You can make any car more fu­tur­is­tic with this heads-up dis­play

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play­ing with the set­tings, be­cause, even with the small­est of glances, your at­ten­tion isn’t fully fo­cused. But used sen­si­bly, it makes for a safer drive.

The Navdy Dial – a steer­ing-wheel­mounted re­mote – adds to this ease of use. Placed within reach of your thumb, the re­mote’s cir­cu­lar dial and sin­gle but­ton en­able you to nav­i­gate Navdy’s menu quickly. A sin­gle press of the but­ton se­lects an op­tion, while a dou­ble press brings up your last-used app in the side screen. Get­ting it all to work to­gether seam­lessly can take sev­eral hours of driv­ing, but once you get the hang of it, it’s very in­tu­itive.

The real party piece of Navdy’s in­ter­face is ges­ture con­trol. When­ever you re­ceive a call or mes­sage, sim­ply wave your hand left to ac­cept it, or right to re­ject it. If you like to keep con­nected to your phone at all times while you drive, but you don’t want to be one of those phone-in-hand jerks, this is in­valu­able. It’s just a shame the use of ges­tures isn’t more wide­spread, as it’s such an in­tu­itive ac­tion.

While ges­tures will only work with spe­cific no­ti­fi­ca­tions, Navdy can dis­play more. Go into the Navdy app and you can choose which alerts – Glances, as Navdy calls them – you want to see. You can get up­dates from umpteen apps, such as break­ing tweets and even eBay no­ti­fi­ca­tions. Some might say this is overkill, but you can al­ways choose how much to see.

If you get bored of us­ing ges­tures, you can al­ways tap into Navdy’s voice con­trol, whether it’s Siri or Google Now – just long-press the steer­ing­wheel but­ton and ask Navdy to call or text some­one. It works well, un­less you’ve got a face-full of Mac­cas.

You can also con­trol how you re­ceive no­ti­fi­ca­tions – whether it’s read­ing the con­tent aloud, only dis­play­ing it on screen, or both. We found that go­ing for voice only makes it easy to han­dle a large num­ber of no­ti­fi­ca­tions while driv­ing. Con­trol­ling each no­ti­fi­ca­tion wasn’t al­ways straight­for­ward, though; oc­ca­sion­ally, you’d dis­miss one, only for it to pop back up again sec­onds later.

Con­sid­er­ing the small screen on of­fer, Navdy is able to dis­play quite a lot of in­for­ma­tion. The speedome­ter and rev counter get pride of place in the cen­tre, nat­u­rally, while the left and right side show dif­fer­ent kinds of driv­ing data, such as date, fuel econ­omy and fuel re­main­ing; and you can scroll through them us­ing the cir­cu­lar wheel. You can also ad­just each side in­de­pen­dently of the other,

which en­ables you to change what you see on screen – though swap­ping sides is trick­ier to do, re­quir­ing a few but­ton presses within the menu. The right side also serves as a space for new no­ti­fi­ca­tions and quick con­trols, en­abling you to con­trol what you see.

No driv­ing com­pan­ion worth its salt would be com­plete with­out the of­fer­ing of route guid­ance, and Navdy does just that. Routes can only be started from the phone – which is some­what an­noy­ing if you want to drive to a new route with­out pulling over. When nav­i­ga­tion starts, the screen changes to a 3D map, your cur­rent route high­lighted in blue. Your speedo re­mains in the cor­ner of the screen, or you can choose the stan­dard view, rel­e­gat­ing the nav­i­ga­tion particulars to a side screen – still use­able but less in­tru­sive.

Nav­i­ga­tion is ba­sic; you get neat fea­tures like be­ing able to search for nearby points of in­ter­est, which Navdy will take you to (though re­sults were lim­ited). Navdy will also nav­i­gate you to a fuel stop when your tank gets low. But over­all, it lacks pol­ish com­pared with stand­alone sat navs. Even Google Maps is more sub­stan­tial.

Else­where, Navdy’s most promis­ing func­tion is its abil­ity to play mu­sic from your phone. Presently, a plethora of mu­sic apps are of­fi­cially sup­ported, in­clud­ing iTunes and Spo­tify, and Navdy will, in the­ory, sup­port third­party apps by virtue of the Blue­tooth con­nec­tion pip­ing tunes through your speak­ers, but you won’t be able to ac­tu­ally con­trol the mu­sic. The in­ter­face is rather rudi­men­tary – there’s play and pause, and you can skip for­ward a track us­ing the con­trol wheel. Navdy will also show you the al­bum art­work in the quick-launch screen, but you can’t ac­tu­ally browse your mu­sic li­brary or, heaven for­bid, choose a song you like. Un­til Navdy broad­ens the func­tion­al­ity of its mu­sic in­ter­face, you’ll need a sub­stan­tial playlist for those epic road trips.

Navdy’s screen looks im­pres­sive, but when you’ve been star­ing at a 557ppi screen on your Galaxy S7 all day, you can’t help but feel it could be crisper around the edges. The bright, bold screen is easy to read, day or night (eye-sear­ing con­di­tions notwith­stand­ing). Navdy has catered for folks of all sizes, with a choice of three mounts to raise or lower it. An­noy­ingly, the taller mounts make Navdy wob­ble slightly while driv­ing, mean­ing the dis­play vi­brates just a touch. The stan­dard mount is rock­solid, though. Short peo­ple win.

So Navdy isn’t with­out its foibles, then. Does that make it an over­priced in-car gad­get; a so­lu­tion to a prob­lem that doesn’t ex­ist? Af­ter all, most mod­ern cars th­ese days are al­ready equipped with satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion and a media player – and you could just look at your dash­board if you need to know how fast you’re go­ing.

We say no. Though there’s no doubt the firmware needs beef­ing up to make it a more com­plete pack­age, Navdy of­fers some­thing gen­uinely unique, and that’s what makes it T3­wor­thy. The stand­out fea­ture here is un­doubt­edly the heads-up dis­play, which beams data right into your view. It’s supremely slick and when you add up all its ca­pa­bil­i­ties, you re­alise just how in­valu­able it is; and that once you start us­ing it, you won’t be able to do with­out it – es­pe­cially if you drive lots of kays. Navdy makes driv­ing safer and, ul­ti­mately, more en­joy­able.

ABOVE Navdy’s screen can be folded down when it’s not be­ing used; be­ware of smudges, though!

See what’s hap­pen­ing with your jour­ney at a glance

Phone no­ti­fi­ca­tions mean you’re al­ways con­nected

Mu­sic-play­ing fea­ture is quite lim­ited

ABOVE Navdy needs to be mounted di­rectly in your line of sight; you won’t be able to read it from an an­gle De­spite its screen size, Navdy is able to dis­play a lot of in­for­ma­tion

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