Results: Start-Up, Phone Pairing, Route Guidance, And Camera Delay
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 processes that are important to a driver using his car's technology package. The tasks we measure 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. Our results from previous car reviews are included as well.
The Asteroid Smart isn’t particularly fast, as we might have guessed from our look under the hood. It trails SYNC with MyFord Touch, previously the slowest infotainment system we've tested, by more than 10 seconds. However, we're measuring a completely cold boot that doesn't represent the real world. Parrot intelligently implements a vibration sensor that starts the boot process when the car vibrates, either from a trunk or a door opening or closing. In the case of a false trigger, the Asteroid Smart turns itself off if it doesn't receive ignition power within a minute. During our review, we didn't notice the head unit taking nearly as long to boot.
Start-up phone pairing is another area where the Asteroid Smart lags behind OEM offerings. Taking 20 seconds more than the previous last-place finisher, Parrot's solution is by no means a snappy performer. Given the boot-up measurement, however, we can't say we're surprised. Fortunately, in the 57 seconds that it takes to boot and pair up a phone, the Asteroid Smart also tethers with an available data connection automatically, too.
While we aren’t particularly fond of Parrot’s navigation software choice, we can at least say that iGo Primo is fast. The Asteroid Smart delivers the second-fastest route computation time behind the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe (which incidentally employs a similar Texas Instruments-based OMAP SoC).
Finally, we have the back-up camera delay, which does not favor Parrot's Asteroid Smart. Again, though, this is both expected and understandable due to the implementation. In most OEM configurations, the camera is connected directly to the display, bypassing the infotainment system's start-up procedure. Parrot relies on a back-up camera app, which cannot launch until the system starts up. It's a limitation that we doubt an update would be able to improve much.