tj7501

7" GPS/FF Recommendations

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We are getting a 21" CC and are looking to put in a new 7" GPS/FF in it. This is for inshore saltwater use. Occasional longer trips, rarely anywhere more than a couple of hundred feet deep. I have previous experience with 5" Humminbird and 5" Lowrance units. I have an older Navionics Gold card. Touch screen is not a must, unless people think that it is actually worth it. I narrowed it down to the following list. If anyone could weigh or recommend a unit, that would be great.
 

  • Humminbird Helix 7 Chirp SI GPS

  • Lowrance HDS-7 or Lowrance Elite-7 or Lowrance Hook-7. Not sure if the differences among these are significant.

  • Garmin GPS Map 7x2. Other 7" Models?

  • Raymarine Dragonfly 7. Not sure about other 7" models they offer, if any.

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I have a Humminbird Elite 7 SI.  Had to get the navionics card or the GPS is useless.  Came out to about $900.  The GPS is great, interface is great.  I can't seem to get really good readings with side imaging or any of the modes though.  I expect better.  It is probably a matter of transducer location though.  

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Lots of experience with Lowrance Elite 7 (now Hook 7) great unit for the money and comes with a really decent background map pre installed but if you want more the chips are great. Also Garmins Echo Map 72 in either DV or SV are also great units or step up a little and get the 74 version. Just be aware that you can only use Garmin charts in Garmins and they are a bit pricy.

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I got the dragonfly 7 combo earlier this year and have been very pleased with the chirp sonar and chartplotter. 

 

Out the door online was under 450.

Edited by Mr T

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If you can swing it, the new garmin echo series like the 74sv with CHIRP.  If you fish rock piles or other structure, the clear vu and side vu are ridiculous.  I am adding one to my boat as a dedicated sonar unit.

 

7" is a little small for all in one unit used with a split screen

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Not thrilled with my Raymarine a70. Got a decent deal on it NIB from a friend who had won it. CHIRP down vu is good, but I should have stepped up for sidescan. Spoke with Raymarine rep at RIISA show and realized it was limited as far as software upgrades and other capabilities now available. I should have stuck with Garmin. 

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Im also looking for a similar unit for a 2140 robalo. 

Im looking at the Garmin echomap 74DV. I see them online for $399 NIB. Seems like a good unit for the cash and the 74 series was mentioned above too.

I've always used Garmins and they seem very easy to operate. Especially when compared to the older Si-Tex thats on the boat now. 

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I have a Garmin 741xs in my boat and it brings some neat features such as networking.  I have it paired with another larger Garmin and they share a tranducer and waypoints.  Its an older model and can be had relatively cheap but I would step up to a unit with side imaging out of the box.

 

I will say I have Garmins, Lowarnces and a Humminbird on my kayaks and two boats.  I think the Garmins are the best standard sonar, best user interface and standard maps of the three brands I have but I'm all about the Humminbird right now.  It is the only finder I have with side imaging and a really cool feature called auto chart live. I fish a bunch of ponds in my kayak that have no charts for.  With auto chart it will draw you a depth contour chart as you move on the body of water.  There can't be a more accurate chart then one that you draw with live data.  I don't know how useful that feature will be for most people but it is awsome for my applications. I would love to have that feature for flounder fishing when we are drifting a reef or other structure.

 

It's a little unfair for me to compare the Garmins I have to the other brands I have.  You are talking about a David versus goliath comparison.  My Garmins were $1000+ with no transducer.  My Lowarnces and Humminbird were $250-$500 with transducers but they are only 5".  That being said my buddy is getting a new jet boat over the winter and it will probably be equiped with a 9" Hummingbird from our expierences comparing his 7" Garmin with side imaging to my 5" Hummingbird with side imaging. 

 

Don't get a new unit without side imaging.  Alot of people will say there is no need but once you figure out what you are seeing it is an invaluable tool.  I'm adding side imaging to the Garmin system in my big boat over the winter and it's gonna be a $1000 add on just for that but I'm gonna bite the bullet. I hope the side imaging with the seperate networked sonar module is a little better than my buddy's 7" Garmin. 

 

Do not get a Garmin Stiker.  They don't have a chart plotter.  They are strictly a fishinder that has a GPS.  You can plot a way point but there is no mapping.  That is what my buddy got and he regrets it.

 

  

 

 

Edited by willf650
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I have a Garmin Striker 7SV.  Absolutely love it.  The GPS is somewhat limited in that you can't add maps with a card (deal breaker for some), but I use it primarily for the Sounder.  Sidescan for under $400, how can you go wrong?

 

If you don't have a separate unit for GPS (using the 7SV as a GPS backup), or you care more about the GPS, then a different unit would be a better choice.

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