Dagood A8 Head-up Display review

Inexpensive, and with a bright screen, this HUD is a great addition to your car

Dagood A8
(Image: © Dagood)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Inexpensive with a large bright screen, the Dagood A8 squeezes a lot of automotive information into its 5.5-inch heads-up display. Unfortunately it lacks an integrated projection screen and can easily get in the way of the driver’s field of view.

Pros

  • +

    Bright graphics

  • +

    Inexpensive

  • +

    Includes light sensor

Cons

  • -

    Can interfere with windshield view

  • -

    No integrated screen

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Dagood A8: Specs

Size: 5.2- x 3.0- x 0.6-inches
Weight: 3.4 ounces
Power: OBD2 port
Display size: 5.5-inches
Color/Monochrome: Color
Number of parameters displayed: 7
Alarms: Yes

With its bright 5.5-inch color screen, Dagood’s A8 heads-up display can project a wide range of automotive parameters onto a windshield — all while automatically adjusting its brightness. 

The A8’s bold graphics project easy-to-read data, but the heads-up display loses points due to its lack of integrated reflective screen and the fact it can get in the way of the driver’s view. Priced at just $53, the A8 is a bargain for those who want to see what’s going on inside their car mid-drive. That's enough to earn it a spot on our list of the best car heads-up displays.

Dagood A8 Head-up Display review: Price and availability

The $53 Dagood A8 rivals the specs and abilities of heads-up displays selling for significantly more — but still lacks some of its rivals’ features. If you’re looking for something cheaper, the company’s Q7 model costs $48, relies on GPS data and is powered by a standard 12V cigarette lighter outlet.

Dagood A8 Head-up Display review: Design and features

Looking a lot like the Pyle PHUD180BD, Dagood’s A8 matches it with a black plastic case that measures 5.3 x 3.0 inches. It’s slightly thicker at 0.6-inches, but at 3,4 ounces is slightly lighter. On the other hand, the A8’s molded faux leather finish (complete with fake stitching) gives it a cheap look and feel. 

The A8 lacks the integrated projection screen of the PHUD180BD, making it rely on the included stick-on reflective screen that needs to be applied to the windshield. Overall, it slightly blocks the view ahead. 

Dagood A8 on dash

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Powered by the car’s OBD port, the A8 includes a 69-inch flat cable that can be easily tucked into the dashboard’s crevices for a professional-looking installation. The unit has a mini USB port for power and data, a standalone power switch and small control wheel on the left side. There’s even a recessed reset button on the system’s back. By contrast, the PHUD180BD’s switch, control and data port are spread out on the left, right and back with no reset key to speak of.

The A8’s 5.5-inch display is bright and includes a light sensor that automatically adjusts the screen’s brightness to match the conditions; its level can be manually set as well. The display can show seven key operational parameters and is dominated by a dedicated area for the current speed, surrounded by a circular tachometer bar graph. This integration puts these two key pieces of data together at a glance.

To the side are indicators for engine temperature, fuel consumption and a short row of warning lights. It lacks a compass for showing the vehicle’s direction and has seven alerts, including when it’s time to shift the transmission, when you’re going too fast and if the car’s computer detects the presence of an OBD fault. Unfortunately, to get the details, you’ll need an OBD scanner.

It falls short by not being able to integrate with a phone to show text messages and provide driving directions. This is something you can find on the likes of the Hudway Drive.

Dagood A8 Head-up Display review: Setup

The A8 is able to work with most cars that have an OBD2 or EUOBD data port. The company warns, however, that the HUD is not compatible with many French and Italian cars, hybrids and diesel-powered vehicles.

With a low-profile OBD connector, the A8’s connection doesn’t get in the way but can be hard to remove the plug. In other words, have a pair of pliers ready when trying to remove it. 

The A8 comes with a small rubber mat for the device to sit on, although it bounced around on a bumpy dirt road. You may want to find a more secure way of keeping it steady depending on how bad your local roads are. After I affixed the 5 x 6 inch reflective screen to my car’s windshield, the HUD worked well, but the screen still caught stray reflections from the sun. 

Dagood A8 on dash

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The small switch made turning on the A8 quick and simple, although the control wheel was too small for my fingers to comfortably adjust its operational parameters — like picking the display units. In addition to a 1-year warranty, the A8 includes an 11-page instruction manual that has a section on troubleshooting common problems. That’s something a lot of HUDs prefer to do without.

Dagood A8 Head-up Display review: Performance

After plugging the Dagood A8 into the OBD port of my 2014 Audi A4 AllRoad, its screen fired up to show the engine speed and battery voltage. It shut itself off immediately after turning the car off, and unfortunately lacks the PHUD180BD’s ability to pick how long the unit stays powered on after the car has been turned off.

Dagood A8 on dash

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There are several gauge displays to choose from, including speed and engine RPMs, with the option to add things like fuel economy, engine temperature and the car’s voltage. While on the road, I was happy to note the A8 was able to keep up with quick changes.

On the downside, the A8 slightly interfered with my view of the road, but no more than the other HUDs I’ve tested. ASadly, unlike the Akabane A500, the Dagood A8 lacks acceleration or braking test routines.

Dagood A8 Head-up Display review: Bottom line

While inexpensive, the Dagood A8’s 5.5-inch display is among the largest in its class, making for a brighter view of the car’s data. However the lack of an integrated windshield projection screen means it may get in the way of the driver’s view—- though not by much.

The Dagood A8 has some shortcomings, it proves itself to be a solid option to add to your car’s dashboard. With a range of useful, and easy to view information, it’s a great way to stay on top of things without distracting yourself from the road ahead.

Brian Nadel is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in technology reporting and reviewing. He works out of the suburban New York City area and has covered topics from nuclear power plants and Wi-Fi routers to cars and tablets. The former editor-in-chief of Mobile Computing and Communications, Nadel is the recipient of the TransPacific Writing Award.