Ive got one as asecond radio on the flybridge, it's OK...does what it says on the box.
Personally I prefer the NASA SX35 but thats not waterproof unfortunately.
Got one of those on lower helm.
Dont worry about the "expensive names", the RF electronics probably all come from the same factory in Korea anyway.
If you want cheap, you might also consider the Midland Neptune, at £139 inc UK delivery from JG Technologies. The Neptune is fully waterproof and has valuable extra features such as memory scan and tri-watch.
I am starting to sound a bit like a broken record on the forum but I will pass on how I chose my radio as I recently needed to upgrade as my old aquastar was dying slowly.
I work in comms and RADAR for military aircraft and you would be shocked at the design of equipment available to the pilot and co. No rubbery buttons, no scrolling to find what you need, big clunky switchgear and rotary knobs. Positive switching buttons where required.
A pilot needs to operate when he is shaking, cold, scared etc. He is also wearing gloves and often feeling for a button rather than looking down at the panel.
In all honesty, not a great deal different to the frightened crew member trying to work the radio when feeling sea sick, shivering cold, gloves on etc.
My shopping list was narrowed down to:
Volume, squelch and channels controlled by rotaries, absolutely no channel up down buttons.
Positive keys, not those rubberised ZX spectrum type rubbish that cheaper sets use. A full keypad for DSC was also high on my list, if it becomes popular I can't be bothered with scrolling up and down per number for the 9 figure MMSI.
This really narrowed down the search to more expensive sets, or the one I bought in the end a navman 7200. An excellent unit that is very intuitive.
Not trying to preach, but to give idea's on how I chose. Imagine the worst possible scenario when you NEED the radio, dark, sea sick, cold, blurry vision from the wind and rain and probably scared. Now decide if you can be arsed trying to go through menu's and up down keys to work the radio in this situation.
I am in full agreement with Tome and Woofy. Fixed mount VHF radios with little twiddly knobs, up/down button selection of channels, etc are to be avoided in my opinion for all the reasons given. A big clear display is also a bonus.
I wonder whether Navman might be one of the few marine electronics companies which develop their products using people who actually know about boats. The Navman kit I've used has been ergonomically excellent and profoundly intuitive - very impressive products.