Lexus Remote Touch review:

Lexus Remote Touch

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Controller with haptic feedback. Cursor system familiar to all computer users.

The Bad Voice recognition only works with pre-recorded tags. Sat nav DVD-based. No direct iPod control.

The Bottom Line As a controller system Remote Touch is wonderfully simple to use. Unfortunately the supporting cast (voice recognition, DVD sat nav, missing iPod connectivity) lets the system down.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.9 Overall

Currently Lexus' new Remote Touch entertainment and navigation system is only available in Australia in the RX350 and RX450h four-wheel drives. This review of Remote Touch is drawn from our review of the RX350.


As with the systems offered in German luxury cars, Remote Touch consists of a large LCD screen placed high on the dash and is operated via a controller near the centre arm rest. The Germans have universally opted for a scroll wheel that can be pushed and pressed; Lexus, however, has opted for a trackball-like device that controls an on-screen cursor. There are just five physical buttons in the Remote Touch system, two enter keys located on either side of the controller's wrist rest, and shortcuts to the main menu, sat nav map screen and display settings. Although the cursor doesn't snap to buttons, whenever you mouse over one the controller will generate a moment of resistance and a slight clicking sensation. Because of this the cursor is drawn towards buttons on highly populated screens, such as the sat nav's destination keyboard.

Remote Touch can control most of the car's features, including the sat nav, telephone, audio and entertainment, and climate control. The last two still retain physical buttons and, joy of joys, one no longer has to dive into the menu system to select where the air is coming from. Audio and telephone controls are also duplicated — triplicated, even — via buttons on the steering wheel spokes.

Except for the control method, the guts of the Remote Touch system are carried over from previous Toyota/Lexus touchscreen units. The menu structure has been reworked and is more sensible than before; however, moving more items, such as the telephone, to the main menu would be helpful. Some car settings, like the adaptive lighting and folding mirrors, reside in a separate system located in the instrument cluster and set via steering wheel controls. Oddly, Remote Touch prevents address entry whilst driving, but is perfectly fine with you tweaking the audio settings or finding the choice tune.

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