Raymarine’s Axiom+ series of multifunction displays is a major upgrade over the entry-level Axiom models — with big leaps in performance, screen quality and user-friendliness, but without a major price increase.
Axiom+ will soon replace Axiom as the gateway into the Axiom family of products, which includes the more advanced Axiom Pro and Axiom XL. “Axiom+ is all about bringing big-boat technology to smaller boats,” says Raymarine marketing manager Jim McGowan. “Its all-in-one design backs multichannel 3D sonar plus mapping and GPS into a unit as small as 7 inches.”
Axiom+ is offered in three screen sizes: 7, 9 and 12.1 inches. Aside from the power button, all controls are built into the touch screen. Axiom+ models have upgraded, high-density, in-plane switching screens that increase the viewing angle to 85 degrees, while screen brightness is upped 25 percent to 1,500 nits. Screen resolution for the 7-inch model is bumped to 1024-by-600 (WSVGA), and the 9-inch jumps to 1280-by-720 (WXGA).
This boost in resolution and brightness is important because the smaller boats where Axiom+ devices likely will be installed often lack hardtops, making screens difficult to view in bright sunlight. Smaller screens are also more difficult to read when the viewer is wearing polarized glasses, an issue that Axiom+ corrects with IPS technology.
On the 12.1-inch Axiom+ model, the nit rating is 1,800 — a 50 percent boost — giving all three models brighter screens than the more expensive Axiom Pro series. All the Axiom+ MFDs are coated with HydroTough to repel water and resist smudging.
More Memory Horsepower
All Axiom MFDs employ the same quad-core processor, which is needed for complex functions. Raymarine’s signature feature is RealVision 3D, a down-scanning sonar that requires an optional transducer and renders a near-photographic depiction of the sea floor, and three-dimensional views of fish.
The operator is able to view the image from any perspective by placing a finger on the screen and dragging it to the preferred orientation. To accommodate these graphic gymnastics, Raymarine quadrupled random access memory on all Axiom+ models for a total of 16 gigabytes. The technological muscle should eliminate any lag, even when running split screens and performing such maneuvers as pan and tilt on RealVision 3D, or when looking ahead on the GPS display.
Prices for the Axiom+ series are $749 for the 7-inch model, $1,099 for the 9-inch display, and $2,499 for the 12-inch version. The two smaller screens are $100 more than the Axiom versions of the same sizes, while the 12-inch is $50 more. Adding RealVision 3D sonar capability adds $200 to each unit. It’s an investment that saves money if someone is buying multiple MFDs because users only need this capability on one of the units.
Free Upgrade with Benefits
Along with the upgraded Axiom+ line, Raymarine unveiled a new electronic catalog of LightHouse charts called LightHouse 3 Dartmouth v3.12. This free, Axiom-only update adds several new apps and features, improves screen visibility and eliminates the need for some control modules to be located at the helm.
A new fish alarm lets the user toggle on or off an audible fish warning, while fish icons and depth are displayed next to each fish. The feature also has a sensitivity setting to eliminate small fish, shallow-water targets (which are often weeds) and fish at unreachable depths.
LightHouse v3.12 also has new, more legible fonts, as well as daytime, twilight and nighttime modes. Previous LightHouse charts were basic charts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, but the new Dartmouth update has a chart appearance that’s said to provide more clarity and brightness, with flexible color modes. Users can choose between more detailed leisure cruising displays or more austere, government-style charts.
Add-ons include “fishing hot spots” charts to help anglers locate fish. LightHouse Dartmouth also lets users declutter the screen when using Raymarine’s ClearCruise augmented reality system, whose stabilized video cameras overlay a real image over data that tracks all vessels equipped with AIS transponders.
The upgrade can free up space at the helm by bringing control of a wide variety of items to the Axiom screen. Raymarine worked with marine audio manufacturers to let users create a quick-access sidebar on the screen, obviating the need for a separate head unit. In addition, skippers can replicate engine monitoring gauges such as Yamaha’s Helm Master. The same goes for controllers for autopilot, a gyroscopic stabilizer, a windlass and other NMEA 2000 components.
This article originally appeared in the August 2020 issue.