Making the Most of a Minimal Budget. Contact me at: or on Twitter: @skintsailor

Sunday, 18 January 2015

MX Mariner and Navionics\Compared!

Last month Steve the Wargamer asked in my comments section if I'd compared the Navionics software on my Hudl2 with MX Mariner software.

At the time I didn't have the money to get MX Mariner but luckily this month hasn't been so heavy because I've opted to pay my car road tax monthly.

Sooo, let's get comparing. Here's a screenshot of MX Mariner for the mouth to Langstone harbour.

As you can see its pretty standard, being a digitisation of standard charts. It's fine if you're happy with a basic app, which puts a cursor on a map, allows you to plot routes and track your progress. For the money (less than a tenner for the app and charts of the South Coast of England), its fine. However there is very little interaction with map items, which is where the Navionics software has the edge.

Also when at certain zoom levels on MX Mariner, the map becomes fuzzy, because it is just a scan of a chart.

Also you have to zoom in to get all the information in the area, which makes things a bit cluttered.

Compare now with Navionics. Here's the same view of the entrance to Langstone Harbour:

Navionics has a cleaner look about it. That's because it just gives you the information to navigate, rather than the full chart information.

Zoom in and the picture stays sharp:

All the items on the map are interactive. Move the item under the centre of the crosshairs and tap the question mark and you get information about that item. In the first picture you can see a red arrow. The direction its pointing shows the direction of tide. The arrow is a bar chart that fills up with more colour the faster the tide. Select the arrow and you get detailed tide information.

You can also get the details of a marina like the telephone number and address.

The advantage MX Mariner has is that navigation light timings are on the chart, whereas you have to click on a light to get the timings on Navionics.

Navionics has other interactive features:

For instance I've added Sonarcharts, a feature that gives more accurate sounding data.

You can also send tracks etc. to Facebook, you can overlay Google or Bing satellite views with the chart data as well.

So, which one would I chose? Well, Navionics is three times the price of MX Mariner, but provides a wealth of interactive features and includes tide data. Its also regularly updated. It's more like a "proper" full featured chartplotter on your tablet.

MX Mariner is fine as an electronic copy of a chart, but lacks the interactive features of Navionics.

For me there isn't much to chose between the two as they do different things. I guess it boils down to price and whether you want an interactive app or an electronic copy of a paper chart.

MX Mariner is updated yearly and costs less than a fiver for the South of England charts.

Navionics costs £23.99 a year and covers the UK and Holland, with a years worth of (sometimes daily) updates.


  1. Excellent - very fair review... I'll be honest and say I chose MX Mariner because of the price, and also because of the Admiralty chart view (I can't seem to get on with vector charts, though you have explained why I should!)... the only things I'd add are that you can also export tracks from MX Mariner to load in Google Earth etc. Also, when you buy the app you get free updates for a year... having said that, mine is still on the phone and it must be getting on for over that since I bought it...

  2. Yep, MX Mariner is pretty cheap for what it does. £4.63 a year is pretty good value. I just find it a bit cluttered. But the advantage is you get all the chart data right in front of you. on the other hand Navionics' tidal flow info is great for someone with a small-engined boat who moors in a harbour with a narrow entrance.

  3. Mark - got my Hudl2 at last.. which version of Navionics are you using? Boating UK and Holland?

  4. Yes Steve, that's the one I'm using. I'm running the standard definition version because it runs on the hudl and my phone. That way I've got redundancy if I lose a device.