Lowrance Elite-5X CHIRP
There are only a few differences between the Elite-5X CHIRP and Elite-7X CHIRP from Lowrance. To be more specific, the 5X model is a smaller unit, does not offer NMEA 2000 connectivity, but evidently, it’s cheaper than the 7X model. Nonetheless, the Elite-5X CHIRP model still is a great unit, as it offers some of the best sonar technologies that you can find at the moment.
Since this Lowrance fish finder comes in different bundles, with different transducers, or without any transducer, the first aspect to be mentioned re, is that this review refers to the Lowrance 000-11657-001. This is the Elite-5X CHIRP that comes with the 83/200/455/800 transducer. It’s a unit without any navigation features, and cannot track speed. On the other hand, it’s a great fish finder. So, here’s a thing or two about the features and functions that it comes with.
- Screen: 5″ diagonal, 16:9, 480H x 480V pixel matrix, 256 color TFT, with LED backlight
- Sonar: Broadband 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 broadband
- 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: 500 Watts (RMS)
- Power Input: 10-17 VDC
- GPS: No
- Maps: No
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracks: No
This unit basically comes with the same transducer as the Elite-7X CHIRP 000-11668-001. It’s one transducer capable of both CHIRP standard and DownScan. For CHIRP standard imaging, it operates at Med and High CHIRP, with 83 / 200 kHz frequencies, with beamwidths of 60° / 20°. The unit is also capable of Low CHIRP, being able to operate at 50 kHz, but for that, it requires the 50/200 kHz transducer, which costs almost double the price
83/200/455/800 kHz Transducer for Elite-5X CHIRP
than the 83 / 200 kHz model, due to its ceramics. However, at Low CHIRP, this unit can hit depths up to 3,000 ft. (914 m).
For DownScan, the unit can also operate with dual frequency, 455 / 800 kHz, and the transducer it comes with does support these two frequencies. The beams are not conical as the standard CHIRP ones. They’re fan-shaped, with 4° fore-to-aft. and 57° side-to-side for 455 kHz, and 2° / 38° for 800 kHz.
The 000-10976-001 transducer included with this unit has an integrated temperature probe, being able to measure water temperature. It has a transom mount, but the unit can also function with several other transducers, for trolling or thru-hull, from Airmar. This particular transducer comes with 20 ft. (6 m) of cable.
To begin with, this unit does not have GPS, maps or any other navigation features. So, in case you want one with GPS, you might want to have a look at the Lowrance Elite-5 CHIRP Gold, or Elite-7 CHIRP Gold. But, it does offer greater sensitivity, improved target resolution, and superior noise rejection. In other words, the CHIRP standard imaging reveals targets much accurately, getting rid of the unnecessary clutter. The Advanced Signal Processing reduces the need to filter noise or other settings in order to see more bottom detail or more fish. CHIRP also provides superior target separation. In other words, if more fish are grouped close together or among the branches of a sunken tree, CHIRP will point out each individual, rather than just a big dot of color. The precision of CHIRP sonar actually goes to the point where it can point out the fish into a bait cloud.
On the other hand, DownScan imaging (or DSI), offers photo-like clarity images of the bottom. Even though this sonar technology is reliable only up to 300 ft., it’s still a great sonar to have, as it gives you the possibility to easily distinguish between structure and fish, or figure out what exactly a certain structure under the boat is.
DownScan and standard CHIRP views can be observed separately in split-screen. However, this unit also gives you the chance to blend DownScan with CHIRP via the DownScan Overlay. With this function, you can get a better idea how far targets are from one another, or where they are in relation to the boat.
The Lowrance Elite-5X CHIRP offers several other sonar-related functions, along with the two sonar technologies mentioned above. One of them is TrackBack. This function allows you to record sonar, with the possibility to scroll through the sonar history, in order to review certain spots. This can actually save you a lot of trouble and gas, as you won’t have to re-trace your path.
Two other functions that I’m sure you’ll find useful are the Ice Flasher and the Fish ID. The first one provides an abstract, circular sonar view, without any fish arches, easier to use on ice, or when down dropping. The Fish ID function simply replaces the fish arches with fish symbols, each fish having its current depth displayed near it. Although this is a more intuitive sonar view, great for anglers new to sonar, it’s not exactly the most accurate, as sometimes debris or other suspended structure may be depicted as fish.
Display unit features
The Elite-5X CHIRP doesn’t feature a widescreen. However, the 5-inch display has 480 x 480 pixel resolution, rendering images pretty sharp for its dimensions. Also, since it’s a square screen, and not with a vertical format, it does offer more screen for a horizontal split-screen view.
The unit is IPX7 waterproof, which means it can easily survive incidental water exposure, like rain or sporadic drops of water. However, it’s not a full waterproof unit, so do not submerge it. And especially if you’re fishing in saltwater, it’s best to wipe any droplets that might fall on it. The mounting system provides tilt/swivel view adjustment, and quick removal and re-install. Finally, this unit features an NMEA port, compatible with NMEA 0183 networks.
So far, this unit benefits from a lot of positivity from many users. However, it does have a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, it does not have any NMEA 2000 ports. Second of all, not only it does not have any navigation functions, it also doesn’t support any. So, if you want a combo unit, this is not the one you should opt for.
The Lowrance Elite-5X CHIRP is an excellent fish finder, providing some of the best sonar technologies. It’s slightly more expensive than other units of this size, as it offers the powerful CHIRP sonar technology, and also has sonar recording. It’s a unit that excels in clarity and most definitely will help you cut off the time spent looking for fish.