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At Christmas I was doing the same analysis that you are doing now. I went to West Marine and tried all the manufacturers models. First both Garmins that I have owned died after a few years of use so they were out of the running before I even started. Plus at the time I looked at Garmin, they had only a two element transducer so it simulated down imaging by the two side imaging elements. I found that the Simrad was slow switching screens especially when going to charts. Raymarine was dropped from my list because it was the only unit to freeze-up/crash when I was running their version of 3D view. I had to power it down and up again to get it to run after the freeze. Lowrance and Humminbird were left and they both had similar capabilities. Lowrance runs Florida Marine Tracks which is a big plus for some and Humminbird does not. In my opinion Humminbird had better side imaging and that was important to me so I ended up getting the Humminbird Helix 12. Good luck with your decision.
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