Lowrance Elite-7X CHIRP
Up until a few years ago, CHIRP sonar technology was not exactly a feature you could find on your average fish finder. On top of that, most units featuring this type of sonar, were quite a little bit pricey. Lowrance Elite-7X CHIRP was launched April 2014, and so far has been one of the best standalone fish finders with this type of sonar technology.
Even if this unit does not come with any navigational capabilities, focusing only on sonar and fish locating features, there’s plenty to say about it. But first of all, it’s important to mention that this review refers to the Lowrance Elite-7X CHIRP, with the model number of 000-11668-001. In other words, it’s the model that comes with the 83/200/455/800 transducer.
Features 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 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
The greatest aspect about CHIRP sonar is that it offers a much better target separation than traditional sonar, due to the modulated pulse. In other words, with CHIRP sonar you will be able to easily distinguish between fish targets, even if they’re baitfish. The Advanced Signal Processing helps a lot, reducing the need for manual adjusting of noise and clutter, which is automatically filtered out.
This unit actually allows you to view multiple CHIRP sonar frequencies on screen, also in split screen with the DownScan Imaging. There are 3 available modes for CHIRP sonar. It can be operated at High Range (200 kHz), Med Range (83 kHz), and Low Range (50 kHz). This model does not come with a 50 / 200 kHz transducer though, so the Low setting won’t be available. The Low Range setting can scan up to 3,000 ft (914 m). There is also a Zoom function, and you can observe the same sonar return in different zoom levels simultaneously, via split screen.
DownScan Imaging offers the possibility to understand better the structure passing beneath the boat. This sonar feature also makes it possible to easily tell the fish apart from a specific structure.
It’s important to mention here that the DownScan Imaging does not use CHIRP technology, as the DownVision function of the Raymarine Dragonfly units does. However, CHIRP sonar and DownScan can be combined via the DownScan Overlay function. This function actually allows you to use the power of the CHIRP sonar, into the DownScan Imaging. Some of the fish targets may blend into the various structure that may pass under the boat, and with these two sonar modes combined, it can result in seeing much better the position and size of fish, in relation to a specific structure.
This unit also has sonar recording. Via the TrackBack function, you can review sonar history, have a closer look at specific targets etc.
The sonar features of the Elite-7X CHIRP don’t end here, though. This multifunctional display from Lowrance also has an Ice Flasher sonar function. Even though it doesn’t come with a portable case, specific to ice fish finders, nor it comes with a transducer for ice fishing, with minute modifications, it can be turned into a useful flasher, to use on ice.
The display of this unit has an 800H x 480V, and measures 7-inches in diagonal, which offers plenty of space to view sonar in 3-view mode. Since it’s a 16-bit color TFT display, it’s easier to interpret the sonar returns. The LED backlight allows excellent reading even in direct sunlight, or when it’s dark. Also, the unit has an IPX7 waterproof rating, which makes it resistant to splashes, and even complete immersion in water for a short period of time.
Last but not least, this unit is equipped with NMEA output, compatible with NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000.
What’s Best About This Unit
CHIRP sonar and DownScan sonar, are clearly the main advantages of this unit. Using them in DownScan Overlay mode, or in split screen, you will benefit from a lot of information regarding the underwater environment. Needless to say, CHIRP sonar offers superior target separation, and a lot of power, giving you the possibility to scan waters for fish at depths up to 1,000 feet.
Another important advantage regarding this unit is the relatively low price, for a 7-inch unit, with CHIRP technology.
The Lowrance Elite-7X CHIRP also offers the TrackBack function, which actually is sonar recording. This feature is extremely useful on the water, as it allows you to scroll back through the sonar, and review specific points over which the boat has passed.
No navigational features, such as maps and GPS. However, these features are typically expensive, and not all anglers may need them. This unit is a standalone fish finder, with some of the finest sonar features. If you do want GPS and maps on a unit similar to this, you might want to look at the Lowrance Elite-7 CHIRP (without the “X” in the product’s name), with the model number 000-11659-001.
Lowrance Elite-7x CHIRP has all the fish finding capabilities an angler would want from a fish finder, except Side Imaging. It offers an excellent depth capability and target separation due to CHIRP sonar, and great, photo-like images in DownScan Imaging. It’s also a standalone fish finder, without any navigational capabilities, which cuts a big chunk from its price. All in all, it’s one of the best 7-inch, color units that you can have at the moment.