The Panasonic Strada CN-NVD905U is a stylish, user-friendly entrant to the in-dash navigation market. It delivers decent GPS navigation and media playback, but doesn't raise the bar in either department.
The CN-NVD905U falls into the category of a small but growing number of all-in-one, hard-drive-based navigation/multimedia systems. The double DIN-size system features a bright 7-inch display, which shows maps and movies in crisp detail, and which doubles as a very useful touch-screen control interface.
The Strada CN-NVD905U's Navteq-based maps are bright and well rendered, and the system features extra detail for 86 metropolitan areas across the United States, for which it shows individual building outlines and landmark icons.
For video playback, the Strada CN-NVD905U plays DVD videos, which play only when its host car's parking brake is activated. The 7-inch display delivers crisp video reproduction, and we like the Direct Touch functionality that the system offers, enabling users to navigate DVD menus by making selections onscreen rather than via a remote interface.
The Strada's SRS Circle Sound decoder is a catchall for the system's audio adjustment options. Its settings include Focus, for adjusting the vertical "sweet spot" of the audio; TruBass, for setting the bass levels for front and rear speakers as well as for a separate subwoofer (where applicable); and RearMix, for optimizing the mix of sound between the front and rear speakers.
The Strada CN-NVD90U can handle MP3 and WMA discs as well as regular CDDA discs and DVD audio. During playback of compressed digital audio format discs, the screen shows full ID3-tag information for individual tracks.
We like the layout of the Strada's top-level virtual menus, which are well rendered, clearly labeled, and large enough to select while on the road. The customizable Destination button on the main menu screen is particularly conspicuous and has to be one of the largest touch-screen buttons we've ever seen.