We live in an interconnected world where information matters, especially when you’re piloting a boat across the clear blue waters of a lake, ocean, or sea. Integrated marine electronic display systems such as the Raymarine Axiom deliver the data you need when you need it. Our Raymarine Axiom review will help you decide if this system is for you.

Marine displays such as the Raymarine Axiom make it easy for you to access, view, and understand information from onboard instruments as well as systems ranging from radar to fish-finding to chart plotting.

Our Raymarine Axiom review dissects the capabilities of the system so you can avoid taking that fateful three-hour tour to Gilligan’s Island.

Marine Navigation

Before we dig into the details in our Raymarine Axiom review, let’s first take a look at the complete array of marine electronics available for your boating pleasure.

Depending on the budget you have for gadgets, your boat could contain some or all of these devices to monitor the situation, inside and out:

Chartplotters help you pinpoint your location on the open waters. They come with built-in GPS units and show you exactly where you are on a map. Chartplotters also tell you what direction you’re heading and how fast you’re going.

Fish finders are sonar-based systems that use sound waves to tell you what’s underneath or to the side of your boat. These come in a variety of options, with everything from the best fish finder for kayaks to the best fish finders for sailboats.

Thermal imaging/video cameras deliver additional safety and other situational awareness, particularly at night.

Radar/emergency position locators show you the boat traffic around you on the water, incoming weather challenges, and send out an SOS if lost.

Each data stream is essential in its own right. Wouldn’t it be nice to see all that data in one location?

Raymarine Axiom Review

That’s precisely the purpose of the Raymarine Axiom system. The Axiom is an expandable system designed to integrate individual technologies and show their data feeds on an easy-to-use touch screen.

The Raymarine Axiom provides connectivity to radar, CHIRP sonar, FLIR thermal cameras, audio, instrument data, and the autopilot.

For further ease of use, we should note in our Raymarine Axiom review that this system is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capable. So you’ll be able to access your chosen systems through associated Raymarine apps from your Raymarine display or your tablet or smartphone.

In addition, the Axiom package comes with kits for mounting, required cables, and specific directions for installing the system.

Now let’s break down some of the individual components as part of our Raymarine Axiom review.

Seeing is believing

The centerpiece of the Raymarine Axiom system is the display. Depending on your situation, you can mount the display flush with your boat’s instrument panels, or separately. Additionally, the display is touchscreen-enabled, so no need to worry about buttons.

Screens are available in 7 inches, 9 inches, and 12 inches, measured diagonally.

The bigger the screen, the higher the price tag. Obviously, if you have a bigger boat, it may make sense to opt for the bigger screen to give you more options for viewing the data.

The 7-inch and 9-inch screens display images at a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, using WVGA technology. The 12-inch screen jumps to a 1200 x 800 pixel resolution.

Situationally aware

The ocean looks vast, but veteran boaters know that looks can be deceiving. The marine environment is not one you can take for granted. What can we tell you as part of our Raymarine Axiom review to set your mind at ease?

The system comes with capabilities to read and display both radar and imagery from thermal cameras. Both are critical when it comes to navigating safely on the water.

Radar lets you watch for weather systems coming or going into your vicinity. It also shows you where other boats or potential obstacles are.

FLIR imaging cameras provide a defense for those moments when you can’t see well, such as in fog or at night. These cameras monitor the area around the boat and deliver alerts if something enters a certain radius.

Where are the fish?

One advantage to note in our Raymarine Axiom review is that several fundamental pieces of marine electronics are built into the system. One example is the fish finder.

The Raymarine Axiom offers built-in, ultra-wide CHIRP DragonFly DownVision sonar fish-finding. (DragonFly fish finders are part of the Raymarine portfolio of products.) CHIRP is an acronym that describes advanced sonar that provides clearer images of fish and other structures under the boat.

The DragonFly DownVision system produces three-dimensional imagery, making your view of the situation easier to grasp visually. The system will let you see up to 900 feet below your boat.

Enter LightHouse

The Raymarine Axiom system runs on a computer operating system called LightHouse. As we all know, operating systems are continuously changing, and Raymarine is no different, having produced several new versions.

The LightHouse user interface is “tile” based — similar to the approach taken by Microsoft in its operating systems. You can custom design your home screen to show the data that is most pertinent to you.

LightHouse offers what it calls “smart” context menus, opening the relevant data points based on where you touch on the screen, as well as revised chart modes.

You can never underestimate a piece of electronics with software designed by specialists, and in this case, a boating OS made by and for boaters.

How We Reviewed

To develop our Raymarine Axiom review, we consulted several sources, both from the boating community and the general electronics press. The major part of our information about the Raymarine Axiom review came from the Raymarine site itself, especially an associated brochure describing the capabilities.

Additionally helpful in our Raymarine Axiom review was content from elsewhere in the boating community, such as WestMarine.com. To round out our review, we also looked at various review sites and professional reviews.

Out of those sources, we crafted our Raymarine Axiom review.

Pros

  • Integrates technologies such as fish-finding
  • OS designed by boater
  • Several choices in display size

Cons

  • Intended mainly for production sailboats
  • Requires in-boat wiring to connect devices
  • Provides potentially overwhelming data amounts

Product Comparison Table

Alternatives for Navigating

The Raymarine Axiom delivers a centralized data hub — almost creating a “war room” like feel for your vessel. But maybe you don’t want to be absorbed by data on your journeys.

That’s good, because you have options. The marine electronics market offers other methods of pulling in and displaying your data in a way that you can easily understand and provides the background you need for sound decision-making on the water.

These gadgets will have the same primary effect — allowing you to reduce the number of devices and become a better boater.

1

Simrad GO7 XSR Chartplotter/Fishfinder

Simrad 000-14077-001 GO7 XSR Chartplotter/Fishfinder with Radar...
  • A perfect way to expand the capabilities of sport boats, cruisers, and smaller center consoles
  • Fish Reveal Smart Target View makes fish easier to see
  • C-MAP Easy Routing and Avionics Dock-to-Dock Auto routing allows you to navigate faster and easier with automatic route...

The first alternative in our Raymarine Axiom review comes from Simrad. The GO7 XSR Chartplotter/Fishfinder is also another system designed by and for boaters.

The GO7, like the Raymarine Axiom, takes a built-in, all-in-one approach to marine electronics. The device comes with a chartplotter navigation system, along with preloaded maps. The Simrad GO7 offers a way to plan routes that is point-and-click simple.

At the same time, the GO7 provides a plug-and-play capability for a range of Simrad radar solutions. Once integrated, you can watch the weather and traffic lanes through the system’s display.

Fish-finding capabilities are also available through an add-on component. The GO7 integrates with the Simrad HDI Skimmer/Transducer to provide CHIRP sonar. You’ll know immediately where the fish are hiding as a result.

The GO7 works best in smaller sport boats and day boats. It offers four choices for screen size that range from 5 inches to 12 inches measured on a diagonal. You can buy it with or without the integrated radar.

Pros

  • Upgradeable – connects to other devices
  • Choices – varied screen size fits your situation
  • Sharp imagery

Cons

  • Some complaints about user-friendliness
  • Requires numerous software downloads
  • Does not come with SD card for upgrades

2

Lowrance HDS-12 Live with Active Imaging

No products found.

The next alternative in our Raymarine Axiom review is a fully-featured integrated system from Lowrance. The HDS-12 Live offers a 12-inch touchscreen for displaying radar, fish-finding, instrumentation, and other data.

If the 12-inch screen doesn’t quite fit your needs, then you can also buy the same technology with screens at 7 inches, 9 inches, or a whopping 16 inches.

You might want to consider that larger screen if you’re a data hog. The display will convert if needed into a six-panel split screen. (Talk about the need to multi-task.)

One feature in the Lowrance HDS line that we found particularly unique is the ability to pair the system with a remote control.

Additionally, fish-finding capabilities and real-time sonar come built-into the HDS line along with other advanced capabilities, including real-time sonar.

The real-time capabilities allow you to watch as fish react live to whatever bait you are using. It also enables you to keep close track of the most promising fishing holes.

The system allows for automatic routing as well as real-time mapping down to half-foot contours.

Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Integrates with smartphones, can display video
  • Automatic route planning

Cons

  • Uneven performance in calibration
  • Smartphone/split-screen only available on more expensive models

3

Lowrance HDS-12 Live with Active Imaging

No products found.

The next alternative in our Raymarine Axiom review is a fully-featured integrated system from Lowrance. The HDS-12 Live offers a 12-inch touchscreen for displaying radar, fish-finding, instrumentation, and other data.

If the 12-inch screen doesn’t quite fit your needs, then you can also buy the same technology with screens at 7 inches, 9 inches, or a whopping 16 inches.

You might want to consider that larger screen if you’re a data hog. The display will convert if needed into a six-panel split screen. (Talk about the need to multi-task.)

One feature in the Lowrance HDS line that we found particularly unique is the ability to pair the system with a remote control.

Additionally, fish-finding capabilities and real-time sonar come built-into the HDS line along with other advanced capabilities, including real-time sonar.

The real-time capabilities allow you to watch as fish react live to whatever bait you are using. It also enables you to keep close track of the most promising fishing holes.

The system allows for automatic routing as well as real-time mapping down to half-foot contours.

Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Integrates with smartphones, can display video
  • Automatic route planning

Cons

  • Uneven performance in calibration
  • Smartphone/split-screen only available on more expensive models

4

Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 64cv Chartplotter/Sonar Combo

Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 64cv, 6" Chartplotter/Sonar Combo with built in...
  • Bright, Sunlight-readable 6” combo
  • Built-in support for Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar plus CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar (transducer sold separately)
  • Preloaded bluechart G2 charts for the Coastal U.S.

The final alternative in our Raymarine Axiom review takes a more consolidated approach. The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus offers a chartplotter/sonar combination but is mindful of your need to save on space.

The ECHOMAP product line includes screen sizes that range from 4 inches to 9 inches. Like the other navigation systems in our review, the resolution offers imagery at WVGA 400 x 800 pixels.

The system comes preloaded with maps covering the entire continental United States. It also has capabilities to instantly draw customized fishing maps, based on your experiences and the hot spots you locate.

The ECHOMAP line includes built-in support for the company’s fish-finding CHIRP technology. If you’re just out for a sail, you may want to take advantage of features that help you track wind angles and speeds.

Additionally, as a smaller device, the ECHOMAP Plus offers portability. You’re not stuck having to leave an expensive piece of electronics exposed in your boat at the end of the day. Just unplug and take the device with you.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Space-efficient
  • Live recreation of fishing maps

Cons

  • Built to lock-in need for upsell
  • Not user-friendly at installation

Finding Your Way

The digital age has enriched the understanding of our lives. It comes with a risk, though. In fact, sometimes, too much data is, well, too much.

In the boating world, the manufacturers of navigation displays seem to have found a reasonable middle ground. Every boating outing comes with some risk, but the proper integration of radar, imaging, and sonar can keep you out of trouble.

You just don’t ever want to get so buried by data that you forget to enjoy the activities that bring you joy and passion. The Raymarine Axiom and other navigation systems offer you the flexibility to do both.

Do you have any experience with the Raymarine Axiom or comparable devices? Are you considering purchasing your own? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured Photo by Cédric Dhaenens on Unsplash

Last update on 2022-10-01 at 13:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API