Do you plan on keeping it at the helm or down below on the nav station? There's been many discussions around the merits/drawbacks laptops for helms, but it mainly comes down to this.
If you factor the cost of making a laptop weatherproof (ie panasonic toughbook) and also factor in the diminished viewability of the laptop screens in sunlight, the cost/benefit equation quickly evaporates towards some of the lower end Garmin GPS/Plotter units.
I think most everyone will agree that a laptop at the nav station is a great tool for planning purposes or a backup to the GPS/Plotter at the helm. I have my macbook attached to my Garmin 76CSx (run xp in parallels) for planning and tracking purposes (easier than swapping out my chart chip on my Raymarine C80).
Some people are real fans of Raymarine's E series devices and running a laptop with Raytech RNS so that they can get all the functions over the Raymarine network on their laptop including the Radar. Thats unique to Raymarine I believe.
Last edited by night0wl; 08-08-2009 at 12:55 PM.