Wednesday, September 05, 2007

iDrive You Crazy

Here is a list of BMW iDrive design failures:

  1. zoom for map is backwards: clockwise should zoom in, not out. (mentioned this previously)
  2. clicking to Navigation dumps you into the menu (the last one you used) and not the map by default.
  3. No way to full screen the map. Selecting the same map on the"helper" screen on the right gives you two maps (one twice as big as the other) that twist and turn *almost* in synchronisity. This is very distracting and dumb.
  4. The maps leave out most street names. WTF? A map without street names? All three map schemes: North is always up, direction of travel, and prespective all suffer from this.
  5. The navigation direction arrows are ambiguous and frequently lack street names. Just try to figure out if you're making a right, hard right, or second right off a highway off-ramp. All they end up doing is obscuring the (somewhat) useful map on the secondary screen.
  6. Menus are slow. Response time to control clicks is slow enough to cause frequent multi-clicks. This compounds the driving distraction, because everytime you glance at the menu its one click behind causing more double clicks/jogs. Which in turn puts on in the wrong menu, which takes time to navigate back out.
  7. Why can't I just jump between the ipod and radio input directly? I never, ever, want to listen to 2 seconds of the weather radio, then 2 seconds of the demo satellite radio on my way through the options.
  8. I just can't figure out the custom climate control menu. The override button/knobs are intuitive and useful, but what's up with the menu that pops up? I'm tried all possible inputs and nothing changes. I guess I need to re-read the manual. Sigh.
  9. Bookmark/memory buttons are worthless. You can program a phone number or address to them but nothing else useful. Lets say you want to bookmark the map, (because it takes a varying number of clicks to get back to it depending on what you were doing last) you can't. Want to book mark "Now playing" for your ipod? Nope. The speed alarm (chime when you hit 70mph for instance) no. I have yet to find anything useful that can be programmed to these buttons.
  10. Bookmark/memory buttons are dumb. (So much so this deserves two bullet points) They don't know what can and cannot be programmed to them. They gleefully ask you to push them again to program them, then after a wait they inform you that the function you want cannot be programmed. With the helpful comment "---" displayed on the page. WTF?
The navigation has caused me to go astray even when it is right, becuase I'm so busy second guessing the crap direction and crap map that I've missed turns. I'm about to give up and never invoke it again. Ipod integration in particular:
  1. no way to navigate to the now playing. You have to navigate to the "entertainment" menu and then ..... wait. Eventually the current song information comes up.
  2. No speed sensitivity for scrolling. Forget about playing U2. Ever. It will take you a few minutes to scroll that far down in you play list, and if you're driving you'll probably discover that the menu times out and pops you out to the main ipod menu. Oh, and when you nav back, you're back at the top of the list.
Despite the iDrive headaches, I love the car. :)


EDubyaH said...

aaron has the same controls in his mini and that iPod scrolling issue drove me BATTY on a drive we took to Palm Springs. Seriously BAD.

linda said...

Ken says we are not going to get a BMW until they get rid of the iDrive. End of discussion. I was lusting after the Mercedes R350, but now it looks like it may be an orphan soon. *sigh*


Unknown said...

Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love the car. Most of the iDrive interface is OK, and it has some nice aspects as well.

My issues here are just a way to vent. The best analogy is, once you've used a TiVo all other DVRs suck in comparison.