looking for input on a new GPS/depth combo

Discussion in 'Power it up with Electronics' started by TomFL, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. TomFL

    TomFL Well-Known Member

    Looking for input on a new larger-screen (7" +) size GPS/depth finder combo. Looking for a good, solid, RELIABLE unit that's user-friendly for a non-techy guy like me.

    I have a budget of about $1,500 max.

    I've been a lowrance fan for years but have heard other brands have become more popular out there so am open to input.

    Also, I've seen a lot of hype about the new side-imaging sonar but have never experience them first hand. Anyone have any real-world experience with this technology and would you consider it worth the extra cost?
  2. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    You planning on taking up deep-jigging?

  3. TomFL

    TomFL Well-Known Member

    No, smarty-pants, I'm taking up free-diving for sunken treasure. Want to be sure I'm right on top of the treasure so I don't have to hold my breath so long swimming around looking for the exact spot. Remember, the way down is easy, the way up is the hard part!

    I might also use it for fishing too... ;)

  4. The_Skiff_Shop

    The_Skiff_Shop Well-Known Member

    I'm not a Lowrance fan but the new "HDS" stuff is really cool especially with it's side imaging.  Shop around but I think the plus 7 screen with side imaging is going to blow your budget.  If I remember, the side image ducer is close to $600 alone.  I'm pretty sure the unit features are all the same except for screen size. You might try "scuba steve".  He has historically had great pricing and service.
  5. TomFL

    TomFL Well-Known Member

    Street prices on the Hummingbird 898c SI are around $1300 or so, that unit and HB themselves seems like a popular item these days. Hearing more good stuff about their units and their CS the more I read.

  6. TomFL

    TomFL Well-Known Member

    Here's an update on what I've found so far in the hopes that it might help someone else down the line.

    I thoroughly fondled both the Garmin 740S and the Humminbird 898C si as well as the 998c si units, and played briefly with the Lowrance HDS units.

    Hands down in terms of simplicity and ease of use the Garmin wins. No contest. Touch screen, nice interphase, easy to get to where you want to go. However, there is no side-scanning sonar option, which is the main thing I'm looking for in a new unit. Also, if you call customer service, there was a minimum of a 30-35 minute wait each time I tried. No joke!

    The Lowrance units a simple search of reviews will tell you why I passed. Seems they have a terrible quality control system in place, and I hate to state that as I've been using an LMS M68c Smap unit for about 5 years and never had an issue. Just didn't want to shell out mega-bucks and wind up with issues.

    So, as you might have figured out, I broke down and bought the Humminbird. Not because it's the easiest to use, but because it has the side-scan sonar (my main interest), free updates from humminbird, and good customer service (I know, I called a few times to check).

    I choked up the extra cash and picked up the 998c SI unit, which has a larger screen so my old eyes don't have to work so hard to see all the stuff the side sonar picks up.

    Will post up a report in the next few days on the unit once I have it installed and get to fididdle with it a bit.

  7. makin moves

    makin moves Well-Known Member

    any updates on your gps/depth combo my mom and dad are having ankona build them a boat and want one on the new boat ,same story need big screen and easy to use thanks
  8. TomFL

    TomFL Well-Known Member

    So far I'm really impressed with the unit. Some of the things I like: big screen, super-clear graphics, and the side-scanning sonar.

    It's so sensitive I'm able to actually pick up skeg marks in the shallow channels, they show up clear as day.

    I've been able to mark schools of bait off to the sides when looking for greenies off the beaches. That's cool, and a nice touch when we've always had to either find them "flecking" at the surface or drive directly over the top of them.

    Here's what I am having some difficulty with, and please keep in mind it might be me and my lack of knowledge with the unit so far: the screen gets hard to read around mid-day. But just the depthfinder portion, not the map portion. So it might be an adjustment. Just by the time the sun gets that high, I'm not really using the depthfinder portion so I haven't fiddled with it to correct it.

    So far I really like the unit. It is pretty easy to use the more and more time I have on it.

  9. DuckNut

    DuckNut Brandon, FL

    I will agree with that.
  10. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Polarized sunglasses can make reading some displays difficult
    when viewed at certain angles.
  11. RShrimp

    RShrimp I Love microskiff.com!

    While I totally agre with this statement, you would think that a marine depth finder/gps screen maker would "have a clue " that when you are in a boat you are going to be wearing polarized glasses and choose a screen type that minimizes this effect. (I have found that Garmin screens are easy to read with polarized glasses and some others(magellan for one) are not.
    Shopping tip:
    Wear your polarized glasses while shoping/testing