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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > AUDIO/VIDEO + BLUETOOTH + Electronics/Alarm/Software > Navigation: First Impression (NOT SO GOOD)



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      06-02-2006, 11:29 PM   #1
LarryK1000
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Navigation: First Impression (NOT SO GOOD)

OK, you will find that I'm very honest about things. So many times, people who have things try to justify their purchase by trying to make it sound as if they did the right thing. I don't play that game. I call a spade a spade.

So, first, you should know that I've had the Magellan RoadMate 800 since December. So, I have the ability to compare these portable units to the in car factory units.

I'll tell you, when the founder of Sharper Image says in his catalogue that the Magellan is better than his Mercedes and other German car units, he ain't kidding.

The Magellan unit is absolutely as advertised. You can use it right out of the box. The BMW Nav system is pretty hard to use.

But, after just a bit, the most glaring thing that is missing (and if I just missed it, someone, please, correct me) is that you CANNOT enter the name of a place and have the destination come up. For example, if you put in DISNEYLAND or HYATT HOTEL in DALLAS, it will come right up and you can immediately select it as a destination. (I put my name in and my Law Office came up. Talk about a huge database.)

With the BMW unit, however, all you can do is put in a general category and, if it's in a different city, you have to get that city on the map BEFORE you can do a search. And, when you do the search, you can't put in a name of a place. If you, say, select hotels, all you will get is a long list of hotels listed from closest to furthest away for the location you have set.

This is really awful and a MAJOR limitation of the BMW system. God, I hope I just missed how to do this, but I don't think I did.

So, for you who decided to pass on Navigation, you were pretty smart. My 800, which I paid $1,000 for at Sharper Image can be purchased for $600 or so now. And, Magellan has come out with the Live Traffic Update feature on some newer units.

I got Navigation on the new car because I wanted the iDrive screen. I thought I'd be disappointed in the BMW Nav system, and so, far, I am right.

So, on my next big trip, I'm using the Magellan system. And, by the way, the European maps are on the hard drive and, if you pay the fee, they will unlock them. Guess what piece of equipment is going to Europe with us?

Hope this helps people trying to decide on Nav on the 3 series. Get it for iDrive, not for Nav, that's my conclusion.

Larry

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      06-03-2006, 12:12 AM   #2
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Sounds like that Magellan unit is pretty nice. I got the nav myself and so far it's worked well for what I've used it for. I can definitely see how being able to search a database of locations by name would be nice but I just havn't had any times when that would have helped me. I find that you have to give the BMW nav a location, whether it's a town, street, or by using the crosshairs in the map to set a destination and then search for what ever it is you want. I think if I had a nav unit already though, I would have had to really think about it before buying the built in nav.
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      06-03-2006, 07:54 AM   #3
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my father used the magellan roadmate 800 to go from boston to boca raton and said basically the same exact things about it as you. he's had various cars with stock nav systems and felt that they were all inferior to the magellan. my mom has an h3 hummer and navigation was not offered so we did a little research and found the maggellan at a very reasonabel price; much less than say the bmw nav.
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      06-03-2006, 09:20 AM   #4
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I agree that the BMW system has shortcomings - the inability to search by name is one of its biggest. (Sometimes you can find the destination you're looking for in the category view easily, but sometimes it takes forever.)

But don't forget the one nice feature of the BMW system that no handheld unit will ever have - complete integration with the car. You don't have to look down at a unit or find a place to mount one (a safety issue) and you don't have to mute the radio each time the unit speaks.

The integration probably doesn't make up for its shortcomings, but it is one nice feature to consider.
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      06-03-2006, 11:32 AM   #5
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??? the nav system is great
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      06-03-2006, 12:17 PM   #6
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Just took a short drive and one other thing I noticed is that the Magellan unit tells you what street you are driving on in ALL CAPS at the top of the screen, no matter what zoom level you are at. I was driving and the BMW map was zoomed out and the only way I could see what street I was on is by zooming into the map to a close street level.

I don't mean to bash the BMW system, but the purpose here is to give people information who are considering buying the Nav system. It costs a lot extra and some people might want to pass on it.

As to iDrive, itself, I will get used to it, since I'm computer savvy. But, it IS cumbersome. My friend got his 325 without iDrive about a month ago. It's so easy on his system to go to AM or FM or CD, you just push the button. And, he still has the two (2) line display to display names of songs and phone names.

So, to a certain extent, the non iDrive system is very good and easy to use.

Having said that, I DO like the iDrive display and ability to control everything on the car. That's why I got it.

The VOICE COMMAND system only works part time. I'll have to work with it.

The phone (I have a Verizon Motorola E815) is absolutely perfect. It is flawless. It could not be better.

Just first day impressions.

Larry


P.S. Oh, yes, and as for Comfort Access -- help, what should I do with my key?

Just kidding. It's nice, but, again, I really think it's unnecessary. We'll see next week when I put the key in my gym bag and don't have to worry about where to put the key.
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      06-03-2006, 12:25 PM   #7
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I haven't used my navigation so much, usually when I do use it I usually have the address available and enter it in like that, so it doesn't give me any problems. The iDrive isn't that hard to use (I really don't understand how people can be confused with it, its just a knob that goes up, down, left, and right) although you do have to get use to it, it does become a little distracting (and fun) too use. You might need to just sit down and play with it.
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      06-03-2006, 01:35 PM   #8
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Larry, to view the street you are currently on at all times, set the assistance window (to the right of the map) to display the current position. This way, you have the map on the left and the street name on the right. The assistance window will also change to show you intersections when a turn is upcoming.
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      06-03-2006, 02:14 PM   #9
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Thanks so much. I'm going out right now and will check it out.

I appreciate your input.

L
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      06-03-2006, 06:29 PM   #10
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i dont like the navi much at all.... but its nice in a emergency type situation.

I still yahoo map stuff if i know im going out before hand. I only use it when im being spontaneous.

The software limitations are annoying, but if you are in the same city as ur destination, you dont have to type in the city to look for the POIs

If you are trying to locate a address or POI in a different city, you have to manually put in the city.

but others are right, its intergration that was important to me.

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      06-03-2006, 06:36 PM   #11
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Cool, I was looking for a nice portable navi.
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      06-03-2006, 08:40 PM   #12
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Larry,

I agree with your findings like... unable to find search by name & traffic feedback.
But one of the biggest advantages of OEM car integrated navigation system (BMW navi) is that it quickly calculates your current position from your speed & other possible car parameters (though for a shorter time) when Satellite communication has blind spots (e.g. driving inside a long tunnel with exits).
No portable navigation can do this.
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      06-05-2006, 12:17 PM   #13
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I was able to get the street location to appear in the Assistance Window by selecting ARROW DISPLAY. Thanks for the help with this.

I noticed an interesting thing this morning that is really good: I went to the gym and parked in the large, mall parking structure. Even though I had no satellite signal, the nav system kept moving the map even as I turned corners in the structure. It was amazing. It obviously has a wheel sensor that reads movement and turns. It really works and it's great. Very impressive.

I'm sure that as I use the system more, it will become easier to use. But, I'm still bringing the Magellan with me on the next big trip.

L
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      06-05-2006, 01:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryK1000
I noticed an interesting thing this morning that is really good: I went to the gym and parked in the large, mall parking structure. Even though I had no satellite signal, the nav system kept moving the map even as I turned corners in the structure. It was amazing. It obviously has a wheel sensor that reads movement and turns. It really works and it's great. Very impressive.

L
That's the Dead reckoning that BMW06 was talking about. The BMW nav system takes input from the wheel speed sensors and also (I'm told) has in inbuilt compass. This is how it knows when you are cornering so accurately. This has to increase the resolution of the advice which it gives.

An example of this is going around a roundabout, the BMW system can tell you to take the next exit as you pass the one before it. It would be impossible to do this on GPS fixes alone, and portable units do not have to the wheel sensor data.

Even though sat nav techolonogy is undergoing a revolution at the moment, I still think that the inbuilt nav system has its place. As time goes on it will look more dated but thats ok as long as it does what is needed.

For me the important points of the BMW system are:
It can direct me to my destination and route me around problems.

It has a variety of display modes for various circumstances. I use Perspective in town and North orientated for out of town or when I do not have a route set or am ad-libbing aroung a jam.

I can be useful even without a route set. Even if I know where I am going, I still keep it on Nav and observe the TMC information.

It's always there. No remembering to take it with you or delay whilst you set it up, remembeing to charge it, or the "Oh bugger" moment when your normal route to work is blocked and you need you nav unit (which you didn't set up because you know the way to work) and you can't get to the unit in your jacket pocket or glove box.

It isn't easy to steal (unless they take the car with it!). The portable satnav windscreen mounts are magnets for thieves to break in to your car, just to see if you've left the nav unit in your glovebox.

It's well integrated with the rest of the electronics.

The aerial is in the shark fin, hence you are less likely to lose coverage and it is not affected by window treatments.

The downsides are that you are stuck with what you have in terms of address entry, and the technology will become more dated with time. However unlike the "Radio Nav" system which I had in my E46, this unit is up to the job and so should not dissapoint.
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      06-05-2006, 01:54 PM   #15
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Thanks for the comments. Very nice, indeed.

Unfortunately, we don't have the Traffic Information updates in the U.S., so that important and useful feature is missing.

By the way, I tried the Perspective View in the Assistance Window a few minutes ago, but there were no street names at all. Am I doing something wrong, or do they only appear in the big window?

Thanks again.

Larry
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      06-05-2006, 02:09 PM   #16
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The lack of ability to search by name of a destination is one HUGE! deficiency for BMW's Nav system!! :mad: But I still would not order my car w/o it :rocks:
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      06-05-2006, 03:05 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryK1000
Thanks for the comments. Very nice, indeed.

Unfortunately, we don't have the Traffic Information updates in the U.S., so that important and useful feature is missing.

By the way, I tried the Perspective View in the Assistance Window a few minutes ago, but there were no street names at all. Am I doing something wrong, or do they only appear in the big window?

Thanks again.

Larry
Unfortunately, the perspective view does not show street names.
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      06-05-2006, 03:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryK1000
Thanks for the comments. Very nice, indeed.

Unfortunately, we don't have the Traffic Information updates in the U.S., so that important and useful feature is missing.

By the way, I tried the Perspective View in the Assistance Window a few minutes ago, but there were no street names at all. Am I doing something wrong, or do they only appear in the big window?

Thanks again.

Larry
You only get a few street names on the map and I don't think you get any in perpective, but I don't see that as a problem.

Reality check - What do you need the street names for, either on the map or in the assistance window?

I can't think of a convincing reason the have "gratuitous" display of street names on the moving map displays.

The only use for street name is as a marker for the next turn, and even then only on complex junctions and best displayed as road numbers.

The reason that I say that, is that when following route guidance, if the car says turn left at a junction, you turn left whatever the road name (law permitting of course). The only time that a road name is useful is in a very complex junction or roundabout, but correct use of perspective view and the accuracy of the dead reconing mitigates this. Similarly if ad-libbing around a problem, what matters is that the road is there, not what it's called. So I venture that we don't need them.

So if we don't need them, is there a downside of having them on the display? I would venture that there is. The iDrive map displays are extremely clear and easy to read at the briefest glance. Road names would clutter the display and reduce the speed that you can assimilate the information. This is important safety wise as you can keep your eyes on what the idiots around you are doing. It all aids keeping your E90 "E90 shaped". (The one unclear thing on the display can be the "delay" arrows on TMC information, but as you say, you don't have that feature or problem!)

The one place where more road names would be useful is on entering destination on the "Destination Input Map".

I realise that this is my opinion of how best to use the unit and is hightly subjective, but I'd like to think that there is some sense in the somewhere.
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      06-06-2006, 09:33 AM   #19
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My 2 cents:

I love the I-drive navi... I had used a TomTom system before which was excellent and I didnt think it could get any better. but the BMW navi is much more accurate and better at giving directions.

There are things that are worse tho....

Alternate routes... there isnt any easy way to say "Avoid I-495" or "Use I-70" etc. this would be a great feature since most people have route preferences when they drive.

Search for POI.. def lacking since you can only browse by category. It does sort it based on distance... which is great.

Audio... The cd playback for the CD drive is horrible it skips constantly ... less so on a high quality CD burned at 4x... that is unacceptable... there should be tons of room for CD skip protection within the system... but it still skips.Of course... this problem will be solved completely when the I-Pod interface is released through Dension or BMW.
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      06-06-2006, 09:53 AM   #20
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Larry,

I think you fall into the same rut as most people who have used a different navigation system for a period of time. You get used to the way that particular unit handles...and using certain functions of that unit. I've had about 3 different nav units (The e90 navi will be my 4th) and each have had their positives and negatives. Each time, I found myself comparing features and wishing that each nav did something different. After a while, I became accustomed to each unit and used that unit as intended without a hitch.

I think your suffering from the same thing I went through....withdrawls and comparisons to your "old" system. Each system will do things differently...it may seem less efficient than your old way, only because humans as a species do not welcome change. Good luck getting used to the new nav...I think you'll enjoy it if you give it a chance.
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      06-06-2006, 10:00 AM   #21
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I think you're right.

As a general comment about technology, haven't you wondered why engineers working for a company don't carefully analyze competitor's features BEFORE they complete their own work.

I just changed from my Mercedes E Class for the 330. Certain features of the Benz were great. I know it's certainly subjective, but it's clear that certain features get great reviews and are a good idea. Yet, the next company will come out with a system that totally lacks these great features.

It just seems strange to me.

Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with you. Day by day I'm getting used to the BMW Nav system and I'm sure it will be fine.

L
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      06-06-2006, 10:54 AM   #22
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I agree 110% with you regarding mimicking great features....its like companies want to re-invent the wheel with different nav systems. If they simply combined features from other units into their system (or actually use more than 1 nav system when developing the system) things would be more intuitive and easier for the customer.
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