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GPS Chartplotters - Tablet vs Dedicated unit?

Old 05-08-2014, 09:31 AM
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Default GPS Chartplotters - Tablet vs Dedicated unit?

I'm looking to upgrade my boat's GPS Chartplotter. I currently have an ancient lowrance GPS chartplotter that works, but has very few extras. I plan to keep it in service as a backup, but I am looking to upgrade without spending too much money. Obviously, I immediately considered the Garmin GPSMaps 5xx series because of their popularity and ease of use, but looking into it I see there are a lot of nice apps out there. Has anyone had any experience using a 10" tablet pc running Android OS and a chartplotting program as a GPS Chartplotter? I know it's not as popular as a dedicated unit, but I'd still have my lowrance as a backup. Just thought a 10" display for $250 seems like a much better deal than a 5" display for $499, or even a 10" display for $2500.00!

Any one have $0.02?
Old 05-08-2014, 09:35 AM
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Several threads here on just that
Old 05-08-2014, 11:02 AM
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The problem with the tablets is they don't have the same level of polarization and backlighting that a dedicated chartplotter has. They are very hard to read in the sun and off-axis.
Old 05-08-2014, 11:30 AM
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I use a 10" tablet velcroed (heavy duty velcro) to my dash. With a 12v charger. Quick to take off or re-attach. Works great. Been using it 2 years with no problem. Make sure to get one with a built in GPS, that doesn't require cell towers to get a position. Mine is Acer, but the Samsung tablets work well also. Some have brighter screens than others, keep this in mind when checking them out. I have no problem viewing mine in bright sunlight (South Florida). I also have a Clear 4G wifi hotspot on board, as long as I am in cell range I have full access to internet, email, google maps, tides, text messages, weather, fishing regulations, etc. right on the dash. When out of cell range, the Navionics app works great for navigation. The GPS essentials app is free and has a compass, heading, speed, timers, and other useful info in addition to maps. Sony and Pantech both make water proof (meaning water resistant) tablets that are worth a look. I have a well protected helm, on an open CC, you would need a waterproof model for sure, or a waterproof case, I don't know how good the cases are. Another tip - download a screen brightness app, which lets you dim the screen below the standard minimum. At night, the standard min brightness in settings is still too bright. And get a handheld gps for backup (full waterproof, shock proof, etc.), or at the very least the navionics app on a smartphone could be a backup.
Old 05-08-2014, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mash_33316 View Post
I use a 10" tablet velcroed (heavy duty velcro) to my dash. With a 12v charger. Quick to take off or re-attach. Works great. Been using it 2 years with no problem. Make sure to get one with a built in GPS, that doesn't require cell towers to get a position. Mine is Acer, but the Samsung tablets work well also. Some have brighter screens than others, keep this in mind when checking them out. I have no problem viewing mine in bright sunlight (South Florida). I also have a Clear 4G wifi hotspot on board, as long as I am in cell range I have full access to internet, email, google maps, tides, text messages, weather, fishing regulations, etc. right on the dash. When out of cell range, the Navionics app works great for navigation. The GPS essentials app is free and has a compass, heading, speed, timers, and other useful info in addition to maps. Sony and Pantech both make water proof (meaning water resistant) tablets that are worth a look. I have a well protected helm, on an open CC, you would need a waterproof model for sure, or a waterproof case, I don't know how good the cases are. Another tip - download a screen brightness app, which lets you dim the screen below the standard minimum. At night, the standard min brightness in settings is still too bright. And get a handheld gps for backup (full waterproof, shock proof, etc.), or at the very least the navionics app on a smartphone could be a backup.

Thanks for the reply - this is the info I've been looking for. I also have a dry helm so I won't be too worried about waterproof tablets. I was looking at the Samsung Galaxy tablet and thinking of giving it a go and using a RAM tablet mount to keep it put on the helm. I can see what you mean about the polarization factor - not sure if I'll be able to find one that can outdo that, but even with sunglasses, looking at a standard GPS chartplotter is near impossible. I guess I'll have to just take a shot in the dark (or sunlight for that matter) and buy one and see how it goes. Do you think navionics is the best choice for app? I have seen articles mentioning others, but navionics is pretty much continuously brought up here on this site. Thanks again.
Old 05-08-2014, 02:26 PM
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I have used all the popular nav apps in the iOS (Apple) world and prefer iNavX.

That said, none of my iPads are useful in direct sunlight or even under the Bimini, and believe me I wanted it to work real bad. Make sure the one you're considering is viewable outdoors before spending any money.
Old 05-08-2014, 02:38 PM
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I use a ipad Air (10") and don't have a problem with polarization. If you turn most pads sideways Horizontal you will not have problems and can wear your sun grasses. I use (love) the $50 Navionics program and also have a live time satellite weather program. Most newer small (7") screen GPS/Sonar fish finders will wifi their pinch/touch control screen picture to your larger ipad. My new Apple Air is super bright under my Bimini, In fact most of the time I turn the brightness down.

Now...If someone can just come up with a sonar fish finder ap for our ipads. Lowrance , Garmin and Raymarine can kiss their way over priced $2,000 +/- GPS business good by (Whoray)!

Rascal!
Old 05-08-2014, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Rascal1 View Post

Now...If someone can just come up with a sonar fish finder ap for our ipads. Lowrance , Garmin and Raymarine can kiss their way over priced $2,000 +/- GPS business good by (Whoray)!

Rascal!
SonarPhone Mobile Depth Sounder App | Vexilar Fishing

Deeper | Smart Fishfinder for iOS and Android devices
Old 05-08-2014, 03:31 PM
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I hope this keeps up, that's perfect.

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