I’ve been ranting about the utility of 12.3” TFT LCD screen that Range Rover has used for its virtual gauges since 2010. When I drove a 2013 model for the first time, it was the first thing I was hoping to see. There was audio info and even navigational cues in the once black void between the two “gauges”. Now having a full week in with my 2014.5, I can say it’s missing the last bit of polish. I’m not going to address the frustratingly slow interfaces yet, this rant is specifically calling out the display of song information(or lack thereof) on both the digital gauge screen and the center touchscreen. Here we go…
The gauge display when playing a Sirius Satellite Radio song::
It shows us that it’s Sirius, SAT 1 shows us that it’s a channel on the first screen of SAT presets, not that I care. Seriously, does wasting that space with SAT 1 help anyone? Does anyone care that it’s the first page of SAT presets? Anyone? “Bridge” is the channel name and the Channel number is 32. Notice it does not display the song name or artist name. So let’s look to the 8” touchscreen and its default Home menu for the information we’re seeking – notice the information to the right of the “Audio/Video” button.
Here we see again it’s SAT 1, the preset page(can anyone explain why I should care?). It’s playing Channel 32, Bridge. But this time we get a new and totally amazing piece of information – is it the song title? Is it the artist?? No, it’s the genre of the station currently playing. Then below that they kill more space with the Meridian logo because that’s the mode I have it in. So yes the music sounds great but by default, we still don’t know what we’re listening to. But we know it’s a Rock station, so that really, really makes up for it.
So let’s be daring and hit the Audio/Video button, maybe the information we seek is there…
Great! Finally, we really get some more info, well just one new piece of glance-able info – the artist’s name. If we want more info, then you’ve got to press that “i” button.
So maybe you’re thinking it’s just a Satellite Radio issue, it’s got to be better when playing from an iPod. Right? We’ll do this one in reverse. Audio/Video display for iPod song – Album/Artist/Track all displayed!!
Home menu shows us the Song Title – it would be nice if they lost the Meridian logo and gave us Artist too. As the driver, I couldn’t care less about any marketing deals they’ve made. There are Meridian logos on the physical speakers in the car, I don’t need a digital one too. And yes, you could pick Dolby or DTS and the appropriate logo is shown but who really cares? It’s a waste of very limited visual space.
The gauge display, again a little more info but still plenty of useless redundancy. So the Music: iPod line tells us it’s playing from the iPod. The second line with iPod is showing the name of my iPod, which is just “iPod”. Then the final line we get Track number and Song title.
The name of my iPod just exacerbates the issue but it also proves a point, why is there such redundancy? Yes we need to know the source, I’m fine with that but why not place the iPod’s name on the first line and use the new, now empty space for the Artist name? It’s better than Satellite Radio but still needs improvement.
It’s these frustrating little details that take an almost perfect vehicle and make it less so. And the worst part is that these are all features that are constantly in your face, you’re looking at one of these screens and always missing key info that could very easily be displayed – a frustrating reminder of what could be.
How much of this is regulations and contracts and how much is actual design?
But hey, at least we know it’s a Rock station…