Aside from revealing more about the variant specifications as well as new info on safety and powertrain aspects, the second media preview of the Proton X70 today also covered connectivity aspects of the SUV in detail.

When it makes its market debut, the X70 is set to open up a new era of connectivity for the national automaker, with an infotainment system that is, to say the least, comprehensively specified. The system found on the X70 features a localised application of Geely’s new Smart Ecosystem (GKUI), an open, shared and connected in-car platform which it introduced in its domestic market earlier this year.

It features an eight-inch thin film transistor (TFT) head unit, which offers 1,280 x 720 px of resolution and comes with 16GB of internal storage – the 720p display is standard on all four variants of the X70.

The operating system is Android-based, and supports Android mirror link (only via cable connection), though the company says there’s no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay at present, the latter due to restrictions, though it may be made available at a later stage.

Audio-wise, the Standard 2WD, Executive 2WD and Executive AWD variants come equipped with an eight-speaker system (a tweeter and a mid-bass driver on each door), complete with a power amplifier. The Premium 2WD increases the speaker count to nine with the inclusion of a subwoofer, mounted in the boot.

Functions include Bluetooth connection and GPS navigation, which runs on Baidu Map, though the map content itself comes from Malaysia, according to Proton. It features live traffic status, which is a definite plus for an on-board system. Waze can of course be used, but requires smartphone mirroring (again, Android only).

The X70 comes equipped with six USB ports, all 2.1A-rated. There’s one on each side of the centre console front, one inside the centre console box, two at the rear (located at the bottom of the console’s rear) and one behind the rear-view mirror, specifically to ease dash cam installation and avoid the hassle of lengthy wiring.

Plenty of online connectivity through infotainment apps – the head unit comes with a Raku digital radio app as standard, and this supports most local radio stations which offer broadcasts digitally.

As for music, an Unlimited Music app provides a comprehensive selection of songs from Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music catalogues. The app is provided via China’s Tencent – which offers the Joox music streaming service in the ASEAN region – out from its Singapore operation. There are no advertisements in the UM app, unlike Spotify.

As you’d expect, the connectivity means that the system has to have a continuous source to the Net, and this comes in the form of an e-sim, with the service provided by Proton’s telco partner of choice, Celcom.

The e-sim is a separate subscription-based package, with the customer registered when he/she takes delivery of the vehicle. It’s tied to a single user and assigned to the vehicle, so if an owner eventually decides to sell the X70, he/she must head on to a Proton Edar centre to de-register the e-sim subscription.

Data capacity wasn’t revealed, with the company saying that whatever that will be offered will be sufficient. It did however add that if more data is required, this can be topped-up for an additional fee (through Proton, not Celcom). As for subscription and package pricing, this will be announced later.

The GKUI features over-the-air (OTA) updates for its operating system, just like a smartphone, and as for security, the automaker said that all online apps adhere to relevant Internet and multimedia security protocols.

In terms of layout and usability, the home screen features five apps in a grid on the bottom part of the screen, and these are for voice command, GPS, music, phone and system settings. In a brief sampling at the event, the display resolution looks decent to the eye, and if the default layout isn’t to your taste, you can personalise the themes (three were available in the system at the preview) as well as select a different background image and screensaver.

We weren’t allowed to take videos or photos at the event, but as was displayed during the live demonstration and short samplings at the preview, system operation is quite smooth and fast. The touchscreen supports left and right swiping gestures, and you can use pinch-to-zoom and even drag app tiles to rearrange them.

The system also comes equipped with voice command, which also operated smoothly without hiccups during the preview session. Working very much like Siri or Google Assistant, activation is initiated through a specific command, in this case “Hi Proton.”

The system works through preset commands such as ‘I am hungry’ (which activates maps to locate nearby places to eat), ‘It’s too cold’ (which adjusts the air-conditioner setting to a higher temperature, in a single degree adjustment per command), ‘I want to see the stars (which opens the sunroof shade) and ‘I want to refuel’ (again, prompting a selection via the GPS), among others.

In terms of scope, voice command functionality for vehicle operation is limited to winding all the windows down/up, operation of the sunroof as well as setting air-conditioning temperature/fan speed. For apps, the function covers music apps, GPS navigation and phone operation, but the automaker says that more commands will be added on in the future.

The voice command is only available in English at present, although support for Thai and Indonesian is being developed, in view of export. The system’s voice provides a choice of a male voice named Tom or a female one, named Ava.

Based on our quick sampling, voice recognition for function operation is quite good, and it can even detect commands over music playing at a high-ish volume in the background.

Finally, there’s a Proton Link mobile app, which will allow an owner to check various status aspects of the car, such as remaining driving range, available fuel level, odometer, service indicator, fuel consumption, average speed, vehicle location and even mobile data usage. A remote control function also lets you check if the doors are locked or unlocked, activate the horn and lights as well as wind all the windows up/down.

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