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3/03/2017 2:56 pm  #1

Best On Deck Tablet

With technology rapidly changing, what is the best on deck tablet in 2017?  Can the newest iPads be read in sunlight.  Is a Toughpad the first class option?  If so, which one?  I have looked through the forum but not been able to find recent information on this.  The Expedition web page on the subject is dated 2014.  Thanks for your help....Mark


3/05/2017 12:04 pm  #2

Re: Best On Deck Tablet

I have a toughbook 20.   I needed something that was waterproof, daylight readable & able to be a backup host for expedition should the primary PC fail.  It was the only choice I could find.

I"m not very happy with the setup but I don't think it's the fault of the toughbook.   I use RDP over wifi to remote desktop to the main system for setting the line & gun then start mode.   It lags enough that I can't use it to set the gun reliably but acceptably for the other things.  My suspicion is sending the high res desktop (4k) on the main pc to the lower res toughbook is the problem & there is probably a better way to do it but have not had the cycles look for one.


3/05/2017 3:13 pm  #3

Re: Best On Deck Tablet

This is a thread I've been thinking of starting, so thank you.  I currently have a Toshiba Toughpad wi-fi'd through to main laptop downstairs.  I'd say it has four drawbacks:
1. Nosebleedingly expensive
2. As it is a fully functioning PC, errant fingers can create all kinds of pop-ups (Excel, MS Edge, Task Manager etc etc etc etc) intruding onto my Expedition screen, generally at the wrong time.  Especially as the o/s is somewhat unfamiliar;
3.  The screen is difficult to rescale with fingers under all kinds of circumstances (wet, sunburn cream, salt) and to work must be kept scrupulously clean, very much a challenge at sea,
4.  The Ingress Protection rating of 65 .... does NOT mean waterproof.  I had one of these fail due to severe internal corrosion and Toshiba refused the warranty claim.  So either go for a higher IP rating device, or be very, very protective.
The pluses are:
a) Great big battery, 24 hours or so, plus you can change at sea.  SO we have two, the second in a charger;
b) Great screen clarity, easily changeable night/day.
On balance I'd probably not buy another Toughpad. So I look forward to hearing about alternatives.


3/05/2017 3:19 pm  #4

Re: Best On Deck Tablet

Sorry, that's a Toughpad FZ-G1, the current model.


3/06/2017 2:46 pm  #5

Re: Best On Deck Tablet

I've taken a much cheaper route: an old iPad running the M$ remote console app to a PC below decks with wired connections to all the instruments. I've tried a couple of cases and settled on the excellent Lifeproof Nuud case. Unlike (all?) others it forms a seal around the screen and leaves the iPad screen glass exposed - this helps no end with daylight view ability, though water on the screen can mess with the touch screen which is probably more of an issue on a race boat than my old Swan. They don't yet do a Nuud case for the iPad Pro - I fancy that as a decent size deck screen, but it may be too big to be practical. 

In direct, bright daylight it isn't perfect but it's pretty good in all but the brightest of direct sunlight and two seasons in the iPad has yet to get fatally damp - it's good for reading sailing magazines' electronic editions in the bath too! The only downside is battery life - for long passages you could do with a second one below decks on charge.

Last edited by TomH (3/06/2017 2:47 pm)


3/07/2017 11:42 am  #6

Re: Best On Deck Tablet

Has anyone used a new iPad Air 2 with the Retina Screen ($400 US)?  How is it in direct sunlight? I am thinking that may be the way to go with a Lifeproof Nuud case ($130 US) as TomH has suggested.

     Thread Starter

3/07/2017 2:43 pm  #7

Re: Best On Deck Tablet

I echo TomH, I've got two iPad 2's in LifeProof Nuud Cases. I've installed two Ram Mounts, one with a Tough Claw that clamps onto any metal tube. The second is flat mounted within the nav station connected to a USB charger. I swap them out as needed for charging. Run Ventus on both over wifi. The one in the nav also serves nicely as a secondary instrument display, see attached picture. When I ran the numbers, two iPads, with cases, and mounts was cheaper than one truly rugged alternative and for us, personally, the iPads serve more uses onboard when not racing. The screen brightness for iPads hovers around 400-450 nits, lower than most rugged solutions, however using a high contrast, large text software like Ventus, it has not been an issue for us.


3/07/2017 3:29 pm  #8

Re: Best On Deck Tablet

Thanks dunsterj.  That looks like a nice set up.  I want to be able to run the iPad or other tablet as a repeater for Expedition running below on a laptop.  Expediiton and all its features are much harder to see than the larger Ventus displays.

     Thread Starter

3/07/2017 6:09 pm  #9

Re: Best On Deck Tablet

I concur.  The challenge for legibility isn't Ventus' simple dial, it is keeping the ship off the rocks at 18 knots BSP in rain, i.e. reading the Expedition chart, enlarging and shrinking it as needed to see the way ahead, "head up 10 degrees" or whatever.


3/08/2017 6:06 am  #10

Re: Best On Deck Tablet

Hi, the most robust, brightest, good screen resolution tablet is the xplore. I have used various models of this tablet for 12 years now and they are virtually indestructible. Most recent model is the XC6. The negatives are that they are expensive and heavy. The positives are that the thing works when you need it too: in driving rain and heavy spray and you are trying to navigate at speed in tight situations.You can swap the batteries, so unlike an ipad you do not need to carry two tablets for longer races. https://www.xploretech.com/us/xc6-series-rugged-tablets/

As a backup I am now running a 9.7" ipad pro in a nuud case and the daylight viewability is MUCH better than the old ipads.
For tighter budgets the panasonic FZ-G1 works ok.
This really is a situation where you get what you pay for. 
Cheers, Will


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