I decided to look at the complex solutions of other marine electronics manufacturers and begin with Raymarine combo packages.
In order to have some reference point, I will try to compare with the Lowrance boat box bundle.
Here is an option offered by Outback Marine Australia –
Raymarine Multifunction Display – a-SERIES DOWNVISION AND SIDEVISION PACKS – a128 DownVision & SideVision Pack with a128, 400mm Raynet cable, CPT-100 transducer, CP200 and CPT-200 transducer
Total price is $3,955.00 ( I believe it is AUD so about $ 3200 USD), plus Intl. shipping about $120 USD to the US.
Amazon offers almost the same-
Raymarine A128 Chirp Down/Side Vision System Pack for about same price of $3300
In fact, need to say that I did not find combo packages directly on Raymarine Marine Electronics site, but all components have the Raymarine trademark and can be purchased separately as well.
What is what?
Price about $2500
Raymarine A128 multi Function Display/Down Vision With Navionics+ Charts
„Powerful, go-anywhere navigation; A-Series multifunction displays
Delivers the speed and simplicity of lighthouse II in a fast and fluid touch screen experience
Extensive networking options, A-Series will put you in control of charts, sonar, radar and more
Advanced chart plotter engine with pinch to zoom, internal 10Hz GPS for fast and smooth vessel tracking
With built-in Wi-Fi you can access A-Series anywhere onboard with Raymarine Apps“
Sometimes active boaters’ reviews say more than detailed user’s guide, so here is Amazon „verified purchase” resume about the product.
„…Being able to map and mark at 38mph is a game changer for the tournament world, being able to find fish, stay on fish, and not puts around doing 15 looking for marks means more time fishing and less time finding. When money is on the line; and an extra hour fishing could mean cashing a check or not; Raymarine is all I want with me……and tekotas“
In this post, not much about product features, pros and cons, you can easily read it on manufacturer site or other online sources. However, I would like to say a few words about what I care about and count as a real device’s value.
… what is mapping solution and how flexible it is
When it comes to GPS for boats for me always is important what is mapping solution and how flexible it is. I mean is it possible to use several cartographic options. It is not just because there are various features offered but sometimes people already own expensive nautical map software and is familiar with it. Why spend extra cash on nautical mapping is a relatively pricey product?
Raymarine A128 is preloaded with Lighthouse Navigation Charting provides both Raster and Vector charting. It is Navionics Platinum plus compatible. The device can be enhanced with Improved geo-referenced coast pilot.
Raymarine also accepts C-Map 4D charts for exceptional detail. C-Map 4D includes Raster Charts, 3D View, Satellite Overlay and more.
As you can see, there are options to choose from.
It is not new but anyway I appreciate it very high that this fishfinder can be networked with additional Displays, Sonar Modules for Side Vision, Autopilot, Radar, AIS, FLIR Thermal Cameras, Instrument Displays and more. Some connections need cables but other connecting wirelessly.
All in all, the Raymarine A128 offers a bright, sunlight viewable 12″ touchscreen display with internal GPS and GLONASS (with GA150 external antenna, not included in the package) receiver for ultra-fast satellite acquisition and fluid onscreen vessel movement.
Other items in a pack.
„CHIRP technology modifies the pulse that is sent by the Transducer. Instead of transmitting a distinct pulse beneath the Boat, CHIRP technology modifies the pulse so that a range of frequencies are transmitted by the transducer; say 28 to 60 kHz, or 130 to 210 kHz, or 42 to 65 kHz.“ Read more here
Price about $150
Raymarine CP200 CHIRP SideVision Sonar Module w/CPT-200 Transom Transducer
Price about $1500, but you can choose the cheaper option for $600 as well. I am not sure which one is included in the package.
Why two transducers? Cpt-100 is for down imaging, but CP 200 is for side scanning this is done to get high power on each channel to not interfere with each other.
It is all about package content
There is a design flaw with the CPT200 I found in Amazon customers review section;
„… Problem is these screws are very, very susceptible to corrosion, and there are no real means to attach a zinc to help with the corrosion. I had mine in the water for 5 weeks and three of the screws lost enough of the very fine threads that they just fell out…“
Read entire review here
Navigation Charting solutions.
As this Raymarine A128 MFD (multi-functional display) comes without maps, you need to purchase for your area. Luckily, as I mentioned before, many boaters already have compatible navigation charts on SD, MSD or CD. If not, you can check and choose your region.
Prices for Navionics Platinum and Platinum+ varies from about $150 to $300.
C-Map 4d for about the same prices.
Total price by purchasing given Raymarine combo package is about $3300 and adding the second A128 MFD it will be $5800. Very close to Lowrance Boat Box bundle with some additional items.
Which one is better, it’s hard to say unequivocally.
I found in forums saying that Raymarine is for saltwater but on lakes and rivers better stick with Lowrance.
Anyway, Raymarine combo packages are good solution how the manufacturer ease customers to make the final decision and in the end, save some cash.
I could look at and compare many of the differences but quite similar devices in general. It’s probably true for those who want to argue, but it’s similar when it comes to such well-known discussions of iPhone fans vs. Samsung benefits advocates, both are right.
Take care and tight lines!