Lowrance Elite-7 HDI - First Impressions
2013 Feb 12
The Elite 7 is a quite a nice range 'filler', where it incorporates conventional 2D sonar (200/83kHz) with high frequency (455/800kHz) DownScan Imaging. This is a good idea, because until now you would have had to go all the way to the HDS range, or buy two seperate Elite displays in order to get the benefit of both technologies. For all the specs and marketing details you can visit the Lowrance website.
The first thing I thought when I bought the unit was "Why not include the suncover and the transducer in the box as a single one time purchase?"
The Elite-7 is a great looking display and just feels like a high end quality device. The screen is the same wide format as the HDS7 Touch with a full 7" display and not just 6.4" like the HDS7 Gen1 and Gen2. The only sad thing is ... still no EXIT button!
The back of the display is very simple and has the standard plugs like the HDS and HDS Touch units, but remember there is no sonar sharing due to the lack of an Ethernet network. You can however network to other Elite7 and HDS models to share GPS receiver and Waypoints. And once again a quality look and feel to the device is very pleasing.
Fitting the transducer was an absolute dream because I already had the skimmer bracket fitted to my boat, so I simply removed the HST-WSBL and bolted the new Elite-7 transducer straight to it. In hindsight I should have just slid the DSI transducer off and slid the Elite7 straight on because it is exactly the same slide on mounting. I do however need to re-arrange the transducer brackets so they can all fit better. Thank goodness for my transom saver block.
The power up time of the unit is quite long, but the brightness and vibrant colours of the screen when it starts up, hit you with quite a blow. I found the same thing when I got my first Touch unit, very sharp and vibrant colours when compared to the older HDS Gen 1 & 2. The resolution of this unit is fantastic, at 800x480 compared to the older HDS7 units of only 640x480, it makes a huge difference.
It took some time to acquire position the first time it started up, but seemed to be a bit quicker after that. I then popped my micro SD card with the local LCM (Lowrance Chart Maps) of Inanda Dam in, and was shocked to see how quick they loaded and did not cause the unit to crash. This is a major pain in the rear with the new Touch units at the moment, but hopefully will be sorted out soon enough. The contours are fine and the text is sharp, the only problem is that you can't zoom in close enough. An extra two zoom levels are required at least.
The page menu is also greatly improved from the Elite-5 range, offering a host of new options.
I have been nagging Lowrance for a 3-way vertical split since the first HDS came out. So when the Touch came out with this option I was over the moon, and now the Elite7 has it too! But hold on, the Elite7 has something the Touch does not ... you can adjust these 3 vertical panels to suite your application - just awesome. I look forward to the Touch getting this option.
The result is more chart room, and a little less for the two sonar panels. The wide format of the 7" screen and the extra horizontal pixels make this a great option.
Then it was time to put the Elite-7 up against the HDS9 Touch with StructureScanHD and see how the DownScan compares.