Want to know more about this impressive fish finder? Read on to see our full review…
Lowrance has been a sonar and GPS electronics design and manufacturing company for over 50 years. They produce some of the best Fish Finder Sonar and GPS units that you can buy. Most popular are their fish finder/chartplotter combinations, which provide you the functionality of a fish finder sonar, with the security and versatility of GPS. In this review, we will cover the Lowrance Elite 7 CHIRP fishfinder/chartplotter.
Design & Durability
The Lowrance Elite 7 CHIRP has a short and wide body, with a wide stand that is very secure once fastened to your boat. The display itself measures 7 inches diagonally, and the body of the finder is about 9 x 3 x 6 inches. The Lowrance Elite 7 has a great waterproof rating, at IPx7 – meaning it can withstand complete immersion in water up to 1m deep, for up to 30 minutes. Obviously you won’t be operating it under water for (hopefully) any amount of time, but the Lowrance Elite 7 is certainly protected from any drips or splashes. The screen and plastic housing feels sturdy, and bumping it with a rod or bumping it after losing your balance from a big wave else definitely won’t cause any major damage. You do want to be a bit more careful around the screen, though. The Elite 7 CHIRP operates on 12 vDC, and has a microSD slot for added storage when saving any maps or waypoints of your favourite spots.
Display & Usability
The 7 inch display of the Lowrance Elite 7 has 800 x 480 resolution. The screen is a fully backlit LED screen, which provides bright, vivid colours. The brightness levels are adjustable using the built-in keypad if it seems to bright for you, or if you want to reduce the power draw (maximum 500W RMS). The 16-bit SolarMAX PLUS TFT screen gives really nice, clear pictures of whatever windows you have open – navigation, sonar, or both. The multi-window display gives you the capability to utilize a few pre-set window layots. Our favourite is the three-panel view displays the CHIRP sonar, DownScan Imaging and a navigational chart. Everything you need in one display.
GPS & Mapping
Because the Lowrance Elite 7 is a fishfinder/chartplotter combo, it has a built-in internal GPS antenna, with the option to mount an external antenna if you need the extra range. The GPS is a must-have for navigational purposes, as well as the storage and viewing of your own maps. The basemap (USA modesl) has more than 3000 bodies of water loaded on it, as well as great shoreline detail. It also provides depth soundings up to 1000 feat of water . You can also purchase upgrades such as Lake Insight or HotMaps to increase the detail of your maps. Or, using Insight Genesis, Lowrance’s free software, create your own unique maps from the sonar data that you collect over time iny our favourite fishing areas. You can store up to 3000 waypoints and 100 routes/plot trails, without extra storage required. Plot trails are crucial to be able to find your way to and from your favourite spots. 3000 waypoints is more than enugh for you to mark all your hotspots and any obstacles like wood, sand bars or other debris.
The Lowrance Elite 7 uses CHIRP technology to detect fish and other subjects within the water. CHIRP, unlike traditional sonar, uses several frequencies at one time to send sound waves into the water to be received back by the sensor. CHIRP sends out a low, medium and high frequency all at once, which allows for a more accurate view than a sonar that shoots a single frequency at one time. The target separation is great, allowing you to more easily distinguish fish in groups, and from the water bed. Fish arcs are easily seen on the display. The amount of interference is greatly reduced as well, since the finder can distinguish the waves that are actually echos being reflected, and what are just disturbances in the water. You can adjust the CHIRP settings on the display, and view the multiple settings on one display, to quickly compare. The sonar range the Lowrance Elite 7 uses are 50/83/200 kHz. The low range 50 kHz frequency can sense down to 3000 ft while the medium and high ranges 83/200 kHz reaches to 1000 ft.
Lowrance has also packed in their DownScan technology into the Elite 7, which emits at a 455 kHz frequency, reaching to a depth of 300 ft. The DownScan images provide a great view of directly below your boat, and are extremely clear. You can even distinguish weeds on the bottom, and any fish that are in among them, seen as small dots. If you were using just CHIRP, you may not see the fish arcs hidden among the noise of the weeds. It’s great to use CHIRP and DownScan in tandem, using the three-display monitor.
What is great about the CHIRP and DownScan technologies, is that the multiple frequencies of sonar can be emitted from just a single transducer. And, they can both be used simultaneously. This eliminates the need to purchase and retrofit your boat with specific transducers for different frequencies.
Youtuber Bass Monkey suggests you adjust the following setting to ensure you get the best quality picture from the Lowrance Elite 7. He suggests that you change the noise rejection to low, and surface clarity to high. As well, disable the auto-sensitivity feature, and move it to 80-sensitivity and 40-colour line. For the DownScan imaging, ensure that the noise rejection is on and surface clarity is set to high, as well. That should ensure you have the best possible picture quality to help you find those fish.
Lowrance has been producing top-notch fishfinders and chartplotters for years, and the Elite 7 is no exception. The finder is not overly large, but it still has a large enough frame to hold a substantial 7 inch LED screen. The colors are bright and vivid, and the unit itself is easy to operate. The CHIRP sonar gives clear and accurate images of the waters, and combined with the DownScan, which gives you a clear picture of the bottom, you have a great idea of the fish and other objects hiding below you. We love the multi-window display capabilities, allowing you to see your navigational chart, CHIRP sonar and DownScan all on the same display, at the same time. There are lots of options available for you to load maps to the unit, or build your own. There’s a ton of storage available for waypoints (3000) and routes (100) so you can make sure you find and can circle back to the hotspots. The Lowrance Elite 7 CHIRP is backed by one-year warranty, and is a really great unit. You will definitely increase your odds of finding those fish with the Elite 7 in your arsenal!