Among the wide range of fish finders that Lowrance offers, the HDS 12 Gen 3 falls quite high on the scale in terms of technology, usability, and more.
Lowrance is a leader in marine technology innovation and has been from their release of the first ever solar-powered fish finder in the 1950s. The majority of their fish finders fall under four main lines, some of which are more basic and beginner-friendly, and some which are targeted at serious professionals.
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 12 Gen 3 is one of the finders made for professionals and those anglers who want to seriously up their game.
Lowrance Hook HDS 12 Gen 3
This fish finder features state-of-the-art technology that is much more advanced than the average finder you can find in your local sporting goods store. All that innovation comes at a steep price, so to ensure that this is the right pick for you, we’ve laid out some of the most important features.
This device works with the help of powerful sonar technology. The industry-standard CHIRP sonar is included, as well as StructureScan, operating at a frequency of 83/200 kHz and 455/800 kHz, respectively. The finder works effectively at viewing depths up to 750 feet in both saltwater and freshwater.
One of the most impressive aspects of this fish finder is its 12-inch LCD LED display with 1280 x 800-pixel screen resolution. It’s large and the adjustable backlighting makes it easy to view in a variety of weather conditions. The display screen is a touchscreen but can also be operated using navigational buttons.
Like many other Lowrance fish finders, the HDS-12 Gen 3 is preloaded with many USA charts and maps that depict miles and miles of different bodies of water. The GPS system can be viewed in a variety of ways on the screen.
While Lowrance has had some issues with usability in the past, the HDS-12 Gen 3 is intuitive and fairly easy to use. All information and display options are laid out nicely on the large, clear screen. The screen size is a major bonus from previous models, as it can display more information without being crowded and confusing.
StructureScan is an incredible feature of this product. Unlike many less advanced Lowrance fish finders that only include DownScan, StructureScan provides a more cohesive view of the underwater area surrounding your boat. It works by shooting out sonar frequencies to both sides of the watercraft, giving the user a 180-degree view, and therefore, a view of more potential fish.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the HDS-12 Gen 3 is an application called Insight Genesis which works with the GPS system. This feature allows users to create their own custom maps to highlight their favorite fishing spots, tag water spots to avoid, or make corrections to the existing maps. This is an awesome way to give the user more ability to customize this device and truly make it their own.
Not the Most Portable
Because this device is pretty technologically advanced, it is not lightweight, at all. This hefty sucker weighs in at around 12 pounds, which probably wouldn’t be fun to tote on a hike or backpacking trip.
Upgrades are Extra
While the GPS and map system on this finder are awesome, the preloaded portions are limited and add-ons come at a cost. When you first get started, the Insight maps can provide a lot of information, but if you’re wanting to add even more cartography to the finder’s library, it can definitely get expensive over time.
What is the Lowrance Hook HDS 12 Gen 3 Best For?
If you’re a beginner looking for your first fish finder, I would probably suggest skipping this particular model. Lowrance has plenty of more basic options for anglers who need a little more simplicity. That being said, the HDS 12 Gen 3 is an awesome choice for anglers who have used fish finders in the past and are looking to upgrade their current model.
There are many qualities in addition to the aforementioned that make this a good pick for serious anglers. One is the fact that the device is also wireless, making it easy to connect to your own personal devices if you don’t prefer the screen that comes with it.
Because it is fairly large, this finder is probably a little better for watercrafts with more space. It might be hard to find the room for the HDS 12 Gen 3 on your dinghy or kayak.
Overall, there’s no doubt that the HDS 12 Gen 3 is one of the most technologically advanced fish finders available. This device could prove to be an integral part of your own angling adventures and will almost certainly result in an increase of fish in your boat.
Lowrance has consistently upped the game of fish finders on the market and their innovative ideas have served as a guideline for many other companies. The HDS 12 Gen 3 is one more piece of exciting technology that can make your angling experience just a little bit easier.
22 x 18 x 17"
Display Size and Resolution:
12" LCD Led Display with 1280 x 800-pixel
Scanning Depth Range:
GPS, Built-in CHIRP/Broadband Sounder, 3000 Waypoints, StructureScan 3D
83/200 kHz and 455/800 kHz