r/technews Aug 17 '22 Silver 2 All-Seeing Upvote 1 Wholesome 2 Helpful 1

Physical buttons outperform touchscreens in new cars, test finds

https://www.vibilagare.se/nyheter/physical-buttons-outperform-touchscreens-new-cars-test-finds
54.5k Upvotes

2.8k

u/loztriforce Aug 17 '22 Silver Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote

Wow, you don’t say

1.5k

u/AngryGroceries Aug 17 '22 Silver Take My Energy

What? You mean latency-free tactile feedback works better while doing a task which requires 100% of your attention?

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u/Yellow_Similar Aug 17 '22 Helpful

This. I abhor push button transmissions. It wasn’t broke. It’s intuitive. I get that it’s a bit anachronistic given non-mechanical shifter linkage s blah blah, but I can turn my head, look at my surroundings (yes I have cameras) and shift back and forth R to D to R without having to look at the dash or tunnel. Damn non-driver engineers.

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u/randomname2564 Aug 17 '22

I don’t mind them in average day to day use but in emergency situations I see them as being a liability. Like…. There’s more to go wrong, there’s a delay etc. Same with the trend of electric cars to make your door handles pop out. The science shows the gain is negligible when it comes to drag from regular door handles but imagine being fucking chased and having to fight with those things.

Electric cars didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. Plenty of things work in cars fine and “improvements” aren’t always helpful

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u/SteveDaPirate Aug 17 '22

This is why the Ford Lightning is going to be sold in massive numbers. It's the same truck the company has already spent decades refining with a new power train and a frunk.

They're making it easy and familiar for anyone that's ever owned a truck to jump in and feel comfortable.

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u/BasakaIsTheStrongest Aug 17 '22

A frunk that knows its market. The simple act of adding a drain is great for people who want to just fill it with ice for tailgating parties, or easily clean it out after using it to bring home a deer.

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u/Aegi Aug 17 '22

Yeah, or for all of my ski equipment and stuff that will never be snowy and wet.

I actually didn’t even know the drain in the Frank was a feature until you just mentioned it here, but as somebody who is trying to get their 2010 Tacoma to last as long as they can, I plan on replacing it with an electric F150.

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u/XDreadedmikeX Aug 17 '22

To clarify, this drain is going to be in the bed of the trucks?

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u/CataclysmZA Aug 17 '22

The front trunk, or frunk. The void that now occupies where the engine used to be.

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u/XDreadedmikeX Aug 17 '22

Does the bed have a drain too? I feel like that’s a good place to put one as well

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u/spencerforhire81 Aug 17 '22

“Frunk” is a portmanteau of “front trunk” and it refers to the cargo space in the front of the car. Electric motors don’t require nearly as much volume as ICEs nor do they get nearly as hot, so electric cars frequently have cargo compartments under the hood that are large enough to fit a suitcase or two. The F150’s is about the size of a large cooler, so they put a drain in it so you can use it as one.

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u/twitch1982 Aug 17 '22

bonnet weve had a word for front storage since cars were invented and its "bonnet" dont let Elon's lack of an adequate vocabulary force us to use that stupid fucking word.

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u/krazykat357 Aug 17 '22

Frunk is what the MR2 (and other mid/rear engine) crowd has been calling it for years, even before Muskrat had that glimmer of starting a company while observing his daddy's emerald mine.

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u/-_-A-_-J-_- Aug 17 '22

This is a point I've been trying to make for years. I don't want some touchscreen newfangled electric computer car. I'd happily buy my 96 Silverado again if it was electric and nothing else changed. Probably a great idea save money on gas I don't drive that far but I do need a truck to do work around the farm. But once they start making touch screen this touch screen that and all these ridiculous stylings that's just not what I'm going for. I feel a lot of folks like me have the same opinion

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u/Fiftysixk Aug 17 '22

Kinda like the guy who had to break his window of his telsa to get out after it lost all power with the doors locked and then caught fire..

He survived but I hope he made 6 figures from tesla for the PTSD he's likely left with.

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u/RedRiffRaff Aug 17 '22

This is one of the reasons I got a Hyundai Kona instead of a Model 3. I wanted mostly normal controls. Also, Hyundai has been around longer and so will have better quality controls. …we won’t talk about the battery catching on fire issue, though it didn’t impact me.

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u/randomname2564 Aug 17 '22

Lol I didn’t hear about the battery thing.

This is also why I think the ford lightning has the right idea in many respects (doesn’t have the tactile buttons inside though). They have the idea of just making an older car electric. They just need to fix a few things

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u/elephantviagra Aug 17 '22

lol. you had me at Hyundai and "quality control".

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u/BostonDodgeGuy Aug 17 '22

Also, Hyundai has been around longer and so will have better quality controls

Yeah......

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u/AtlUtdGold Aug 17 '22

electric cars try way to hard to fix everything that was never a problem all while looking like some dumbass Dr. Suess creation.

Just take the cars we already buy and make them electric, stop fucking with everything else about it.

example: The electric mustang should look like a fucking mustang. wtf is ford doing.

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u/RoundSilverButtons Aug 18 '22

Mustang owner here. The Mustang Mach E is NOT a Mustang.

I will die on this hill.

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u/sinister_lefty Aug 18 '22

Yeah, I just call it the Mach E, like they should have.

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u/lowstrife Aug 17 '22 edited Aug 17 '22 Helpful

Except Tesla did reinvent the wheel. It's one of the most dangerous feeling things I've ever used. Works great on race cars but not for normal cars. Emergency situation hand over hand maneuvering and you're just grabbing air.

It sucks because they made some really good choices. But then people who hate cars started making more decisions at their company and they've gone too far with a lot of things.

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u/BabyYodasDirtyDiaper Aug 17 '22

Works great on race cars but not for normal cars.

Race cars often have a much higher steering ratio, so that turning your front wheels all the way left to all the way right takes only 1 rotation of the steering wheel, or even less.

But US regulations say that road-legal cars must have a ratio of no more than 2.5 ... which means you have to turn the wheel all the way around multiple times to go from lock to lock. Which is much more difficult to do with a yoke-type wheel.

That's why yokes make sense on race cars but not on road cars.

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u/Devlyn16 Aug 17 '22

must have a ratio of no more than 2.5

If you ever driven on a Michigan road and hit a pothole you know that if you had race car steering ratio the roads themselves would steer you into an obstacle

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u/32BitWhore Aug 17 '22

100%. Not a Michigander but I used to daily drive a pretty twitchy sports car and coming up to a redlight it would literally wiggle back and forth in the grooves worn into the asphalt over the years. I can't imagine what would have happened if my steering was 1:1 or even less.

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u/1202_ProgramAlarm Aug 17 '22

Also, road cars frequently make much sharper turns than race cars. Even sharp turns on a track get rounded off quite a bit once you consider the racing line. By the time I've left my house I've made two hand over hand turns every morning

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u/lowstrife Aug 17 '22

Yes, you're never hand-over-hand even on a hairpin turn. At most you'll cross your arms so about 160 degrees.

I really struggle when I see all the excuses made for it. If it were actually better, Ferrari or especially Porsche would have done it already. They're the preeminent leaders in this sort of thing. But no, it's a style over substance thing. And it's going to age out incredibly quickly once the novelty wears off.

I still can't believe regulators allowed it. We weren't allowed to have active advanced headlights like has been allowed in Europe for years, but reinvent the wheel? Yaaa fook it oh go ahead there bud

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u/randomname2564 Aug 17 '22

Ya that’s it really. Look I love and want an electric car and want them to succeed. It just sucks Tesla is the face of them. They decided to try to make apples version of a car without the quality. They do have the same frustrating unintuitiveness that makes no sense sometimes that apple has though.

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u/BasakaIsTheStrongest Aug 17 '22

It’s why I’m so glad to see the Ford F-150 Lightning. There are two types of people who drive trucks: Those who love the feel of a giant rumble monster (who won’t buy any electric truck, so trying to appeal to them is a waste of effort), and those who need a practical workhorse. The Cybertruck targets neither and the fact it was the face of electric trucks for years is utterly moronic likely set the movement back. Then Ford stepped in and made an ideal practical workhorse that is, for most use cases, a massive upgrade to ICE trucks and something people who care nothing about emissions will still want to buy because it’s got so many practical features. Ford knows their audience and knows what their audience wants.

I can’t wait for more experienced car companies to get serious about EVs and force Tesla to either get their act together or relegate their market share to a small niche of musk fanboys.

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u/Aegi Aug 17 '22

Yep, I have a Toyota Tacoma now, and while I don’t get as much practical use as I’m sure some people do, I live in the Adirondacks and I’m always hauling wood, or garbage, or biking and camping equipment, or some basic construction tools and frames and stuff for any little terrain parks my friends and I are building.

There’s also tons of dirt driveways and dirt roads and stuff, so having a pick up truck really is pretty useful, that being said, as long as it can handle temperatures of -45 Fahrenheit or so, I’m planning on my next truck being the electric F150.

It just seems objectively better for nearly everything, especially for the few times I told things, having more torque when we have such steep hills and mountains here in the Adirondacks will be very useful. And the fact that I basically have a mobile generator with me, which then means that sometimes we can use plug-in electric tools instead of gasoline powered tools, is also pretty nice.

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u/MuscleManRyan Aug 17 '22

Tesla's build quality is abysmal. I've driven a few as rentals, every time I shifted or the car moved the interior would creak and groan. The acceleration is fun of course, but that's the only pro I see with them

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u/ApexMM Aug 17 '22

They have a bunch of nice things going for them. The acceleration, the design. The model 3 is a STUPIDLY efficient car when it comes to actual energy use. The autopilot makes the chances of rear ending someone insanely low.

Has a whole host of problems too though, shit paint, bad build quality, elon Musk.

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u/Maelst0rm Aug 17 '22

Kia EV6 has real buttons and knobs, love it so far. Telsa won't be the EV face for long.

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u/Ok_Skill_1195 Aug 17 '22

I think the issue is similar to what we're seeing in phones -- the technology is no longer advancing at the rate it once was, but the companies still want that rate of consumer churn. So they're pushing tech that isn't there yet or just comes across gimmicky or which is all around unnecessary

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u/LastNightOsiris Aug 17 '22

you mean like getting rid of the headphone jack and cordless charging?

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u/BabyYodasDirtyDiaper Aug 17 '22

They got rid of cordless charging?

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u/Ok_Skill_1195 Aug 17 '22

More like how Apple will marginally change specs in ways that won't matter to 96% of their consumer base, but hey, it's says its a better camera.

The headphone jack was even worse, since it was transparently about trying to force apple users to adopt air pods (or essentially be taxed for not getting air pods by being forced to buy a dongle).

Such a transparently scummy move, I have no idea how they still retain so many fanboys at this point.

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u/dicknipples Aug 17 '22

They included a dongle or Lightning EarPods for quite a while after removing the headphone jack.

And you could literally change out Apple for Samsung in your comment and it would still be just as true.

If you think the average person keeping those megacorporations afloat is a fanboy, then you’re probably only paying attention to the little bubbles on Reddit where people care about any of that stuff.

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u/BXBXFVTT Aug 17 '22

I always thought dongle was an apt name while getting fucked over by needing DONGles

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u/SuccumbedToReddit Aug 17 '22

Most important functions usually have a physical button still, BUT my current car ditched the climate button. Besides navigation probably most used and I have to:

  • Push physical button
  • Push screen for climate
  • Push the up/down arrow X times to change temp in .5 degree intervals
  • Optionally switch setting (3 pushes on screen) to force passenger climate along

My car before this just had a simple dial that let you set the temperature with a gesture. What a dumb and dangerous design now.

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u/Yellow_Similar Aug 17 '22

I know someone earlier commented that this must have gone through some kind of consumer focus group, but evidently they left you and me out.

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u/coreytiger Aug 17 '22

One of the main reason push button transmissions were dropped decades ago

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u/BumderFromDownUnder Aug 17 '22

Don’t blame the engineers, blame the management that’s telling them what they should be engineering.

I dare say the actual engineers are perfectly aware of the shortcomings of what they’ve been told to build.

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u/Sololop Aug 17 '22

Yeah engineers are very rarely the aesthetic designers. People fail to realize this. The engineer just makes it from an idea into reality

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u/BabyYodasDirtyDiaper Aug 17 '22

Even the aesthetic designers are rarely given freedom to design as they please. They'll be getting their marching orders from the marketing department.

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u/Mattna-da Aug 17 '22

The problem is not engineers - it's us. These features are heavily focus-grouped and consumer-researched. The problem is people only think they know what they want, they don't actually want what is best (in day-to-day operation). They want what makes them feel good. Having a button-transmission instead of a lever feels newer, futuristic, and makes them feel they've made progress over their parent's ways of doing things. Of course it's crap in actual use, but if a feature increases the all important "likely to purchase new" score in their focus group research, it will find it's way in to production. The goal is new vehicle purchases, not optimal ergonomics and design for human factors.

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u/Yellow_Similar Aug 17 '22

My apologies to engineers then.

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u/deuceawesome Aug 17 '22

These features are heavily focus-grouped and consumer-researched. The problem is people only think they know what they want, they don't actually want what is best (in day-to-day operation).

Well, considering more people view cars as an appliance than anything else (judging by the amount of CUV's that ...all...look...the same) this doesn't surprise me.

I don't know how you could be a car guy/girl in this age. Honda and VW still make some eye appealing stuff, but these CUV's.....christ, its like they all came out of the same boring mold engineered by a math teacher.

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u/S_balmore Aug 17 '22

Yes. A great example is early "push-to-start" cars. Consumers felt like it was a premium option, but it was literally a downgrade when it first came out. If you own an early 2000's BMW 3-series, you know what I mean. You still need a key. You still have to put the key in a slot in the car, and then you have to push a button to turn the car on. If the key didn't seat properly in the slot, you've gotta do it again. It's also very easy to accidentally leave your key in the ignition.

In normal cars, the key and the start button were combined. Putting the key in the ignition (and turning it) turns the car on. All in one motion. And you'd never leave your key in the car, because you have to physically grab it in order to turn the car off. The old tech was actually more advanced and more intuitive, but push-buttons felt "luxury", so people would pay more for it.

Modern cars are a little different because there is no key slot at all. You just sit down and press the start button. The key never has to leave your pocket. We've finally reached what we were aiming for, but back in 2007, push-to-start was actually a hindrance instead of a convenience. Touchscreens are the modern version of that.

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u/InternetJerk4U Aug 17 '22

Tom Hanks said it best in You've Got Mail, 1998

The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino." - Joe Fox

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u/[deleted] Aug 17 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

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u/qxxxr Aug 17 '22

I rented a car with a push button gps and the latency on the screen was SO aggravating. Just trying to put in an address and it keeps trying to help and throw up auto complete options RIGHT UNDER MY FINGER when I'm trying to type.

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u/CrazyCalYa Aug 17 '22

ERROR DO NOT USE GPS WHILE VEHICLE IS IN MOTION

DID YOU MEAN THE 12TH ST THAT'S 2 BLOCKS AWAY OR THE ONE IN CHICAGO

RECALCULATING

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u/ANiceDent Aug 17 '22

“Mom, why is our Tesla lagging again!”

“We’re in Detroit!”

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u/Caucasian_Thunder Aug 17 '22

Mfs stole our bandwidth

Can’t have shit in Detroit

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u/7050170 Aug 17 '22

Rogers messed up again. I don’t know where I am or where I’m going

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u/AmazingSieve Aug 17 '22

Fuck touch screens that do everything in cars. Buttons and dials are so much better. When your driving you actually know what you’re touching without having to stare at it and can tell when you’ve changed whatever.

Touchscreens that do everything are a bad trend.

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u/werak Aug 17 '22

I don't even know why it's legal. It's not legal for me to use my phone while driving, and I can hold my phone in my field of view. But apparently it's perfectly ok for my car controls to basically be a giant phone that I have to look down to use.

Oh, and because the screen is so big there's nowhere to hold my pinky or any other part of my hand on a non screen area for stabilization, so I have to focus extra hard while my hand bounces around to make sure i hit the right button.

I'm a year into my first car with a mostly touch screen experience, and it's absolutely awful.

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u/unnecessary_kindness Aug 17 '22

I didn't buy a 2021 model of a car because they had gone full touch screen. Dealer looked very confused when I said why.

Ended up getting a second hand 2019 model which sadly will be the last physical button and knob model they do.

Going to be tough in a few years time when every second hand car will be full touchscreen too.

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u/BabyYodasDirtyDiaper Aug 17 '22

Not all new cars are going this direction, and -- thankfully -- some manufacturers have gotten the message and are dialing it back on the touchscreen stuff. There are quite a few models of car out there that used to integrate as much as they could into the screen, but have gone back to physical buttons and dials for the most important controls in later models.

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u/mhinimal Aug 17 '22 edited Aug 17 '22

and then the touchscreens have the fucking audacity to put a giant warning label saying "ITS DANGEROUS TO USE THIS SCREEN WHILE DRIVING" that prevents you from doing anything when you first turn on the car... AND ARE STILL PARKED

holy shit, its so infuriating

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u/formlessfish Aug 17 '22

Trying to move from map to Spotify on your screen so you can change the song? Let me just put a banner over the exact position of your Spotify controls so that when you go to hit pause or next you get taken directly back to the map and have to start this whole process over again.

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u/mhinimal Aug 17 '22

yeah how about play/pause/skip buttons like every dash radio that came before

play pause skip
volume control
audio source switches (FM/AM/Sat/BT)
1-6 FM preset buttons. in other apps these can be mappable hotkeys
button to cycle current app display (nav / song info / traffic info or something)
+ all the normal climate control stuff, but my vehicle has physical HVAC buttons and touchscreen for everything else

everything deeper than that is fine as a menu on the touch panel. this is the stuff i need while driving, and it doesn't require any more buttons than before.

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u/PropaneSalesTx Aug 17 '22

I know where a button is without looking after a while. But with my touchscreen, I have to look at the screen 100% of the time after 5 years

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u/zeezl Aug 17 '22

100%. And with the movement of the vehicle, I touch the wrong place on the screen often. So I’m spending even more time looking at that bitch. Really pisses me off when I open another menu by accident.

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u/GamsusDesign Aug 17 '22

Turns screen language into Arabic

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u/loma24 Aug 17 '22

They also discovered water is wet and heat is hot. Some fascinating findings!

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u/boonepii Aug 17 '22

I LOVE my rotary knobs for volume and sliding between information screens in my car.

Touch screens suck in comparison cause you have no guidance on your fingers and have to use your eyes for longer.

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u/Grindfather901 Aug 17 '22

My wife's Honda Pilot has only touch screen or steering wheel buttons for volume. I hate that crap so much it became a table-stake for me when shopping for my next vehicle.

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u/BurtonGoutster Aug 17 '22

I think people complained about the volume knob removal so much that Honda actually brought back the knob, at least on the Civic. Volume controls should never be a touch slider.. and don't get me started on touch AC controls.

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u/FeFiFoPlum Aug 17 '22

My husband's Volvo had touchscreen AC controls. I wanted to punch the damn thing every time I tried to use it.

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u/dobbytheelfisfree Aug 17 '22

Tesla AC control is shit. I hate the slider function.

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u/wyerye Aug 17 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

They just aren’t really practical in a moving vehicle. With a dial/ button you don’t need to take your eyes of the road

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u/JAVASCRIPT4LIFE Aug 17 '22 edited Aug 17 '22

Yes. It’s so annoying to hold your arm out while the vehicle is moving and your arm and hand is bouncing around while you’re trying to hit a 1/2” target with your finger while also trying to keep your eyes on the road. Then you miss and hit a different button then have to go back and undo what you just did then try again. It’s more annoying when the function is buried under 2 page clicks.

Reprogrammable or dynamic buttons and knobs is where I think it’s going. Mini LCD or OLED screens can be put beside or on top of each button or knob describing the function. There was a computer keyboard that was made years back that had mini screens in each key and could be customized for games and apps.

Edit: Optimus Maximus Keyboard link

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u/coolerbrown Aug 17 '22

Optimus was the keyboard. I wanted one soooo bad back in the day

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u/ShainRules Aug 17 '22

https://youtu.be/qj7GYU-wedo

This review made me feel a lot better that my dream of owning one went unfulfilled.

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u/ThisIsMyCouchAccount Aug 17 '22

Yeah. I kinda hoped it was awesome because I thought the idea was neat.

And now you can get it in a macropad like it's no big deal.

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u/coolerbrown Aug 17 '22

Wasn't it also like $1200? I was in college so I have up on the idea pretty quick

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u/TheKingHippo Aug 17 '22

Video says $1600. (~1:13)

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u/piclemaniscool Aug 17 '22

Worse. The comments say the $1600 version doesn't have color. The version he's reviewing is allegedly $3000.

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u/SmoothMoveExLap Aug 17 '22

Screens ON the buttons. Got it.

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u/MadLabsPatrol Aug 17 '22

You joke, but there are screens under the buttons that controlled the AC in the Nissan Juke. The screens display the button label and the display and function can change if you press the A/C or D-mode button.

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u/datstargazer Aug 17 '22

Ayyy, found a fellow juke owner in the wild.

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u/TheCrowsSoundNice Aug 17 '22

very common on some high end cars already. Dial for AC temperature has an LCD that says the actual temperature right on the dial. Same for fan speed. It's pretty neato.

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u/NotElizaHenry Aug 17 '22

While we’re at it, could we please do fucking DIALS ONLY for all climate control? I got a car with buttons and I don’t fucking know what temperature I want my car to be! I want it to be three quarters of the way around the circle! And I don’t want to hit another button a random number of times and peer at a little screen I can’t see with polarized lenses to have the air blowing on my feet but not my hands, I want to turn a dial two clicks!

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u/LarryLovesteinLovin Aug 17 '22

Seriously, buttons and dials for climate control, lights and wipers (if not totally automatic) would be super nice.

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u/lilneddygoestowar Aug 17 '22

My car is new(ish) and has all dial climate controls and it’s just easy. Turn it to the right and it makes me hotter. Turn the other nob to the right and the fan goes faster. I will be the first to admit im only semi smart. But until we find a better interface, buttons and knobs are the way to go.

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u/Lumpy-Ad-3788 Aug 17 '22

Maybe buttons and knobs are the best interface

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u/Hydraxiler32 Aug 17 '22

Unironically not the worst solution

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u/[deleted] Aug 17 '22

It's really not! I think the problem with fixed buttons are that they can become overwhelming with so many, to the point you have the odd buttons you never use, or the multi-function button (press for this, hold for this, press twice to change this)

Having buttons that change based on what you're doing (with a screen) is great though! It's similar to those OLED Keyboards that can display different "functions" based on what application you have open on a PC

The tricky thing then is to have the ability to change into those different "modes" to be easy and intuitive

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u/Hello_Im_Crayzee Aug 17 '22

casino is filled with these

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u/giritrobbins Aug 17 '22

I think how a lot of military craft do this is buttons and knobs around the edge and then the display tells you what those buttons do on screen so it can be responsive to context. I've seen a lot of equipment like this as well

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u/MiniDg Aug 17 '22

I drive a q50 and as “outdated” as the interior is i love it, i have two screens so i can have climate and music or navigation and music etc. on at once and my favorite part of the whole interior is the little dial that completely controls the top screen. I have wirleess carplay and the dial scrolls through all of carplay and its so easy and i hardly have to look. You could even do the whole ipad screen and add something like that and everyone would be happier. Im pretty sure acura puts like a track pad in the TLX and even that would be so much better. The less screen i have to touch the better.

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u/[deleted] Aug 17 '22

The new Kia Sportage has buttons like that for functional stuff. Still has a touch screen for navigation/entertainment though

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u/[deleted] Aug 17 '22

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u/Beefourthree Aug 17 '22

It doesn't matter if Tesla's infotainment is distracting because they'll be fully self-driving by the end of the year. /s

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u/BostonUniStudent Aug 17 '22

I'm willing to bet that it also malfunctions more often even in a parked vehicle.

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u/Random_Housefly Aug 17 '22

When a dial that controls one thing malfunctions. You only loose control of that one thing...and it's dirt cheap to replace.

When a touchscreen malfunctions you loose control of everything and have to the the entire unit replaced...which usually starts at $1,500...before labor.

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u/Infamous_Librarian14 Aug 17 '22

Man, and you just know some MBA is just chipper as fuck at creating all this new profit and unnecessary e-waste.

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u/Scudw0rth Aug 17 '22

They don't care about the e-waste, just the profit, and usually just the profit for the next quarter. These people have soup for brains.

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u/astro143 Aug 17 '22

My vehicle has the creature comfort controls as three large dials in the dash. Does it look premium? No. But oh is it so much nicer to use than any new car I've sat in. Touch screens in a moving vehicle terrify me. It's three touch screen presses in a modern version of my vehicle to turn on the heated seat. At least that isn't a subscription yet.

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u/DangerouslyUnstable Aug 17 '22

I think that physical buttons for car controls are inherently superior, but completely aside from that; 99% of the touchscreen UIs are hot steaming garbage. Like....manufacturers, at least give yourself a goddamned chance. Hire a fucking UI/UX engineer (or a team of them) and fix your shit. It still won't be as good but it won't be so horrifically, embarrassingly, bad.

I want to get an electric car real bad, but as far as I can tell, literally every single one of them is nearly entirely touchscreen based, and I just don't know if I can handle it.

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u/BabyYodasDirtyDiaper Aug 17 '22

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u/pjr032 Aug 17 '22

Jesus, that’s already huge. The bigger option looks absolutely horrendous too, looks like someone slapped an iPad to a dashboard.

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u/sack_of_potahtoes Aug 17 '22 edited Aug 18 '22

Tesla started this dumb trend to just put an ipad on dashboard and call it a design feature They should make these displays smaller and make it useful for its purpose

Edit: replaced computer with dashboard

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u/callmesaul8889 Aug 17 '22

Tesla’s tactile controls on the steering wheel and stalks let the driver control pretty much everything from the wheel. The most I do with the touchscreen is picking a nav location or raising/lowering the climate, but I’ll use voice commands for those if I’m actually driving.

Skip, back, play, pause, volume, cruise control speed, follow distance, and autopilot are all controlled with physical buttons.

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u/DangerouslyUnstable Aug 17 '22

From everything I hear (including friends who have a Tesla), Tesla is by far the least bad of all touchscreen controls, partially because, as you point out, they aren't completely touch based and partly because they are (as far as I can tell) the only company whose touch UI isn't total garbage. I'd still rather also have climate controls be physical as well though.

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u/superkuper Aug 17 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

I don’t want a touch screen or capacitive touch buttons anywhere in my car. Give me big chunky physical buttons and knobs I can operate with gloves on without looking.

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u/boondoggie42 Aug 17 '22

Car&Driver used to test the ability to operate the HVAC controls with winter gloves on and include it in their tests. (They're based in Michigan.)

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u/Mattna-da Aug 17 '22

2000 Ford Focus was tested by guys wearing weighted fat suits, blurry goggles and thick gloves, to simulate being old / disabled. They wanted to ensure anyone could figure it out and use it. Admirable. Several new cars couldn't pass this test.

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u/midnitewarrior Aug 17 '22

I love this. If it works for old people, it works for nearly everyone.

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u/Britlantine Aug 17 '22

Which is one of the key sells of improving accessibility for user experience - you're not just ensuring that an otherwise excluded group can use your product or service, you general make it better for all users.

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u/superkuper Aug 17 '22

I know, I also live in Michigan lol. But I wouldn’t limit it to HVAC, I would say that anything you might operate or adjust while driving including the radio, cruise control, navigation, or pretty much any control in the car should work from some kind of physical control rather than a touch screen or capacitive touch. Those controls have almost zero place in a car other than as redundant control.

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u/ratiofarm Aug 17 '22

To me, the worst thing about a touch screen is that the interface can switch around, depending on what you’re doing, so it’s hard to remember where “buttons” are and you have to look at the screen and be distracted. They can also be unnecessarily small, resulting in multiple touches and multiple distractions. Superfluous design elements are also incredibly irritating. I curse my car’s touch screen and its UI developers every time I drive.

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u/Paddy_Tanninger Aug 17 '22

I much less mind a "big screen" car interface if there's still tactile buttons controlling it. Even if the buttons change depending on what the UI currently is, at least I can commit some kind of feeling to memory.

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u/cshell6865 Aug 17 '22

I, also live in Michigan. My husband works with engineers all day with the development of new models. He is constantly telling them certain things just won't work out well. Explaining common sense to most of them obviously doesn't work. Once it's signed off on, there's no stopping it. And we despise the touch screens which is why we drive older vehicles with knobs.

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u/jmoney-56 Aug 17 '22

If they were based in Arizona they’d have to do that test with oven mits instead of gloves

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u/fredinNH Aug 17 '22

And cars like SAAB had hvac controls that were designed to be easy to use in cold weather. Big buttons and knobs within easy reach.

I have a tractor with better hvac controls than most new cars. 3 knobs and and button for ac. I’ll admit it’s a little harder to control recirc as that’s a lever above and behind my head.

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u/boondoggie42 Aug 17 '22

Yeah, The Toyota Tundra had marketing stating that they made everything easy to use in work gloves, and it certainly is the case. It's great when they do it right.

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u/Aegi Aug 17 '22

That makes sense, I’ve got a 2010 Tacoma, and even if it wasn’t explicitly true for that model, I have no problem using temperature or radio controls with gloves on.

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u/rememberyourkarma Aug 17 '22

That’s literally why they were designed the way they were. It’s why some have different shapes, some are buttons, some knobs you twist etc. It’s so people can use them without looking and keep their eyes on the road. Touch screens remove all that, you have to look down to operate them and that makes them dangerous.

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u/TheBaxter27 Aug 17 '22

There's so many places where a good button is priceless. One of the worst features of my entire kitchen is the weird touchscreeen buttons on my stove that jut suddenly decide not to work if your hands are greasy/wet/dirty/not to the buttons liking that day.

I'd kill for something more analog

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u/stay-awhile Aug 17 '22

My dishwasher is like that. And my stove. The dishwasher is particularly bad though, since anytime the control area gets even slightly wet all of the buttons stop working, and it generally gets wet any time I do the dishes. At least the stove is usually dry.

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u/PrimordialPlop Aug 17 '22

Watching my parents attempt to work their touch screens is outright scary and dangerous. Isn’t the idea to keep your eyes on the road and not trying to find the sweet spot on a screen to activate your heated seat? At a cost of $1.95 per use of course.

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u/LMGgp Aug 17 '22 edited Aug 17 '22

It’s almost as if humans require tactile feedback as it’s what our hands were born to do.

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u/EFTucker Aug 17 '22
  • tactile feedback

But tactical feedback is cool too

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u/LMGgp Aug 17 '22

If phones had physical keyboards autocorrect wouldn’t be so aggressive. Thanks I fixed it.

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u/Hot_Box8010 Aug 17 '22

I really miss physical keyboards in phones. Having to rewrite words 2000 times because my fucking huge thumbs just hit every single screen key to the point that autocorrect is like "holy shit im out" is a pain in the ass.

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u/Bulky-Travel-2500 Aug 17 '22

You’re talking SERIOUS logic here.

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u/lbcsax Aug 17 '22

It's called proprioception, the ability for us to know where to move without sight. Having tactile feedback is essential for proprioception.

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u/kcexactly Aug 17 '22

My wife’s car radio is touch screen. There should be a law requiring stereo volume knobs in cars. Trying to swipe or tap the volume down is annoying as heck.

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u/amitrion Aug 17 '22

Yep. Volume up volume down on a touch screen sucks ass

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u/GodAdminDominus Aug 17 '22

Even the quintessential touch-screen devices of our day - smartphones, tablets and the like, have volume buttons/rockers.

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u/cjohns716 Aug 17 '22

My #1 complaint about my wife's Volvo is that you have to use the screen to do anything with temp and airflow. Even (if I'm remembering correctly) the defroster. Feels like temp controls should always be knobs and buttons so you can do it while driving. "Oh, the windshield is fogging, better take my eyes off the road to click through 3 menus to turn it on!"

Luckily, hers has a volume knob and a play/ pause button in the middle of it.

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u/Brilliant-Owl-1169 Aug 17 '22

I have a Volvo as well and the time it takes to change the hvac is so dangerous!

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u/rochvegas5 Aug 17 '22

I hate how often I need to look away from the road to do something simple like that

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u/tribbans95 Aug 17 '22

Yeah seriously. Like when you have to scroll through Reddit while driving

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u/SoundOfTomorrow Aug 17 '22

"reddit notification? ugh what did this jerk reply to me about?"

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u/[deleted] Aug 17 '22

Allowing those but banning phone use is complexly oxymoronic

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u/wreckage88 Aug 17 '22

I remember the days of sitting in class texting under the table on my Motorola crazr and I could text perfect sentences blind just because I could feel all the buttons. I don't think I would ever do that again with touch screen only. Hell I could drive and text a message and never once look at my phone.

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u/where_in_the_world89 Aug 17 '22

This is something I could do as well, even with just a number pad, pretty fast. Touch screen ruined all of that forever and I totally forgot til reading your co.ment. thanks!

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u/LamarBearPig Aug 17 '22

I 100%, without a doubt, think that trying to maneuver on a touch screen while driving is twice as dangerous as texting and driving

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u/Jammyhobgoblin Aug 17 '22

I lease my cars and Honda brought back the knob volume control on the CRV because so many people like me complained once they got rid of it.

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u/kcexactly Aug 17 '22

My wife has the previous CRV without the knobs. I am glad I wasn’t the only one who hated it.

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u/amalgam_reynolds Aug 17 '22

For some things, physical knobs are basically required. I don't mind touchscreens for other things as much as some people, but my biggest gripe is that they're fucking awful touchscreens. I test drove a brand new Cadillac a while ago, and the whole car was fancy and high-tech... except the touchscreen was a laggy, buggy, slow, awful mess. If it was half as responsive as my phone I'd be happy, but it wasn't! It acted like it was the first touchscreen ever built!

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u/Takaa Aug 17 '22

Most cars in recent years have volume up/volume down/pause/skip/previous on the steering wheel, usually within range of a thumb swipe while holding the wheel.

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u/iamthinksnow Aug 17 '22

Yeah, fuck that. I've got a 2014 and 2016 model of the same car, one with a volume dial and one with up-down buttons & touchscreen, both with steering wheel controls. The volume dial wins every single time I want to change the level of sound and I get actively annoyed whenever I'm in the newer car without it.

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u/cromulantusername Aug 17 '22

Lol r/Rivian didn’t like me saying this a weeks back. Touchscreens are trash for this use. You can’t change the temp or radio station by feel alone on an iPad can you?

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u/MuchoRed Aug 17 '22

Can we also talk about how the touch screens usually look like they bolted an ipad to the dash? No integration at all

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u/kzlife76 Aug 17 '22

You both are speaking my love language. A study needs to be done on how many accidents are caused by touch screen consoles. Car companies are terrible at software development and ui design anyway.

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u/Jennifermaverick Aug 17 '22

I just got a car that has terrible vision out the back windows so I have to use the back up camera screen. When the sun is shining on it, I can’t see anything . It is bizarre to me that this is the way cars are now.

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u/CheeseCues Aug 17 '22

r/civic on the other hand has been happy about the return of physical buttons in recent years lol

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u/twentyThree59 Aug 17 '22

Took a 2020 civic over a cheaper 2019 entirely because of the volume knob being brought back.

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u/charliesk9unit Aug 17 '22

I had a car that had essential controls (forgot what) tied to the screen and the screen is tied to the DVD map player. When the DVD device, which cost $500 new, died after 12 years, I lost access of the essential control.

And then there's the Prius, which at one point (not sure if it still does) has the 12V battery in the back and when that battery died, you have no way to access the battery because you need power to open the hatchback and you need to open the hatchback to access the battery compartment. The workaround is to disassemble a panel to access an emergency latch.

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u/BabyYodasDirtyDiaper Aug 17 '22

Even the iPad has physical volume buttons.

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u/sneakrz06 Aug 17 '22

Give me that Mazda rotary dial in every car!

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u/M4jorP4nye Aug 17 '22

I love my Mazda stereo, and no greasy fingerprints all over my screen.

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u/Nihil_Cow Aug 17 '22

I never use the touch screen, no need too and the fingerprints drive me up a fucking wall.

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u/Glaurunga Aug 17 '22

Mazda + Carplay = perfection for me

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u/Baeker Aug 17 '22

Mazda focused on minimizing the demand on driver attention and it shows.

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u/CasinoAccountant Aug 17 '22

number one reason I am on my 3rd mazda since they rolled out that style.

No, the infotainment UI is not perfect. But it's usable, and I'm used to it. Nothing worse than getting in a rental car and the infotainment requires an onboarding session... I'm literally afraid to buy from another manufacturer lol

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u/AllOfTheIsz Aug 17 '22

Love my Mazda dial

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u/byfuryattheheart Aug 17 '22

I LOVE the dial in my CX-5

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u/WigginIII Aug 17 '22

Mazda was right!

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u/skinnyfatty1987 Aug 17 '22

Much easier to change things with knobs/buttons than taking your eye off the road

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u/JasonVoorheesthe13th Aug 17 '22

I want a screen for selecting my music and scrolling but a physical dial or button for switching between functions or changing volume. And for the love of god what’s wrong with a dial for temperature or fan speed? I don’t care about the exact degree or even auto temperature I just set it to what feels right

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u/r3dt4rget Aug 17 '22

There seems to be this large divide between auto temp users and the manual temp control users. I literally just keep the auto temp adjusted to 72 degrees, year round. I never touch my temp controls in my car. It just goes to 72 degrees, whether it's winter or summer or whatever.

And then there are people that can't stand auto for some reason, like my wife. In the summer she gets in and turns the temp to LO and fan to high (even though auto to 72 DOES THE SAME THING). And in the winter it's manually set to 85 and fan to high, even though auto does the same thing lol. Only difference is that, after a few minutes, manual controllers have to make more adjustments back to normal human temps, while auto mode handles all the temp and fan adjustments to maintain desired temp.

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u/LamarBearPig Aug 17 '22

Thank god after years of people complaining, we finally know that touchscreen buttons suck. All thanks to this test. Amazing

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u/graebot Aug 17 '22

Also, water feels wetter than a picture of water

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u/SabashChandraBose Aug 17 '22

Waiting for Tesla to dumb it even more by changing the entire contents of the screen as you approach it based on "AI" to show you only the buttons you will want to touch.

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u/Tinnie_and_Cusie Aug 17 '22

Subaru has both. Go Subaru!

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u/MarysPoppinCherrys Aug 17 '22

Both is the correct path into the future

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u/Eagle_1776 Aug 17 '22

I loathe the controls in my Crosstrek. The volume does not work while in reverse, you cant actually turn the radio off, just silent then when you start up again it comes back on... etc. hate it

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u/fight_the_bear Aug 17 '22

Just purchased my ‘21 outback in February coming from a ‘10 legacy. I love the car itself, but all of the tech drives me insane on a daily basis. I hate that when I don’t actively have something playing on CarPlay, that anytime I use siri, end a call, or even start my car, it defaults to playing the radio. I fucking hate the radio. The infotainment system crashes at least once daily. The seatbelt warning sound nags you when even if you’re going less than 5 mph even in park! I’ve had the eyesight tech pump the brakes on multiple false positives. And don’t get me started on the auto engine shutoff feature when you come to a stop. Luckily I got a crazy good deal on the car so I’m seriously considering selling it when winter hits since demand for Subarus where I live skyrockets around that time. Honestly thinking about trying to find a Baja in good shape or jumping ship altogether to another Japanese brand with awd. Sorry for the rant, just had to get that off my chest.

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u/thelefthandedsnake Aug 17 '22

yeah the volume blasting while using backup cam and it won’t turn down lol. i have an impreza hatch but same controls in most of them of the same gen

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u/stay-awhile Aug 17 '22

That might have been covered by an optional recall. Give Subaru a call and ask.

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u/pazimpanet Aug 17 '22

To be fair, the biggest and most consistent complaints that I see in /r/subaru_outback all have to do with how terrible the screen is, so not always go Subaru.

I mean just look at the comments on the stickies post at the top

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u/nomorerix Aug 17 '22

Not a car, but my headphones. Old one broke, had buttons.

New ones are touch to activate the volume up/down or play next/last song (or youtube playlist).

Except it doesn't fucking work because I can't tell where the buttons are at. Even if I DO press it, it actually isn't compatible with youtube videos. My old headphones were compatible with youtube. Spent 200 dollars on this thing it's absolutely ridiculous.

It's comfortable enough and has decent soundproofing but man I wish I could just buy the older model I had.

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u/DeepStateofAffairs Aug 17 '22

I sincerely wish there were a ban on touchscreens in cars. They're utter dogshit, they're not safe, they rarely perform better than an aging smartphone or tablet, and they're utterly unnecessary.

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u/pconwell Aug 17 '22

Didn't really need a test to figure that out. Pretty much common sense that being able to reach down and tactilely feel a control without taking your eyes off the road is better than interacting with a flat screen that you have to look at.

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u/FruityTootStar Aug 17 '22

No shit. There should never be a reason to turn your neck while driving 80 mph down the interstate.

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u/[deleted] Aug 17 '22

HVAC on a touchscreen is absolute garbage. “Climate control” has also been garbage in every vehicle I’ve ever driven. Give me three knobs: temp, fan speed, and position. Anything in addition to this is dogshit.

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u/KypAstar Aug 17 '22

Mazda's dial is the fucking best. I can get anywhere in my settings menu and adjust whatever I need without ever looking at the screen. Sure it took some practice, but I've memorized all the key locations and how many taps/turns they require. Its great.

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u/MiasmaFate Aug 17 '22

I would be happy with a just a volume knob and a temp knob.

I did like the double-din head-units with the buttons running down the sides of the screen, it was like you were in fighter jet cockpit.

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u/MeeHungLo Aug 17 '22

I remember back in college when iPads and android tablets were becoming normal. People would bring them to take notes and it was hilarious how frustrated they were trying to keep up typing on a screen like it was a keyboard.

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u/illegal_sex_panther Aug 17 '22

And they would never admit it was easier to type on a keyboard, always maintaining it was superior in every way compared to a laptop or even a regular notepad. Didn’t take long before the iPad club all got plug-in keyboards and pens.

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u/Ksakher Aug 17 '22

Personal preference, my car has a touch screen for the infotainment but also has a few physical knobs for ac and whatnot. A mix of both is good but the touchscreen is really nice sometimes

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u/Reflexes-of-a-Tree Aug 17 '22

Agreed. Touch screen is superior for things like navigation through menus. Knobs and buttons are superior for things like climate and volume. Allows you to keep focus on the road.

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u/TheFrenchDub Aug 17 '22

"Users are not happy with what we forced fed them for years despite them complaining about it all the time"

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u/nic_nic_07 Aug 17 '22

I totally agree

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u/walkerpstone Aug 17 '22

Buttons are so nice.

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u/Fat_Satan Aug 17 '22

No shit lol

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u/Diligent_Ability_248 Aug 17 '22

duh and for my volume give me a knob please

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u/LderG Aug 17 '22

Yeah, with dedicated buttons you know where they are and you know their function, with touchsreens you have to navigate through menus and then you still have to look on the screen where exactly the slider or button is.

Only time i enjoyed more technology in my car is with android auto/apple car play, where instead of using the actual screen i can just tell voice assistant to navigate somewhere or change songs.