Feb 2011

Anywhere Map Quadra and Bendix-King AV8OR comparison
(  +  brief iFly 700 review )

I favor smaller size 4.3" navigator screens - since they more easily fit on crowded instrument panels and I have no problem viewing them.

I purchased the Quadra, the AV8OR handheld navigators and also tried the iFly 700 from Adventure Pilot.

Each unit has its own unique features. Quadra may have a longer list of standard features. Good place to compare the feature lists would be at some sale sites like Sporty's: Quadra and AV8OR. The Control Vision Quadra/AV8OR/Aera comparison is little out of date since AV8OR has added some features since - and the terrain vertical profile view is not available on the Quadra.

Several things I liked about the Quadra:
1.   I really like the compact Quadra format. AV8OR is 1/4" higher, 1/2" wider and thicker.
2.   The higher Quadra 800x480 resolution is nice too. Both screens are rated at 4.3" diagonal but the Quadra screen is actually 3mm higher.
3.   New Quadra purchase includes first year map database subscription.
4.   The map database subscription is only $115/yr compared to $35 for each AV8OR 28 day update (about $456/yr).
5.   Quadra also includes free NexRad radar view in the WIFI mode so you could see your enroute weather prior to your flight.
6.   Control Vision is responsive to user feedback through online forum and other communications. I received good response for warranty service and repairs.

I decided to keep the AV8OR for two main reasons:
1.   AV8OR has an NMEA serial output for driving autopilots on experimental aircraft ( Click here for connection info ).
2.   More mature software/hardware in the AV8OR. I have eventually got a debugged Quadra but it took several software revisions and warranty service returns to Control Vision.

Some other factors in favor of AV8OR.
3.   AV8OR more intuitive touch command soft buttons and faster screen response times. Quadra is OK refreshing the map but some touch commands may take much longer, particularly when more geography is involved. The higher resolution sure taxes Quadra's little cpu to redraw three times as many pixels as the AV8OR. Quadra response is improved somewhat by turning topography off.
4.   AV8OR brighter screen - see comparison photo. From other comparison photos, the Garmin Aera is about same brightness as Quadra - see AWM comparison. So AV8OR is best in that area. However Quadra screen brightness was sufficient for my use and was not a deciding factor. Second photo shows Quadra in flight taken with a cell phone camera - the topography was turned off to help with screen contrast/brightness. The third photo shows AV8OR in flight on same panel for comparison. You can see the AV8OR almost equal to EFIS brightness by comparison (both are darker in this photo because of the bright light hitting the panel bottom).
(click on image for larger view)

Mounting Note: In the second photo, for best brightness/view the Quadra is mounted at an angle - slightly upward and left - more toward the pilot.    Click here for more mounting suggestion details.


5.   A "secret" AV8OR feature is its video monitor capability. Just by purchasing a Bendix-King AV input cable (part number 005-03702-1026) you can use the screen as a video monitor - useful for example with a front mounted infra red camera (view through fog), viewing the engine compartment, remote wing mounted camera view and other things. You just plug the cable in and when there is a signal present the screen displays the video. Other AV8OR functions continue in the background.
6.   Americas AV8OR includes North and South America database and a world map you can pan with labeled countries borders. And flight databases are available for rest of the world. Quadra only has US/Canada database available.
7.   For some reason AV8OR topography appears more detailed (or smoother) than on Quadra.
8.   AV8OR uses standard WxWorx receiver (got one $529 new) where Quadra uses a special modified WxWorx receiver ($695 new). Note: after adding the AV8OR weather option I realised that Garmin Area 510 w/weather is about the same price. It would have been tempting to get it instead. But the brighter screen is a big plus for AV8OR.
9.   AV8OR terrain Vertical Profile View.
10.   AV8OR seems to find satellites much sooner.

AV8OR cons.
Not having IFR approach plates included might be a minus for some IFR pilots. They are available on the larger and more expensive AV8OR ACE which Bendix/King is agressively marketing. The larger screen makes more sense for IFR plates. A way to rectify that is to use AV8OR for navigation and an iPad for IFR plates. You can download free PDF plates from the web. An iPad IFR plates tutorial is available on YouTube

Automotive navigation.
I find the car navigation feature irrelevant. Why take a $600+ unit in a car that could be stolen when a $99 Garmin Nuvi (or other brands) are much better at it and car navigation is frequently built into newer cars.

iFly 700 from Adventure Pilot
Pros: iFly 700 from Adventure Pilot has a 30 day money back guarantee. I tried and returned the unit. It is a nice affordable $499 unit with $69 annual map subscription, larger 7" screen, good intuitive soft buttons and good brightness. The CEO is responsive to requested feature changes through iFly 700 forum and other communications.

Cons: The unit does not have a battery and the optional external battery is extra bulk. There is no terrain view or live weather option. The main problem: I found it awkward flying with sectional map views (too many fuzzy details crammed together for quick comprehension) and its vector mode was too sparse (no land features).

Advertising info or brand loyalty testimonies are not realiable for real use comparison of units. Sometimes you have to purchase two (or more) and then return or resell the ones that do not suit you. Wish more manufacturers would offer units on trial (or money back guarantee like iFly 700).

If you would like to comment you can send me an online Email