AX206 / SmartCool 3.5 inch Simhub display from Aliexpress – A cheap VoCore alternative?

AX206 / SmartCool 3.5 inch Simhub display from Aliexpress – A cheap VoCore alternative?

While dashboards used to be high-end products, they can now be found in more and more sim racing cockpits. In addition to the classic dash above the steering wheel, info screens are becoming increasingly popular. This is exactly where the 3.5-inch AX206 display from Aliexpress comes into play.

AX206 / SmartCool Display

The AX206 display is actually intended for use in digital picture frames, but has also been supported by Simhub for some time. Various versions of the display are currently circulating with different firmwares, connections, dimensions and colours. It is therefore difficult to make specific purchase recommendations. The product images do not always correspond to what the buyer receives in the end. The dashboard shown here, for example, was ordered from Aliexpress for less than €25 including shipping:

The display itself is housed in a very compact metal casing and offers two USB-C ports (one on the short and one on the long side). The display, which weighs just a few grams, can be positioned almost anywhere on the rig, either with double-sided adhesive tape or using the two threads on the back.

True AX206 vs. Smartcool

While the housing size and type, colour and connections are primarily of a cosmetic nature, the firmware used determines whether the displays can exploit their full potential. With the “original” firmware, the displays support partial redraw. This means that only the parts of the display that actually change are updated. As only very few areas of a dashboard are usually updated, the display appears much smoother as a result. The following video by Simhub founder Wotever shows the behaviour in direct comparison.

Of course, you can’t tell the firmware from the outside of the displays. However, Simhub makes it relatively easy to find out in just a few seconds. If you try to activate the Enable partial draws feature in the software, displays with non-original firmware simply refuse to work.

AX206 as a dashboard

The question now is: What should you do with a display that effectively achieves perhaps 5 FPS without partial redraw, does it make sense to use the display as a normal dashboard? The answer here is clearly no. The extra cost of a VoCore display or comparable alternatives is definitely worth it.

AX206 as info screen

However, the displays are also suitable for other applications. As an information display, the FPS of the display becomes less important, as the values do not change every millisecond, unlike RPM and speed. Used in this way, e.g. to display tyre pressures or lap times, the display from Aliexpress is a very versatile additional display for €25 that enhances the sim racing cockpit both visually and functionally.

AX206 in action

Below you will find a video of the display in action. Some of the features shown are definitely better suited to the display (tyres, fuel, session, laps) than, for example, the dynamic track map, where you can clearly see the individual updates.


If you are interested in the Simhub template shown in the video, you can download the FIles here free of charge.

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