Speed MeterWe promised you one final instalment on the unique Head-Up Display from GlobalTop. This time it’s the People’s Verdict. We ran a HUD GPS GiveAway some time ago and 10 of these Speed Meters were sent out as a result.

Today we bring you the comments of these reviewers in one big collage. They don’t differ all that much from our impressions which we brought you in a scoop review here and here and that’s a good thing.

Here are their comments.

Hi Martin,
Apologies for the late reply.  Here’s my experience with the unit thus far.

I did the old chuck it on the dash and slap in the power cord initially.  With an unit like this I needed to get a feel for the projection part of the unit and how it plays with the dashboard of a Saab.  The hardest part with this particular car is the fairly curvy dashboard which slopes a little away from the driver, then there’s a step up as it get closer to the windscreen.  To add to the limitations, there’s a SID display smack bang in the middle of the dashboard at the base of the windscreen (pre-2007 models).  So the HUD unit had to be off-center to avoid blocking the messages there. I finally decided to place the unit on the right hand side with a projection about 1/3 of the way up the right side of the windscreen.  Kept it a little way from the A pillar airbag and the speaker there.  To get the projection happening I angled it on the step to point it back towards the driver a bit.  I couldn’t find a spot that won’t give a double image at all.  Got close but never got a completely clean projection.
As far as cabling is concerned, there was plenty of it to go around.  The best part is that the Saab 9-3 has two power sockets – one in the cigarette ashtray, and one in the center console.  The one in the ashtray stops the compartment from being closed when the HUD’s powered from there.  I opted to cable it from the center console, running the wire down the side of the driver seat and under the floor protector mat and behind the lower part of the dash.  The rest of the cable is hidden under the door seal until it reaches the top of the dash.  All in all not too much of the black wire shows in the cabin.

Generally I find the receiver finds a GPS signal pretty quickly.  There’s been a number of times it has taken up to 120 seconds to get a lock.  Not a major issue for me as I generally start driving and it will pick up when I am down the road. I found the projection easy to read in all conditions, there was just enough light projecting it to show necessary details without being glaringly bright and distracting.  I didn’t find too many issues with needing to refocus my eye to read the information.
The SAAB speedometer calibration indicates 5 kph over what the GPS unit says consistently.  I took especial note at speeds between 40 to 100 (max legal that I have taken it to) and it is consistently a difference of 5 kph.  The speed alert flashes and is extremely effective without being distracting. The bluetooth functionality works flawlessly with a Nokia N80 running TomTom software.  Works a real treat with the speed camera POI added in.

I love the unit, it’s small and unobstrusively sits blended into my dash.  Works a treat with a bluetooth connection to my phone and has never played up.  The only thing I’d change would be having the power input on the right side of the unit so I didn’t have to run a wire around it to get it plugged in, but it’s a small price to pay.  All in all, it’s fantastic device, simple to use and performs excellently.

GlobalTop BlueTooth HUD GPS Hi Martin,

I’ve received the GlobalTop Speed meter and have been using it for about a week now. Some initial impressions are:

1. installation – aside from some difficulty positioning the reflector on the windscreen to get line of vision it went fine. In my Subaru there wasn’t many flat surface to put the unit but I found the idea place at the front of the right air vent – perfect for HUD and it was nice and flat.
2. the HUD is surprisingly easy to get used to. Within minutes of using it I found that I automatically looked at the HUD instead of the speedometer in my dashboard. I didnt have problem refocusing and I find it worked especially well during the night.Thumbs up for ease of use! I have to say once I used the GlobalTop HUD I don’t want to go back, its wonderful tool.
3. like your review the GlobalTop speed was slightly lower than indicated by my car’s speedometer
4. GPS took longer to acquire signal then my other GPS, I’m using a TomTom One XL and it acquired GPS position much faster than the GlobalTop.

I’ll send more comments as I get more time with the GlobalTop.

Many thanks, William

Follow Up:

Hi Martin,

My apologies for not replying earlier, I’ve not been checking my email recently.

The following is summarises my experience with the GlobalTop HUD:
1. Whilst starting the Speed Meter unit was quick and easy, it took some practice to get the placement of the reflective plastic strip just correct.  I found that it was easier to get a good placement by turning on the unit and then moving the plastic strip till I get a good reflection of the LED display.

2. The Speed Meter seems to take slightly longer time to get a GPS lock after a cold start. Whenever I started my Tom Tom One XL unit at the same time as the Speed Meter, the Tom Tom would always get a GPS lock around 10-20 second faster than the Speed Meter. I’m not sure whether this is because of the feature of the Tom Tom but the difference in GPS lock has been quite obvious.

3. Once the Speed Meter is up and running, the HUD is an absolute gem to use. It took only a few minutes to get used to using the HUD on the first time and I’ve been using the unit every time I drive. I didn’t find any problems refocusing from the road to the HUD,  in fact I found that it was far better and easier to use the HUD then looking at the odometer in the dashboard. Actually whenever I drove in another car without the Speed Meter, I found that I missed the HUD even if that car had a digital odometer.

4. The Speed Meter HUD does quite well under direct sun light and does brilliantly during night drive.It was quiet easy to read the speed from the HUD.

5. I find that the Speed Meter shows speed slightly lower (about 5km/hr) than indicated by my Subaru Liberty. This is probably not surprising…

6. Having a Tom Tom One XL and Navman n60i in the car as I drive, I find that it would have been great if the Speed Meter could function using its battery only and not require power from the car charger. Yes I’m sure it be as easy for me to get a double car charge adaptor to power a GPS unit and the Speed Meter but it would have been even better if there was some flexibility on powering the unit.

The Speed Meter is a wonderful tool, it didn’t take long to get used to and does it’s job very effectively.  It took me far less time to get my speed reading and refocus my vision back to the road with the HUD. GlobalTop has a brilliant product and the HUD is my prefer way to reading my speed. GlobalTop definitely has my vote for the Speed Meter HUD.

Hope my comments are useful.
Regards, William

I had the GlobalTop HUD installed for about two weeks and I have to say that it was a disappointment. Two main things spoiled it for me. Firstly the display is almost unreadable in normal daylight conditions despite (eventually) three layers of reflective film. The only way I could get a reasonably legible readout was to sticky tape black plastic to the outside of the windscreen.

Secondly the unit had to be manually turned on each time the car was started…aggravating to say the least. Additionally, although not a major complaint, there is a lag in the readout during acceleration, however this is something that I could live with. On the plus side the unit seems to be very accurate, is small and neat and is very simple to install.
Thank you for the opportunity to try this unit.

GlobalTop Bluetooth HUD GPS HG

Hello Martin,

Thanks again for sending out the GlobalTop Speed Meter.  I’ve finally had a decent chance to fool around with it and can give you some feedback on the device.  Feel free to use this on your site if you want, however I’d prefer you credit me by first name only should you choose to do so.

Anyway, here goes..

Right off the bat I had some issues in sticking down the reflective layer.  While the quick supply of additional sheets from GlobalTop was much appreciated I do think these sheets need some work.  They are very unforgiving and are literally destroyed on application.  Any air bubbles/dust is there to stay and gently pressing them out (as suggested by the instructions) creates further (permanent) imperfections in the film.  A more suitable system would be like that of good quality Nintendo DS LCD protectors which are thicker and can easily be re-applied (and even washed) without damage. This aside, the actual unit was very impressive both in its design/build and technical operation.  The reading was generally between  2-3 km/h  (+/-) of my car’s speedo which I considered to be acceptable for a device of this type (While admittedly, I have no guarantee that my Speedo is correct, given that the car is only 18 months old I assume it to be at least as accurate as the GlobalTop device).  As expected, under heavy acceleration/deceleration the Speed Meter tends to get confused but to its credit only takes a few seconds to return its usual accuracy – most of the time.

The acquiring of Satellites was a bit hit and miss, however.  It usually took about a minute and a half but on some occasions took as long as five minutes.  While this may seem bad, it is most likely due to my car’s athermic windscreen which is renowned for interfering with GPS/Electronic tolling devices.  To be honest, I’m quite impressed it worked at all, really. I had no real use for the Bluetooth aspect of the device but it did pair with my Samsung D900 without any major issues.

The Speed Display was clear and legible in both day and night.  Reading the speed did require refocusing but was generally no less annoying than looking down at the analogue speedo.  A concern however, was that driving into the sun rendered the device useless. The speed limit warning was a feature that I found surprisingly useful and well implemented.  I have always hated speed indicators and found them intrusive – mainly because the ones I have seen before tend to beep wildly when I have gone over the limit by one or two km/h.   The Speed Meter in comparison merely flashed away in my peripheral vision.  To this end, I didn’t even need to refocus my eyes to know I was over the limit.  Brilliant.

Not counting the film issues, there was however, a few annoyances and sadly, these were big enough to stop me from using the device.  Firstly, a nitpick – While note entirely visible in the photo, the angle at which the device needed to be placed in my car was so great that if it were unmirrored, I would’ve been able to read the speed directly from the device without the need of projection!  While not as cool, this would certainly be more practical.  Seeing both sets of numbers however, cheapened the whole effect for me.

Secondly (and this is a big one), I found having to turn the device on manually each time I got into my car intolerable.  The fact that the on button was near impossible to reach from the driver’s seat only doubled my frustration.  Maybe there is a work around for this, but I couldn’t find one in my brief attempts to do so.
I also found the display of the cardinal points useless (while initially cool I admit), the novelty wore off quickly mainly due to their relative inaccuracy compared to the speed reading and as aforementioned, in daily driving it really is useless.

So overall, what did I think? 

Firstly, having the device in my car for a while I realised that I don’t really want to see my speed constantly.  I would’ve thought that statement was crazy a few weeks ago but having lived with the data constantly in my field of view I realise how little I care for it!  Sure a few speeding tickets later I might change my mind, but I doubt it.  Most of my drives are Sunday drives, and they don’t need speed measurements.  This, of course, isn’t a fault of the device – just what I have realised while using it.

Beyond this, the small annoyances mentioned (particularly the switching on of the device) were just too annoying.  Even not counting my informational epiphany, the device just didn’t seem refined enough.  Sure, the GPS/Bluetooth worked well, but the actual human interaction seemed like a bit of an afterthought.  A good start would be to mount the buttons to control the device either on the power adapter or somewhere along the ample cable (and therefore closer and more accessible to the driver).  Fix this and improve the reflective film and GlobalTop might have a real winner.

Maybe not a glowing review, but an honest one.  Please let me know if you use it or any part thereof.

Thanks again,