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 Google Nexus 7 tablet as GPS/marine charts
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robedney

RO# 15560

Posted - Sep 26 2012 :  15:08:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thought I'd share this:

I picked up one of the new Google tablets -- AKA the Nexus 7 -- at the reasonable price of $199. The tablet itself is reasonably impressive, with the Android operating system (the 7 has the newest version) looking sort of grown up and slick.

I then downloaded EarthNC for marine use, an app that does most of what it claims very well. It was a quick and easy job to install it and then download the charts I wanted stored in the device. There is a "hi-res" version of EarthNC specifically for tablets. EarthNC will also work online -- going and getting whatever charts it needs from the server -- but his only works if you have a wifi connection on the boat (the Nexus 7 is a wifi only device -- I use my phone as a hotspot, however).

It works incredibly well. The paid version of EarthNC (9.95) allows downloading apparently unlimited charts -- and makes it intuitive and easy to do it. The charts appear to be vector based (as opposed to raster), which is cool because they stay sharp and clear as you zoom in.

The GPS receiver in the Nexus 7 is better than average. It has no trouble locking on to satellites while inside -- no need to lay it outdoors while it connects.

My friend the local charter captain took a few of us out for a couple hours of fishing yesterday afternoon. This guy actually knows where to look for the stripers -- as opposed to me. I simply told the Nexus to record the track and laid in down inside his boat's cabin. Although the screen timed-out to save power, EarthNC kept right on running. When I checked after getting home, it had recorded the entire trip -- including my walk down the dock from his boat to mine.

At 7" the display is very good for a $199 device -- crisp and with auto brightening. The touch screen is accurate and easy to use. GPS accuracy is very good -- it shows my boat at it's end tie, pegged a buoy we passed, matches up with readings from the depth sounder, etc.

I ordered a waterproof case for the thing (well reviewed), even though I'll be using it inside the cabin at the lower helm.

This appears to be a viable alternative for a dedicated GPS, which would be much pricier given the ample screen size and very good color display of the Nexus.

Remember, however, that marine specific devices are comparatively bullet-proof, have generally crash-proof operating systems, etc. You do get what you pay for.

However, with EarthNC running on the Nexus 7 and backed-up by my Android cell -- also running EarthNC -- I feel pretty secure about it all.

A little more about the Nexus 7: I was prepared to be disappointed, but I wasn't. The device is slim and very light -- easily held and used in one hand. The OS is speedy and responsive. YouTube, for example, works as well as it does on a high-end laptop. There is a forward facing camera and microphone for Skype, obviously GPS and all the other usual suspects. No hi-res rear camera -- which is fine because my phone is my camera. Unlike some makers, Nexus/Google provides a usable port that permits an external mass storage device and supported USB devices.

I'm in now way affiliated with either of the two mentioned products -- just a happy user.
Robert

Remember, if you are going boating -- take your boat. Don't ask me how I know this.

60' custom steel trawler
29' Luhrs (for fishing!)

Homeport: San Francisco Bay, California

getakey

RO# 32379



Posted - Sep 26 2012 :  19:00:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thanks for the review
have you compared to the iPad?



Homeport: CA Go to Top of Page

nwaring

RO# 16045

Posted - Sep 27 2012 :  07:31:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Robert, thanks for the review. I bought one for my wife's birthday back in July and the covers wern't avaiable then, where did you buy yours?

Thanks
Niles


"Interlude"
87 Mainship 36DC

Homeport: Ashtabula Oh - Lake Erie Go to Top of Page

robedney

RO# 15560

Posted - Sep 27 2012 :  13:05:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by nwaring

Robert, thanks for the review. I bought one for my wife's birthday back in July and the covers wern't avaiable then, where did you buy yours?

Thanks
Niles



Ordered two covers, just got one and the other is on it's way.

The Blurex "Slim Folio Tablet Case" for the Nexus 7 got here today. $15.00 on Amazon. I can't attest to its durability, but it's a very functional case and great for the money. Fit is very good.

I also ordered the Proporta BeachBuoy waterproof case (not here yet). A tad more expensive than others but got good reviews. $19.95.

Blurex: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008D2POAS/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00

Proporta: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008FSTB0Y/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00


Robert

Remember, if you are going boating -- take your boat. Don't ask me how I know this.

60' custom steel trawler
29' Luhrs (for fishing!)

Homeport: San Francisco Bay, California Go to Top of Page

robedney

RO# 15560

Posted - Sep 27 2012 :  13:20:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by getakey

thanks for the review
have you compared to the iPad?



There are several iPads in our office, and I often provide unofficial support for them (iPhones too). So far, the Nexus 7 seems to match up nicely in performance -- and it runs most anything Android. I may buy an iPad some day -- I'm not an Apple-hater -- but I really don't like the size/form factor of the iPad for genuinely portable use.

I've also noticed that there seems to be a honeymoon period for the iPads where people carry them everywhere for awhile -- and then stop. Too big, they say. Also, too obvious and attractive to thieves. The Nexus 7 is small and slim -- and I can slide it into the front pocket of my jeans even with the Blurex case on it.

If I buy an iPad it will be one of the new ones with the impressive display -- and it will mostly live on the coffee table, bluetoothed to some good speakers, tied into the TV, etc. Great for viewing photos, magazines, etc. Still, however, the Nexus 7 will be the go to for portability and particularly for reading novels, etc.


Robert

Remember, if you are going boating -- take your boat. Don't ask me how I know this.

60' custom steel trawler
29' Luhrs (for fishing!)

Homeport: San Francisco Bay, California Go to Top of Page

getakey

RO# 32379



Posted - Sep 27 2012 :  13:36:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks


Homeport: CA Go to Top of Page

Roy

RO# 114

Posted - Sep 28 2012 :  20:19:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm always interested in daylight view ability. How would you describe your ability to see the display in bright daylight?

Thanks.................Roy



"Livin' life in the laid back lane" - Sunny Jim

Homeport: Sarasota FL Go to Top of Page

getakey

RO# 32379



Posted - Dec 31 2013 :  10:41:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I finally got a tablet a galaxy tab3
any reviews on other navigation apps or is earthnc the best



Homeport: CA Go to Top of Page

Doc

RO# 17228



Posted - Dec 31 2013 :  15:08:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have the $10 version of Navionics on my Galaxy and it is great. Free charts, and good HD resolution. Of course they recommend the upgrade to get HD but you don't need it.

I find the Galaxy to have a more accurate GPS than my Raymarine chart plotter,



Of all the things that I have lost, I miss my mind the most.

35' Albin TE SF

Homeport: FL Go to Top of Page

jmeirhofer

RO# 30972



Posted - Dec 31 2013 :  16:22:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have the blue chart app on my iPad and iPhone. Looks the same as on the chart plotter with the exception of having active captain overlaid on it. I used it twice last year along side my chart plotter and it was every but as good.

John
1997 Trojan 440 Express

"Son, I've got a very low bull$*%t tolerance" -- Pancho Carter

Homeport: Baltimore, MD Go to Top of Page

Gregory S

RO# 2620



Posted - Dec 31 2013 :  16:47:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We haven't from the OP since the election in 2012.


Homeport: Norfolk, Va Go to Top of Page

getakey

RO# 32379



Posted - Dec 31 2013 :  19:13:40  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thanks for info on Navionics and blue chart. The Navionics had very mixed reviews so good to hear from someone who uses it


Homeport: CA Go to Top of Page

ranger42c

RO# 32710

Posted - Jan 01 2014 :  07:27:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by getakey

I finally got a tablet a galaxy tab3
any reviews on other navigation apps or is earthnc the best



We have plan2nav (C-Map vector charts, with ActiveCaptain integrated) and MX Mariner (NOAA raster charts) -- both on a Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab 3. Both very credible, inexpensive.

-Chris


Selby Bay, South River

Homeport: Londontowne, MD Go to Top of Page
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