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Old 31-10-2011, 19:55   #1
Jdg
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Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

I used to be an experienced navigator with pencil, paper and sextant. Now I'm sailing again to the Bahamas and Caribbean. I'm about to buy a new laptop, netbook or tablet computer and a smart phone. What should I buy for electronic navigation? iPad? Android, laptop? (My old laptop and mobile phone are obsolete.) I'm totally ignorant about electronic navigation. Our boat is 26' and only has a GPS and VHF. Thanks, jdg
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Old 31-10-2011, 20:07   #2
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Re: Tablet or laptop for navigation?

legit? cheapest is the cheapest android tablet with navionics charts (viewsonic 7 inch is very cheap and does the job) or illegit cm93 charts downloaded with open cpn and old panasonic toughbook off fleabay or the like.
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:03   #3
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

Thanks, but cheapest might not be the most useful. I wonder what a tablet cannot do, that a small computer can? I don't want to have to buy a smartphone, tablet, e-book and computer, but may need 2 of these? If so, which 2?
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:36   #4
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

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r illegit cm93 charts downloaded with open cpn and old panasonic toughbook off fleabay or the like
why saddle yourself with 20 year old charts
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:40   #5
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

rofl--why do you need a puter--you have gps and vhf.....do you also have paper charts??? what is a puter you cannot read in sunlight gonna do FOR ye
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Old 01-11-2011, 14:47   #6
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

We did a seven hundred mile passage half way around the uk, using nothing but that viewsonic 7 inch and the navionics uk charts, we did have paper charts, but used pretty much the cheap android unit all the way, it does have tides and currents in it and weather overlay for grib files and ais if you have a gsm signal on the phone part, can see it ok in the daylight and used a ziplock bag when it was wet, power draw is so low you can hardly measure it.

Put it this way, you can have a 7 inch chartplotter with complete legal and decent charts for pretty much the whole world for less than 300 uk pounds.

The only issue we had was at night, given i was late september and pretty cold the touch screen we had to wipe off the condensation to get it to work well, only a problem when it was left below, when ziplocked it was not an issue.

You can get great anchor alarm apps, and the battery on standby lasts for days and even on normal use up to 9 -12 hour when the screen kicks off.

Tell me where you could get detailed global paper charts for that sort of money?
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Old 01-11-2011, 14:51   #7
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

goboatingnow cm93 is not 1993 latest i've seen are 2010
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:30   #8
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

Wow! Thanks for your comments. It's nice heearing from Scotland, as I was a UK Yachtmaster Ocean 30 years ago. I'm still researching the question and open to more advice. The consensus now seems to be a smartphone and tablet.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:00   #9
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

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Originally Posted by Jdg View Post
The consensus now seems to be a smartphone and tablet.
Well sure, if you have a lot of money. But if you buy a tablet, what exactly do you need a smartphone for? Also, remember that any phone must be unlocked so that you can pop in cheap local pre-paid SIMs.

I would say to buy an iPad2 3G/32Gbyte. These are unlocked so take any SIM card, have internal GPS and 500,000 apps to choose from for everything incl. navigation, Skype, eBook (incl. Kindle) etc. Then buy local cheap prepaid phones wherever you stay long enough to need a phone.

Android "on the cheap" tablet? sure, but only if the iPad is out of budget range.

EDIT: I currently have a $15/month pre-paid data-only SIM in my iPad here in Panama. Good deal imo :-)

ciao!
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Old 02-11-2011, 14:06   #10
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

Jedi,

GSM I presume? I think you need to specify when you buy the iPad.
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Old 02-11-2011, 14:35   #11
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

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Jedi,

GSM I presume? I think you need to specify when you buy the iPad.
Yes, I believe you have to choose the AT&T version when buying in the USA. Those units are unlocked though, taking any SIM card.

AFAIK, only GSM units take SIM cards. The new iPhone 4S is also interesting for cruisers (=world phone) but the price tag for the unlocked version (4 times the price with contract) is steep. Still, it's worth it when you use it enough outside the USA as roaming costs can set you back that amount each month!

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 03-11-2011, 05:56   #12
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

thats some bunny hope your boat did or does it fly?
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:20   #13
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

iPad does a nice job.

Navionics for tides and currents

Memory Map for route chart plotting. You can use the same routes and waypoints from your chart plotter using .gpx files, or download someone else’s good routes from ActiveCaptain

Can use it as a free phone using Magic Jack (TalkFree)

Intellicast HD for weather and radar based on your gps location.

Mark
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:46   #14
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

I'm using a netbook with Coastal Explorer, integrated with Class B AIS which also feeds GPS info, and I could add other data streams for all instruments via NMEA (not needed). I use a Verizon 5-spot so I have Internet to all devices while coastal, out to 15+ miles max.

A netbook draws half the power of a full size laptop, and is very portable and low cost (about $400). It also runs Win 7 so it's fully compatible with all apps.

iPad is nice but it's much more limited for software and integration choices, plus you need the 3G model or external GPS which is sort of a kluge. If you already own one for other reasons then why not? But I wouldn't buy an iPad today just for navigation.
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Old 03-11-2011, 07:03   #15
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

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Originally Posted by Jdg View Post
Thanks, but cheapest might not be the most useful. I wonder what a tablet cannot do, that a small computer can? I don't want to have to buy a smartphone, tablet, e-book and computer, but may need 2 of these? If so, which 2?

If you're going to include moving away from the US at all in your sailing, you'll need a satellite connection, and that can be pretty expensive. You can buy a Garmin 441 for around $450 and connect that to a laptop. I just saw a Toshiba laptop at Best Buy for $399. The Garmin comes with satellite ability. I think you'll find that satellite connection for a phone or tablet (or computer) would be pretty expensive.
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