Thursday, April 11, 2013

Marine Product Review: Navionics Marine App

Navionics Marine App
In this week’s Marine Product Review, we tested one of the leading marine smartphone apps...

For the latest installment of the Daily Boater's Marine Product Review, Mark Sutton of checked out the Navionics Marine & Lakes App on both the iPhone and iPad (there is also an Android version available).

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Read on for our review of Navionics Marine Apps...

Navionics Marine App Review

Marine Product Reviews has reviewed the Navionics Marine Apps for both the iPhone and iPad. Although our review was not done on Android, there is an Android App version available.

We have used the iPhone version of the Navionics Marine – USA for several years now and consider it to be a ‘killer App’ for boaters. Having reviewed the iPad version, we feel the same way and believe that these will be the Apps that will make iPads essential onboard.

Navionics Marine App
The iPad App is designed for the larger screen of an iPad (or iPad mini) and the iPhone/Android version is designed for the phone screen size.

These apps utilize the same quality Navionics vector charts and data available on ‘built-in’ navigation systems costing thousands of dollars. The charts even include satellite overlay as well as the traditional chart view.

Route Planning is easy with the Navionics Marine Apps and is a core use for these Apps. The Apps provide for easy on screen creation of waypoints (up to 200) and notes with just a simple touch. You can then create and save routes to your favorite destinations.

Navionics enables these routes to be synchronized with various onboard navigation systems including the Raymarine models: e-Series, c-Series (included built-in wifi); G Series, E Series and C Wide or E-Classic Series (a wireless routed is required: simply link both your plotter and iPhone/iPad to the same wireless net). What this means is that you create your routes on a device designed for input, such as the iPad, then upload to the onboard device that you use to ‘get you there’. The Apps also synch amongst each other if you have phone and tablet based versions. They have really thought this through.

The cost of these Apps are more than reasonable. The phone version for the US is under $15 while the iPad version is under $50 (other regions may be slightly more…but not much). Compare this price to what you would pay for a handheld GPS that involves hardware and software. The hardware will easily be $350, then you have to but the charts. Now the best part…with the Navionics Apps chart updates are FREE for the life of the App.

The charts remain resident on your device so you can use the Apps to plan routes even when you have no wifi or mobile access. Think about using the App even when in ‘airplane’ mode on your next flight or sitting on your couch at home.

Marine Product Reviews believes that any boater with a smartphone or tablet device should own the Navionics App for their region. If you have a smaller boat without a built in navigation device you can use the App on your phone as a primary navigation device. I found this to be true last summer while fishing on a 19’ boat off the shore of Cape Cod and we were unexpectedly engulfed in fog. The App helped us get to port safely.

The App is also a must have for boaters who have built in Navigation systems. You use it for piece of mind as a back up and for trip planning while you are in your cockpit or

The Navionics Apps also have other resources available:

•    Community Data & Sharing:  Boating is social as is technology. Navionics has done a great job combining the social aspects of both. Boaters can contribute information, tips and comments about their favorite destinations. Waypoints, geo-tagged pictures and routes can also be easily shared on Facebook, twitter or via email. Navionics will also release another ‘social boating App’ soon which will share data collected by each unit with other boaters participating in the program. A separate review will follow.

•    Tides, currents & wind forecasts:  Get important data and forecasts that help your plan your boating trips.

•    Magazines & Guides:  Navionics offers for free as part of the App articles of cruising destination and seamanship. Great for education and entertainment.

•    In App purchases:  Navionics offers a few value add options for in App purchases including the “Nav Module” that gives you additional information about each leg of the routes you have planned. There is also a “Weather module” that provides NOAA enhanced weather data (real-time & forecasts).

These Apps are available for download in both the iTunes and Google Play stores. There are Apps available with charts for a variety of regions: USA, Canada, Caribbean & South America, Europe, Australia, Asia & Africa, Australia & New Zealand, UK & Holland, Denmark & Greenland.

If you are a boater and have a smartphone or tablet, you will be hard pressed to find any device for this price that you’ll get more utility from. We view these as ‘must have’ apps for every boater.

Available starting at $9.99...

For iPhone and iPad

For Android phones and tablets


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