navigation feature would be the ability to add additional stops or transit points.

I also encounter a random crash issue with the app, which has happened twice while using the navigation feature. I have logged a support ticket and am currently awaiting an update on it.

On another note, I did notice that on the HUDWAY Drive website, there is a speed limit widget and speed alert feature. I thought that this would be cool to have but found that it only works when using navigation mode. Not sure if it’s a bug but I logged a ticket with them so hopefully that is fixed in an update. When in navigation mode, it does alert when you exceed the speed limit by changing the color of the speedometer. Note that there is a useful setting for you to adjust the tolerance for the alert. As they mention on the website, sometimes the speed limits from the map provider are inaccurate, which did happen while I was testing it.

I am also having issues with navigation where I get the following error when searching for a destination or selecting any of the pre-defined categories like groceries or airport. I have logged a ticket with their support and am troubleshooting with them to try to resolve the issue.

So for me at this time, if I need navigation, I will be using Google maps in Mirror mode.

HUDWAY Drive Mirror mode

The last and most versatile mode that you can use is the mirror mode. This is a very cool feature to have, especially when you pair it with other apps like Google maps, Waze or OBD scanner apps like Torque. You can mirror the screen of your smartphone to use a different navigation app of your choice, display more OBD sensor parameters or even play videos when parked safely.

It has 3 ways to do this including Hotspot, WIFI and Miracast, so choose the one that works best for you. Once configured and enabled on your smartphone the screen is displayed in the HUD. Note that it isn’t going to be HD quality but is still very usable. I noticed that it is not in the same aspect ratio as my phone’s screen, but there is a Width feature to adjust it to be closer.

I like mirror mode for navigation using Google maps, which is relatively easy to do and works quite well. The smaller text is a little hard to read but the navigation steps and the live navigation view of the roads plus your actual location is very useful displayed in the HUD.

Next, if you want to watch a video on the HUD then here are the things you need to know. Any content that isn’t Digital Content Protected with DRM and doesn’t require HDCP will play. So user created YouTube videos, videos without DRM or videos you created can be played back. If you want to stream Netflix, Prime video, Disney or any other streamer then you are out of luck. The HUDWAY Drive is not HDCP compliant and so the video will show up black. Lastly, it is likely illegal to mirror any app that will distract you while you drive, like streaming videos, so use this feature responsibly.

As a car enthusiast I am even more stoked about using it to display the Torque app. 

This pairing is sure to excite your typical car enthusiast and gear heads out there. You can have a lot more parameters from your vehicle displayed, which are easy for you to glance at as you drive. If you need the data to refresh faster, then pair Torque app with a high end OBD adapter like the OBDLink MX+. You will get faster data rates for a more accurate and real time experience. So far, I haven’t been able to pair and use the OBDLink MX+ natively to the HUDWAY Drive. As per their support team the MX+ does not seem to support the ELM327 protocol. I guess I will only be using it with the Torque app and screen mirroring, then.

By the way, if you are looking to purchase the HUDWAY Drive or anything I show in the video, I included our affiliate links to purchase along with other useful resources on it further below with a HUDWAY Drive discount code. Note that if you watched our video embedded on another website and not on our YouTube channel, but want to support our work, navigate to our actual YouTube video to use our affiliate links in the video description to purchase.

HUDWAY Drive Notifications

Aside from mirroring, another feature that makes the HUDWAY Drive an advanced Heads Up Display than basic HUD systems is that you can get your phone notifications displayed on screen. You can easily glance at it when safe to and get the info you need without taking your eyes off the road or illegally using your phone while driving. When a notification comes in, the HUD will switch to a 2 widget display with the main widget moving to the left and the notification widget taking up the other right half of the display.

Here is what it looks like when you receive a phone call, calendar event, email and music track notifications. I’m not sure if it is a defect, but I found that a WhatsApp voice call did not bring up a notification, while WhatsApp text messages do.

You can also customize the notifications to enable or disable as you like and even set the number of lines of text to display.

More info on the HUDWAY Drive

Once everything is setup and configured with the HUDWAY Drive, you pretty much just get in your vehicle and start it. Within a minute or so, the HUDWAY Drive starts up, connects and you are on your way. Pretty seamless.

One thing I haven’t seen much mention of is what happens if you have 2 people that use the same vehicle. Sometimes both people that have setup the HUDWAY Drive on their smartphone are in the same vehicle and only one can be driving. In this case, the passenger that also has the HUDWAY Drive app should disable Bluetooth to allow the correct phone to connect. Then the driver will have his or her specific settings load up.

Here’s another nifty feature. If you want to keep an eye on your fuel consumption and improve your driving habits then use the HUDWAY car settings to set the fuel economy for your vehicle to the ideal value you want to aim for. Then as you drive, you use the Fuel consumption widget to monitor your live fuel usage and it will change colors to let you know when you exceed it. Definitely a nice feature to have to see how much your driving habits affect your fuel economy.

If you wear sunglasses then note that the HUDWAY Drive also works well with polarized sunglasses.

Lastly, the HUDWAY Drive gets produced in batches for pre-order, so if you want one, place your order earlier than later (Purchase links below).

Can HUD visibility be improved in bright conditions?

[EDIT: This is not in the video] Viewers have asked if putting a dark backdrop behind the lens can help to improve the visibility of the HUD so I gave it a quick test.  As you can see in the attached photos, it does!  A sheet of dark vinyl wrap that is not transparent or a darker window tint cut to the size of the lens could hypothetically be added to the lens to improve the visibility of the display.  Of course, if you do this you are doing this at your own risk as this is not usage as designed and recommended by HUDWAY.  Some photos of testing this follow.

A quick Warning: It is important to note that doing this should not block your vision out the windshield in any way that is unsafe or break any local, state/provincial or federal laws.  If it blocks your vision in an unsafe manner then it would not be a good idea to do.  In some vehicles the HUD may be installed higher up causing it to block your direct line of sight and doing something like this could be very dangerous.

HUDWAY Drive display in bright conditions
HUDWAY Drive display in bright conditions
Testing HUDWAY Drive display with dark backdrop in bright conditions (Split view)
Testing HUDWAY Drive display with dark backdrop in bright conditions (Split view)
Testing HUDWAY Drive display with dark backdrop in bright conditions
Testing HUDWAY Drive display with dark backdrop in bright conditions

HUDWAY Drive Fitment

Will the HUDWAY Drive fit your make and model vehicle? First, check HUDWAY’s current list of vehicles known NOT to fit the HUDWAY Drive. Next, you can print off a template that can be used to physically check fitment. I’ll include links to these in the video description.

HUDWAY Drive Installation

Installation is pretty easy and strait forward. The hardest parts being test fitting and mounting the unit in the correct position, routing of the cables and finding the OBD port to plug in the OBD adapter. After that, just install the HUDWAY Drive app, connect to it and the OBD adapter then configure to your needs. Now you get to enjoy it.

For this vehicle, the dashboard has a valley where the HUDWAY Drive does not quite fit. Because the flaps can bend to form to the dashboard, I formed it to fit in between as best it can and attached it only using part of the adhesive on the sides and the front. So far it is holding. If you need more info on installation, HUDWAY has a good post written that I’ll link to below.

Lastly, make sure that you install the lens at 90 degrees. Otherwise, you may get some distortion of the image in the HUD. When I first installed the HUDWAY Drive, I had the lens at more than 90 degrees and it resulted in a distortion of the image in the HUD where the weather and time are displayed. I believe the HUDWAY’s lens helps magnify the image from the small screen and if the lens is positioned too far from 90 degrees you will encounter this distortion. You can’t see it in the video footage because it is using one camera lens, whereas our vision is stereoscopic with two eyes.

HUDWAY Drive Accessories

The HUDWAY Drive also supports some handy accessories like the 3 camera kit and the Night vision front camera.

The 3-camera set is used for reverse assist and blind spot side views on the HUD. Once installed, it can be activated by your turn signals, reverse gear or a mini toggle switch.

What’s cool about the reverse camera module is that you also get ultrasonic sensors and a beeper with it. These are great add-ons if your vehicle doesn’t already have these features. Find our separate review for this 3 camera kit on our channel and subscribe to be notified of new videos.

Lastly, the Night vision camera would be great for those that drive a lot at night time and especially in places where there is not enough or no lighting on the roadway. These are both pretty cool add-ons if you need them!

HUDWAY Drive - What's in the box

In the box, you have everything you need to get you going with the HUDWAY Drive. This includes cable clips, video and USB cables, a very compact USB power adapter with 2 ports so you can still charge your phone, a Bluetooth OBD adapter, quick installation instructions to get you on your way, and the HUDWAY Drive unit with power mount.

Final thoughts

After using the HUDWAY Drive for some time, I’ve come to really enjoy what it offers. It definitely is a great way to improve the cool factor of any vehicle and improve your daily drive. When driving without it, I really feel like I am missing something. Not having to take my eyes off the road while being able to get speed, navigation and notification info helps me stay safer on the road too.

If this is what you have been missing in your vehicle or if you are looking for the perfect gift for the car enthusiast or car geek in your life, then this has to be a top choice! Find links to purchase the HUDWAY Drive in our video description below. Until next time, check out our other videos and stay safe on the roads!

Where to buy?

Our HUDWAY Drive coupon code to get 10% off (FC10DEAL) and affiliate links to purchase or get additional info.

 HUDWAY Drive

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