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Raymarine E120 Review

The Raymarine E120 is a big screen multi-function network chartplotter designed for serious recreational boaters. A number of dedicated pushbuttons and five multi-use soft keys make this unit easy to operate in any mode.

The E120 display will connect to and display a variety of information from numerous sources. Several radar options are available, from a 2Kw 18-inch dome style up to units with a 6-foot open array antenna and 10Kw of power.

raymarine e120

The Raymarine E120 has been around for several years and remains a mainstay in the recreational market.

It will also display data from a black box sounder, the Raystar GPS module, an AIS receiver, and a Sirius weather and radio receiver.

This Raymarine chartplotter communicates with other devices using the Raymarine SeaTalk network, NMEA 0183, and NMEA 2000. The E120 can use Navionics Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Platinum Plus cartography.

The E120 will use a substantial chunk of panel space and it hefty enough that is should be flush mounted. It measures 14 inches wide, 10.4 inches high, and 6.1 inches deep. Display screen measurements are 9.7 inches wide and 7.3 inches high, with a diagonal measurement of 12.4 inches. Resolution is 800 x 600 pixels.

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Screen Size and Viewability

We found the E120 performed exceptionally well in our daylight viewability review and we gave it an excellent rating. This Raymarine chartplotter screen was bright and sharp when viewed straight on without polarized sunglasses. We noticed little to no screen darkening when viewing the screen from the side, even at severe angles. When we donned our polarized sunglasses no screen darkening was apparent when looked at the display from straight on. At severe side angles with our polarized sunglasses on we did experience a moderate amount of darkening.

The Raymarine E120 screen brightness controls are accessed with a momentary press of the on/off button. This triggers the onscreen appearance of bar graph showing the current level of brightness and a soft key with a day/night palette selection. Screen backlight level adjustments can be quickly made in up to 64 steps with the rotary enter knob. Toggling the soft key changes between the day and night palette. A press of the OK button confirms your choice. The color change between the day and night palette is minor on the E120.

As our evaluations progressed to night viewing we dimmed the E120 in the day setting first, and then as it got darker we switched to the night palette. The very lowest brightness levels in either day or night mode will make the screen go totally black. With the night palette selected we noticed from side angles the screen darkens, as the angle increases the condition worsens, and at steep angles the screen becomes unreadable. Keypad lighting on the E120 is linked to the screen brightness level and not separately adjustable. We rated night viewability good.

Operation

We tested the Raymarine E120 with software version 3.31 and found it very intuitive—there is little that requires cracking open the inch thick manual. This unit makes good use of its 5 soft keys and numerous dedicated pushbuttons. Software update 4.29 became available as we were conducting our testing.

Each press of the PAGE button toggles between selected split screen combinations. Holding it down brings you to the select page set menu. Here you can pick from a variety pre-configured pages or build your own custom page set. Up to 4 windows and a data bar can be displayed simultaneously.

Hitting and holding the MOB key takes the unit into man overboard mode. You’ll hear an audible alarm and see the chart switch to minimum range. Data boxes will show range and bearing to the man overboard position. If you were not displaying the chart when you hit the MOB button you will only get man overboard position from the data boxes. To turn off the man overboard mode and silence the alarm press and hold the MOB key again.

Waypoints and Routes

A waypoint can be saved at the present position with one push of the WPTS key or you can use a soft key function to save at the cursor, ship position, at a lat/long, or access the waypoint list. Waypoint lists can be set up in separate groups for quicker access based on user criteria.

The waypoint list includes the group name, lat/long, bearing/distance, a 16-character name, and a 32-character comment for each waypoint. That is a bunch of information to store with each of up to 1200 waypoints. All this should make obscure waypoints in a large list much easier to identify and use. We rated the plotter interface good on the Raymarine E120. If you added the optional keypad to the E120 we’d rate the interface excellent.

The route menu is accessed with two soft key pushes. Once there you can build a route onscreen or by using the waypoint list. To build onscreen you simply move the cursor to the desired point then hit the “place waypoint” soft key. You can continue this out to 50 waypoints and store as many as 150 routes.

Odds and Ends

Chart redraws on the E120 were fast, taking less than a second to fully redraw the chart after a map range change. Minimum range can be set as low as 1/32 of a mile.

Up to 4 data sources can be displayed in an individual window simultaneously with a data strip. The E120 has an easily accessible ruler to measure the bearing and distance to any point of between a pair of user selected points.

The E120 carries a 2-year warranty.

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Final Thoughts

We like the big screen and intuitive software on the Raymarine E120 chartplotter. This unit has an IPX6 waterproof rating, meaning it can be subjected to a direct stream of water with no ill effects. You’ll also need to add a Ray 125 GPS sensor.