The rapid pace of development in marine electronics can’t be over-stated, and the latest evidence comes in the form of the new Raymarine Axiom. This MFD series comes in seven, nine, and 12-inch versions, all with touch-screens and no buttons (though a separate keypad is available, for those who prefer a more tactile interface). We got our first look at the Axiom during the Miami Boat Show, where we shot this video to give you a glimpse of what it can do.
Remember the key points: processing power has been doubled with a quad-core processor, sonar is built-in including Raymarine’s new “RealVision” 3D, both WiFi and Bluetooth are standard features, and the system runs on the new LightHouse 3 operating system. On top of that, these units are ready for plug-and-play compatibility with all the goodies you were hoping for: radar, FLIR night-vision cameras, IP video, higher-powered CHIRP black-box fishfinders, engine gauges (via NMEA2000), autopilot, and NMEA2000-compatible audio systems.
Of particular interest to anglers will be the RealVision 3D transducers (both transom-mount and through-hull) which deliver 3D, CHIRP DownVision, CHIRP SideVision, and high-frequency CHIRP into one package. They’re even gyro-stabilized, to compensate for boat movement and deliver the best possible data.
After testing the Axiom we really don’t have any complaints, aside from noting that on smaller boats exposed to rough conditions you’ll want to have that keypad installed. As is true of all touch-only units, at times, the interface can become difficult to manipulate when you’re getting tossed around or your fingers are covered in fish gore. One thing that impressed the heck out of us, however, was the screen quality, brightness, and visibility. It’s an all-glass optically bonded display and we found it easy to see even when looking from a strong angle, and even when wearing polarized sunglasses. We also found the interface intuitive—thanks to the advent of cell phone-like menu systems most of today’s marine electronics are truly a breeze to use—and doubt that anyone will ever need to look at an instruction manual with one of these units.
All sizes of the Axiom are available for flush-mounting or binnacle mounts. They’re rated waterproof to IPX7 standards, and screens have 1,200 nits of brightness. Display resolution is 800 x 480 for the seven and nine inch units, and 1280 x 800 for the 12-inch unit. Now, with all the specifications out of the way, we can get to the juicy numbers: pricing. And we say juicy because these numbers are a whole lot sweeter than one might expect. The seven inch Axiom starts at $650, the nine at $950, and the 12 at $2,500. Just a few years back you’d have expected pricing at 50-percent more, and a decade ago, units with this much capability might have cost double that amount. Then again, a decade ago there really weren’t any units with this much capability.
For more information, visit Raymarine.
Editor’s Note: The Raymarine Axiom won an award for Best New Electronics in the NMMA Innovations Awards, at the 2017 Miami International Boat Show.