Garmin 478, another big step
I suppose it was predictable, but it’s still amazing. The Garmin 478 above has all the XM Weather and Audio abilities that distinquished the 376C, and it comes loaded with all U.S. charts and all U.S. and Canada road maps. It’s fast too, even the ‘Find’ command is not slowed up by what must be a zillion POIs, nav aids, intersections, etc. stored somewhere in that little casing (and hence I’d bet that Garmin has sped up Find in the first all-U.S.-charts 192C I tested last summer).
Not that the 478 is perfect, even if there is nothing like it out there. For instance, these are the new G2 charts, but apparently the 478 will not be able to show the vaunted perspective view. I do gather from the spec page that it will show the photos available on G2 cards, and the screen above (bigger here) does look richer than regular BlueCharts. But, as good as this screen is, I find myself wanting to plug the 478 into a bigger monitor, maybe use a wireless keyboard and mouse with it too. The unit lets you use an expensive XM subscription anywhere you go but in some of those places, like a boat, you may want to expand the system. Just a thought, probably inspired by how rapidly this unit has evolved over the years.
I should also add that the Panbo reader who recently complained about the “Surface Wind” coming from XM to this machine was right; it’s old. He tells me that Garmin has acknowledged the problem and is working on it, but I also noticed this time around that you don’t get predicted wind and wave model data, something the new Sirius Marine Weather is very good at.
Garmin also announced a new pair of radar scanners this week, this time inside a smaller, 24” diameter casing, and with more emphasis on the digital processing going on in there. Finally, though Garmin hasn’t yet promoted it, many of its new plotters apparently do support AIS. The 478 is not one of them but I think I’ll soon get the chance to try it on a 3210.