Japanese car-navigation systems are as advanced and over-specified as they are probably because no one's ever had theirs nicked from a parked vehicle before. That fact alone has to make Western drivers jealous enough before even considering the goodies in Kenwood 's new Smart Navi sat-nav systems.
The HDD Smart Navi Emotional Sound HDV990 (long name, isn't it?) costs JPY236,250 (£1,020) and is based on a 40GB hard drive. For that wad you get the usual excellent 3D/2D navigation system, a 7-inch wide LCD, a DVD player and an analogue TV tuner for starters.
Naturally the Smart Navi can play regular CDs and DVD, compressed audio files (MP3, WMA, AAC), videos (MPEG, DivX) and can display JPEG image slideshows too. It also displays (yawn) iPod videos and charges said player while doing so and - best of all - comes with a 1-seg digital terrestrial TV tuner.
The clever-dick little unit is available at the end of this month - there's also a version without the digital tuner - but the bad news is that if you want to enjoy it you'll need to both learn Japanese and move to Japan.
Incidentally, if you have time scroll down the product page and check out the stats - isn't that just the longest list of features you've ever seen? J Mark Lytle