So much of what we do at Tom's Hardware centers on benchmark results. As such, we developed a test suite that covers some of the tasks and processes that are important to a driver using his car's technology package. The tasks that we're measuring include: boot-up time, time to connect to a paired phone, the time it takes to start music playback after booting the infotainment system, and lastly, how long it takes to actually add a phone to the system. We chose these measurements because they affect everyday use.
We perform the tests by recording video of each action and reviewing the footage in an editor to establish the exact point the system was turned on, and when the tasks are completed. The result is accurate; these aren't stop watch-timed tests. We’re establishing a baseline with a personal vehicle, a 2011 Volkswagen Routan SE with the mainstream Chrysler 430N (RHB radio code with Garmin navigation) system and UConnect Bluetooth connectivity. This is a system Chrysler currently sells with new vehicles. Our results from our previous 2012 Ford Focus Titanium and SYNC with MyFord Touch, 2012 Kia Soul Exclaim with UVO, 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track, and 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE reviews are included as well.
The Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation system is one of the fastest to start up. It falls behind the navigation-less Kia UVO system, and is two seconds slower than Hyundai's Navigation system, but remains comparable to other QNX-based implementations.
Our previous testing found that QNX-based systems place the greatest emphasis on starting music playback as quickly as possible, before the rest of the hardware boots completely. Infiniti's Hard Drive Navigation system falls in third place once again with an eight-second finish, two times as long as the Toyota Display Audio with Navigation & Entune system, and two seconds slower than Hyundai's Navigation system.
The Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation setup is faster than the Microsoft-based systems, though.
Start-up phone pairing is where the Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation system really shines. We had to recheck our benchmarks to make sure the tests were correct. Sure enough, though, Infiniti's hardware pairs up with phones before the rest of the system finishes booting, after only 11 seconds. That's better than twice as fast as the next-quickest solution we've tested, and three times faster than other QNX-based systems.
Because the company doesn't disclose much about its hardware, we can only speculate that Infiniti either uses a different Bluetooth stack or places greater priority on pairing to achieve its performance.
Infiniti falls in the middle of the pack when it comes to route computation. It's more than twice as fast as SYNC with MyFord Touch, but also half as fast as the Hyundai Navigation system. Nevertheless, waiting five seconds for directions is hardly an issue in our book.
Despite its luxurious 360-degree view, it takes Infiniti's Around View Monitor just as long to start up as most other back-up cameras. You'll find yourself waiting about six seconds from the time you start the JX35 until the picture is ready for viewing. That's plenty reasonable, unless you purposely shift into reverse right after pressing the push-button ignition (Ed.: Call me old-fashioned, but I still wait a couple of minutes for my engine to warm up before pulling out of the garage).