Lowrance HDS-9 Gen 3 Review On March 04, 2015
The Lowrance HDS-9 Gen 3 Review
Having used Sonar technology for fishing since 1989, I have seen many gains in technology over that time period. But let’s face it, sonar is sonar, correct? Or is it?! With the release of the Lowrance HDS-9 Gen-3, we have once again made gains in technology - not only with the way we view sonar, but also the way we send, receive and process the sonar signal.
Lowrance first introduced the HDS Touch family of products to the fishing industry in 2012. With all of our everyday electronic gadgets going in the direction of touch screens, the progression just seemed to make sense. But the bottom line is the touch screen opens the door for ease of operations that can be achieved by a single touch of the screen as opposed using a cursor and clicking on various keys to achieve the same results. Lowrance has taken further strides with the Gen 3 by adding back keypads as well, which to my surprise has added convenience and compliments the touchscreen for even easier operation options.
Lowrance Provided Image
The HDS-9 Gen 3 like the Gen 2 Touch before it has a wider screen which enables the user to now have more viewable screen area, which is especially nice when having three screens showing vertically at once. The screen is widescreen display with WVGA 800 x 480 resolution and LED backlighting that can be split up and customized suit the user’s needs.
Side menus on the HDS-9 Gen 3 now scroll up and down
The main home screen is laid out very similar to the Gen 2 Touch models with some noticeable refinements and improvements. The side menus now scroll up and down as compared to its predecessor, which had menus that slide out. Most of the changes to the main screen are very small with some items changing location, but anyone coming from using a Gen 2 Touch will have a very short learning curve. At the center of the screen are the main icons, which have been increased in size to make things clearer and easier to read. In addition, the home screen background image can be customized to one of three pre-loaded choices or changed to any image the user chooses to load.
The improved Lowrance interface with touchscreen or keypad option provides access to all the HDS features. One big change from the Gen 2 Touch is with the System Control panel via the power button, this is a quick one button access to key features including the new Autopilot feature and Wireless connectivity.
System Controls Panel
FeaturesWith the operating system being based off the Gen 2 Touch operating system, all of those standard features have transferred over to the Gen 3 with many updated features added. One key component of the HDS Gen 3 is the new lightning fast processor which enables the Gen 3 to handle the new, more advanced, features of the HDS-9 Gen 3.
One of the new features is the built-in CHIRP Sonar which offers greater sensitivity, improved target separation and superior noise rejection for clearer, easy-to-see bait fish and game fish targets. This can be achieved with multiple CHIRP and Broadband Sounder frequencies from a single standard transducer. The user also has the ability to use a dedicated CHIRP transducer such as the Airmar TM150.
The Gen 3 offers ways to stay connected with not only the integrated WIFI that allows connectivity with the Lowrance GoFree App and other onboard devices wirelessly, but also offers GoFree Cloud-Enabled connectivity. The user can shop, purchase, download and immediately use Insight maps, and other 3rd third-party maps from GoFree partners, directly from the home screen. GoFree also enables Insight Genesis users to have the ability to upload sonar logs, and download up-to-date personalized contour maps and to contribute to the community based Social Map directly from your device.
CHIRP Sonar Screen Shot – Medium CHIRP
Download maps from GoFree partners
Without a doubt, I am most happy to see improved graphics on the HDS-9 Gen 3 compared to the Gen 2 Touch. When the Gen 2 Touch units were introduced, my only complaint was that the graphics appeared to me to be “blotchy” as compared to the HDS Gen 2 keypad units I was accustomed to. With the HDS Gen 3 the images, particularly on the sonar screen, are extremely crisp and clear. Another improved element is the water column on the display which now appears “cleaner” and the targets appear more pronounced.
Sonar Screen – 200 kHz
The New Gen 3 Interface
Moving around the menus of the Lowrance HDS-9 Gen 3 is very easy. From the main page, when a tab is pressed on the left side panel, the primary menu for that choice appears
On the Settings page, the user has access to set preferences and is able to setup the device to suit their specific needs. In addition, the base color pallets on the user interface have been changed to a clearer, high contrast pallet for easier daylight viewing.
ConclusionWith the HDS-9 Gen 3, Lowrance has once again raised the bar of current technology. With the newly refined interface, the end user will find the flow of operation to be smoother than ever. The Gen 3 has plenty of processing power, improved processing capabilities of sonar data and once again, more built in features than its predecessors. There are many other updates too numerous to discuss in a short evaluation, but take my word for it, the Lowrance HDS-9 Gen 3 is a winner in my book.
Doctor Sonar Pro Staff