In a group test organised by leading European tractor journals in the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Norway, SmartTouch was found to be overwhelmingly the best terminal in the industry. In fact, SmartTouch was so good that the Valtra T214 Versu won the comparative review largely due to its easy-to-use interface, although its numerous other qualities were also praised.
These days, drivers communicate with their tractors largely through state-of-the-art terminals. Because of this, the quality of the terminal and user interface play a decisive role in the overall user experience. Dials and mechanical switches are still needed, of course, and ergonomics are important when attaching implements, but the most commonly used functions can be found in the tractor’s terminal.
The importance of terminals has grown as tractors have gained an increasing number of functions that the driver can adjust more precisely than ever. Programmable transmissions and hydraulics, headland turning systems and similar functions have become increasingly common on tractors only within the past decade.
Valtra’s HiTech transmission was in a way an early predecessor of SmartTouch. Even though today’s user interface is light years ahead of the old HiTech, programmable powershift gears, forward-reverse shuttle and engine speed were impressive features at the time. The old HiTech also featured a small display on the A pillar of the cab that was so optimally positioned that SmartTouch models also feature a small auxiliary display in the same place.
Everything on one screen
The SmartTouch armrest terminal is used to control tractor functions, the headland turning system, ISOBUS implements and automated steering. This may seem obvious to SmartTouch users, but actually it is not necessarily quite so matter of fact.
“The easiest-to-use terminal available on the market” is a phrase that is repeated many times in the comparative review made by the tractor journals Koneviesti, Trekker, Bedre Gardsdrift and Traktor Tech. SmartTouch won praise especially for the simplicity of its menu structure, which is based on icons logically placed on top of a rotating tractor on the home screen. Any function can be accessed with no more than two taps or swipes.
The superiority of SmartTouch is not due to its impressive graphics, number of pixels or large display, for example. While all of these are important, of course, the most important aspect is the thoroughly thought out logic of use. The icons and their positioning were tested among actual customers hundreds of times during different stages of development. If the customers were unable to use a certain icon during testing, the designers humbly dropped their own preconceptions and abandoned their brainchild.
In addition to the terminal, SmartTouch also comprises the armrest and entire control system of the tractor. The terminal still does not control all functions, so a good joystick and drive lever remain important components. The terminal and other controls have been designed together in such a way that the most commonly used and precision-requiring functions are controlled using mechanical switches. In addition, the driver has a lot of freedom to programme desired functions on the various buttons and switches on the armrest. This continues Valtra’s traditional tailor-made philosophy, which allows owners to tailor their Valtra tractors according to their own individual needs.