Best For Professional Tournament Fishing

Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 Review

UPDATED May. 2020
Brand: Lowrance
Model: HDS 7 Gen 3
Our Score: 9.3/10
Table Of Contents+
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Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 is a tournament-level fish finder/chartplotter combo designed for professional anglers on FLW and BASS tours. The user-friendly interface, regular software updates, and intuitive multi-touch touchscreen do not just allow for excellent screen clarity and target separation but also confident control in all weather conditions.  

Just to clarify, since this unit can come with different map packs and with or without a transducer, in this Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 review, we will be talking about the 000-11788-001 model with an 83/200 kHz transducer paired with the LSS-2 transducer implemented for StructureScan and the built-in Insight USA mapping pack. 

Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 with on display

 

Pros & Cons

Pros
    • High-quality 7” multi-touch/keypad screen with an LED backlight 
    • vBroadband CHIRP sonar and StructureScan transducer  
    • 2 microSD card slots, wireless connectivity, video input, and Ethernet/NMEA 2000 networking 
    • High-sensitivity GPS 
    • Up to 3,000 waypoints, 100 routes, and 100 trails with up to 10,000 points per trail
    • Preloaded Insight US charts + compatibility with many others 
Cons
    • Too complicated for beginners 

Specifications

SpecificationsLowrance HDS-7 Gen3
TypeDown Imaging and Side Imaging
SonarCHIRP and StructureScan HD
Transducer83/200 kHz transducer and the LSS-2 transducer (for StructureScan)
Display (size, resolution, backlit, color)7 in./178 mm (16:9) Widescreen, WVGA color TFT LCD 800 x 480
Dimensions215.4mm (8.48")x 146.3mm (5.76")
Weight2.49 lbs
Batteriesxxx
Depth Capability750 ft (229 m) for Broadband Sounder, 300 (92 m) ft. for StructureScan
Frequency200 kHz (20°) / 83 kHz (60°) for standard 2d sonar 455 / 800 kHz for StructureScan, 600 ft (183 m) coverage from side to side
Power OutputMax 500W RMS
Power Input12 vDC (10-17 vDC min-max)
GPSinternal
MapsInsight USA
Routes, Waypoints, Tracks5000 points
WaterproofIPX7
Wi-Fi Connectivityyes
MicroSD card slotn/a

Display/Screen

Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 Touch Insight comes with a 7” display, which is considered to be medium-sized among fish finders/chartplotters. It supports both touch and keyboard controls and basically acts like your regular tablet with most of the essential functions being accessible from the home screen.  

Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 with display side view

The resolution of the display is 800 x 480 with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The screen also features an LED backlight, which enables you to observe your imaging without any difficulties even when exposed to direct sunlight. 

The waterproof rating is set at IP-X7 (with the card door closed), which means the unit can handle rain, water splashes, and even complete submersion in 3.3ft of water up to 30 minutes. However, it has not been tested against the entry of solid objects like sand and dust.  

Sonar & Transducer

The unit is equipped with a broadband sonar utilizing the CHIRP technology to adjust individual sonar pulses across a wide spectrum of frequencies for ultimate noise filtering and target separation. It also removes excess clutter and even lets you differentiate between individual targets in a baitfish cloud.  

Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 Insight features two transducers: the 83/200 kHz one paired with the 455/800 kHz LSS-2 for 3D StructureScan. The StructureScan HD tech provides users with photo-like clarity with both SideScan and DownScan imaging. You can use the 455 kHz frequency for all available depths while the 800 kHz one performs better in shallow waters. Both transducers feature temperature probes, which are constantly feeding the main unit with data, allowing it to indicate any variations on the implemented temperature graph. 

Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 with sonar on display

The 7” screen allows you to view up to 4 panels simultaneously, which means you are able to observe the imaging provided by the CHIRP and StructureScan sonars side-by-side. Alternatively, you can also use the DownScan overlay to combine the DownScan with the CHIRP view in order to observe the targets better and understand their positioning in relation to each other and your vessel.  

The TrackBack function is an excellent feature that allows you to scroll through the sonar log and review certain locations, which saves a lot of time and adds considerable versatility. The unit also offers SpotlightScan (requires an additional SpotlightScan transducer), Flasher sonar, Fish ID, Bottom Lock, and Split Zoom. The Flasher function is ideal for ice fishing thanks to its circular layout, Fish ID uses suggestive icons to mark sonar results defined as fish, Bottom Lock shows you the flattened bottom to provide you with a better view of potential targets, and Split Zoom lets you magnify certain portions of the sonar view and even observe them in split screen. 

Navigation

The unit features preloaded Insight USA charts for coastal and inland waters as well as a generic reference map. Having said that, it is also fully compatible with Insight HD/PRO, Navionics, Topo Insight, C-MAP MAX-N+, and others. You can also use the Insight Genesis online app to customize and configure your own maps and pair them with sonar recordings or simply use fishing maps created by other users.  

Gen3 devices also come with a StructureMap, which is an excellent feature that works together with the sonar to customize your maps instantly and increase your situational awareness by overlaying live or recorded sonar results onto them.  

Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 Insight comes with a quick-locking and potent built-in GPS with the position update rate of 10 Hz with WAAS/EGNOS corrections (also compatible with MSAS with an additional external antenna). 

The unit can store up to 3,000 waypoints, 100 routes, and 100 trails with up to 10,000 points per trail. Finally, it also supports Broadband Radar, SiriusXM Marine Weather and audio, Class B AIS, and multiple autopilot systems like MotorGuide, SmartSteer, Lowrance Outboard Pilot, and PinpointGPS. 

Networking

As we already mentioned in this Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 Insight review, you can use the Insight Genesis mapping feature to customize your own maps and use those already made by other fishers.  

On top of this, the unit features 2 microSD card slots (up to 32GB) as well as Ethernet connection possibilities and NMEA 2000 port. You can also connect it to your camera and turn it into a surveillance device or an underwater camera. Finally, HDS-7 Gen3 comes with built-in wireless connectivity, which means you can use your tablet or smartphone not just to control the display but also to download software updates, upload personal sonar logs, use the Insight Genesis platform, and more.

What's In The Box

    • 1 HDS Gen3 display
    • 2 Suncover
    • 3 Bracket
    • 4 Knobs
    • 5 Fasteners (4 x 6G x 1.5 panhead PH1)
    • 6 Power cable
    • 7 Fuse holder (ATC blade)
    • 8 Fuse (3 amp)
    • 9 Caps (3x for HDS7 4x for HDS9/12 - for ethernet, NMEA 2000, StructureScan)
    • 10 Documentation pack (Operator & Installation manual, Quick guide, warranty card)
    • 11 83/200 kHz transducer (model dependant)
    • 12 StructureScan HD transducer (model dependant)
    • 13 50/200 kHz transducer (model dependant)

Verdict

Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 Insight is a very sophisticated piece of fish-finding technology that might even prove to be too overwhelming for beginners who have not used similar devices. It is primarily designed for professional fishing tournaments but can also be used for recreational purposes. 

It is currently one of the top fish finder/GPS combos with a high-quality 7” screen, excellent sonar technologies, and a high-sensitive GPS compatible with a wide array of maps and charts. When it comes to optimizing situational awareness and minimizing “stabs in the dark,” it is definitely one of the best models on the market.

Our score: 9.3/10