If you’ve used a fish finder in the past, you’re probably familiar with the name Lowrance. This company has been a leader in marine technology for decades and it’s a well-loved brand by many anglers.
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They’ve released tons of sonar-powered fish finders throughout the years, each more innovative than the one before. They have four main lines to choose from, ranging from the more basic Hook releases to the more advanced HDS Carbon range.
Key Terms to Know
To help compare products in this review, we have included a few key specifications for each. Here is a quick summary of what they mean.
Dimensions: The length, width, height of the unit.
Display Size and Resolution: Display size refers to the diagonal measurement of the screen and resolution is the quality of the image represented by the number of pixels it can display.
Weight: The actual weight of the fish finder unit.
Scanning Depth Range: The minimum and maximum depth the unit can effectively scan.
Added Features: These are additional technology or features added to enhance the usefulness or accuracy of the unit. May include added GPS, wayfinding, Sonar, or CHIRP technology.
Cone Angles: This indicates the angle at which the sound wave or beam is emitted from the transducer.
Frequency(s): The number and kHz of included frequencies. Higher frequencies are generally more detailed and for shallower depths while low frequencies scan a larger, deeper area but tend to provide less detail.
The HDS 7 Gen 3 falls closer to the top range of these lines, much more advanced than the Hook line, but lacking some of the technologically advanced attributes of the HDS Carbon range.
Lowrance HDS 7 Gen 3
The HDS 7 Gen 3 is top-of-the-line in terms of technology and usability. It’s gotten rave reviews over and over again. However, because this finder is a pretty major investment, we’ll walk you through some of the main features so you can decide if this device is right for you.
Lowrance consistently ups their display capabilities with each new fish finder model, and this one is no exception. It features a seven-inch touchscreen with 800x480 pixel resolution, providing every detail in color with gorgeous clarity. The LED lighting is also adjustable, so you can change screen brightness depending on the atmosphere you’re fishing in.
Like many Lowrance devices that have come before, this device utilizes CHIRP sonar to provide a clear picture of the underwater realm. CHIRP is industry-standard technology first used by the U.S. military. It works to reduce interference from other fish finders while providing sensitivity and target resolution.
This device also has StructureScan, which shoots out sonar beams to either side of your boat, providing a more cohesive picture of the underwater atmosphere. It creates a 180-degree view, rather than using DownScan, which can only show what is directly below your boat.
Ease of Use
In the past, Lowrance has been somewhat notorious for creating fish finders that are difficult to figure out. Instruction manuals are vague, features are hidden, etc. In the case of the HDS 7 Gen 3, Lowrance did a much better job at creating an easy-to-use device. Although there are many special features to choose from, the design is intuitive and the home screen “dashboard” is relatively easy to navigate.
As aforementioned in the main features section, the sonar capabilities of this device are top-of-the-line. It’s fairly rare to find a fish finder with the ability to scan surrounding areas in addition to simply seeing what is directly below your boat. Both StructureScan and CHIRP can be overlayed on the screen, which provides a fully formed view of the underwater atmosphere, an invaluable quality of this fish finder.
This device features built-in wireless connectivity, which is super convenient for users who wish to use their own personal technology device to control the unit. You can ditch the accompanying screen and use your own phone or iPad by downloading the Lowrance app. In general, this device is almost wireless itself. Although it does need to be plugged into a power source, they eliminated the need for extra bulky hardware by going fully wireless.
This device features a super helpful built-in 10 Hz GPS, which is more advanced than the GPS capabilities in previous models. It provides a smooth view of the surroundings and great accuracy. In addition, the HDS 7 Gen 3 comes with preloaded maps of coastal and freshwater regions and is relatively compatible with all U.S. cartography. It also has a cool feature that allows users to create their own maps to identify their favorite fishing hot spots, underwater structures to avoid, and more.
No Weather Radar
Although weather readings are very common in many other fish finder brands on the market, Lowrance doesn’t include a reading on this device. Because this is not included, if you prefer to be aware of weather alerts and readings, you’d have to bring along your own accessories.
Doesn’t Work Outside the U.S.
Users who have attempted to use this device outside of the U.S. have been met with an error message that reads something along the lines of “Unit not for valid use in this area.” Although this isn’t a deal breaker for many, it’s a shame, considering many hardcore anglers who may be purchasing this device would potentially be traveling to different countries for fishing trips.
A Lot of Features to Deal With
There’s no doubt Lowrance stepped up their game in terms of usability for this device, however, this is NOT a basic fish finder that you can learn to use in one or even two fishing trips. The basics are easy to handle, but its advanced technological features may take several reads through the instruction manual to fully grasp. If you’re looking for a fish finder that has less of a learning curve, there are definitely other tools on the market that would serve you better.
What is the Lowrance HDS 7 Gen 3 Best For?
The Lowrance HDS 7 Gen 3 is not for beginners. This is a highly advanced technological device, best for serious anglers who want a serious device. While the basics are easy to grasp, the additional features take a bit of previous knowledge of fish finders to fully understand.
This is a great choice for anglers who have been searching for an advanced wireless fish finder. This adds to ease of use and really cuts down on a bulky, awkward tangle of wires that come along with many finders on the market.
Because of its wireless capabilities and size, this device can work well for anglers who often fish off small boats or kayaks. It’s very easy to mount and won’t take up a great deal of unnecessary space in your watercraft. Plus, it’s fully waterproof, which means (while not advised) it can withstand a trip overboard or two.
If you’re a dedicated angler willing to make an investment into your sporting success, the HDS 7 Gen 3 is a great choice for you. It’s simple to install and will definitely increase the amount of fish that end up in your boat.
While it’s not a good option for beginners or anglers outside of the U.S., this device is in undoubtedly top-tier in terms of advanced technology, usability, and special features, making it an easy recommendation.
Don’t hesitate to do some serious research before purchasing this device; it's not cheap. Hopefully, this review gave you a little insight that will make your decision a little bit easier.
8.48 x 3.3 x 5.76"
Display Size and Resolution:
CHIRP/Broadband Sounder, Wireless Built-In, StructureScan 3D