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Author Topic:   SIMRAD Announces New Touch Screen Chart Plotters
jimh posted 03-24-2011 07:42 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
SIMRAD, one of the several NAVICO brands, just announced a new line of chart plotters with internal GPS receivers and SONAR echo sounders, the NSS SPORT series. These new products feature a combination of conventional control surfaces and a touch screen user interface. There are three models, differentiated primarily by the size of the display screen:

NSS-7: 600 x 480 display, 7.4-inch color LED backlight LCD, with SONAR, GPS

NSS-8: 800 x 600 display, 8-inch color LED-backlight LCD, with SONAR, GPS

NSS-12: 1024 x 768 display, 12-inch color LED-backlight LCD, no SONAR, with GPS

More details at SIMRAD's website.

The control surface combines conventional buttons and rotary controls with on-screeen or touch screen buttons and user interaction, including drag to pan and touch to create way point.

The least expensive model, NSS-7, is priced about $1,900, which makes it competitive with other products like the Lowrance HDS-8 and the Garmin 740S.

SIMRAD emphasizes the following features of the NSS SPORT series:

--extreme ease of use

--touch screen interaction when most useful and most rapid

--rapid pan and zoom of chart displays

--expandable and compatible with other SIMRAD products

--full control as command center for integrated vessel management

--especially bright screen and low-power due to LED backlight for LCD

The SIMRAD NSS SPORT model NSS-7 is currently being offered for sale by various vendors around $1,700-US.

jimh posted 03-24-2011 07:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The NSS SPORT series of chart plotters uses Navionics cartography. The devices have SimNET network connections, which should mean they are NMEA-2000 compatible.
towboater posted 03-25-2011 01:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for towboater  Send Email to towboater     
Jim, great stuff.

Do you see any chance or reason the Marine Electronics industry could not come up with standardized pin connectors similar to HDMI or USB that would allow mix and match setups?

It seems possible a single laptop could provide GPS, AIS, SONAR, Chart plotting, auto pilot and Itunes or watch a movie in one neat little portable package for about the same price.


jimh posted 03-25-2011 12:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I do not see much likelihood that manufacturers of marine electronic instrumentation will adopt a standard protocol for sharing high-resolution video data and overlays between units from competitors and their units. I don't think they will be inclined to be that cooperative.
jimh posted 03-25-2011 12:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
To understand the position of the the NSS SPORT line of products in the overall SIMRAD product line, I would rank them below the current NSE and NSO products. The order, descending from best would be:

NSO or the "Offshore" line, for larger boats

NSE (not sure what mnemonic applies), 25 to 40-foot boats

NSS or "Sport" line, for smaller boats

To differentiate the NSS line from the more expensive NSE line, we see NSS uses plastic cases; the more expensive products use metal cases. I also believe the NSE needs an external GPS receiver; the NSS contains an internal GPS receiver. Similarly, the NSS includes a built-in SONAR, while the more expensive models use external SONAR modules.

With the NSS at the bottom tier of the SIMRAD line, the question may be asked, how does it compare to the top-end of the LOWRANCE line, such as the HDS series? It appears that the SIMRAD NSS is priced above the LOWRANCE HDS series. For the price of the NSS-7 one could get an HDS-8.

jharrell posted 03-25-2011 08:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for jharrell    
According to the specs they will have a video in like the NSE which could be useful for certain integration we senarios, the HDS lacks this.

If similar to the NSE in processing power then the should be significantly faster than the HDS units even though they run very similar software.

Also the touch screen is a big departure from the HDS units which adds cost.

jimh posted 03-25-2011 09:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Whether or not touch screen devices cost the manufacturer more to incorporate into a device is a good topic for its own discussion. I have the completely opposite opinion: touch screens don't add to overall product cost. I would be pleased to discuss this as a topic of its own. I don't think the cost of touch screen components is a proper sub-topic for this discussion about the new SIMRAD NSS SPORT line of navigation and echo-sounding instruments.

Because both SIMRAD and LOWRANCE are subsidiaries of NAVICO, there probably has been careful positioning of the product lines so as not to have too much overlap in features or price points. In this way the two brands will not tend to take sales away from each other.

The new NSS-7 device does seem to be very closely positioned to the GARMIN 740S 7-inch chart plotter and SONAR device in terms of features and price. I think we will see some strong competition between the NSS-7 and the Garmin 740S.

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