Short of a boat show, maybe the best way to see how smartly the new Furuno NavNet 3D interface works is to check out the Tutorials at NavNet.com. Then you can see how those soft keys above fan as you turn the RotoKey knob, which thus gives you instant feedback about where you are even if the knob is separated from the display. Plus, being a knob and not actual keys, “RotoKey” means you don’t need to move either your eyes or your fingers to access NN3D’s soft controls. Moreover you can choose from several preset levels of RotoKey controls, also customizable, and you can jump right from your favorite set to all commands available for a particular screen with just a long push on the knob. The little icon at the end of the RotoKey label indicates either more choices under it (the arrow head), accessed with a button push, or its on/off status, changeable with a button push. The latter may seem obvious but truth be told the new Garmin interface often makes you do 3 button pushes just to change an on/off condition (steal this idea, Garmin!).
Actually I’m told that Furuno itself “borrowed” the idea of separating the scroll and cursor controls from the Northstar 8000i (very much alive, by the way), and what a good idea it is. How many man button pushing hours (MBPHs) have you spent just getting a cursor to the edge of screen so it could start scrolling the chart! Jeff McLaren even compares the NN3D interface to high end video games, in a good way, and I suspect he’s right. I don’t know video games but I see well chosen bits of several good PC (and Mac) interfaces in NN3D. And not only is it frankly PC based (dig those left and right mouse button icons on the keyboard), but you can plug in any standard USB PC HID (human interface device), and use it right along with standard controls. Want a wireless RotoKey (and more)? All you need is a wireless mouse with a clickable wheel. Well done, Furuno.