I've had about 3 days with the Nektar Panorama P1 so far, and I can't say it's a bad control surface. Here's my input:
Unit has a gloss black fingerprint-magnet finish, which is a design flaw in my opinion. It is otherwise very well-made, feels solid, and it could definitely take a beating on road trips. Just not around the USB port, which feels flimsy - though, to be fair, just about everything I have with a USB port has that flimsy feel (like it's only being supported by the PCB and has no proper reinforcement). If you're going to move it around, unplug it first.
Unit is USB powered (2.0 compatible), so you thankfully don't need to find space on your power strip for yet another wall wart! Unfortunately, it doesn't sport a power switch, so it'll power on with your DAW whether you like it or not. I haven't experienced any issues with plugged right in on OSX, but when I integrate it with my Windows DAW, which is where I use Cubase the most, I'll use a USB hub with a power switch. I just don't trust USB devices on start-up over there, they're too flaky.
Screen is extremely nice, even if the resolution is a bit low. It's very bright, very readable even far away, and viewing angles rival that of top-of-the-line IPS display panels, which is great. It's a color screen, though I don't know why it would need to be since the info it displays seems simple enough to be monochromatic. Not complaining, though.
Fader pots aren't motorized, but I don't think that's a problem since the unit sports a smart latch, which won't 'grab' the control in the DAW until you move the fader to that position first. I like how it works and got used to it pretty quick, even though I'm a fan of and prefer the motorized variety. While the caps are a bit wobbly compared to my usual mixing desk, the action is adequately resistant and smooth, and I didn't have any trouble being accurate with them. The rubber caps feel nice, but they have a shape that needs some getting used to - e.g. there isn't much surface area to work with when moving multiple faders simultaneously. I personally prefer to have my fingertips sit in the caps, rather than wedge the cap between my joints, but I haven't found it painful to use.
Knob pots, also a bit on the wobbly side, feel a bit too 'free' (not enough resistance) for my taste. They're smooth and nicely spaced, and they don't feel like they're going to break off in use, at least, but the feel is something that puts me off. Would've been nice to have some lights around the knobs to indicate their value so I wouldn't have to look at the screen all the time to see that, but I'm finding myself looking at the screen most of the time anyways.
Transport buttons are responsive and solid, and while they are round buttons beneath the square caps, I haven't had any trouble with slippage since they don't have a high travel. They light up, so you can see what you've pressed or what's going on in the DAW (e.g. rec shines red whether you use the button on the unit or in Cubase) - the loop mode button also lights up, but only flashes a color when pressed rather than staying lit or unlit like a toggle should. Weird stuff, but probably a firmware issue they'll address later.
Buttons located under the faders feel pretty similar to the transport set, and they light up as well for mute / solo functionality by default.
Function and mode buttons are incredibly stiff. They're responsive, but they don't actuate well, so it's difficult to tell if they're pressed or not.
Printed manual that comes with it is useless, so you have to use the online resources to learn anything about it. The website is a pain in the ass to navigate with tons of obtuse layers and meaningless lock-outs that prevent you from gaining access to said learning resources until you sign up and register your product. It's like they think somebody's going to "steal" their software drivers.
Once you've signed up and registered, you can download everything you need to get it running. At first, I was annoyed at the lack of a software counterpart that would allow me to edit what each control did, but after learning how to program the unit using its internal mode, that became a non-issue. It's easy to get it to do what you want, if a little time-consuming without keyboard and mouse entry.
As a note, update the firmware first before doing any extensive programming. It'll wipe the onboard memory to defaults. At least, that's what happened to mine.
SOFTWARE, CUBASE INTEGRATION:
You have to download and install a specific driver to get the P1 to integrate with Cubase on both Windows and OSX, and that's in addition to the generic driver you have to download as well, but that's the only remotely negative thing about this. Since I'm a negative-nancy, just assume that everything else about Cubase integration is really deep. You can control just about everything from the P1's hardware controls, and it feel great once you get used to it.
To spare the details, I'll put it this way: I don't know what I'm missing by not having a CC121 or CMC set, but I'm satisfied enough with this level of integration that I'm pretty sure I don't care.
Overall, the hardware feels like you'd expect for the price range, the installation is easy if you can get past an unintuitive website, and the software integration is awesome. The gloss finish, on the other hand, is a sin against mankind. I'm in constant emotional flux from glee to hate as I'm touching the thing to make stuff happen in Cubase... but those fingerprints and smears are so damn annoying.
They even play coy and include a cloth wipe in the box, as if to say, "you'll be using this a lot, muhahahahaa!"