The Standard Horizon CPV350 is not easily categorized. It’s a marine VHF radio, chartplotter, and even has sounder capability when it is paired with the Standard Horizon FF520 black box sounder. This unit is also AIS capable when coupled to an AIS receiver.
The CPV350 is a perfect fit for small boats with limited panel space. It’s wide-ranging capabilities required us to run it through an extensive series of tests. To begin, we did a series of VHF radio bench tests.
Then to evaluate the CPV350 chartplotting capabilities and assess the screen we took the unit out to sea our Contender test boat.
VHF Feature List
In our VHF radio testing the CPV350 earned all good and excellent ratings.
The CPV350 VHF has a long list of capabilites, things the radio does that go beyond the ability to transmit and receive.
It has an integral 30-watt hailer with automatic and manual foghorn capability, which allows for reception of VHF voice signals even while in the PA or Fog Horn mode.
Other important features include sophisticated DSC capabilities that includes a second receiver dedicated solely to the reception of channel 70 digital signals, an easy to access menu, and a large rotary knob for channel selection.
This unit can be used with up to 2 Standard Horizon remote microphones too.
Screen Size and Viewability
The CPV350 features a 7-inch color display screen with a resolution of 800 x 480.
We found the Standard Horizon CPV350 screen to be bright and sharp in daylight conditions with the best view attained by selecting the Sunlight color palette. The Normal setting also worked well. Testers found the Classic setting a little dark in the daylight for our liking.
Night Vision mode darkens the screen colors to reduce glare and improve low light viewing.
While viewing the screen in daylight with polarized sunglasses we noticed it darkened slightly even when viewed from directly in front. At an angle of 45-degrees it just about blacked out. According to Standard Horizon spokesman, Scott Iverson, blacking out at severe angles is normal for most LCD screens when they are viewed with polarized sunglasses. Without the glasses we found the screen usable from severe angles.
Our testers found it necessary to be close to the screen to be able to read the small details, like depth numbers, on the map page. Iverson noted numbers and symbols displayed onscreen could be made to appear larger by selecting a larger size via the main menu.
We tried it and found the larger size created a clutter of names and numbers. Also it did not change the size of waypoint names.
This characteristic was especially noticeable in the Standard Horizon CPV350 at night and is the reason we rated the screen good instead of excellent for both day and night viewing.
Unfortunately, this trait is simply a consequence of having such a high resolution displayed on a screen of this size. We’d still opt for this combination over a lower resolution screen of the same size.
We found the Standard Horizon CPV350 chartplotter easy to operate using the pushbuttons, joystick, and menu selectable functions. We gave it a good rating for plotter user interface. Not having an alphanumeric keypad is a disadvantage when entering data like waypoint names.
Five soft keys add operational flexibility on the pages where they are functional. If their function labels are not displayed pressing any soft key will bring up all active soft key labels.
Hitting the enter key followed by another button push or two will yield a waypoint at the current or selected cursor position.
This action also brings up soft key functions that allow you to manipulate the waypoint. The latest software update allows storage of up to 3000 waypoints and 50 routes, more than enough for most users.
Waypoint names can be up to 10 characters long and use one of 16 symbols.
Odds and Ends
We found chart redraw speed to be about average, things can take a few seconds to fully display when shifting ranges quickly. With its C-Map Max card installed the CPV350 ranged down to very fine detail.
The course predictor on the CPV350 works well and is adjustable; like some other fine details though it too can be hard to see.
Data blocks are displayed across the top of the map page in a variety of configurations that are user adjustable.
We like the CPV350 for all its capabilities so well integrated into a right sized, reasonably priced package. As a kicker it carries a long 3-year warranty.