Edit: Feb 2017 - This test is superseded by Garmin BlueChart test by Pip Hare.
We test the Garmin iPad app for navigation as part of a group test of portable chartplotting software. • BlueChart cartography • Vector charts • App £ free. Charts £39.99 North West Europe

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Garmin iPad app



  • • Simple intuitive control icons make it easy to get the hang of this system quickly
  • • Easy-to-access user manual takes you straight to relevant topics
  • • Measurement tool very simple to use
  • • Query circle is a clever and effective way to interrogate chart features as well as performing most key navigation functions
  • • Route entry and editing is as easy as drag and drop, plus you can add additional waypoints along the track and delete unnecessary ones. Route and waypoint management are easy
  • • Clear weather overlay
  • • Chart management is simple and quick using a grid system to help select the areas of interest. The simple download framework makes it easy to see what charts you have and what you might need


  • • Charts don’t have the fine detail at large scale and feel comparatively basic at most zoom levels
  • • Not as fast as the Navionics charts to refresh and update when zooming in and out (but still acceptable)
  • • Display biased towards power boats, with emphasis on fuel use
  • • Although easy to see, route lines and waypoints are chunky and tend to dominate the detail
  • • No permanent display of position


Garmin iPad app


This product is featured in: New Gear: Garmin Surround View.



Edit: Feb 2017 – This test is superseded by Garmin BlueChart test by Pip Hare.

The Garmin iPad app has big clear buttons and is easy to use – just what you’d expect from Garmin. The cartography is the distinctive BlueChart format, which is identical to that used on the company’s dedicated chartplotters. Appearance and style is close to Admiralty charts, making them easy to use together. The chart downloaded system is one of the best.

See reviews of the other iPad apps in our group test



Easy to use, clear and good-value chart folios. Good for those with Garmin systems and/or those looking for extensive global coverage.