The 5.7-inch, dual-function A60 is only a minor model shift from 2006's 6.5-inch A65, but electronics designs can age well, particularly when software and value improve. It was interesting to test an A60 side by side with the fairly equivalent, if adolescent, Garmin 545s. The A60 has all the dedicated and soft keys of a C- or E-Series, so many commands are only a poke away. A display-tweaking fisherman, for instance, may really appreciate this access versus the more ponderous Garmin interface (see "Where To?"). The tradeoff, besides having to learn those keys, is the much larger case, and not shown is the separate DSM25 digital sounder module (whose clean output is outstanding). The A60 includes all U.S. charts on a Navionics Silver card, which you can take home to plan on (a so-far-unsolved issue with Garmin's built-in charts). But the A60's 320x240-pixel resolution can look dotty, particularly the fonts, compared to the 545's, and it cannot be similarly upgraded with weather, audio, 3-D charts, or photo maps. Still, it's a capable $1,585 plotter/fishfinder.
This article originally appeared in the October 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.