Garmin echoMAP 44dv
Garmin offers quite a multitude of units, incorporating more or less features, aiming to provide a unit with the exact specs required by each and every user. The echoMAP 4x series includes quite several units, and each one of them excels in its own way.
The echoMAP 44dv is quite an excellent and inclusive unit, and actually one of the best units that you can get within this price range. Not only it offers dual frequency sonar and DownVü, it also includes GPS and a nice, built-in charts pack.
To avoid any confusion regarding the echoMAP 4x series, and with regards to this particular unit, this post refers to the item with the model number 010-01280-00, which also comes with a transducer. Therefore, let’s have a look at every main feature and function that this unit can offer.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Screen: 4.3″ diagonal, 272H x 480V pixel resolution, WQVGA color, backlit
- Sonar: Dual Frequency HD-ID, DownVü
- Frequency and Coverage:
- Standard: 200 kHz / 15° and 77 kHz / 45°
- DownVü: 455 kHz / 2.5° (fore to aft) x 53°
- Depth Capability:
- Standard: 2,300 feet (701 m)
- DownVü: 750 feet (228.6 m)
- Transducer: GT20-TM (4-pin), for HD-ID and DownVü
- Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
- GPS: 5Hz, Internal
- Maps: BlueChart g2
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracklog: 100; 5,000; 50,000 points (50 saved tracks).
Control unit features
The echoMAP 44dv is a small unit, with 4.3″ diagonal display, pretty much similar to the width of most smartphones. The colors are pretty bright, and the images provided are quite sharp. Even though it’s not a CHIRP unit, up to 7-800 ft. depth the standard sonar offers quite an excellent clarity. Its pixel matrix of 480 x 272 offers a decent layout for split-screen images in a top/bottom manner, with enough space to observe the bottom, or the water column under the boat, and simultaneously view your location on the map. The display is also backlit, supplying excellent visibility in the dark and in direct sunlight.
The unit has an IPX7 water rating, which according to Garmin, it enables the unit to resists incidental water exposure, or immersions in fresh water up to 1 m, and up to 30 min. It’s a good idea though to keep the unit dry, especially if fishing in saltwater, as saltwater still can do serious damage to the unit’s ports.
Speaking of ports and connectivity, this unit features a NMEA 0183 port, for better integration possibilities within the boat’s grid, or for communication with other, compatible units. It has 1 microSD card slot, situated right under the cursor key, offering the possibility to use various SD cards, for maps upgrades or for data saving. It also supports Minn Kota and Motor Guide trolling motors with integrated transducers.
This unit comes with a tilt and swivel, quick-release mount. The cables of the unit plug directly into the mount, allowing the quick disconnection of the combo from the mount and cable.
The Garmin echoMAP 44dv comes with the BlueChart g2 maps, covering the coastal waters of the U.S. and Bahamas, including West Coast, East Coast, the U.S. part of the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, in case you’re looking for a unit with inland lakes, this is not the one to go with. The echoMAP 43dv is the one with the U.S. LakeVü.
The BlueChart g2 charts pack offers several features. First of all, you can choose between a 2D or a 3D (over-the-bow) view. There are fishing charts in addition to the base charts, which feature bathymetric contour with less visual clutter. You can also customize your screens via the Safety Shading option, determining a safe depth. The charts also include currents, tidal stations, IALA symbols, and depth contours, pretty much all information included by NOAA charts. On top of that, with BlueChart g2 you will get quite a smooth transitioning between zoom levels, and an excellent continuity across chart boundaries.
This unit features a 5 Hz internal GPS antenna, supplying quick and accurate locks, with a refresh rate of five times per second. The GPS system also uses GLONASS. And via the GPS system, the unit can also measure speed.
The echoMAP 44dv has the capability of recording up to 5,000 waypoints and 100 routes. The tracklog function, allows you to record your track in a breadcrumb manner. The tracklog can support 50,000 points (50 saved tracks). Tracks can also be converted to routes, so you can follow them once more.
The maximum depth capability of this unit can reach 2,300 ft., for fresh water, and 1,100 ft. for saltwater. However, this is only possible with a low frequency transducer which can operate at 50 kHz. This unit is compatible with such a transducer, but the box includes the basic model, GT20-TM (4-pin), for HD-ID and DownVü. This particular transducer is capable only of 1,750 ft., in 2D, and 750 ft. for DownVü, and can operate at 77/200 kHz.
The transducer includes a temperature sensor, enabling the unit to indicate water temperature. The combo unit also has a temperature graph function. Also, in case you’re wondering, the transducer has a cable length of 19 ft (6 m), and comes with transom and trolling motor mounts.
As mentioned, this unit offers two types of sonar: traditional and DownVü. Since the 2D sonar can operate at two frequencies (77/200 kHz), it also uses two distinctive sonar beams for each frequency. The 77 kHz sonar beam has an angle of cca 45°. It’s intended for higher depth use, and obviously covers a wider surface. The 200 kHz beam is quite narrow, with an angle of 15°, and offers better detail, but it’s for shallower waters. Both these beams are cone-shaped. Also to be clear, this unit does not have CHIRP sonar technology.
On the other hand, the DownVü imaging operates at 455 kHz, with a fan-shaped cone, quite thin fore to aft, and with a side-to-side angle of cca 53°. DownVü is a much greater type of sonar for observing structure, vegetation and understanding better the shape and composition of the bottom. The images provided by DownVü are pretty clear, similar to the clarity of a photo. Even though the echoMAP 44dv has a rather small screen, both 2D sonar and DV returns appear pretty sharp and clear on the screen.
Apart from the two types of sonar technology, this small combo unit offers several other sonar related features and functions. A-Scope, Bottom Lock, Split Zoom, The A-Scope is a vertical flasher that appears on the right side of the 2D view, and shows the most recent sonar data. The Fish Symbol ID is actually another version of the normal 2D view, but instead of sonar arches, it shows small fish icons. Bottom Lock is a zoom function of the sonar that keeps close to the bottom, focusing on bottom returns.
Sonar recording and sonar rewind are two functions also provided by this unit. These functions can save you quite some time and trouble. For example, instead of turning the boat around to see a specific spot that you’ve missed, you can only scroll back through the recorded sonar. Sonar recording requires a blank, data microSD card inserted in the unit. The recording cannot be stored within the memory of the unit. Also the recorded sonar can be played or used on a computer, via the free HomePort app.
Although it’s a small and pretty inclusive unit, the echoMAP 44dv still leaves some room for upgrades. First of all, as mentioned above, it can work with a 50/200 kHz transducer for higher depths, or with various other types of transducers.
The unit is also compatible with various other charts. LakeVü™ HD, LakeVü HD Ultra or BlueChart g2 Vision are some of them. LakeVü and BlueChart g2 Vision make available the Auto Guidance function.
Auto Guidance can automatically search through the existent charts in order to create virtual safe pathway, allowing you to avoid obstacles and obstructions such as shallow water, low bridges etc. Auto Guidance routes can also be modified and waypoints can be inserted into them. It can also calculate the arrival time on any of the waypoints on route, depending on your speed. Evidently, Auto Guidance routes, or your own routes, along with waypoints and tracks, can be saved on a microSD card, for backup.
If so far we’ve focused on what’s best regarding this unit, it wouldn’t be fair to leave out the bad parts. Even though there aren’t many negative aspects regarding it, as this unit has 5-star ratings on various sites and forums, there still are some downsides.
First of all, the unit doesn’t come with a cover. So, especially if you’re going to fish in saltwater, it’s a good idea to buy one as well.
Since the unit only has 1 microSD card slot, it’s obvious that you can only use one card at the time. Therefore, if you have a card for maps, and you would like to record sonar, the maps card must be removed, and you’ll have to use the built in charts.
The echoMAP 44dv is a quite an inclusive unit, with excellent sonar technology, GPS and quite a decent charts pack. The sonar is quite powerful, the images provided are sharp and clear. It’s a great unit for a small boat, bass boat, or kayak. Overall, it has an excellent price/quality ratio, and most anglers rate it at 5 stars.