Originally Posted by canuckiwis' date='25 May 2010 - 12:05 AM
In the absence of an ability to put up an external aerial, it will be tough for the pad to 'see' any satellites when under the bimini/through a sail. hmmmm.....
I have a little hockey-puck GPS attached to my laptop inside the boat. It has to "see" the satellites through the cabin top where the flying bridge is, with another layer of bimini above that, and it has no trouble finding and connecting to satellites and charting our progress. Our cruising speed is about 12 knots and I can't detect any differences in performance whether we're traveling in a no-wake zone at 4 to 5 knots or at our top speed of about 16 knots (with a tail wind!). I don't think you'd have to worry about satellite reception.
I have started using the Open CPN software, though only for a very short trip on the ICW (we are still relatively immobile; to change soon, I hope). It seems to work well for a work in progress without a lot of instructions available and lots of features yet to be introduced, but we don't really need very much for what we're doing. Coming down the ICW last Fall from New York to Florida I was using Fugawi charting software, and by the time we arrived in Florida I didn't want anything to do with it again. It was generally quite good, but it had ridiculous lapses in capability compared to the MapTech software I had been using.
I do want to emphasize that none of the charts we're using, and I download the most up to date charts regularly, are accurate enough to keep the boat from running into a rock or even a daymark in the ICW! Eyeball navigation is still a necessity to keep you off the rocks and shoals. At the speed our boat goes, I'm sure that a decent screen at the helm would be helpful, but we don't have a decent chartplotter and the computer stays in the cabin and we don't find that to be a handicap at all.
Out of curiosity, I just did an online comparison of a bunch of stuff that I'm considering buying. All prices in USD.
The cheapest iPad I found on line, with 16 Gb of storage, is $599.00
ASUS 1005PE-PU17 Netbook is less than $380.00, it has 1 Gb RAM, 250 Gb HD, Windows 7 Starter OS. Bluetooh and Wifi. I can see on the picture one USB port, which is all you need if you attach a powered Hub to it (which costs about $35 and has 4 USB ports. There are 7-port hubs, but I haven't priced them.) The hockey puck GPS is priced at somewhere between $40 and $70. The screen size is the same as the iPad, it has WiFi, you can add a MobiReader and use it as a book reader, and supposedly can run for 14 hours without recharging.
So, I can buy a Kindle for Peter, an ASUS for me, and spend about the same as for the iPad alone. Doesn't sound like much of a bargain to me.
It is much more adaptable than an iPad, weighs a few ounces more than an iPad, and has its own keyboard separate from the virtual keyboard on the iPad. I like being able to type with the screen vertically in front of me. Try typing on the iPad.
You get a lot more for your money, IMO, with the netbook. Since I didn't look further than ASUS, I don't know if there are better deals out there. Could very well be.
Disclaimer. As much of a "new gadget" addict as I am, I like notebook computers and the separate keyboard, so the iPad doesn't appeal to me as much as it might to touch screen Blackberry or Palm users. I have a touch screen Palm, like it a lot, but to me it's still a phone and PDA, not a GPS and chartplotter.
I'm going shopping today for a lot of stuff for the boat. I'll try to stop in someplace to find out more about the netbook and look at the iPad.