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Chinese Company Launches Aftermarket Navigation System for the MINI

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The words Chinese and aftermarket don’t conjure up positive thoughts typically. And while we’re still not sure if what we see above is a quality piece of software and hardware engineering, it’s at the very least interesting. What it is is the first full aftermarket navigation system designed for the R55, R56, R57, R58, R59, R60 and R61 MINIs. What it runs on we don’t know (and believe me tried to ask) but it’s clear that Zestech has packed a ton of technology into the system. Whether it’s user friendly or even usable we don’t know but it makes for impressive bullet points on a spec sheet.

Now for the real question. Would you dare order something like this and have it installed in your MINI? Keep in mind it’s likely a touch interface and the MINI’s screen position isn’t made to be in reach while driving.

MINI Aftermarket Nav Spec Sheet // PDF

Product Page // Zestech

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Written By: Gabe

  • Andrew

    Isn’t it kinda curious that the only photo not shown for an aftermarket nav system is one with it displaying a map?

  • R.O

    I’d love to see an aftermarket single slot CD player for the F56.

    • jbkone

      Have you thought about where it would go? I like the idea, but wonder where you’d put it.

      Actually, the slot between the Hazards button and the nav screen would be perfect, but who knows whats behind there.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      Or just order the in dash CD changer.

      • R.O

        In dash CD changer? For the F56? I thought the CD changer for the F56 is placed in the glove box, which takes up 85% of it, thus making it useless. Did MINI change this?

        • TheMotoringAdvisor

          You’re correct and no MINI didn’t change this.

      • Chilly

        In dash CD player for the F56? I would definitely be interested but I don’t see it listed in the configurator. As R.O said, the CD changer takes up too much room – plus it’s way too expensive.

  • jbkone

    I did notice there’s no speed pointer for the speedometer ring.

    • G

      Correct, unlike the Mini Connected display/speedo there is no speed pointer, just dashes that light up. Looks rather cheap IMHO, but the wife really wants to get one of these with backup camera for our Countryman.

  • Kev50027

    Ugh. Windows CE + a touch screen is a recipe for an awful UI, especially in a car. Touchscreens don’t work in cars because physical interfaces work better, we can use them without staring at a screen, thus they are safer. Windows CE is outdated. Also, 800×480 is a pretty awful resolution for an 8″ display. At least 720p would be nice on a screen that size.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      But it’s just $6…. :)

      • Kev50027

        What? $6? I’ll take three!

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          That’s sarcasm naturally.

        • Kev50027

          Haha! Yes, I realized that Gabe. Thanks for clarifying though :)

    • DG

      According to the product page it’s running Android, not CE. Kinda destroys all your complaints.

      Android makes more sense anyway. Free and more capable.

      • Kev50027

        According to the spec sheet PDF it runs Windows CE 6.0 on an 800 Mhz processor with only 128 MB of ROM and 256 MB of RAM. What version of Android can run on 128 MB or ROM? Cupcake?

      • Kev50027

        I agree that Android would make more sense, but their own spec sheet shows that it uses Windows CE, so maybe they don’t even know what it runs.

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          I think that’s likely.

      • racekarl

        The product page does not say it’s running Android, it says:

        “Intelligent Android platform video entertainment sync with the phone”

        That’s totally clear!

        In all seriousness, what I think that statement is trying to say is that it can play video streamed off an Android device, not that the head unit itself is running Android.

    • r_k_w

      Don’t forget that you should be comparing it to the $1500 MINI Connected + Nav system, which is hardly a model of good user interface, design, or functionality. And what is the screen resolution of MINI Connected? I’d guess not much different from this device.

  • walk0080

    Buy an iPad mini or small Android tablet, suction cup mount it to stock speedo and be done with it. Or like me just get use the aux-in/USB-in, a car mount (ProClip MINI mount + adjustable holder w/ USB) and an iPhone5. I didn’t like the R56 navi option and don’t like the looks of this either.

    I like tech and work in the tech field, but I just find so much of this ICE/car tech to be junk whether it be stock or after-market.

  • Jon Garside

    Maybe the leading authority and blog on all things mini could get a press loaner…..

  • http://www.twitter.com/fourblades Christian

    I kind of want to see one for the R50-53 series… Ours is pretty outdated.

  • Jerry

    Chinese= DEAL BREAKER.

  • piper

    Next thing you know, MINIs will be made in China like so many other manufacturers have recently decided to do, including GM, VW, and low and behold — Tesla!

  • Bmwmike

    One good feature it that the speedo shows auctual speed , no longer are you off 3 – 5 mph. ;) Funny, unit came up on this forum , I have seen this last year on a china MINI site.

  • Don Compton

    I can’t see this a serious add. Good luck on this one.

  • Don Compton

    I am sorry, but I would not trust this with my Mini, period!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.jwardell.com/ jwardell

    At least it has video inputs. I wish my mini connected screen had an input so I could do something useful with it like a backup camera.

  • G

    This is the unit that MINI dealers in China carry because MINI doesn’t offer a backup camera option. I’ve seen this in person several times though I didn’t really get to play around with it as I was focused on my test drives. IMHO this unit looks cheap, in particular the lack of a speed needle as someone has already pointed out and the LED speed indicators with their uneven lighting as you can see from the photos. Also, the grey ring is just painted on the plastic and lacks the textured finish of the stock unit.

    That said, to my knowledge this is the only aftermarket GPS/backup camera option for the factory MINI speedo so I must give them props for even offering this on a low-volume car (especially in China). I just wish they would’ve spent a little bit more effort/money to give it a higher quality look.

  • Robo

    Umm, no. I can only imagine the electrical gremlins this will cause with the other systems.


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