Lowrance Elite-7 CHIRP Gold
Although it has already been a year since the Lowrance Elite CHIRP fish finders were released, so far there aren’t many other models to choose from, within this particular price and specs range. The Elite-7 CHIRP Gold, is actually one of the best fish finders which also features a generous amount of navigational features.
The Lowrance Elite-7 CHIRP Gold includes GPS, and the Navionics Gold chart pack, as opposed to the Elite-7X CHIRP, which is a standalone fish finder. Also, this multifunctional display can work with various transducers, and depending the transducer the box contains, price and depth capability may vary. This prarticular review addresses specifically the unit with the model number 000-11659-001, which includes the 83/200/455/800 transducer.
There’s a lot to be said about the capabilities of this Lowrance unit. So, here’s what you’ll benefit from, if you opt for it.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Screen: 7″ diagonal, 16:9, 800H x 480V pixel matrix, 16-bit color TFT, with adjustable 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 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: 500 Watts (RMS)
- Power Input: 10-17 VDC
- GPS: 10 kHz, 16-channels, Internal
- Maps: Navionics Gold
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracks: 100, 3,000, 100 (10,000 points each)
As the name of the unit and the specs suggest, this model includes CHIRP sonar, which means its standard sonar is much more powerful than traditional single frequency sonar. Due to the modulated pulse over a range of frequencies, it provides a better target separation. In other words, this type of sonar technology makes a better difference between fish targets, displaying each fish individually even if they’re really close together, rather than merging them in one big target. Target separation is so great, that in certain cases you will even be able to see the small fish in a bait cloud, individually. You can even see the lure and the line.
There are actually 3 CHIRP modes this unit can operate at: High, Med and Low. The High and Med, use the 200 kHz and 83 kHz frequencies, while the Low range, uses the 50 kHz frequency. But since the transducer of this unit does not cover the 50 kHz frequency, you will actually benefit only from the High and Medium setting. Unless of course, you also install the 50 / 200 kHz transducer.
The Elite-7 CHIRP uses Advanced Signal Processing (ASP), to filter out clutter and undesired signals. It’s actually a smart noise rejection, which provides a much clear image. This particular feature eliminates the need to manually adjust noise, to see the main targets better.
This unit also includes DownScan Imaging, which supplies photo-like clarity imaging of the underwater environment. This sonar feature allows you to understand much better the contour of a specific structure under the boat, and tell fish apart from it, or from vegetation.
Both CHIRP sonar and DownScan Imaging can be merged via the DownScan Overlay function. This feature can be very helpful if you want to understand better the positioning of the fish in relation to a certain structure. It actually gives you the power of CHIRP sonar, into the DownScan view.
The transducer that comes with this unit is transom type, not suitable for a trolling motor. Its model number is 000-10976-001, and allows you to operate both CHIRP and DownScan Imaging. You don’t need a different transducer for DownScan. This transducer model also includes a temperature sensor, enabling the unit to display water temperature.
Other sonar functions offered by this unit are the Fish ID, which gives every possible fish target, a fish icon on screen. Also, this unit has an flasher sonar mode, which makes it more suitable for ice fishing, or down dropping.
The head unit allows split screen in up to four views. You can actually view your position on the map, the DownScan, and CHIRP sonar in Split Zoom at the same time. The Split Zoom function gives you the possibility to see the same sonar return in a different zoom, closer or farther.
An excellent function this unit has, is TrackBack. This is actually sonar recording function, which gives the user the possibility to scroll back through the sonar, to see a specific target, or spot. In fact this is a key feature for using the Insight Genesis online service. Via this application, you can customize your own lake maps, based on your sonar recordings, maps with your own fishing spots, or points of interest. Once your maps are complete, you can save them on a microSD, load them into your unit, and work with them when on the water.
The navigational functions of this Lowrance unit include 16-Channel GPS, with WAAS, EGNOS and MSAS. It comes with the Navionics Gold microSD card, which is one of the finest mapping pack for the U.S. inland and coastal waters, covering over 3,000 lakes and rivers, and the coastal waters up to 1,000 ft.
Last but not least, this unit has a function for waypoints, routes and trails. Via waypoints, you can save the best fishing spots on your SD card and revisit them later. You can edit routes between waypoints, and also convert trails into routes. Also, you can record trails as you navigate.
The Lowrance Elite-7 CHIRP Gold leaves a little room for upgrades. When it comes to sonar, you can add the 50 / 200 kHz transducer, which will give you the possibility to operate the Low Mode of the CHIRP sonar, for depths up to 3,000 ft. (914 m).
Along with the Navionics Gold charts, this unit also accepts Lake Insight, Nautic Insight PRO and HD, Fishing Hotspots PRO, Navionics HotMaps Premium and C-Map Max-N by Jeppessen.
GPS can also be upgraded with an external 15 Hz antenna.
What’s Best About This Unit
DownScan sonar, CHIRP sonar, and a depth capability up to 1,000 ft, with its standard transducer are most definitely the main advantages of this unit.
A big plus is also the TrackBack function which not all fish finders have. This also gives you a green light for the Insight Genesis online service, allowing your to customize your maps, based on recorded sonar.
You get the Navionics Gold pack with this unit, which covers U.S. and Canada coastal and inland waters, plus the Great Lakes, Alaska, Hawaii and the Bahamas.
Navigation through the menus and settings of this unit is not very simple, since it’s a pretty advanced unit. If you’re not a very techy user, it may take some time until you learn to work with properly with each one of its functions.
The Lowrance Elite-7 CHIRP Gold is a medium-sized fish finder and chartplotter with an excellent price / quality ratio. Even though it’s not a touchscreen fish finder, like the newest models available, it has a lot to offer in terms of fish finding and navigational capabilities. It’s an excellent tool to have on the water, a device to help you to cut down by a lot the fish searching time, save your best fishing spots, record trails, and even customize and use your own maps.