Lowrance HOOK-5x CHIRP
One of the newest 5-inch CHIRP fish finders for 2016 is the HOOK-5x from Lowrance. Since it’s an “x” unit, it does not feature any navigation features. But in terms of sonar it has dual frequency 2D CHIRP and DownScan, and offers quite a bunch of other sonar related functions. But before we present each one of them, there’s one aspect to be specified. This is the 000-12653-001 part number, the one that comes with the HDI transducer.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Screen: 5″ diagonal, 480H x 480V pixel matrix, 16-color TFT, with adjustable LED backlight
- Sonar: 2D CHIRP and DownScan
- Depth Capability:
1,000 ft (305 m) for the CHIRP sonar
300 ft. (91 m) for DownScan
- Frequency and Coverage:
200 kHz (20°) / 83 kHz (60°) for standard CHIRP
455 kHz for DownScan, fore to aft. 4°, port to starboard 57°
800 kHz for DownScan fore to aft 2°, port to starboard 38°
- Transducer: Transom, number 000-10976-001
- Power Output: Max 500 Watts (RMS)
- Power Input: 12 vDC (10-17 vDC min-max)
- GPS: No
- Maps: No
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracks: No
Sonar features and functions
Like all the other HOOK units, the Lowrance HOOK-5x features CHIRP 2D sonar and DownScan. The DownScan does not use CHIRP technology. However, via the DownScan Overlay function, the two types of sonar can be blended together. In other words, DownScan is overlayed into the CHIRP 2D sonar. This way you can distinguish better between fish and structure, and have a better overview of what’s under the boat.
The unit is capable of 50/83/200 kHz for 2D, and 455/800 kHz for DownScan. However, the HDI Skimmer transducer supplied with the unit only supports 83/200 kHz and 455/800 kHz. Therefore, when it comes to 2D sonar, the unit can use Medium CHIRP and High CHIRP. But in order to use Low CHIRP you will need a more powerful, 50/200 kHz transducer. Anyway, with the Med CHIRP, you can scan depths up to 1,000 ft.
The 2D sonar is dual channel. In other words, the returns from both Med and High CHIRP can be observed on the screen. Evidently, it’s great to use when looking for fish targets, since the CHIRP offers an excellent target separation and clutter free imaging. It actually gives you the possibility to distinguish a bigger fish in a bait cloud, or whether a bigger return is actually a group of fish close together or a game fish. Also, with CHIRP you can differentiate better between fish and structure.
The 2D sonar offers several other functions, such as A-Scope, Fish ID, Bottom Lock and Circular Flasher. A-Scope (or Amplitude Scope) is a vertical flasher view which indicates the returns caught by the last sonar echo, while the Circular Flasher displays the returns in a ring format, for ice fishing or just about any type stationary fishing. Bottom Lock is a function that keeps the image close to the bottom regardless of its variance. You can actually set up a certain distance from the bottom to be kept all the time. Evidently, it’s a great function to use when looking for bottom fish. And finally, the Fish ID is a function which assigns fish icons to sonar returns interpreted as fish, along with the current depth of each target.
DownScan is great for observing structures or understanding better the bottom contour. Of course, fish also appear on this type of sonar, but in most cases, they’re small dots, which may be easily mistaken with clutter, if the user has fully mastered the reading of this type of sonar. Anyway, the images provided by DownScan are crystal clear, similar to the clarity of photographs.
As we’ve mentioned above, this unit is supplied with a transducer. To be more specific, the transducer that comes with this unit is the Lowrance HDI skimmer, the one with the part number 000-10976-001. Now, this particular transducer was basically the one supplied with the older units which didn’t have CHIRP. So, in case you’re wondering, 2D standard and CHIRP can be accomplished with the same transducer. The only difference is how the signal from the transducer is processed by the sonar module.
This transducer uses two conical beams of approx. 20° and 60° for Med and High CHIRP, and two fan-shaped beams for DownScan, with side-to-side angles of 57° and 38°. It incorporates a temperature sensor, thus the unit can indicate top water temperature. It includes a transom mount and has 20 ft. of cable (6 m).
One last aspect to be mentioned here is the TrackBack function. This particular function gives you the possibility to record sonar, rewind it and have a second look at certain spots or sonar returns. It’s actually a pretty neat function as it can save you a lot of trouble. For example, instead of returning the boat to re-scan a certain area, you can simply rewind sonar.
Control unit features and functions
As the title suggests, the HOOK-5x from Lowrance is a 5-inch display unit. It has a square screen, with a pixel matrix of 480 x 480. Evidently, it’s a color unit, with a 16-bit color display, also including adjustable LED backlight, with 11 possible levels. Even though it’s a small unit, viewing 3 panels on screen simultaneously is possible. In other words, you can observe the information caught by both 2D beams, and one beam from the DownScan sonar, if you want.
The unit is IPX7 waterproof, meaning it can withstand incidental water exposure, such as splashes, and even rain. It also offers excellent readability in direct sunlight.
Since it doesn’t use any charts, this unit doesn’t have a microSD card reader. But the lack of this feature is also reflected in the price. This unit is quite a bit cheaper than the HOOK-5 standard. However, it does have an NMEA 0183 port, so it offers superior connectivity options.
The unit comes with a standard tilt-swivel mount. Battery and cover are not included though.
- Powerful 2D CHIRP sonar;
- DownScan imaging for a crystal-clear view;
- Possibility to combine both DownScan and 2D;
- HDI Skimmer transducer included;
- 16-bit color display;
- Adjustable backlight for superior readability;
- Split-screen view up to 3 panels per view;
- Sonar recording;
- Automatic noise filtering;
- Various functions included, such as Fish ID, A-Scope, Bottom Lock etc.
- NMEA 0183 output;
- Tilt-swivel mount for the unit is included;
- Fairly easy to install;
- One year warranty.
- No unit cover;
- May take a while to completely master.
If you’re looking for a small fish finder with powerful CHIRP sonar and DownScan, but want to save some money on navigation features, the Lowrance HOOK-5x is definitely one to put on your list. It’s great to use in freshwater, but with a more powerful transducer, you can use it successfully off-shore as well. It offers excellent value for the money, and will definitely improve your catch rate.