Tata Motors have silently thrown in a subtle little update to the Nexon's interior, and it makes a world of a difference. Keeping up with new trends and in a bid to make the Nexon's experience a little more digital, Tata Motors have removed the stack of physical buttons and dials for the infotainment system from below the central AC vents. Instead, now there's a new 'Nexon' sticker that sits on the dashboard. The functions of the physical buttons have now been relegated to the touchscreen.
These buttons on the dashboard were offered with the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is available from the XZ variant and above. The stack of six buttons had the following functions - Home, Favourites, Back, Smartphone and Next / Previous. Tata Motors have also removed the rotary dials for the volume and the tuner from either end. All functions can now only be accessed through the touchscreen, while some can also be operated through buttons on the steering wheel.
Now, this is never ending debate between touchscreen controls and physical buttons and dials. Both have their pros and cons. In terms of aesthetic, less buttons and touch-based controls free up a lot of clutter on the dashboard. The increased techy and digital experience also hugely appeal to a lot of customers. On the contrary, touch-based controls are simply not practical and completely betray ease-of-use. They constantly require you to take your eyes off the road to operate them, which can potentially be very dangerous.
Conversely, physicals buttons and dials may not be as aesthetic as touchscreens and some may even think its old school, but they are actually the most convenient to use. And that's what you really need them to be - should be easy to use, fall easily in hand and most importantly, be safe to use. With practise, one can easily remember the position of the physical buttons. These can be used without taking the eyes off the road. And even buttons and dials can be made to look aesthetic, as we have seen for so many years before the digital era.
With the physical set of buttons now deleted from the Nexon, you can still use voice commands to access some of the functions of the infotainment screen. However, even that is most often not as convenient as physical controls. Tata Motors should have given the customers the option to choose between physical controls or a complete digital experience. Carmakers are known to revisit their decisions based on customer feedback. If there's enough negative feedback, Tata could go back to the original controls. While digital controls have their attraction initially, in the long run, preferences simply shift to things that are just easy to use.