2011 BMW 528i: Twisted
January 28, 2011
Touch screens, joysticks or twist knobs. Those are your basic choices in navi input these days. Normally I prefer to use touchscreens. I feel on average they're more precise and faster. Downside to that option is all the finger prints that build up on the screen. A handy microfiber rag in the glove box usually fixes that.
I've got to say though, the twist knob in our 528 makes a strong argument for me to change my preference. The positive feedback is pretty awesome. By feel you can tell what you're doing without looking. I do feel the inherit design isn't as precise for my tastes because you have to scroll through all the letters to select the letter you want. Granted it's predictive and will drop letters as you spell something out, but it usually doesn't satisfy my impatient taste.
Beyond the navigation, the feedback makes gives the driver a leg up on their touch screen brethren. If you know what you're doing, you can change the radio station or audio input all by feel without taking your eyes off the road. Yeah you can make an argument for steering wheel controls, but you can't fine tune with those. Typically only presets and volume.
As a whole, the 528 makes me debate my preference to touch screens. Without considering money, which system would you prefer? Touch, knob, or regular ol' buttons on the center stack?
Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer