Originally Posted by Cookee
For what it's worth I think Garmin are the easiest to operate
I have to concur with Cookee here..... in the last month or so, I've used Garmin, Navman, Furuno, and Lowrance chartplotters and everytime I have looked forward to going back to my Garmin 182.
The Navman is ok, without the manual, I managed to get the information I wanted up on the screen in the end, but it did take a while - this was on a dive charter boat which wasn't moving around as much as the rib does too. The unit itself I found was a little slower to redraw than the Garmin, but the quality of charts etc... seemed to be pretty much the same only diff being I work with B&W Bluecharts and this was colour.
The Furuno, although it's an old(ish) unit, I wonder if they have changed their menu system and means of setting waypoints etc... - it's a nightmare, and extremely slow to redraw. Even when you're motoring along at 10 knots, when it changes screen, you have to wait a good 5 to 10 seconds for things to become readable again - that 5 or 10 seconds while doing 30 knots would be quite a distance.
The Lowrance unit I was playing with on a rib yesterday was great - it seems to be a completely solid bit of kit and in this case has fishfinder on as well as charts which is fine to a point.
The immediate redraw is a bit slow, but when it's drawn, the chart quality seems quite fine, and the fish finder bit is excellent with full colour on it. I haven't asked whether it's steamed up ever, but the unit itself is open to the elements on a daily basis and looks well used, yet still works.
What I didn't like was the menu system though, which was a nightmare to navigate through for a first timer.
Back to the Garmin, my own one, apart from initially setting it up, I've never read the manual for my 182, since everything I find is where I expect it to be, like Cookee says similar to a Nokia mobile phone. The unit is fast, and hasn't steamed up on me yet, despite being open to all weathers, and going out in cold weather at the beginning of the year. Where linking it to the VHF was concerned it was a doddle - the cables that came with it, and the manual were more than sufficient to wire everything up quickly and easily.
Hopefully I will never have to use Garmin tech support for it, but it's good to read on teh forums that if I do, it should be fixed pretty quickly