The forward thinking division of Navico has three lines of multi-function displays that fit a spectrum of needs. We will be looking at the Simrad NSS and NSE lines in this article. There is also the modular NSO high seas system but these high-end chartplotters will be discussed at a future time.
The Simrad NSS Sport chartplotters are a line of touch screen plotters that are available in 6.4” (NSS7), 8” (NSS8), and 12.1” (NSS12) bright sunlight viewable displays. They sport a built-in GPS (with optional external antenna capability) with preloaded Insight cartography. Also included in the NSS7 and NSS8 are built-in sounders. All of the NSS series have the capability of adding advanced sonar with StructureScan™ and Broadband Sonar. All of these units are completely networkable and are the perfect choice if you are in the market for an easy to use system that can share information between stations and has the capability of expanding features and functions.
Although the Simrad NSS chartplotters share a lot of similarities with other touch-screen plotters they also have some unique features that differentiate them. Designed as a higher end, more sophisticated chartplotter than their close cousin, the Lowrance HDS Gen 2 Touch, these Simrad chartplotters share similarities such as the ability to display StructureScan sounder information (but from a separate module in the case of the NSS) but can also display the top of the line Broadband Sonar (BSM1 and BSM2 modules). They also can display the same wide variety of cartography as the HDS Gen 2 such as the fully customized Insight Genesis charts.
The NSS Sport plotters boast added features that are not found on the Lowrance chartplotters. They are built to withstand heavy open water use such as in commercial applications and boast “Simrad Yachting Construction”.
Steve Hamber of Navico points out that the touch screen is enhanced for use in open water giving “better control.” He goes on to say that use of the operating system and screen is “easier with touch and rotary.”
By using a combination of the touch screen and also being able to control operations with the rotary control knob on the right of the screen and above a minimalist keypad, one has the ease of moving around the user interface in a rapid and efficient manner no matter what the conditions. Simrad calls this Touch Sensible™ Technology. Utilizing this technology the NSS Sport line can also control Broadband Radar, HD Digital Radar, AIS and music through a SonicHub™ from its screen. The chartplotter display can also act as a full control for any of Simrad’s current autopilots.
Wireless capability and control from a tablet or smart phone can be achieved with Simrad’s unique GoFree WIFI-1 module plus their free iTunes app. A simple wireless module, it can be networked with an entire system bringing all displays online. You can then control and view any of the displays with your smart device.
Open architecture will allow for apps to be developed that can run and enhance the Simrad navigation system. It will be interesting to see what develops from this unique feature.
Simrad’s NSE plotters are billed as their “performance” chartplotter. Available in 8” (NSE8) and 12” (NSE12) they are similar to the NSS line but are not touch-screen units and offer a more comprehensive keypad. They also have brighter screens, are more detailed and feature rich standard cartography. They do not have internal antennas and require an external GPS antenna that is sold separately. The NSE chartplotter also offers enhanced radar capability. Other than these key differences they are similar to the NSS models and can be interfaced with them, giving the user options in layout and design of a high quality and robust navigation system.
No matter which Simrad displays you choose to use aboard there is sure to be a combination that will do everything you could want a navigation system to do. They are not just capable chartplotters but are the heart of a robust and advanced navigation system.