The Infotainment Basics
When you opt for Infiniti's Hard Drive Navigation System, the JX35 comes equipped with an eight-inch WVGA LCD. If you don't buy the optional navigation package, you're left with a color seven-inch display.
Our test mule came with the navigation system, and we found the screen's high-and-center placement particularly easy to look at without losing focus on the road. Infiniti integrates a contoured cover above the LCD to prevent glare from sunshine, though as soon as the panoramic sunroof opens up, glare is almost impossible to avoid. Nevertheless, the screen's 800x480 resolution is pretty typical, and we didn’t have any trouble with its clarity or detail while sitting in the drivers’ seat.
Infiniti enables touch and physical control interfaces with its Hard Drive Navigation System. The resistive touchscreen works, but it's not as responsive as the smartphones and tablets most of us are accustomed to, which employ different panel technology. As such, we grew to favor the control knob as our input of choice.
The knob makes it easy to quickly scroll through the menu options and keyboard. I've noted my preference for physical feedback in the past, and this is one more example of how it can be quicker to use than a touch-based interface. My only complaint about the knob is its placement. Infiniti installs the control knob below the LCD screen, flanked by an array of other infotainment (mainly navigation) controls. However, putting it in the center console within a rested arm's reach would have been more ideal.
Infiniti proved to be shy about dishing on the internals of its Hard Drive Navigation System, so we don't have the usual in-depth information about the SoC used to drive the JX35's infotainment solution. We do know, though, that Infiniti sources QNX for the Hard Drive Navigation System's operating system, like many other manufacturers. Overall, the UI is very functional, highlighted by an intuitive layout and easy-to-access menus. We aren’t fond of Infiniti’s color choices, but that's a largely subjective judgement.