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You can’t speak about side view sonar technology without mentioning Lowrance. They offer quite an array of fish finders which support this type of technology. And within the $1,500 price range the Lowrance HDS-7 Gen2 Touch Insight is their best.
Now, if you’re looking at this unit, we’re pretty sure that one of the features that interests you the most, is the StructureScan (side and down view). That’s why, before getting into detail and speaking about this Lowrance model, it’s critical that I point out a very important aspect regarding this feature.
The head unit of the HDS-7 Gen2 Touch Insight is StructureScan HD capable. But Lowrance sells this fishfinder and chartplotter in various packages, with different transducers. Not all come with the SideScan transducer. There are actually five bundles that you can choose from, each including the head unit and a different transducer, or several transducers, and a different mapping package.
Here are the bundles to choose from by code name, and what you’ll get with each one of them.
Insight USA + 50/200 kHz transducer
Insight USA + 83/200 kHz transducer
Insight USA (transducer sold separately)
CMAP Max-N (Canada and Latin America ONLY)
Insight USA + 83/200 + StructureScan HD
As you can see, only the last package, the 000-10778-001, comes with the StructureScan HD transducer, this one being the most inclusive bundle.
Key Features and Specifications
- Screen: 7″ diagonal, 16:9, 800H x 480V pixel matrix, full color, with backlight and touchscreen technology
- Sonar: Broadband Sounder and StructureScan HD
- Depth Capability: 750 ft (229 m) for Broadband Sounder, 300 ft. for StructureScan
- Frequency and Coverage:
- 200 kHz (20°) / 83 kHz (60°) for broadband
- 455 / 800 kHz for StructureScan, 600 ft (183 m) coverage from side to side
- Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
- Power Input: 10-17 VDC
- GPS: 5Hz Internal GPS Antenna
- Maps: Insight USA
- Routes, Waypoints: 200, 5000
Sonar and transducer
The Lowrance HDS-7 Gen2 Touch 000-10778-001 includes two transducers: one for regular broadband sonar, and one for the StructureScan HD. They’re both dual-beam transducers. The standard skimmer is capable of 200/83 kHz, and the LSS-2 transducer supports 455/800 kHz. The coverage of the standard sonar beams is 20° @ 200 kHz, and 60° @ 83 kHz.
Sonar returns can be observed in split-screen, along with charts. The split-screen function allows up to 4 views simultaneously. Combining all the data presented by four selected views offers a huge advantage to any angler. Placing your baits, launching your jigs, and positioning your boat in a perfect manner to avoid spooking the fish can be done with near perfection when working with all the information presented on your screen.
Temperature graph and Fish ID are two other very useful functions. Fish ID changes the regular broadband sonar, offering a more friendly interface. In other words, the fish arches will become fish symbols. Evidently, Temperature Graph is an indispensable feature, as points out all the temperature variations of the water.
There’s also a flasher-type sonar view, which works best for ice fishing or down dropping. So, even if this Lowrance unit is intended for boat use, you can still improvise and use it on the ice.
When it comes to charts, as specified, the Lowrance HDS-7 Gen2 Touch 000-10778-001 comes with the built-in Insight USA cartography package, which covers over 6,300 of U.S. lakes with standard definition, and also provides offshore and coastal coverage. You will also get quite a bunch of enhanced fishing hot spots, and a coverage of more than 200,000 points of interest.
Needless to say, the unit also has built-in GPS. It’s a high-sensitivity 16-channel GPS receiver which also has a speed calculation function. Waypoint creation, route creation, and track plotting functions are also available. You can save up to 5,000 waypoints in its memory, and up to 200 routes.
These are only the main, most important specs and capabilities of the HDS-7 Gen2, but there’s a lot more to say about it. For example, one of the most useful functions that you will get with this unit, is the StructureMap HD. This gives you the possibility to use recorded StructureScan logs in conjunction with maps, to observe both charts and bottom details simultaneously, resulting in an excellent situational awareness when on the water.
There is a wide range of possible upgrades for this unit. For starters, it’s compatible with various transducer types. For example, you can opt for a 50 / 200 kHz transducer for deepwater use, for a depth capability increase up to 3,000 ft (914 m).
In terms of GPS upgrade possibilities, you can add a Lowrance Point-1, 10 Hz antenna, with a compass function built in. Although the standard Insight USA cartography pack that comes with this unit offer plenty of detail, there’s still a lot of room for improvement here. This unit accepts other mapping packages, such as Insight PRO HD, and Genesis, Navionics Platinum+, Max-N, TOPO, and C-Map.
Nonetheless, the Lowrance HDS-7 Gen2 Touch is wireless-ready. With an additional Wifi-1 Module and the GoFree app, you can view and control chartplotter and sonar views on tablets and smartphones.
Last but not least, NMEA 2000 is also a viable option for this unit.
What’s Best About This Unit
In short, you will benefit from a state-of-the-art, touchscreen fish finder and chartplotter. It comes with StructureScan (side view and down view), which pick up much more fish returns than broadband sonar, while the side view provides pinpoint accuracy for each fish located.
The Insight USA standard mapping package is simply great.
The HDS-7 Gen2 Touch is open to a plethora of upgrades. You can get various other map packages, better GPS, a better transducer for deepwater use, and even the possibility for cross-usage with tablets and smartphones.
But maybe the most important aspect to be mentioned here is that this unit has an exceptional price/quality ratio.
Even though it’s a great unit to have, excelling in utility and functionality, it still has its share of drawbacks. First of all, 7-inch is a bit of a little screen for a split screen in four parts. However, when using only one view, there’s plenty of screen space.
Since it’s an advanced piece of technology, menus, and navigation through the menus may not be as intuitive as they should for a less techy user, so learning how to operate it may take some time.
The HDS-7 Gen2 Touch Insight from Lowrance is a rather small unit, but with a consistent amount of features and upgrade possibilities. An excellent fish finder, which offers a superior user experience. Touchscreen technology and StructureScan are simply amazing. You use it once, you won’t want to head out on the water without it again!