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Kia UVO: Mainstream Infotainment In The 2012 Soul

UVO's 4.3-Inch Display

Kia UVO is only available with a 4.3-inch display. That may seem tiny compared to the 8-inch units used by other automakers. But considering the functionality it exposes and the price point it targets, we think the screen is apropos. We aren't given a resolution specification, however, our guess would be that it's a 480x272 screen. Nearly all 4.3-inch LCD panels share that resolution, and we don’t expect Kia to reinvent the wheel. Naturally, then, the display isn’t as sharp as some of the denser screens we've seen. But it is on par with most displays used for automotive applications. 

The user interface for UVO is pretty basic, lacking a home screen. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Kia employs more physical buttons around the LCD, rather than relying on the touchscreen so much. In fact, the entire head unit is covered in buttons to access each audio function and the phone. Moreover, two knobs control volume, radio tuning, and file selection. We welcome this more traditional approach to user input, especially since touchscreens aren’t as effective when your fingers are covered in burger grease.

Kia employs a typical resistive touch display for UVO. We found it to be very responsive, never missing a single touch point in our testing. The screen's input is fairly limited, though. The only available commands are reserved for the source currently displayed, including typical music and phone controls.

The UVO interface employs graphics typically found on entry-level aftermarket radios. There aren’t any fancy transitions or detailed tiles. Rather, you'll find standard icons with a mirror reflection, rectangular buttons, and fade-to-black transitions. The graphical simplicity is most likely a consequence of the fact that Freescale's i.MX355 SoC lacks a graphics processor. Nevertheless, Kia does achieve quick system transitions and responsiveness.

Credit goes to Kia for its aesthetic design. The user interface's color combination blends perfectly with the red and white interior lighting, and it's neither distracting nor blinding.