on April 12, 2013
I bought this unit in 2011 and have had nothing but positive experiences with it. Installation was easy and intuitive. Free software updates keep coming, fixing bugs I wasn't noticing, adding new features, giving me peace of mind.
No Cons! One of the few products I've ever bought about which I can make that statement.
On top of that, Humminbird appears to be constantly moving ahead, making the product more interesting, adding options, taking the lead over competitors. Examples:
* Do you use a downrigger? You can hook up certain Canon downriggers to this chart plotter and program it to raise & lower you lures as the depth changes. Cool!
* Interested in approaching weather? You can buy a weather radar option that displays incoming storms right on the screen. Talk about a life saver! But remember, if you have a smart phone, you can get a free version of this if you're somewhere within cell coverage. But it won't be as big a screen or as location-oriented to your spot as the one on the Humminbird.
* Ever wonder what fish might be in front of your boat? You can buy a 360 degree transducer that shows fish in front and on all sides of the boat. It's not cheap, and doesn't work at high speeds, but it's good for 100' in front of you--no more missing the fish that your boat scares as it approaches.
* Humminbird bought Lake Master--the folks who make underwater map chip sets--and has leveraged the technology to make life so much better!
* Have you ever had to split your concentration between fishing and keeping your trolling motor following a break line or a depth contour? No need to do that anymore--Humminbird has integrated its Ethernet with the Minn-Kota electric trolling motors, and with the Minn-Kota i-Pilot and the Lake Master maps, you can tell the trolling motor to take its heading from the chart plotter and its map chip based on depth and GPS location. Tell the trolling motor to follow the 18' depth contour, and you can stop worrying about steering the boat. Tell it to stay a certain distance away from the shore or a break line, and watch it be your professional automated guide. It gives me the ability to concentrate on casting to Bass and feeling their light hits on a falling crawler harness, instead of spending time steering & worrying about depth.
* Have you ever found a hot spot, but not wanted to drop a marker buoy for fear of attracting other anglers? Or not wanted to drop an anchor and scare the fish? The Humminbird / Minn-Kota / iPilot option lets me set the boat to stay in one spot, just as if I'd dropped an anchor--wind or current may spin the boat around, but the Humminbird tells the bow troller what to do to keep me on location. Sweet!
Before you buy a bow trolling motor or a depth finder / chart plotter or down rigger, consider all the options that come from buying Humminbird and the many brands of gear its especially compatible with. My buddy bought a Lowrance and now he's feeling bad because his unit, although a very nice one, can't do even half of the things my Humminbird can. And he's telling me Lowrance isn't innovating anything like Humminbird is.
I may never buy the 360 degree transducer, or the radar option, or the weather setup, but just knowing Humminbird is being proactive and thinking ahead for what I might want to have, gives them a huge plus in my book. I like knowing I'm not limited, and that I can expand my options just by adding on things that are customized built and designed for this depth finder / chart plotter.
I'm a computer network analyst and technology is my friend. I love screens, views, options, buttons, settings. Well, there are enough to play with here to satisfy even me. And the best part is that once I set things up the way I want them, I don't ever have to change anything if I don't want to--I can just turn the unit on and use it. Or I can play with seeing bait balls, or capturing screen shots of submerged features like reservoir bridges or even sunken boats. Now I can see what the bottom is made of or covered with, and understand why I get snagged in this part of the lake (it's all downed lumber, or there's an old fence line crossing the bottom), and why there are no fish in another part (there's no structure, no food chain). And better, where the rocks are, how big they are, and whether there are fish hiding among them.
I get the simple option to set it and forget it, enjoying the views of nature and teasing fish out of cover, or I can dig in and examine the structure and identify the fish on the screen, tracking my path in and out of remote bays and around obstacles.
I hired a guide to take me into Canadian waters where there were no good hydro maps to trust for keeping me out of the rocks. But I had the 998c SI chart plotter & GPS going, making tracks & way points the whole day. Now I can get into those great spots without fear of hitting rocks because I saved and can follow the paths the guide followed.
This unit is as complex or as simple as you make it. Follow the instructions on installation and get ready for a great experience. My only wish is that I had two more of these beauties, just because there's so many fun screens to watch & learn from, that I could have them all going at the same time. Of course then I'd need a bigger boat in which to mount them all. Hmmmm . . . "Honey? Can we get a bigger boat?"
Have a great time using this item. Keep in mind that in 2013 Humminbird updated the unit to "HD". All it means is they've added some brighter back lighting to make the screen stand out better in sunlight. The non-HD units are still out there, and the price on them has dropped a couple of hundred dollars now that the HD model is out.
on October 8, 2013
I completely revamped my boat this year, no expense spared. I purchased this unit and it is worthless for fish finding. GPS is superb, but if there is a fish, it looks like a pin on the enormous screen. Lots of engine noise on this product, however, the engine was not running. I am sending it back. TECH support says trade it with a friend who has a unit to see if transducer is faulty, Shouldn't we have tested at the factory and none of my friends can afford this unit. WASTE OF MONEY. I have spent at least 12 hours tweaking it and watched every Doug Vendenburg utube video. I am at the point of crying. Sad to say, but true. PS, Academy just reduced the price to 6 bills less than I paid, the first of the year.
on March 12, 2013
As you read the product details, you will find that the GPS antenna is not included and requires a GPS input. Great, so I bought the recommended GPS antenna that you see in the "Customers who bought this also bought" section. That white, hard plastic cover also looked like a good and sensible purchase to protect this expensive piece of equipment.
THE WHITE COVER AND THE GPS COME IN THE BOX WITH THIS UNIT!!!! The description indicates otherwise, but they are already in the box. Do NOT buy these recommended items. The WeatherSense module is not in the box, as described. The rest of the product details are total BS!!!
Hopefully I will get to take the new unit out for a spin this weekend. I will update my review and my rating on the functionality of the unit itself. I just wanted to get this information out before other customers fall prey to purchasing additional items under false pretenses. Shame on Amazon!!!