Originally Posted by PaulinVictoria
Go down a West Marine and try a few out. I found the Lowrance very simple to use, within a minute I had configured the screen to show the chart, with a nice big readout of speed and depth and one-press access to a split screen with the chart and the fishfinder display (that is useful for showing the actual bottom). Not the most flexible in terms of interfaces to other equipment (although I think they have a multi-function head unit as well for a couple of hundred more), but for the basic needs of a coastal cruiser that doesn't want to spend weeks reading a manual, seemed to do the job.
I hate touchscreens. Great if you are lounging around in the cockpit, or cruising on a nice sunny calm day. Crap if you are actually sailing, holding on with one hand trying to stay upright wearing foulies and gloves. In those times, you need buttons your fingers can find, and know you have pressed.
Excellent info about the touchscreens, thank you. Without having been there/done that, I would never have thought about that. I live about an hour and a half from the nearest West Marine, but prior to making this purchase I will definitely make the trip, as I feel it will be worth it, especially if I can get my hands on a knowledgeable employee.
I think I remember reading a couple places about the Gamin 740s having a magnetic SD card door that requires you to place it something like three feet from your compass. To me that seems like an unreasonable distance for a lot applications.
Yes, that is the biggest complaint I keep reading about the 740s: it must be 32" from the compass. Not a problem for me, I don't think, since I don't have a compass yet and therefor can mount it wherever I want. I was thinking I'd get a flush mount compass, and mount it opposite the companionway from the plotter.