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Ulysses Micro

Lose the Cord

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Top boating multifunction displays for 2020

Multifunction displays (MFDs) are truly the center point of onboard electronics, both in the functions they provide and in their location on the dashboard. A single or multiple screens have long replaced individual displays and controls that often cluttered the helm. Instead, black box electronics hidden under the dash and in cabinets send signals and data to the MFDs. You choose the information that you want to look at via touchscreen "buttons” or traditional knobs in some models. Want to see bottom characteristics and fish activity while keeping close tabs on the radar and monitoring changes in the weather? Simple—split the screen and scan the information simultaneously.

Below are top-pick candidates if you’re shopping for a new MFD. These are the models that manufacturers singled out as the Best & Brightest of their line of MFDs—not necessarily the latest or the one with the most features, but the MFD that may be their most popular or technologically advanced or the workhorse of the line. This exercise in naming top products in 19 categories is something Marine Electronics Journal does every year. We call it the Best & Brightest Boating Electronics. Here are the results of the MFD category for 2020—next week The Mic will roll out the top-dog autopilots.

Furuno NavNet TZtouch3 TZT19F

Furuno’s newest addition to the NavNet series, TZtouch3, is available for the first time in the 19-inch TZT19F multi-touch MFD. Features include a powerful quad-core processor for lightning-fast response, a built-in dual-channel 1kW TruEcho CHIRP & CW Fish Finder, edge-swipe features, and single-tap menu options so you’re never more than a tap or swipe away from what you want to do. Furuno’s PIN Code lock allows you to require a four-digit password on startup, keeping your data safe against theft. TZtouch3 utilizes Furuno’s award-winning-network sensors, such as solid-state Doppler radar, DFF3D multi-beam sonar, AIS, instruments, engine data and more. You can control your TZT19F with your tablet and smartphone. Also available in the 16-inch TZT16F and 12-inch TZT12F with Hybrid Control.

Garmin GPSMAP 8616xsv

The fully networkable GPSMAP 8616xsv chartplotter features a 16-inch full-HD in-plane switching (IPS) touchscreen display for wider viewing angles, superior clarity and sunlight readability, even with polarized sunglasses. It offers built-in support for our sonar, including dual-channel 1kW traditional CHIRP, CHIRP ClearVü and CHIRP SideVü scanning sonars plus built-in support for ultra high-definition scanning sonar (no black box required). It also supports the Panoptix LiveScope system and the entire Panoptix all-seeing sonar line, which allow you to clearly see fish swimming around and below your boat in real time. The GPSMAP 8616xsv is preloaded with Garmin exclusive BlueChart g3 coastal charts and LakeVü g3 inland maps, which have integrated Navionics data as well as Auto Guidance technology.