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Simrad NSS 12


Simrad NSS 12

Use the touchscreen for fun and the buttons when you need them.

The team at Simrad had invited me to Atlantic City to check out their new NSS 12 ($3,499 list), a touchscreen multifunction display. They’d mounted it to the helm of a 39-foot Contender center console, presumably to show off the unit’s sunlight-viewable display and many features.

Since that touchscreen is the latest addition, it’s worth noting that it is both bright and responsive. Using the Touch Sensible display (as they call it) up close and in actual, albeit overcast, conditions, I was able to discern excellent detail on charts, radar, and fishfinder screens. The touch sensitivity allowed me to bounce around the split screens, manually adjusting settings and generally mucking up the system. No matter, default presets were just a tap away.

The unit I tested integrated a chartplotter, built-in GPS, broadband sounder, and the company’s proprietary StructureScan imaging, Broadband radar, and a SonicHub media server. It did not have other peripherals and features, such as a pulse radar, Sirius satellite weather, and an autopilot.

I looked at some cool features such as the ability to scroll back through the sounder’s history. Swipe your finger across the display to scroll, then tap and hold the target on the screen to create a waypoint. Broadband Radar clearly defines nearby targets, and the Simrad guys said it also offers improved range over the previous version. I was confounded by StructureScan until I found something worth looking at. This side-scanning imager displayed what looked like sepia-tone photos of the bottom and water column—a glimpse of a navaid chain we passed helped me make sense of the image.

Simrad lets you tinker with 99 percent of the unit’s functionality without touching knobs or buttons. So why have them? I discovered the answer when we gunned the Contender to 28 mph. Seas weren’t rough, but it was tricky to hit what I was trying to touch, even with my index finger. The knobs and buttons let me maneuver the cursor and adjust anything I wanted—at speed. And the Navico operating system let me use the touchscreen or buttons, or both, seamlessly.

SIMRAD (800) 628-4487.

This article originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.