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VjoyCar C80 Universal HUD review

Basic in every respect, this HUD is still perfect for those looking for a bargain

VjoyCar C80 Universal HUD
(Image: © VjoyCar)

Tom's Guide Verdict

All business with few frills, the $30 VjoyCar C80 is a basic HUD that still proves to be a bargain. Unfortunately it only shows speed, time and distance with an eerie neon green display, and lacks things like diagnostic data and a simple power adapter.

Pros

  • +

    Based on GPS data

  • +

    Large direct view display

  • +

    Comes with pivoting bracket

Cons

  • -

    Doesn’t include accessory power adapter

  • -

    Lacks OBD data

  • -

    Can obstruct view

  • -

    No phone integration

VjoyCar C80: Specs

Size: 4.1 x 2.3 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.3 ounces
Power: 12-volt accessory outlet (not included)
Display size: 4.3-inches
Color/Monochrome: Monochrome
Number of parameters displayed: 4
Alarms: Yes

The VjoyCar C80 is for the bargain hunters out there, with its $30 price tag making it one of the cheapest heads-up displays around. Utilizing GPS data, it’s capable of showing speed, elapsed time, distance and even altitude – but not much more. Unfortunately it lacks the necessary adapter to provide power and can’t tap into a phone or the car’s diagnostics, limiting its use.

VjoyCar C80 Universal HUD review: Price and availability

With a $30 price tag, the VjoyCar C80 is about as cheap as HUDs get these days. But the low price limits its usefulness, meaning it only shows speed, time and distance with a bright green screen — a throwback to 1990s computers.

VjoyCar C80 Universal HUD review: Design and features

A basic heads-up display in all regards, the VjoyCar C80 is for those who only need to see speed, time and mileage data. It’s rather tall at 4.1 x 2.3 x 0.6-inches, comes with an adjustable mounting bracket and weighs just 2.3 ounces. 

The C80’s 4.3-inch display is among the largest for a direct-view HUD, but it only shows items in neon green on black. This quickly proved to be annoying, particularly compared to the number of displays that use color and graphics to great effect, like the Akabane A500. An ambient light sensor in the back that adjusts the screen’s brightness, which is more than can be said for some HUDs we’ve tested.

VjoyCar C80 Universal HUD on dash

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There’s an on/off switch and a control knob, but the interface doesn’t offer as many choices as other devices. The C80 comes packaged with a pivoting mounting bracket and 60-inch flat USB-C power cable, but not the needed 12-volt accessory outlet adapter.

By tapping into GPS satellite data, the C80 can only show speed, time, altitude and how far you’ve driven. It lacks the ability to use the car’s OBD system for things like engine speed or link to a phone for directions.

VjoyCar C80 Universal HUD review: Setup

With its included bracket, the VjoyCar C80 sits well on the dashboard and the base can pivot to provide the best view. Because it uses a connection to GPS satellites, the C80 should work with every recently made vehicle, including electric cars and trucks.

VjoyCar C80 Universal HUD adhesive

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The included USB-C cable was flat enough to press into the dashboard’s openings, although without a power adapter I was forced to use the cigarette lighter adapter from a different HUD. It has a one-year warranty, and the system includes a small page of instructions, including steps detailing how to calibrate it.

VjoyCar C80 Universal HUD review: Performance

It took a little over two minutes for the VjoyCar C80 to connect with enough satellites to begin showing data after I plugged it into my 2014 Audi A4 AllRoad. Before that its screen blinked wildly. It shut off immediately after I turned off the car’s ignition. 

VjoyCar C80 Universal HUD on dash

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The screen’s huge numerical speedometer made viewing easy, but I never got used to the ghostly green light. On a couple of drives, the VjoyCar C80 held up well and its display was readable even in bright sunlight. That’s better than other direct view displays, like the Autool GPS Slope Meter.

The unit’s 2.3-inch height can get in the way of the driver’s view, however. It accurately showed the speed and time elements but lacked things I’d grown accustomed to with other HUDs, like longitude, latitude and compass bearing. The device also lacks the ability to tap into OBD data to show things like coolant temperature and engine speed.

VjoyCar C80 Universal HUD review: Bottom line

If you’re not too keen on multi-color displays, or all you want to see is the car’s speed, time and how far you’ve driven, the VjoyCar C80 is the perfect choice. It’s simple and to the point, without any unnecessary hassle included.

That said the C80 still falls short of the competition in many respects. It’s very feature-lacking, which puts it at a disadvantage compared to more capable HUDs that cost only $20-$30 more. That said, the $30 price tag is unbeatable, so if you want something simple and basic this might be the HUD for you.

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.