We received the Raymarine A65 in a System Pack. It included the A65 display unit, GPS unit, DSM25 black box sounder, a Navionics Silver US All-In-One Marine chart card, and a dual-frequency transducer.
The display unit measures 9.5 inches wide, just under 7 inches high, and about 3.5 inches deep. We used the supplied metal bracket to mount the Raymarine A65 display unit to a test board.
The black box sounder module was screwed to the test board too. All the wire connections from the black box, power cable, and GPS unit are made with multi-pin twist-lock connectors.
The installation was uncomplicated and simple. The A65 display unit can also be flush mounted with optional gear.
Screen Size and Viewability
The Raymarine A65 GPS has a landscape screen we measured at just under 4 inches high and a tad over 5 inches wide. Diagonally it measures 6.5 inches and carries a high resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. Details appear to have very sharp edges when viewed from a range of 3 feet or less. At distances further away some of the fine detail gets too small to discern easily.
We reviewed the Raymarine A65 display screen with the white background color selected during daylight operations. A blue background palette is also available. Several additional color palettes are available for the sounder view.
Brightness is controlled from 0 to 100 in 64 steps. Viewability was good even in bright sunlight. We did however notice moderate screen darkening when we viewed the screen using polarized sunglasses. Wed rate the A65 screen good for daytime and excellent for nighttime viewability.
Operation of everyday functions on the Raymarine A65 GPS are handled with page specific soft keys, a rotary entry device, and an enter key equipped cursor. We found little need to delve into menus.
Soft key functions are displayed onscreen above each of the five soft keys and change to reflect the displayed page needs.
The first push of the page button on the A65 yields two choices, either chart or fish finder. Hitting either of these soft keys then allows the user to choose between full screen and a variety of split screen configurations. When both the chart page and fish finder are displayed in a split screen arrangement pressing the active key switches control between the two. The active window is indicated by a red outline.
To access waypoints the user should press of the wpts key and then choose a course of action using the soft key options displayed. You can save a waypoint at the present position or at the cursor position. A double press of the wpts key shortcuts the process and creates an instant waypoint at the present position.
Route entry can be accomplished using a stored waypoints or from newly created waypoints or by combining new and stored. Up to 50 waypoints may be used in one route.
To test the route building function we built a route using the only the cursor and soft key functions. We found it to be quick and easy. Routes can be tracked in either direction by using the soft keys to select reverse route.
This Raymarine chartplotter combo uses a black box sounder to provide fishfinder data. You can read our full review of the Raymarine DSM25 black box sounder here.
Odds and Ends
Using soft key functions on the map page a user can select orientation of north-up, course-up, or heading-up. All worked well in our testing.
The course predictor is a thin line and can be somewhat hard to see on a fully detailed map page.
Holding down the mob key on the A65 sounds an aural alarm, marks the mob position, and switches the display to a split screen showing the highway back to the mob. Data boxes show course over ground, heading, bearing and distance, as well as cross track error back the mob position. Holding the mob key down again turns off the function. This is the type of mob function we like to see. Everything you need to get back to the mob happens automatically and it is virtually impossible to press any buttons on the machine that would screw things up.
The waypoint list shows the selected symbol, one of six can be picked, a name up to 16-characters long, a 32-character comment, lat/long, and bearing/distance for each waypoint. Any field in the waypoint data list can be modified as needed by the user.
The Raymarine A65 carries a 2-year warranty.
We think the A65 is a top-flight machine that is ready for action on any boat.