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Garmin chose the huge Marine Electronics Trade Show (METS) in Amsterdam to preview an entirely refreshed marine line that will roll out during the first half of 2007, and I wasn’t the only bowled-over observer. We saw 20-something new products all boasting a sleek, new casing design as well as an intriguing new interface platform. For example, the latest flagship 4xxx networked series, now sporting eight- and 12-inch screens, drops many dedicated keys from the prior 3xxx series in favor of eight vertical soft keys that seemed alive with possibilities.

I particularly liked how putting the cursor on a POI automatically triggers soft keys that lead to the various types of info available. The U.S. versions, the 4208 and 4212, of course include all coastal charts but also accept SD cards containing Garmin’s new G2 Vision cartography, which adds high-resolution satellite photo maps, under- and over-water 3D, and more. Finally the 4xxx series, which will range from $2,026 to $2,666, also features a NMEA 2000 port for interfacing with gear from other manufacturers (like autopilots, electronic compasses, wind sensors, etc). The Garmin booth at the upcoming Miami International Boat Show will be one busy place.

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This article originally appeared in the February 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.