Panbo

Planar LX, marine touchscreen monitors

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Aug 7, 2008

Planar_LX_Marine_display

Good to see a new player in the marine monitor biz, especially a company as significant and capable as Planar. And they’ve arrived with a bang. The LX Mariner Touch Monitors claim a raft of desirable features, like bonded sunlight-viewable screens, completely sealed cases (IP65), and reasonable prices. They’re not in Planar’s online store or anywhere else I can find yet, but the MSRPs are $2,200 for the 15” model, $2,100 for the 12”, and $2,000 for the 8”, and I’m told the two larger units are available now if you call Planar (Ask for IBU sales). 

I’d post a larger version of the image above except the screen is obviously Photo-Shopped (I think the “Lorraine-Marine Nav” software is even a dummy). But a good indication of LX Mariner performance is the fact that Faria chose them for its Maestro marine PC system, which you may have seen looking good at boat shows. Maestros are now shipping I hear, and are also very close to acceptance as the new Sea Ray Navigator. Which means that Sea Ray has put the monitors through a grueling real-world sun, water, heat, vibration, etc. test cycle. Unfortunately, though, the Maptech i3 touchscreen software behind Maestro/SRN is not available by itself (despite my wishes). So I’m wondering what charting programs might work well with this touch screen? I also wonder if Planar is considering a marine version of their “in-vehicle” 12” LX, which adds six programmable macro keys and a USB hub? And how will the LX stack up against the brightness and very functional touch control on the Garmin 5000 series? Maybe I’ll get a chance to compare.

Planar_LX_Marine_display_back

Comments

Good! Now we can pay a lot more than a same sized Garmin, and not have any NAV info in the way of, what? someboby else's NAV info? For how much money? and you still have to buy a PC? GRRREEAATTT deal.

Posted by: Sandy at August 8, 2008 5:44 PM | Reply

Sandy, what prices are you looking at? A 15" Garmin touchscreen MFD retails for $6,535. That's $4,335 more than the LX Mariner 15".

Posted by: Ben at August 8, 2008 9:29 PM | Reply

Sorry, I wasn't looking for a touch screen. The Garmin 4208 is under $1600 on the street.

Posted by: Sandy at August 9, 2008 10:22 AM | Reply

Sandy's point is not totally off the mark. How much of an MFDs cost is the screen, and how much for the internals? The price difference between a 4212 and a 5212 is ~$1000. That's a grand for touch. So if a 12" touch Planer is $2200, and a 12" (ok, 10.4") 4212 is ~$2000, then maybe the Garmin internals are worth ~$1000?

IOWs, Planar might sell a whole lot more gear if they offered a non-touch 12" for ~$1000, allowing it to be a second display for a Garmin 4212 (which can use a remote to change display pages.)

Having to buy a 2nd MFD (and the appropriate network extensions) just to have a 2nd display (via a video out from the primary) really sucks, but buying just a 2nd display currently sucks more because plain old displays cost more than MFDs of equivalent size.

Posted by: Russ Cooper at August 11, 2008 11:41 PM | Reply

All my navigation is done on Coastal Explorer using a laptop. I tried a Garmin 4212 and found that planning a route is a nightmare to say the least. It's just not possible to accurately and quickly place waypoints on the screen using the thumb control and curser. With a laptop and mouse I can put down a new route in seconds, check it for accuracy and activate it. Buying a second Garmin for the cockpit is a waist of money for the type of navigation I do. A display like the LX Mariner, mounted in the cockpit and connected to our laptop is far more useful. Now that Coastal Explorer has integrated radar I'll be able to see that over the chart as well. In addition, chart updates on the laptop are free and can be done as often as you like. I've never heard anything about how to update the chart version files on a Garmin 4212.

Each system has its place and is great for some boaters so I guess one has to decide what kind of navigation they do and if their electronics fits the need. For me a simple waterproof display is the best at getting both chart and radar up to the cockpit.

Posted by: Richard C at August 9, 2009 4:41 PM | Reply

Richard: updating the chjart files on a Garmin is a peice of cake, and reasonable too. This is NOT a sticking point. I too prefer to do my route planning on a PC and load it on my Garmins. I really like the way this can be done using Garmoin's Mapsource software; however that requires buying the chart CD. Still, its cheaper than a Navionics chip.

Posted by: Sandy Daugherty at August 9, 2009 7:30 PM | Reply

Hi,
Just an update. I just went through a two-week odyssey trying to get my hands on one of these screens. I was trying for the 8 inch model. In spite of having several other sizes listed on their online store, I have been unable to get one. I spoke to seven companies in four countries, between Planar itself and different tiers of distributors and got all kinds of reasons why not. Finally, I received a call back from a Planar employee, Peter Jones, Regional sales director for most of western Europe (I am in Spain). He was tremendously apologetic and offered to follow up with their distributors. But, he informed me that Planar does not sell that product individually, and that orders for them must be in the �tens�. He also said that this holds true for the entire LX range (ie the 12 and 15 inch models as well). I understand that for a manufacturer, dealing with sales of single units is probably an impossible task, but I would have thought they would have a distribution network that they could point me to. I was given no guidance on how to get an individual unit. Ah well. Unless they are packaged in a larger system by an integrator like Simrad or Furuno, I guess Planar isn�t quite ready for the marine market after all.

Posted by: James H at March 19, 2010 6:58 AM | Reply

James,

Have you tried Nijkerk Electronics in Amsterdam?

I ordered a single unit (a LX1201TI, i.e. the one developed for law enforcement) from them a while ago.

Posted by: Kees at March 19, 2010 8:22 AM | Reply

We just sold a 12" unit to the St.FYC for one of their committee boats for Expedition in the cockpit. Planar shipped to us the day after we cut our PO.

We also had a visit from Planar last week and were shown demos of their new 12" unit with LED backlight and new optics. The new unit is in a thinner package and (if I remember correctly) tops out at 15 watts.

In the flesh, it is a really nice unit and was completely plug and play. The touch calibration was on the money.

Planar does not offer resellers much margin; we sell the unit over retail to make our ends meet.

Posted by: Eric Steinberg at March 22, 2010 10:20 AM | Reply

Hi Eric, have you got more information about the new LED backlight displays? I am looking for a cockpit display for Expedition.

Posted by: Trygve Roste in reply to Eric Steinberg at June 21, 2010 8:11 AM | Reply

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