Since FLIR acquired Raymarine and then Raymarine acquired TackTick we’ve been wondering how long it would take for a slew of newly-designed Raymarine electronics to hit the market, and the e7 MFD, announced today, is their first big hit.
The e7 is a seven-inch touch screen interface with a tactile back-up provided by a combination joystick/rotary knob, and a home-screen menu that provides access to all your pages and apps with the swipe of a finger. Drag-and-drop abilities let you customize the pages, and a Start-Up Wizard helps new users get off on the right foot. Play with one for a while and you’ll discover that button-pushing (or screen touching, as the case may be) has been greatly reduced. Tasks like opening system menus have been shortened to a single prod, and items like data-bars can be expanded merely by touching them. All in all, it seems very much akin to operating a Smart-phone.
Following land-based technological trends, the e7 is also big on connectivity. Very big. It can network with up to six displays, as well as remote system control and music, via Bluetooth. And yes, it has built-in WiFi, too. You can even stream from the e7 to iPads, iPhones, or an iPod Touch, which allows everyone onboard to see whatever is on the e7’s display – charts, radar, sonar, thermal imaging, whatever.
Chartography comes courtesy of Navionics, in the form of microSD cards. The internal GPS receiver is a 48-channel model, and the e7D unit comes with built-in HD digital sonar. Expandability runs the gamut, including radar, FLIR thermal imaging (no surprise there!), video input, instrumentation data, multimedia, and satellite weather.
Raymarine makes a lot of hay about the good looks of the sleek, low-profile, helm-fitting design of the e7, but I think that could be said of many modern units. More importantly, there’s not a bunch of space eaten up by the bezel, which is pretty darn narrow. That means you get more screen with less of a footprint, which also means the e7 will fit into a lot of spaces that would previously have been limited to units with a five or six inch screens. Scuttlebutt has it that the design is going to migrate through the Raymarine line, so keep your eyes peeled for more hot new goodies to come from them in the near future.