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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #11  
Old 12-16-2013
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Re: Budget-Priced 5" Chartplotter Advice Needed

I'd take a plotter over a tablet any day, especially in this price range.

Tablets generally aren't waterproof and the displays generally don't work so well in bright sunlight. You can spend money to fix the waterproofing issue, but typically can't power them and keep them waterproof at the same time.

I like having a tablet as a secondary or backup GPS, but not as a primary.

If you have other electronics onboard (autopilot, speed or depth transducers, wind instrument, VHF with AIS, etc) you might want to get a GPS that includes NMEA 0183 or NMEA 2000 integration. There are a few of these in the $500 price range.
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Old 12-16-2013
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Re: Budget-Priced 5" Chartplotter Advice Needed

I prefer to get something designed for the purpose from the outset. I have wasted too much time over the years trying to adapt things to suit a purpose. A tablet will always be a compromise, not waterproof (unless you spend more money on a case, and of course a cheap tablet never has anything designed for it, another compromise requiring the use of a universal cover which won't have ports etc in the right place), not daylight viewable, battery life, and simply not durable enough for use in a marine environment. The only tablet which would be feasible would be an iPad, and by the time you bought that, the accessories etc I am going to be in the hole for way more than a dedicated plotter, even one not at the bottom end of the market. Plus I don't like touchscreens, they simply do not work well in anything other than a nice smooth indoor environment, try pressing a certain spot on a screen when it's pouring with rain, you're getting bashed around and you are wearing full foulies and gloves. That's where I sail.
And after all that, the tablet still doesn't give you depth.
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  #13  
Old 12-17-2013
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Re: Budget-Priced 5" Chartplotter Advice Needed

There is one tablet that could be very interesting when it finally ships.

The Earl is waterproof, has a 4-system "GPS" (GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/Beiduo) support, built in radio (not sure if it will do marine VHF) and runs Android so it should work with Navionics.

It is eink based which will make it easy to read in any lighting conditions, but that also has the downside of being monochrome. It'll be interesting to see how easy it is to read charts on it.

Still doesn't get you depth or cheap integration with NMEA electronics.
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