Mercedes-Benz has designed an infotainment system with controls that is beautiful to behold; however, beauty does not mean good it turns out. It's a shame that something that looks so nice can be so difficult and cumbersome when it comes to usability.
The Mercedes-Benz COMAND infotainment system is a piece of evidence that gives one reason to push for tech companies to take over the design of these systems. Steve Jobs certainly wouldn't have built the COMAND infotainment system, I can tell you that much.
The COMAND infotainment system can be controlled in three different ways. Unfortunately none of these control options are implemented well on their own, or as part of a holistic control system. The three control options are: rotary knob, touchscreen, and dash buttons. The rotary knob and the touchscreen are redundant. Both do the same thing. The dash buttons meanwhile, do nothing extra, but don't do as much as the first two options.
The system as whole is not intuitive. If the goal is to create a system that you can simply sit down and figure out easily, Mercedes-Benz has failed.
There is no way that an owner can just sit down and figure out the system. Thorough studying of the manual is necessary to properly operating the system and much practice is required before doing anything more than adjusting the temperature while driving.
Of the three options for controlling the COMAND system, the rotary knob is the one that works best. It is the most intuitive, the easiest to learn, and the easiest to operate while driving.
The touchpad in particular gets pretty horrid reviews. It is poorly positioned, too sensitive, and "takes practice to master." In my opinion, one should not have to master an infotainment system. You master a musical instrument, or a martial art. Your car's infotainment system should just be usable, not some art to be mastered.
Left Lane News says:
In what is otherwise a beautiful car in both design and function, the infotainment system is a sour note. It seems like it should be easy enough to make a infotainment system that is easy to use. Other car makers have done it."The system includes some trick shortcuts - like swiping up on while on the main screen to bring up the radio tuner - but you'll need to study up before you're able to unlock all of its secrets. Moreover, the touchpad itself is poorly positioned; it's located several inches behind where your hand naturally lands."