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Old 14-02-2019, 10:11   #1
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B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

With all the updates to the Vulcan line (specifically either the Vulcan 9 or Vulcan 12), are there any good reasons for a cruising sailor (NOT a racer!) to spend the extra money on the Zeus3 line? Now that the Vulcans support broadband radar, it seems like almost all the features of the Zeus line are also in the Vulcans,... for 1/2 the price.

Am I missing reasons why I WOULD want to shell out the extra $$$ for a Zeus3?

I have to make a new MFD purchase very soon, so any input is appreciated!
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Old 14-02-2019, 10:23   #2
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Re: B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

In addition, on B&G's site, they bill the Vulcan as being for "Coastal Cruisers", while the Zeus3 is for "serious Bluewater Cruisers". Any features on the Z3 that would be useful for bluewater/international cruising that are not found on the Vulcan 9 or 12?
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Old 14-02-2019, 10:31   #3
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Re: B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

Touch only is ok for awhile (Vulcan), but I sure like the hard buttons (zeus) when you need them. All touch works ok in a pilothouse or large boat with little movement, but smaller boats do well with the tactile feel of a dial and buttons.

But, I have a hard time recommending anything from B&G due to their horrible customer service and quality control.

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Old 14-02-2019, 10:36   #4
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Re: B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

I like having actual buttons too, but for $1079 USD for the Vulcan 9", vs $2299 USD for the Zeus3 9".... those are some pricey buttons!
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Old 14-02-2019, 10:41   #5
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Re: B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

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I like having actual buttons too, but for $1079 USD for the Vulcan 9", vs $2299 USD for the Zeus3 9".... those are some pricey buttons!
Yeah, that's a pretty nasty jump for buttons. I'm cheap (poor ), so would probably go with the Vulcan.

We have the Zeus Touch 7" and find that we touch the screen to center the icon, but just about everything else is done with the dial and hard buttons. We did the same with our old Raymarine C95. I do think that the larger the screen size, the more attractive touch only is.... that is if they also enlarge the icons.

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Old 14-02-2019, 10:45   #6
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Re: B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

I am planning a year of some serious bluewater passages,.... I'm just not sure what those serious bluewater features are on the Zeus3.
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Old 14-02-2019, 10:51   #7
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Re: B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

It has been some time since I looked, but the major difference was the inability of the Vulcan to share maps and radar between units. However, as I only wanted one MFD, the primary difference in my case was the quality of the screen together with the touch limitation. The off axis view in particular on the Zeus 3 was considerably better.

This was some time ago and things may have changed. Certainly for most users if you only want one chartplotter the cheaper Vulcan is better value.
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Old 14-02-2019, 12:22   #8
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Re: B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

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However, as I only wanted one MFD, the primary difference in my case was the quality of the screen together with the touch limitation. The off axis view in particular on the Zeus 3 was considerably better.
Significant improvement in screen, especially when viewing from an angle. I opted for the 12 inch Zeus 3, although have not installed it yet as new boat not here yet.
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Old 14-02-2019, 12:32   #9
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Re: B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

We're happy enough with the Zeus 3 9". Didn't have room for the 12" Customer service from Achillefs at Chicago Marine Electronics has been top notch.


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Old 14-02-2019, 12:46   #10
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Re: B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

So I called up B&G to ask about multiple screens with the Vulcan line. A single Vulcan does have almost all the software features of the Zeus- but as previously pointed out, it is only an option if you only ever want a single screen. The Vulcan has an ethernet connection, but only for RADAR. It can't be used to connect to another Vulcan, or to a Zeus. In my case, my pilothouse boat has an inside and outside helm station. At this point, I can only afford an MFD at one of them (plan to mirror with an iPad at the other), but if I ever wanted to expand, then I have to go with the Zeus.
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Old 14-02-2019, 15:25   #11
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Re: B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

I only have one Zeus, and the rare times I want to I mirror with an IPad Pro.
You can do anything on the IPad you can do with a second Zeus except control the autopilot, that I donít have on the system anyway.
I think an IPad down below is very viable, however I find that I donít often need or want a second display.
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Old 14-02-2019, 16:45   #12
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Re: B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

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I only have one Zeus, and the rare times I want to I mirror with an IPad Pro.
You can do anything on the IPad you can do with a second Zeus except control the autopilot, that I donít have on the system anyway.
I think an IPad down below is very viable, however I find that I donít often need or want a second display.
I second the Zeus/iPad combination.
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Old 14-02-2019, 17:05   #13
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Re: B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

I suspect you don't upgrade often so it pays to buy the better one. I bought a Z3 12" in December. $400 rebate and free C-Map charts ($299). Fair deal. Screen is really great. Can divide into 2, 3 or 4 sections. It's 3 years old now. I presume a new model is just around the corner. Price reductions will likely follow.
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Old 14-02-2019, 17:47   #14
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Re: B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

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Originally Posted by saltfree View Post
So I called up B&G to ask about multiple screens with the Vulcan line. A single Vulcan does have almost all the software features of the Zeus- but as previously pointed out, it is only an option if you only ever want a single screen. The Vulcan has an ethernet connection, but only for RADAR. It can't be used to connect to another Vulcan, or to a Zeus. In my case, my pilothouse boat has an inside and outside helm station. At this point, I can only afford an MFD at one of them (plan to mirror with an iPad at the other), but if I ever wanted to expand, then I have to go with the Zeus.

Just some clarification: you can control the Zeus using the iPad as a remote until the autopilot is engaged from the Zeus or dedicated controller. Once the autopilot is engaged the iPad will act only as a mirror; you canít zoom, pan or switch screens at all. That said, the remote function works really well.

Iím fairly certain that the Zeus has a faster processor in it than the Vulcan, which can make a difference if you install your own charts. For example Navionics charts are a bit more resource intensive than C-map charts or the built in insight chasers and can impact the responsiveness of a plotter with a slower processor.
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Old 15-02-2019, 10:28   #15
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Re: B&G for Cruisers: Is Zeus3 worth the cost vs Vulcan?

I think the remote function is invaluable, I would not know what to do if I did not have it.
Having said that, I have a Zeus 2 and to say that I am not impressed with it is an understatement. If I were to get a new system (and if I did not have B&G Radar as well...), I would not choose B&G.
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