The Miami International Boat Show is ground-zero for new marine electronics product introductions, and hotties we’re seeing hit the street here include the much anticipated Furuno NavNet TZ Touch, the bigger and better Raymarine e12, and texting wonder DeLorme inReach. We’ll bring you the fully detailed low-down on these units later, but here’s a sneak-peek at what makes them units so darn cool.
Editor's Note: For the latest updates to our special section on 2012 Marine Electronics, go to Riding the Big Wave
Furuno hasn’t broken new ground since the award-winning NavNet system, so the NavNet TZ Touch is one we’ve been waiting for. It’s the first touch-screen nav system to include pinch-and-pull zoom functions, and as you can see, this big, beautiful LCD screen is going to look awesome on any helm stattion. It includes a knob that lets you zoom and slide down menu choices, but you can’t use it to pan or plot, which is something of a let-down—why include a tactile control when its utility is so limited? Overall the system is intuitive, easy to master, and as functional as they come, but that lack of a tactile back-up is a bummer for small boat owners who are Furuno fans. As we’ve mentioned when talking about other touch-screens, since they’re tough to use on relatively small boats in any significant sea conditions, this could limit this system’s applications to boats in the 40-foot and over class.
The unveiling of Raymarine’s e12 is no surprise, since the new e series was introduced in a 7-inch unit, only. The e12 and e9 take the e7 to new heights… or at least to new sizes. The systems are exactly the same as the e7, except that these larger versions have additional video in and video out jacks. If you liked the e7 and were waiting for larger models, your wait is over.
The DeLorme inReach is a new electronic gizmo that we’re really psyched to see hit the market. The inReach is a two-way satellite messenger, which can send pre-programmed texts and/or SOS messages (to SAR personnel) or can be used for worldwide texting when paired with the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w GPS, an Android, or an iPhone. Using the Iridium satellite system, the inReach lets you type and send e-mail or SMS text messages—anywhere, any time. And it’s surprisingly inexpensive, at $250 for the hardware and $10 a month for the basic service. New Flash: The inReach won the 2012 Innovation Award for new marine electronics!
There’s a lot more cool new stuff here at the show, so stay tuned – we’ll be bringing you the latest and the greatest as we see it, here in Miami!
-- Lenny Rudow