Sometimes driving doesn't necessarily require having any wheels to get you around, and with the summer in full swing, let's look at some marine options.
Magellan Explorist 610
- Available at: Canadian Tire, Amazon.ca
Magellan may have portable navigation units for road vehicles, but the Explorist 610 doubles as a boating navigator and hiking aid. The added bonus is that it carries a World Edition map that includes road networks for Canada, the U.S., Western Europe and Australia. It helps that it's also waterproof and durable.
The main thing here is that the maps of Canada are topographic, so you will see every waterway in and around your path. You won't necessarily get overt details about tides and currents, but you can set waypoints along a route, if you know which way you want to go back from where you were. The compass works flawlessly and navigation is consistently accurate.
You can also search for geocaches or create your own, though typing up notes on a keyboard that spans two screens is cumbersome. Another issue is battery life. With just two AA batteries powering the unit, you should expect about four hours, maybe five, tops.
Clarion CMD6 MP3/WMA CD Marine Deck
- Available at: Future Shop
Marine audio tends to lag behind the car variety, but no longer by a wide margin. Replacing a factory system on your boat with an aftermarket one that gets the most out of some of the technology you bring onboard might be an investment worth making.
That's the whole notion behind this deck from Clarion, despite it not being brand-new to the market. You get USB, iPhone and iPod integration and Bluetooth support. You do have an option for a Sirius or XM tuner, and if you prefer not to use Bluetooth, you can make use of the two auxiliary inputs.
Just as importantly, of course, the head unit also has a watertight panel that flips down, and a chassis made of stainless steel. And though MP3 and WMA are made obvious, this only applies to CDs stored with those files. Playing music stored on a smartphone or MP3 player directly plugged in is not a problem.
Jensen DV2011 DVD/CD Player
- $308.99 U.S.
- Available at: JensenMarineDirect.com, Independent 12V retailers
If you have a boat with a display of some sort and you want to watch a movie or show on board, this is one single DIN deck that can do that. Don't expect HD here because you only composite outputs and inputs in the back, so even if you do pop in a DVD with HD content on it, it will just scale down.
DivX doesn't work here though, which is a real shame. By not being able to recognize various file formats on a DVD-R, it's completely hit or miss as to whether or not a digital copy of a movie will even play. Regular DVDs, of course, play without problems, and the included wireless remote means you can lounge and control playback from a distance.
The faceplate is detachable, in case you're worried about it getting ruined. The rest of the features are a lot like a typical single DIN deck in a car. AM/FM, presets, rotary volume control, skip protection and more. The biggest omission is no support for iOS devices nor Bluetooth capability.