We dedicate this post to put into comparison the Simrad GO5 XSE HDI (000-12452-001) and the Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 52cv (010-01813-02). These two units share several similarities. For example, they’re both 5-inch units, with CHIRP sonar and down scanning sonar, they’re both equipped with Worldwide Base maps and an internal GPS, and they come with similar transducers. But nonetheless, there are quite a few differences. So, we’re going to try to cover them all here.
Simrad GO5 XSE HDI – Short Description
Simrad GO5 XSE is a touchscreen unit, featuring a WVGA color TFT display, 5-inch in diagonal and with a pixel resolution of 800H x 480V and LED backlight. It has a built-in Wi-Fi module, which makes it easy to connect to GoFree cloud services in order to upgrade charts, download charts, and benefit from many other features. It also has Simrad SonicHub®2 & Bluetooth® Audio Integration.
As we’ve mentioned above, this Simrad fish finder is the part number 000-12452-001, the one that comes with the HDI Skimmer transducer. Therefore, with this transducer, the system can only use 2D CHIRP sonar and DownScan. However, the unit is also capable of SideScan and ForwardScan. The base sonar frequencies used are 83/200 kHz for 2D and 455/800 kHz for DownScan. Also, the system has CHIRP technology and is capable of Mid and High CHIRP for its 2D broadband sonar.
This Simrad unit has an impressive range of navigation features as well. To begin with, it integrates a 10 Hz GPS receiver and comes with a worldwide base version of Insight charts. These offer a bit more detail than just the land-water boundaries, such as various points of interest and landmarks, interstates and main roads. The unit also offers NMEA 2000 Engine Monitoring and Instrumentation, Cruise Charting View, TripIntel technology… Read Full Review.
Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 52cv – Short Description
As opposed to the Simrad unit, the Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 52cv (010-01813-02) is keypad operated; it does not have touchscreen technology. It has a 5″ display, WQVGA color with a pixel matrix of 480H x 480V, with LED backlight. It offers NMEA 0183 support and has a microSD card reader with one card slot.
The Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 52 offers dual-frequency CHIRP 2D traditional broadband sonar and ClearVü sonar which also uses CHIRP. It’s capable of 50/77/200 kHz frequencies for 2D sonar and 260/455/800 kHz for ClearVü. The transducer included with it is the new CV20-TM transducer, which can operate in a range of only 77/200 kHz for 2D and 455/800 kHz for ClearVü. So, these being said, the unit can offer Mid and High Range CHIRP scanning for 2D, and a CHIRP modulation between 435-475 kHz and 800-840 kHz for ClearVü.
This Garmin fish finder is also a GPS unit. It’s equipped with a fast and accurate internal GPS, while as a chart base for navigation it has the Garmin Worldwide Basemaps which cover oceans, major streams, rivers and small lakes, railroads, political boundaries, highways, and other information. Although they don’t offer the detail of premium charts, the information provided by them is not bad. Along with these charts, the unit also has the Garmin Quickdraw Contours… Read Full Review.
Operating sonar frequencies. Both systems are capable of the same base sonar frequencies for their structure scanning sonar. These are 455/800 kHz. However, the Garmin unit can use CHIRP technology for its ClearVü sonar, offering a CHIRP modulation of 435-475 kHz and 800-840 kHz. The DownScan sonar from the Simrad unit cannot use CHIRP, but the unit has the Overlay DownScan feature which blends the 2D sonar with the DownScan sonar, in order to bring some of CHIRP power to DownScan.
For 2D sonar, the units use the same frequency range for High CHIRP, around 200 kHz. But for Mid Range CHIRP the Garmin system uses a base frequency of 77 kHz, while the Simrad unit uses a base frequency of 83 kHz.
Sonar beam coverage. The Garmin CV20-TM transducer uses 15°/45° beams for 2D and 53°/29° for ClearVü, while the HDI Skimmer included with the Simrad 000-12452-001 uses 22°/52° beams for 2D and 56°/32° for DownScan. Differently put, there are little differences here, but according to the specs descriptions, these are the differences.
Depth capability. The specified depth capability of the Garmin echoMAP CHIRP with the included CV20-TM transducer is 1,900 ft (579 m) for 2D and 750 ft (228 m) for ClearVü. The Simrad unit with the HDI Skimmer offers a depth capability of 1,000 ft (305 m) for 2D and 350 ft (106 m) for DownScan.
DownScan Overlay. This is a sonar feature specific to Lowrance and Simrad fish finders. It combines the DownScan sonar view with the 2D view, which can be helpful in understanding the relation between fish and structure. The Garmin units don’t have such a feature.
ForwardScan and SideScan sonar capability. Only the Simrad unit is capable of ForwardScan and SideScan. But it requires a different transducer than the HDI Skimmer included with the Simrad 000-12452-001. On the other hand, the Garmin unit can only use ClearVü (previously named DownVü). It does not have side-scanning sonar or LiveVü sonar capabilities such as other Garmin units.
Charts compatibility. Both units come with a worldwide base map versions. They offer similar details and data. However, the chart upgrade possibilities are different. The Garmin unit cannot use Navionics card chips, but its charts can also be upgraded to BlueChart g2 HD, BlueChart g2 Vision, LakeVü HD, or LakeVü HD Ultra. The Simrad unit is a bit more versatile for this matter. It can use C-MAP MAX N charts, Navionics, Insight, and charts created with the Insight Genesis software.
GPS. The Garmin unit has a 5 Hz GPS receiver while the Simrad unit has a 10 Hz GPS receiver. Thereby, the Garmin unit will refresh data 5 times per second, while for the Simrad unit the data will be refreshed 10 times per second.
Quickdraw Contours. This is a feature specific to Garmin unit. It allows you to reveal and map the lake where you’re fishing in real-time as you sail your boat, by using sonar and GPS data. The Simrad unit, on the other hand, can use charts made with Insight Genesis, which you can create by using recorded sonar logs.
TripIntel. This is a feature specific to the Simrad unit. It gives you the possibility to plan safe and enjoyable trips, along with making smart decisions regarding fuel consumption, future tide levels, etc. Premium charts from Garmin offer the possibility to use Enhanced Auto Guidance which is somewhat similar, but not the pre-loaded charts.
Cruise Charting View. This is another feature that only the Simrad unit has. it brings together crucial navigation data and charts in one easily readable display allowing you to edit on-screen data items.
Sonic Hub 2 and Audio Integration. The Simrad unit gives you the possibility to stream music from Bluetooth devices, play MP3 files from a USB flash drive, or listen to the SonicHub 2’s built-in AM/FM radio. The Elite-5 Ti unit doesn’t offer this feature.
Wi-Fi connectivity. The Garmin echoMAP 5 units don’t have this feature. The Simrad unit has a Wi-Fi module and provides direct access to GoFree cloud services, including map downloads, software updates, etc. So, if you have a Wi-Fi connection available, you can connect online with the unit, in order to use the GoFree services.
NMEA support. The Garmin unit has an NMEA 0183 port and comes with an adapter for NMEA 2000. The Simrad GO5 XSE unit has an NMEA 2000 port.
Display. Both units have a 5′ diagonal LCD display. However, the layout of the Garmin unit is 480 x 480 pixels, while the Simrad unit has a pixel matrix of 800 x 480. Also, the Garmin unit is operated via the keypad on the right side, while the Simrad unit has a full touchscreen display.
Side by Side Comparison Table
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Price and Final Conclusions
These two fish finder and chartplotter systems have a similar price, ranging between $400 and $500. Both have their pluses. For example, the Garmin unit has the Quickdraw Contours feature and can use CHIRP for its ClearVü sonar, while the Simrad has a faster GPS, extra navigation features, SideScan, and ForwardScan capabilities (with a different transducer than the included HDI skimmer), and Wi-Fi connectivity. So, it’s up to you to decide which one would suit your needs best. They’re both excellent systems for the price.