You might have your buddy take a look at the GRT system. I will freely admit I am biased as it is what I am putting in my RV-7A, but after playing with it at the SWRFI this spring I was sold.
Functionality: EXTREMELY comparable to BM. It does not have an internal GPS nor autopilot, but you can pruchase a Garmin external GPS w/ the unit for about $450 as an option. Also, I was told by a sales rep (truth = grain of salt) @ SWRFI that they are working closely with TRUTRAK so everything integrates very nicely.
Display: There is a lot of emphasis on "sun-light readable." I am one of those who cares ALOT about this since I live in TX. As some know, the summer sun here can be very bright while it turns the area "hotter than the surface of the sun!" I have not seen a BM in person, but I did see the Dynon 10A at SWRFI. The Dynon was nice, but off angle it washed out a little. Once I put on my polarized sunglasses (I know bad idea when flying) it really washed it out. The GRT had an amazing off angle clarity. Most ammazingly, with my bad idea polarized
sunglasses on, the colors got darker, but the GRT still looked great. My only complaint about the GRT display is the resolution. The Dynon and BM have much better resolution, but the GRT is pretty good. The graphics on the website are really an injustice to the displays.
Still in the display realm is the GRT capability for split screens. I understand Dynon is going to this, and it is inherent in the BM One (don't even think about it with the Lite.) When you purchase the dual panel system from GRT (approx $8995) you get the GRT EIS 4000 with it. With the dual panel, you would have PFD on one, moving map and digital engine display split screen on the other. You can interchange all 3 displays as needed. Oh, almost forgot, the GRT is widescreen 7.25"x4".
If by chance, your buddy is not looking for a fully integrated system, GRT is now marketing the GRT Sport. It is basically a PFD only, but it is self-contained like the Dynon. It has some interoperability with autopilots and GPS, but is not a full system. Flyer shows $2795.
If you need more info, check out the website http://www.grtavionics.com/index.htm
. If you want to know how it flys, Walter Tondue just got airborne (also an RV7A), and he is flying with 3 panels and the EIS. (I am planning on the same configuration.) Done right, you can actually make it IFR.
One more thing before I close this long
reply. You might check out BM's history. I do not want to rehash the past (as I am sure others will), but standing on the sidelines I see their customer service and ease of use as 50/50. For every person that bags on them, there is one who praises them. I have only heard good things about GRT (though I am sure there are some who are unhappy.)