NUVIZ Head Up Display – 1 Month Update

In Reviews by AbhiLeave a Comment

NUVIZ has announced that they’ve started shipping units, so I thought it’d be a good time to check in with an update of how my experience has been. I wrote a way-too-long First Impressions piece after a couple of weeks with the NUVIZ, so head on over there if you have no idea what this is. Otherwise, here’s a much shorter update about what’s been great and what hasn’t.

As you may remember, I was just in the United Kingdom for a couple of weeks (UDPATE: here’s Part 1 of that story) and I brought the NUVIZ for further evaluation. Since my last post, NUVIZ has pushed out a few minor updates and bug fixes. Highlights include upgrades to the camera software which yield better image quality and the ability to pair two additional Bluetooth headsets. I look forward to seeing additional upgrades to address some of my gripes from my First Impressions story and I appreciate that the upgrades and future additional features will come at no additional cost.

One thing I’m not really able to show you is how it looks while you’re wearing the unit – this photo was the closest I could get:

NUVIZ has recently released a promotional video that simulates the experience:

So, traveling with the NUVIZ. How was it?
In a word, fantastic. As I’ve detailed before, the biggest strength of the NUVIZ is the GPS. It was hard for me to appreciate this back at home where I generally know where I’m going already and I don’t bother with GPS. But in another country that I’ve never been to before, the NUVIZ was invaluable. Pre-NUVIZ, my usual GPS setup was to load up directions on Google Maps and have audio prompts fed through my Sena. This works well enough if I’m alone but if my Sena is connected to my phone to listen to directions, I can’t talk to Vy. Having directions on display with NUVIZ allowed me to talk to Vy as needed but still know where I needed to go.

One of my biggest complaints about riding in England was the prevalence of speed cameras. Conveniently, NUVIZ will give you an audio warning when a speed camera is up ahead – this definitely saved me a ticket on one occasion. There’s also a visual icon on the map to warn you of a speed camera but it’s too difficult to see unless you’re specifically looking for it because you just heard the audio prompt.

The NUVIZ got even more attention in the UK than in the US, simply because the average person over there is more in tune with motorcycles. I’d get a question from a curious onlooker every other day trying to figure out what the hell was on my helmet. The usual response was awe that this technology exists:

An old friend of mine gives it a try. Photo by VyVy Nguyen.

There’s only so many different ways I can say that I loved having the NUVIZ with me on this trip. It made my vacation an easier (and consequently better) experience.

While I was very happy that I brought NUVIZ along for the trip, there were two issues:
1. Once in Wales, the GPS abruptly stopped working a couple of miles from our hotel for the night. I tried the usual debugging of…turning it off and on again with no luck. Fans of the excellent British sitcom The IT Crowd should know what I’m talking about:

Based on my experience the rest of the trip I’m considering the GPS issue a fluke, though it was quite annoying at the time.

2. The device is not 100% waterproof. To be fair, they don’t claim it is! But in a country like England (or any state in the US outside of the southwest), that can be a problem. Luckily, Vy and I only encountered rain on the penultimate day of our trip, but it was a heavy downpour for several hours. A few hours in, I noticed that I was having difficulty operating the controller. Turns out the controller had shorted out, and while the much more expensive device on my helmet was fine, it’s basically unusable without the controller. UPDATE: The 1.5 release apparently allows you to use your phone as a controller as well, but I consider that irrelevant while moving unless you’re mounting the phone to your handlebars (and if you’re doing that, you’re probably already using it for GPS anyway)

Water always finds a way.

This negative does transition into a positive, as their customer service has been top-notch. Once I got back home I quickly had the controller replaced and all was well again.

For now, I continue to play the waiting game with NUVIZ to see what they have up their sleeves for upcoming releases. With that in mind, the device has earned a spot on my packing list on long road trips I’ll be taking in the future, especially outside of the US. But until they address my concerns with the audio program as laid out in the First Impressions, it’ll stay off my helmet for the daily commute and I’ll use my Sena 10C instead. NUVIZ says that they’re the “one device that frees you of devices”, and they’re just a few tweaks away for that to truly be the case for me. Hopefully that will come soon, and I’ll continue to keep you apprised of my experience with it.