Hands-on with Raymarine’s Axiom+, improved MFDs and software

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of Panbo.com, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, 100-ton USCG master.

10 Responses

  1. Larry Olson says:

    As usual, another great article. It’s nice that the manufacturers keep up with the improvements. Some of us are considering upgrades and Ray is in our sights. Can you comment about the service you’ve had with them?

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      I haven’t had occasion to talk to Raymarine front line support in a little while but, previously when I’ve talked to them I’ve had good experiences. At some point I hear from boaters who have had a bad experience with every manufacturer but I think Raymarine’s support is good.

      -Ben S.

  2. Hi Ben,
    I have Mainship 34 flybridge trawler (upper and lower helm) and I’m planning on replacing my old Raymarine E120 (2006 vintage) electronics. I’m looking at Raymarine Axiom+ 12″ and Garmin GPSMap 8612. Ignoring price for the moment, what are the major differences, things to consider, and (you probably don’t want to answer but) what would you recommend.

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:


      As you look between manufacturers, the biggest differences you’re going to encounter are the way in which the user interface works and presents itself. For example, Garmin builds their routes by working from your destination back to your boats location, Raymarine builds routes by working from the boat’s location to your destination. Some people have strong preferences for one way of doing it versus the other. I personally don’t have strong opinions about either approach and find that in different situations each one works well.

      There are also technical differences between the two units. In 12″ sizes, the Axiom+ will have a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. Garmin’s 8600 series MFDs all have a resolution of 1920 x 1080, but they also cost more. The 8600 series MFDs have built-in J1939, an HDMI output, NMEA 0183 interfaces, and generally more connectivity than comparable Raymarine MFDs, but again, they cost more. I prefer Raymarine’s handling of cameras and their broader compatibility with non-Raymarine branded cameras.

      I am always a proponent of getting your hands on the electronics you’re considering buying. That used to be at boat shows (back when we had those) or at West Marine or other boating supply stores, now I think your only option is going to be a store. I don’t make electronics recommendations of one brand over another. I fully believe that you can’t go wrong with any of the current crop of MFDs and the reasons to choose one brand over another are issues of personal preference or possible use cases.

      Please, if you have any questions I didn’t answer (besides telling which one you should buy) speak up. I also just today received a Garmin GPSMap 943XSV, Garmin’s newest mid-range MFD. Price wise it’s a closer comparison to the Axiom+. I’m going to get to work on evaluating it shortly.

      -Ben S.

  3. Don Whitehead says:

    Thanks Ben. These days it seems like we only have marketing literature to use in making decisions. Two questions: (1) Do you think the IPS displays are a significant improvement over the WXGA displays? (2) Is the Raymarine Axion+ “Hydrotough” coating just a marketing term, or a significant improvement over current touch screens? Thanks again, I’m finding a lot of interesting info on Panbo.

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      If you’re asking about the difference between the Axiom and Axiom+ displays, yes I think there’s a significant difference and it’s worthwhile to seek out an Axiom+ for the upgrade, especially in the 7 and 9-inch sizes. The 12-inch Axiom was already an IPS display. As compared to the Garmin 743, 943, and 1243, I think the displays are quite comparable.

      I don’t think that HydroTough is just a marketing term, but I think the difference isn’t huge. It does seem to be a little less prone to fingerprints, but they’re still there.

      -Ben S.

  4. Jcrgus says:

    I am planning on purchasing a 150 Montauk whaler. Their spec sheet shows Axiom 7 models but no Axiom +. Looking at West Marine, no 7 + models found. However Defender shows lots of Axiom and one Axiom + model (listed as NEW!). I am afraid whaler is likely not up to speed on the new models and I will get the lesser resolution, older unit. The confusion of a + or no + is a shame….a clear unambiguous new model number would help. I have no faith that my sales person in Seattle or whaler can give me guidance. Perhaps I buy from Defender and self install? How long does it take for the market to clear the older models…..or will Raymarine continue to produce both?

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Hi Jcrgus, this is the other Panbo Ben commenting. Searching Google Shopping for “Raymarine Axiom+ 7” does get me both regular and + Axioms, but all + plus models seem to be in stock with some reputable dealers like BOE.

      Moreover, I wouldn’t get the Whaler-installed Axiom 7 because the flush mount doesn’t look like a good idea to me. The Montauk 150 looks like a great boat in most every other way, but the photos and video seem to show an Axiom 7 that’s hard to touch control or see well because the steering wheel is in the way.


      If it were me I wouldn’t buy an MFD for the boat unless I could get on one first and figure out the best placement. Which might be an Axiom+ in its included bail mount so I could get it above the wheel when sitting and also maybe a little closer to my hand and eyes. The screen could also be tilted up if you stand at the helm much. Bail mounts don’t look as sharp but they sometimes help with the ergonomics and they’re easy to install. Also, looks like there’s room for a 9 inch MFD if you want.

  5. Jerry says:

    Great article. Thanks for writing it.
    I just got a 2002 Duflur Gib’Sea 37 (sailboat) It has its original Raymarine electronics, which don’t work. I’m looking at replacing w new Raymarine products (Axiom+). The current 2002 raymarine mfd is in a large navpod at the helm. Is that the preferred mount? (I’d probably need to buy a new navpod?)

  6. Jim says:

    For a 9″ MFD – do you prefer flush or bracket mount ?

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