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I had a chance to drive in one, and I really didn't care for the UI. Nothing felt intuitive. None of the unlabeled(why?) icons could pass the "sniff test." For simple functions like popping the hood or turning on the led headlights, I didn't know where to look. Though I'm sure this would be learned over time, it's disconcerting as a first-time driver (I would never feel comfortable lending this to a friend or family member). Also the lack of tactile feedback and the need to take your eyes off the road made me feel very uncomfortable.
The worst part though was something that no other reviewer seems to have touched on yet. I was a passenger in the Model 3 at night, and the big, glowing screen in the front of the car was a huge distraction that I kept wanting to wish away. It's like having a television in your bedroom when you're trying to sleep at night. It's this big, bright screen (it dims but it doesn't dim too low, I never tried but I can't imagine that Tesla lets you turn it off). It needs blue-light (flux) to deal with the eye strain. Regardless of where in the car I was sitting (passenger seat or back seats) my attention was fixed to the screen and I couldn't look away. There's just so much going on on it (from Sirius XM cover art to fancy rendered tesla models and popping icons) that it's hard to look away.
Honestly I stare at a computer screen all day long and my screen-less commute to work is some sweet respite. This may not be an issue during the day, but it certainly affected me at night. If you're trying to imagine what it's like, think about long road-trips or taxi drives you've taken at night where there's a screen staring in your face you can't turn off (whether it's mounted on the seatback or a GPS maps app mounted on the windshield/dashboard). At night, I greatly prefer subtle, blue or red glowing accented buttons, switches and knobs with proper tactile feedback.
There were some other things about the car that bothered me (the door handles were unnervingly difficult to open with one hand and the lack of foot space in the rear seats (not because the seats were too close but because to accommodate the battery the floor is so high it feels like you're sitting in the third row of an SUV where your knees are in your chest). There was also lots of road noise on the highway (whether that's because there was no engine noise to mitigate it, I'm not certain). Also when the car accelerates, the inverter emits this incredibly off-putting whining sound. I had a preorder but I canceled it. I couldn't justify being an early-adopter for 50k. Sign me up for the 3.1!
I wonder whether a future version will adopt an automatic “night mode” similar to Google Maps.
This should be the default, imo.
As a huge fan and having a side interest into human interaction inside of vehicles (also vehicles in general), this is very concerning. Touch interaction is unfortunately the future. Screens are the future. But, I think you've pointed out some key flaws when involving someone who is actually driving the vehicle. I don't understand how these screens pass for usage on roads to be quite honest. I think that's something that needs to be implemented for the future. Mercedes, BMW and others are moving towards touch interaction more and more.
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