SIMRAD NSS Evo3 MFD & FMT Chip Combo.
Rare is it that in the ever quickly advancing technology space, that one finds a near perfect device! And with the few exceptions of maybe a data block that does not respond right off the jump when 1st turned on... I cannot recommend this unit / chip combo enough and for several reasons.
- The display technology works great even in bright sunlight and even while wearing polarized sunglasses. Those like my newer Bajio NATO shades (more on those in another review) that I have really enjoyed testing after I bought them last fall, I can look down and still see my SIMRAD screen! I remember and it was not all the long ago, having to lift my sunglasses up to be able to see my Chart plotter screen while running which is not always a good thing with one hand on the helm, and the other on the throttle / trim tab switches. Or worse, taking flying insect-hit at 30 plus knots right in the face and it about rolling me off the back end of the Skiff... Nice to be able to keep them on now for sure!
- Easy to configure menu system! Now granted, I have an IT background in several different market sectors so, making my way around in a computerized device is not a foreign concept to me at all. Some of these brands do have a little learning curve, but I find the SIMRAD menu system easy to use and akin, to using your I phone with just a little time spent working with it. Personally, I had a harder time learning and programming my Nikon Camera's! Thankfully though, there is some great YouTube content (or as I call it YouTube University) is now posted on them and it never fails to amaze me what I can find on YouTube using the correct keyword searches 😊
- The zoom knob beside the display screen is worth the cost of entry alone! As discussed on our great podcast Episode # 8 with Glenn Housman from Isla Mapping there is no better or faster way to zoom in or out on your mapping screen, than the use of that awesome little feature. I have owned units including several Lowrance Models over the years with rocker switches or (trying) to use your fingers on the touch screen simply does not compare (period) And forget it, if your hands are wet which is not uncommon when flying along in the Skiff while carving up some winding Creek in search of that prized Game-fish that you are looking to pick a fight with! The touch screen simply does not want to respond or respond as quick as needed, when making these types of turns and worse in low light conditions. If it is new water to you or low visibility and you need to know what lays ahead it is simply hard to beat. If not, you can get High and Dry at the blink of an eye and now stuck for hours waiting for a tide change or for someone to reach you and pull you out of it...
- The mounting bracket for those like myself that have it mounted on top of the console (unlike other brands I have seen) is built like a Battleship! This is not some lightweight unit that uses a plastic type of screen. As such, it has some heft to it and it needs a sold and secure mount to hold it in place. SIMRAD (at least for the 12-inch screen quite sure are sizes are equally as strong) is just solid. Other brands in the past had me looking for aftermarket types of mounts knowing how it is going to get jolted around while flying (literately) over the waves and made me question just how secure or how long it would last? Simply not so with the SIMRAD mounting bracket in my eyes.
- List most computerized devices boot up times and the ease of updating the software are important, I think you will be quite pleased with both aspects with the SIMRAD system.
- Chart plotter use is easy and its support of the FMT Mapping chip is phenomenal! Unless you have tried the FMT product in my view, you simply do not have a complete system (period) If you live in Florida or Louisiana, you need that chip...
Other charts look like a coloring book in comparison and serve little to zero purpose when running in skinny water. The safety and environmental benefits alone, are worth the cost of the chip no matter the visibility or weather conditions, it will help protect both! Glenn and his team have produced an awesome product that I have tested and ran for years now. None finer on the market (others simply do not compare) and the SIMRAD NSS series units really makes that chip shine!
Now for some not-so-great news... The SIMRAD NSS Evo3 is no longer being produced and is now replaced by the updated NSS Evo3 (S) model. The Evo3 (S) is a great unit also and as reported (though I have not found it to be the case myself, yet) an even faster unit. Quite sure future software releases on the Evo3 (S) variant by SIMRAD, will better harness the increased hardware levels it has. As such, the newer (S) one is more expensive (quite a bit so) than the prior NSS Evo3 model. So, if you are looking to secure the SIMRAD NSS Evo3 you might have a hard time finding one. I found very few on Amazon (mostly just the NSS Evo 3 S models) and the only place that I am aware of that still has some stock of any quantity, is the team over at Isla Mapping / Florida Marine Tracks.
If you are looking to upgrade what you currently have, or building a new Skiff or Bay Boat? I would while they still have some left, reach out to Isla Mapping and have them build you a combo unit while they still have some. Last time I spoke with them, they were down to 12 SIMRAD NSS Evo3 units in stock that were ready to ship at the time of this writing.
And for those that have the current SIMRAD GO units (which will also run the chip, just not as easily since they do not have the Zoom Dial) those are also going to become harder to find and buy. And maybe less appealing for the GO Series replacements, the new NSX Touch screen units that SIMRAD is replacing them with, simply will not run any 3rd party maps at this time... I totally understand the need to build new hardware in support the newer OS system SIMRAD is using on them. Flip side of that coin though, I think it is a mistake by SIMRAD to not take that into consideration and I suspect till that is addressed, that it might cost them some Market share.
So, if you are looking to make some upgrades or reviewing the future offering plans I hope this helps! In due time the only option you will have is in getting the newer and much more expensive SIMRAD NSS Evo3 S units for around another (roughly) extra $2000.00 more in cost to run this awesome combo... Thus, making the what currently a great deal for the SIMRAD NSS Evo3 units as long as you can still find them!
Feel free to reach out the team over at Isla Mapping for your budget, use case and for your specific needs. If they no longer have any of the SIMRAD NSS Evo3 units left in any size though I highly recommend the 12 inch display, there are other options and they will be happy to help and let them know Flats Nation sent you!
Tight Lines, and God Bless!