The Good The Panasonic Strada CN-NVD905U combines fast navigation with a user-friendly touch screen interface and high-quality video playback.
The Bad Despite its built-in hard drive, the Strada CN-NVD905U has no ability to rip music files into its memory. Lack of text-to-voice technology for the navigation system is also disappointing.
The Bottom Line 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.
Panasonic Strada CN-NVD905U
The Strada CN-NVD905U is Panasonic's first foray into the U.S. market for in-dash navigation systems, and it's not a bad start. 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 interface.
With a 30GB hard drive, the system has many similarities with Pioneer's AVIC-Z1 (with which it now competes on price) and forthcoming Z2, although the Panasonic system lacks the media storage capabilities of the AVIC devices. The Strada CN-NVD905U's hard drive does give it lightning-fast navigation programmability and route-calculation times, and we like the clean, intuitive layout of the destination-entry menus. Digital audio playback is also straightforward, although navigating homemade disc libraries is not as straightforward as with the Eclipse AVN5510 that we reviewed recently.
The faceplate of the Panasonic Strada CN-NVD905U features a simple, stylish design. Three control buttons for Map, Source, and Menu provide the gateway to the Strada CN-NVD905U's wide range of features, most of which are controlled using touch screen menus. We like the layout of the 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.
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