17" Touchscreen too big?

17" Touchscreen too big?

I love everything about the Model S except the center screen. I think a touchscreen centric interface for a car is a solid concept, but from the pictures and videos I've seen the 17" screen seems to overwhelm the cabin. Do we really need an GPS map 9" wide? I think a smaller screen would have just as much functionality while giving a better sense of balance to the interior. I can't say I'm a big fan of the way that cloth wraps around the center console either.

What do you guys think?

cerjor | 17. Januar 2011

I agree. 17" seems to be excessive. But the 3 or 4" one on the Roadster I just saw looked pretty dinky.

What I am concerned is that the mapping software will be proprietary and cost a bundle to upgrade. The mapping software in my wife's Lexus costs about $300 to upgrade. I can buy a new version of Microsoft's Streets and Trips for about $40 or a new Garmin for a couple of hundred.

ckessel | 17. Januar 2011

I have a hard time understanding why the 17" screen would be an issue. It'll presumably dim at night or by configuration (such as dim while driving). It's not like the driver is looking at it. It's far less intrusive than a smaller dashboard mounted GPS. I suppose it could be overkill, but I don't have a problem with it.

Mehdi | 17. Januar 2011

The interior we see in pictures are of a Alpha Prototype. The 17" monitor was an off the shelf part slapped in there and it looks like, well a prototype, with prototype software.
Tesla actually hired a Mercedes interior designer after that prototype was built. I'm reserveing judgement on the final product until we see the next generation (Beta) prototype, or better yet the actual production car.

Discoducky | 17. Januar 2011

The size of the screen is one of the key reasons I'm buying the car. It's a revolution, not evolution. Takes a while to get used to it.

Try using a touchscreen laptop or All-in-one desktop and you'll find that it's very comfortable.

One thing I'm concerned about it how much will be touch operated *only* vs. touch/voice controlled.

However, not having only software buttons is an evolution that I'm happily buying into.

DanD | 17. Januar 2011

Big isn't necessarily bad but I wonder what the revolution is? Is it just a bigger GPS? If so, then we should be concerned. By definition it would be distracting to have that much more information in front of a driver's eyes.

What else and how off the shelf is this?

What are the revolutionary things?

An Internet radio would be good.
iPad apps
Rear and front camera display
Built in user manual

Having a travel related built-in tablet would be nice. Something you use when you're parked and trying to make decisions on what to do or where

Discoducky | 17. Januar 2011

@DanD, exactly, the possibilities go as far as your imagination.

With the big panel, Tegra 2 and an app store you could have all the great apps you'd expect on your smartphone or tablet, available to you from the panel.

Look at what Ford, Nissan and GM are doing with their panels. This is evolution with slightly larger touch screens, pizoelectric buttons and some annimated UI. Even Audi, while trying to launch Tegra 2, to get 3D maps, is only going for a 8" screen while keeping there familiar blocky dash design elements. Again, only evolution.

Tesla, IMHO, has it right, with full integration into a large panel for several reasons (some of this is pure conjecture):
1. Bigger buttons. And large UI in general means easier to use and less cramped.
2. Less parts to wear out. With a sturdy glass, like Gorilla Glass, unscratchable, while exposing the full range of color from the Tegra2 chipset in every LCD pixel.
3. Lowers cost. Less hardware, less buttons, less complexity
4. Agility to modify. Like your computer, smartphone or tablet. Like modifying your desktop. Put the things you do the most on the home screen, for instance.
5. Futureproof. With an app store and marketplace, you can keep up with innovation. Or even just hitting websites like Bing or Google, you'll have enough screen real estate to easily view full web pages. And you'll want to as HTML5 is about to take over just about everyone of your favorite sites (i.e. no more need for client side apps). That is the future of the internet.

Honestly, though, it is freakin big and I just love it, so I'm biased...YMMV.

B.Noing | 17. Januar 2011

Given that a flat screen with images of buttons makes little sense in a vehicle moving at high speeds, the only thing that would be revolutionary about putting a bigger screen in the car would be if the screen wasn't flat but had enough tactile topography to allow eyes on the road operation. From what I have read so far, it seems like the "innovation" is limited to software.

ChristianG | 17. Januar 2011

that it is bigger might be an advantage as it can show things bigger so you don't have to look at it as long as with smaller screens. Like I stated it before I like to see the touchscreen in combination with buttons on the steering wheel, as I'm not a fan of voice commands. The possibilities are really big on wich kind of software you can put up. In a car thou, less might be better as youdon't want to be distracted too much. I think it's a good thing that in many cars the things you can do while driving is very limited.

Timo | 18. Januar 2011

Some ideas for Big Screen UI:

-voice feedback. Screen tells you what mode is in and what it is doing

-"mouse gestures" to move between screens. Requires some learning, but would be really helpful in touch screen. Doesn't require touching some exact point of the screen, allows control without looking.

-"audible tooltips", a bit like with mouse hovering over some button, you get a tooltip what it does. Same there. You point your finger in general direction and hold it there and screen tells you what you are pointing.

-some part of the screen does always the same thing, like switch between modes in left and/or right bottom corner.

-obvious voice control.

-*ONE* actual big turnable knob with push button to adjust what needs to be adjust without touching the screen.

Volker.Berlin | 18. Januar 2011

I think it's a compromise. I would never even consider 17" for my desk, it is so much more convenient to use 30" -- whether you just arrange multiple windows side by side without the need of hiding one to see the other, or look at some 30" full screen window like Google Earth...

I agree with all arguments that have been mentioned in favor of a larger screen... you can show more information, or you can show fewer information more clearly, and touch response areas can be sufficiently large etc. In my opinion: 17", no less. :-)

And yes, we need some physical controls. Even the iPhone has a physical button, and I am convinced this decision was not purely based on stylish looks but also for good usability reasons. Obviously Tesla is trying to invent something like "the iPhone of car dashboards". Remember your first impression when you saw the iPhone for the first time? A phone too large to be pocketable (or so it looked from the specs) and with no buttons?? And the revelation when you tried it hands-on and it worked and even fit into your pocket? We will only know when we can actually touch it, but we can hope that Tesla pulls this off in a similar way.

Bluesday Afternoon | 29. Juni 2015

Great early discussion about the proposed 17" screen. Some thought it'd be too big and another wanted it bigger. On target in a number of areas. And, yes, the manual is accessible on the screen.

sorka95032 | 29. Juni 2015

Every time I get into another car that has a dinky 5 to 7" screen it looks SOOOOO outdated now.

It's not just the usability of the nav but the usability of the entire car. It's revolution because its completely changed the layout of the car. The large touchscreen IS the reason why the MS is so elegant and spartan. I too thought non tactile buttons would be an issue but as it turns out, I've remembered where they are and no longer need to look at the screen to hit the button that I know is there to activate the function I need. Seeing it out of the corner of my eye and the simple fact the buttons are so large for the context of the function you're exercising means it's even more useful that a tactile button.

More controls, better features, evolving features.