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New EVO & FMT. First impressions.


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After fighting with the my old Garmin 3210 for the past 4 or 5 years (unsupported model going bad), I decided to upgrade to some new stuff. As they say, “it only costs 75% more to go first class”.


I purchased a Simrad NSS12 EVO3 before the spring rebates ended. I purchased from ISLA Mapping (FMT) along with the FMT chips. In addition to the $500 rebate, it included a choice of CMAP chip sets and a discount on FMT. One of my sons Xmas gifts was a Simrad RF20 VHF, so the handheld I used for the past several years is in the ditch bag. I eliminated the old Sony AM/FM, non Bluetooth radio to facilitate the new layout, and got a used SonicHub 2 from the installer.


I took the boat to George Matt of Matt Electronics in Inverness, Fl. George is a retired USCG ET Chief who is really checked out on installation and operation of all modern gear. He has a small shop behind his house and a line of 10 boats waiting for his attention. Great guy, honest, helpful, reasonable pricing, and does what he says he’ll do. Highly recommended by me.




After splashing the boat at the ramp to bring back to our lift, I accelerated and got hit by the EVO sun cover. It wasn’t latched and doesn’t float. Amazon and $30 got me a new one the next day. My first complaint.....when properly snapped on, it’s a bi***h to remove. You almost need a screwdriver to unsnap it.


EVO dislikes...


When the boat is stationary in the lift or dock, the screen “shakes”. Without differential satellite movement, the EVO doesn’t know the boat heading and is constantly searching, turning the screen image every which way. Dockside planning a trip is difficult. A few tweaks with the settings dampen a bit, but still annoying. I’m told a $300 heading sensor on the network will fix. I’ll make do for now.


For a MFD this expensive, the instruction manual could be better. It covers the basics very well, and the machine is very intuitive. But more hints and tips would be nice. I had about 800 waypoints, routes, and tracks to upload in a .GPX file. Steve, Simrad customer service in the Philippines, constantly placed me on hold to check the lab for a resolution. Blamed the chip. My son put the chip in his laptop, and changed the file name to all alpha characters (no numbers) and it worked. EVO apparently doesn’t like numbers only in file names. Who knew!


I do not like the mini microchip slots. The chips are small and my fingers are big. Someday I’m going to drop a chip in deck water and ruin it. Duplicate chips for everything!




EVERYTHING else! It’s an amazing machine. Fast, intuitive, easy to operate, clear screen even w/ polarized sun glasses, the buttons w/ touchscreen make underway operation a breeze, customization of screens is fast and easy to create, ..... I could go on and on. The wireless setups allow me to sit in the shade or in the house and operate the complete unit on my phone or pad.  Because of the connections and delay in WiFi, the screen is almost steady. Trip planning as it should be! 

Worth the premium price! I’ve fished with others with newer Garmin gear and there’s no comparison, and the FMT chip only makes it better. One friend, with 1 year old twin Garmin screens, is going to sell and install Simrad or something to run FMT.




A real game changer is a vast understatement! I tested it on some known skinny water runs and it is spot on. We fish in Crystal River/ Homosassa and the area is known for extreme rocks, oyster beds, and questionable PVC markers around the Cays. My first track I tested where I had never been through was scary. For those familiar....Sam’s Bayou. We passed several airboats who just smiled and shook their heads. We also passed several kayaks who were fording to get around a bad area. We made it through just fine, only losing a little skeg paint.

Run at 200 ft resolution, using the 3D tilt (like Google earth) and all my transits so far are no stress. Five feet off the red track line can get you in trouble around here. The FMT is that accurate. I am going very slow on unfamiliar routes.


Glen at FMT is very helpful and proud of what he’s created. He should be! I hope it is making him a rich man. He says a new update due out this month will make it even better. I don’t see how, but I can’t wait!


If anyone is in my area and wants to take a ride to see this package work, just PM me your cell. Our local WM with the EVO on the wall doesn’t have a clue of what the EVO can do, and there’s no place to look at the FMT in action.


Just my thoughts.

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When viewing at the dock or on trailer, turn off the course up heading and set to North Up.  Then turn off "look ahead" option and screen will be steady.

When you launch the boat to go boating set it back the other way to run.  

The NFL update started shipping on 6/1. Follow the instructions in the email that went out to update your chart.  The photos are much better, clearer and newer.  In the big bend they are much brighter and easier to see.  It is much better than the version you have and worth switching.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I recently put a new GO12XSE on mine pathfinder and you’re right about the screen cover being a pain when it’s snapped on. Easiest way I’ve found to get it off is push from left to right on the left hand side of the unit and then using my right hand I’ll pull the right side off the unit towards myself. 


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